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Hands on History

Come see and handle some of the most famous weapons in military history. The Texas Military Forces Museum will be opening it’s gun vault up for one night- July 3 2021 from 6pm to 9 pm.

Climb inside a M4A3 Sherman tank, a German Hetzer, WWII and post war era jeeps, a Kiowa and Raven helicopter, US and German halftracks and M113 and more.

Weapons from the Civil War through the War on Terror will be available to touch and pick up. Including all the standard infantry weapons and anti tank weapons: items like the M1863 Springfield, Krag-Jorgenson, Japanese type 99, BAR, German MP 40, Russian AK-47’s,M1-D sniper rifle, and many, many more. Uniformed reenactors will also be available to discuss the history of each weapon.

The event will be FREE this year, however if you want to get in early, and skip the longer lines Early Bird admission between 5-6 pm is just $5 for anyone over 14, and $1 for those 5-13

Some equipment like the Sherman Tank and F84 require you to climb up a ladder and be able to fit inside.

It will likely be very hot this year, please dress for the weather. You are welcome to bring bottled water. Some things like the Sherman Tank and F84 require you to climb up a ladder and be able to fit inside.

For more information 512-782-5394

Close Assault 1944

Show times are at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. both days.

Remember the true meaning of Memorial Day with this stirring look back at World War II. Close Assault 1944 honors the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans by focusing on the history of the 36th Infantry Division of the Texas Army National Guard during World War II. The free program, now in its eighth year, features members of the Texas Military Forces Living History Detachment exhibiting the uniform and equipment worn by the American GI in the European Theater of the Second World War, as well as those of his German opponent. In addition, the two-day event will provide guests the opportunity to witness firing demonstrations of the most famous U.S. and German small arms of World War II, as well as see everything from tents and radio equipment to GI baseball gloves and mess kits and operational vehicles such as an M4 Sherman Tank, M3 Halftrack and Jeeps.

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The event will take place rain or shine and bleachers will be available for seating. Souvenirs and concessions will be available.  The 45,000 square-foot Texas Military Forces Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the weekend and on Veteran’s Day as well. Both the program and admission to the museum are free.

 

Camp Mabry is open to the public and adults will need to show a valid photo ID such as a driver’s license or a military ID to come on post.

WWI Service Records For Texas Now Online

Many, many years ago the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came to the museum and made copies of our WWI service cards. They have finally put the cards up on their Family Search website in a FREE, Searchable database!

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A link to the cards is below. You do have to sign up for a free account to see the images but all they ask for is name, email, and birthdate. Without signing in you can still see name, dates and some other information but not unit information.

https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2202707

Camp Mabry Open House/Muster Day

Muster Day traces it’s roots back to when Texas was still a republic. In the early days, on an annual basis, the troops were ‘mustered’ or called to report.  Over the years, the mustering of the troops became obsolete. However, the Texas Military Forces Museum as part of the Texas Military Forces  yearly Open House at Camp Mabry, holds a Muster Day where reenactors of all periods from the Texas Revolution  through current times can display their historical uniforms, weapons and equipment and show them to the general public. In addition there is a large WWII battle reenactment each day at 2 pm. These battles feature  200 Allied and German soldiers recreating a WWII battle using original equipment, tanks, and weapons from the time period. This includes a fly over by AT-6 Texans as part of the battle. The museum will be open each day from 9 am to 5 pm.

Gates open at 8 am each day and close at 5 pm. As well as the museum events, there will be displays by the Texas Military Forces, helicopter demos, First Reponders, children’s activites, Vietnam Wall Memorial, and much, much more.

musterday schedule

mabry12 (2) mabry_memorial_16 Muster WWII_4

 

What is that?

The latest addition to the museum’s outdoor exhibit of armored vehicles has been turning heads and provoking puzzled expressions. “What is that thing?” is a common refrain. And for good reason! The vehicle in question is one of the rarest of World War II tanks – an Australian designed and produced Sentinel AC1 (Australian Cruiser tank Mark I). This is the only tank designed, developed and produced in Australia during World War II and one of only four known to exist.

Work on the Sentinel began during the dark days of November, 1940, when Hitler ruled most of the European continent and the British Empire with its commonwealths stood alone against the Nazis. The English 8th Army was in the midst of dramatic see-saw contest with the German Afrika Korps in Libya and American Lend-Lease supplies were only just beginning to flow to the embattled Allies. With the war in Europe going badly, an ever-more aggressive Japan was in the process of overrunning most of China and war in the Pacific loomed. Fearful of the possibility of a Japanese invasion, the Australians decided to develop their own tank. The result was the Sentinel.

There were several variants of the tank. The AC1 on display at the museum has a 2-pounder main gun, which was common on the Cruiser class of tanks used in the British Army. Secondary armament consisted of two .303 Vickers water-cooled machine guns (hence the oddly shaped gun mantlets in the bow and turret – each designed to encompass the water jacket of a Vickers). With 2.6 inches of armor on the front hull and the turret the Sentinel weighed 12 tons. It was powered by three Cadillac V8 330 horsepower engines that could move the tank at a top speed of 30 miles per hour. The tank had a five man.

The Sentinel was produced by the New South Wales Railway Company. This meant that the Australians slowed production of badly needed locomotives ¬in order to develop the capacity to build the Sentinel. They also experimented with diverse configurations of the vehicle by installing different guns and engines, but in the end only the AC1 was produced. By June of 1943, 65 Sentinels had rolled off the assembly line. However, by that juncture the European War had escalated into a World War with the German invasion of Russia and the Japanese attack on American, British and Australian territories in the Pacific.

