Fayetteville and Cumberland County
Just a few hours from Charlotte, the Fayetteville and Cumberland County are showcases a rich military history dating from the Revolutionary War to today, notably including the founding of Fort Bragg. Fayetteville calls America’s Heroes ‘neighbor.’ The soldiers that defend this nation’s freedoms have called greater Fayetteville home since the American Revolution. The various sites spread throughout the county provide insight into the area’s rich and proud military heritage. This itinerary focuses on modern military history, but trails focusing on Revolutionary War and the Civil War are also available at www.VisitFayettevillenc.com.
82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum - www.bragg.army.mil/18abn/museums.htm, 910-432-3443
The 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum brings the history of our beloved heroes in the All-American Division from its birth in 1917, to the airborne battles of World War II, to the campaigns in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama and the Persian Gulf, to the present. On exhibit, you will see Medal of Honor Recipient Sergeant Alvin York’s uniform and rifle. The museum has aircraft and memorial displays outside the museum as well. (Outside exhibit, open every day dawn to dusk.) Film shown each hour. Gift shop. Free. Building C-68441 Ardennes Street, Fort Bragg. Hours: Tues-Sat 10am-4:30pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Airborne and Special Operations Museum (ASOM) - www.asomf.org, 910-643-2766
The Airborne and Special Operations Museum preserves the extraordinary feats performed by parachute and glider-borne troops and their brothers in arms, the special operations forces. By exploring the artifact displays, life-size dioramas, audio and visual displays, and motion simulator, you will gain a deeper respect and pride for the remarkable achievements of these brave Airborne & Special Operations soldiers. One of the area’s premier attractions, this state-of-the-art educational facility houses exhibits and programs that highlight the honor, courage, duty and heroic feats of this unique sector of our armed forces from its inception in 1940 to present-day operations. The facility is part of the Army museum system.
Museum admission free; tickets to theater $4 and simulator $5 each or both for $8; children 8 and under free when accompanied by paying adult (limit 2 per adult). 100 Bragg Blvd., Fayetteville. Hours: Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm. Closed Mondays.
North Carolina Veterans Park - www.ncveteranspark.org, 910-433-1547
From the soils of North Carolina, you left your families and homes with purpose to serve your country. The people of North Carolina honor your service and welcome you home. The North Carolina Veterans Park (NCVP) follows two themes: The first is a “Veteran’s Journey: Life before, during, and after service.” The second is “Rebirth and healing.” NCVP was designed for reflection and celebration with bold, unique and captivating exhibits. This 21st century park is a place where veterans can gather, and where every visitor can share the moving tribute of a grateful state, honoring those to whom our nation owes its freedom. NCVP is complete with a Visitors Center, which includes a Service Ribbon Wall made of fused glass, representing every service medal awarded since the Civil War, as well as a unique chandelier made from 33,500 “dog tags” (service member identification tags). There also is an interactive globe that allows you to pinpoint a location and learn about the heroic events that happened there. Outside the NCVP Visitors Center is the North Carolina Soils Wall, built with soil collected from the state’s 100 counties. Native soils from North Carolina are featured and used throughout the park. The Community Lawn area features the Story Garden, which is an interactive structure where you can listen to touching personal accounts of veterans’ military experiences and their lives today. 300 Bragg Blvd, Fayetteville. Hours: Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm. Closed Mondays.
Freedom Memorial Park - www.freedommemorialpark.com, 910-867-7776
This military memorial park commemorates the service of those that gave their lives for our country and stands as a testament to those presently serving. A gateway to downtown, the graceful monuments commemorate military veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War; POWs and MIAs are featured. The park ensures the sacrifices of those who fought for our freedoms are never forgotten. 101 Bragg Blvd., Fayetteville. Hours: Daily, before dusk. Open to the public.
Iron Mike Statue (Fort Bragg and ASOM)
Location 1) Randolph and Armistead Streets, Fort Bragg. Location 2) At Airborne and Special Operations Museum. (ASOM), Fayetteville. Exterior View Only. This 15-foot statue is dedicated to the airborne trooper who is always watching, waiting and alert. “Iron Mike,” the post’s most prominent symbol since 1961, was the creation of the wife of a former deputy post chaplain. His stance is that of an airborne soldier who has completed a combat jump. The cover art for the book, Devils in Baggy Pants inspired this statue.
Colonel Arthur “Bull” Simmon Statue - 1-800-288-8217
Statue dedicated to a heroic special forces soldier that went above and beyond the call of duty throughout his long military career. One of many great American heroes, Colonel “Bull” Simmon was the overall ground commander of the famous Son Tay Raid in 1970. He later rescued two American businessmen kidnapped during the Iranian Revolution for H. Ross Perot. Ardennes and Marion streets, Fort Bragg. Exterior view only. Daily before dusk.
JFK Chapel - 910-432-2127
Magnificent stained-glass windows dedicated to Special Forces. Building D-3116, Ardennes and Zabitosky streets, Fort Bragg. Hours: Mon-Fri. 9am-4pm.
JFK Special Warfare Museum - www.VisitFayettevilleNC.com, 910-432-4272
The JFK Special Warfare Museum, established in 1963, spotlights the proud history of the U.S. Army Special Operations and Special Forces units, also known as the Green Berets. The history of unconventional warfare spans more than 250 years, dating back to the French and Indian War and Rogers Rangers. Building D-2502, Ardennes and Marion streets, Fort Bragg. Hours: Tues- Sun 11am-4pm. Closed Monday.
Fort Bragg Main Post Chapel - 910-396-8016
This non-denominational chapel was completed in March 1934, financed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and represents one of the finest military chapels in existence. Numerous colorful stained glass windows were added in 1945 and the breezeway in 1964. Its Classical Revival style is highlighted by stucco walls, arched windows and a monumental steeple. Sedgewick and Jackson Streets, Fort Bragg. Hours: Exterior view or by appointment only. Daily before dusk.
Sicily Drop Zone - 910-396-6366
Enjoy the breathtaking sight of paratroopers floating through the sky above Fort Bragg. Call ahead for a jump schedule recording. Manchester Road, Fort Bragg. Hours: Vary upon jump schedule. Exterior view only.
Special Operations Memorial Plaza - 910-396-5401
This site features a memorial wall that honors Special Operations soldiers killed in the line of duty as well as memorial stones donated by Special Operations veterans groups. The Plaza also is home to the statues of the Special Warfare Soldier and Major Richard “Dick” Meadows. 2929 Desert Storm Drive at Yadkin Road. Hours: Daily, before dusk. Open to the public.