With the U.S. in the war and American industry producing tanks, warships, aircraft, munitions and thousands of other items at a breath-taking rate, the need for Australia to build its own tanks disappeared. Indeed, America was making so many Sherman tanks it was able to supply not only its own needs but those of the Western Allies as well. In short, it became easier, quicker and cheaper for Australia to equip its troops with the Sherman than it would be to give them the Sentinel. So the New South Wales Railway Company was told to go back to building locomotives (themselves a vital wartime necessity) and the AC1 passed into obscurity. No Sentinel ever saw combat or deployed outside of Australia.

The Sentinel on display at the museum was purchased from a private collection by Wargaming, Austin which is part of the company that produces the popular World of Tanks and World of Warplanes multi-player online games. They placed the vehicle on loan to the TXMF Museum in October 2014 for an initial period of six months with the option to renew the loan as many times as they liked. We hope and expect that the Sentinel will be with us for quite awhile. But if you want to make sure you get an up close look at this unique and remarkable piece of history, come visit us before it goes away!
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Sentinel 1 (2)

William Austin McMeans Internship Program- Summer 2022

Camp Mabry, 2200 W 35th St. Austin, Tx

Short Description

The Texas Military Forces Museum intern will be intimately involved in learning the operations of a large museum with a small staff.  The intern will engage in all aspects of museum work including cataloging, collections management, exhibit design and construction, special and educational events, fulfilling research requests, giving guided tours, administrative duties to include non-profit retail management, and operational management of the museum.  The intern will become well-versed in use of the Past Perfect curatorial database program used by all military and Federal museums.  At the end of the internship the successful candidate will be well-grounded in the curatorial, exhibit, operational and education components of museum operation.  The museum is open to additional requirements that may be required by faculty for intern to receive course credit.

Requirements

The applicant should be pursuing a career in the museum, history, education or military fields.  A specialization, knowledge or interest in United States military history is preferred but not required.  Applicant should feel comfortable interacting with the public and providing tours for secondary age school children.  Applicant must feel comfortable working for the United States Armed Forces and around military personal and should comport themselves accordingly.

Minimum Work Requirement

15 hours per week, to include two to four Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. each month. Weekday schedule may involve full days or half days.

Stipend

The Texas Military Forces Historical Foundation will pay a $1250 stipend per semester to the selected candidate. Payment of $312.50 will be paid at the end of each month of completed work.

Working environment

The Texas Military Forces Museum is located on Camp Mabry at the intersection of 35th St. and MoPac.  There is no bus access to the museum and private transportation will be required.  Intern must have a valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license to enter Camp Mabry. The museum has wifi internet access and interns are allowed to bring a laptop to work.

Apply

Send a copy of your resume and letter of interest to txmilmuseum@gmail.com  Call 512-782-5394 with any questions. Deadline is  May 13, 2022 with a start date of May 23, 2022 and an end date of September 6, 2022.

WWII Poisonous Gas Education Posters

The museum has all kinds of artifacts and documents, from tanks and weapons, to uniform and equipment, to documents, to training aids. These four posters were produced during WWII as training aids to teach soldiers about poison gas which has been used extensively during WWI. In addition to their historic importance they also represent the artistic media of the time.

Phosgene:

Usually a colorless gas, poisonous at room temperature, also used to make plastics and pesticides. A suffocating agent it was one of the main gas killers of soldiers during WWI.

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Mustard Gas:

Also known as “Sulfur Mustard” it causes blistering of the skin and mucous membranes. It has been used in warfare as recently as 1988.

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Lewisite:

A blistering agent like Mustard Gas, Lewisite contains arsenic. It became obsolete in the 1950’s and the last stockpile was destroyed in 2012

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Chlorpicrin:

Used in agriculture as a soil fumigant, Chlorpicrin has been used in warfare and for riot control. It is similar in nature to tear gas.

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Early T-Patch Insignia

The distinctive insignia which represents the 36th Infantry Division is called the “T-Patch”. It was first approved  by the military on November 12, 1918 but not adopted by the 36th until January 16, 1919.

Here is the original drawing submitted to the National Archives

36thDiv-Lone-Star-0001The original T-Patch was very irregular as noted above, there was not a standard design. The museum has many original WWI era T-Patches in the collection and they show the variety of designs being used by the 36th Infantry Division during 1919 and the early 1920’s  The design began to be standardized between WWI and WWII in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  As can be seen in the last 2  pictures at the bottom of this post.

pickettsclothing purpleheartpatch Williamspatchofficer1patch officer2patch overcoat1 overcoat2 overcoat3

muckleroypatch loosepatch lemapatch burtonpatch browncanvaspatch

overcoat4overcoat5 The T-Patch on the right of the  picture above is the one which would be used from 1940 through 1968 when the 36th Infantry Division was replaced with the 49th Armored Division. When the 36th was reflagged in 2004 the T-Patch returned with that same design, but with different versions, such as a desert tan one, and a black, subdued version.

49th Armored Division, Cold War, and Global War on Terror Gallery

gwot15 This exhibit tells the story of the Texas National Guard during the Cold War, its peacekeeping missions, the story of the 49Armored Division, and the brave men and women of the Texas Army and Air National Guard who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan during the last decade, as well as those who have helped protect America here at home

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Among the items on display in this exhibit are: a large piece of the Berlin wall; Cold War era jeeps and equipment; the helmet worn by the first Texas Guardsman killed in action during the Iraq War as well as the battle damaged window of the Humvee he was riding in when the IED struck; pieces of rubble from the Pentagon hit during the attacks of 9-11; gloves worn by an officer in the 36thCombat Aviation Brigade on every mission he flew in Iraq; a “combat bike built by a member of the 36thInfantry Division while in Iraq, captured enemy weapons; uniforms and equipment used by Texas National Guard troops during operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and much more.
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