Anyone heading down to Disney World for a couple of days of family fun and a visit with Mickey Mouse and the Princess’ who is looking for a stopping point to get some food and maybe relax for a while, jump off at exit 56 on I-95 and travel down to the city center of Fayetteville, NC.  Located right on downtown’s main drag, Hay Street, we have one of the best museums in the country, the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, as well as a couple of veteran owned restaurants, including one of the best micro-breweries in the country, Huske Hardware House.

The Airborne and Special Operations museum tracks the history of Army airborne operations and the role of special operations forces, as well as the importance of all to the Fayetteville/Sandhills area of North Carolina.  Fort Bragg, located just a few miles from the heart of downtown Fayetteville is the Army’s home of the storied 82nd Airborne Division, United States Army Special Operations Command, and the 18th Airborne Corps.  Fort Bragg and its units have played a role in every war since WWI and began hosting the school for teaching soldiers to become Special Forces, or Green Berets as they are more commonly known, back in the 1960s.

Each may ASOM dedicates the Field of Honor to soldiers past and present, by planting 1000+ flags, each with the name of one of those soldiers on them.  The ocean of red, white and blue flags blows in the breeze reminding us of the coming Memorial Day and the season of military members and families which ends Veterans Day.

ASOM is part of the Army museum system and is funded by donations, grants and other sources.  It is a guarantee that you will be greeted at the door by a veteran who volunteers their time to ensure the honor and tradition are preserved in the museum.  The entry hall has various small displays which include a military Unit look-up and an interactive display for searching Medal of Honor recipients.  The room immediately across from the gift shop is used for ever-changing educational displays for various time periods.  Entry into the museum proper is a walk through the evolution of Airborne operations and Special Operations history.  The various dioramas whenever possible use donated, real-world artifacts from various wars and conflicts.  This includes the full-size C-47 transport plane hanging from the ceiling with a jumper in the door, the VietNam era UH-1H “Huey” helicopter and the MH-6 “Little Bird” helicopter, amongst other equipment.

ASOM, along with the 82nd Museum and Special Forces Museum located on Fort Bragg demonstrate the importance and relevance both Fort Bragg and the city of Fayetteville have had in military operations and development over the last 80 years.

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Take a stroll through the virtual tour and see what the museum has to offer.  There are these excellent displays and so much more.

So when you find yourself heading through NC the next time, take a jump off I-95 and head to downtown Fayetteville.  Stop by ASOM, see some displays and pick the brains of the Veteran docents, and then take a walk down the road and have yourself a pint of Level-Headed German Blonde or Kill A Man Irish Red with your Ferkin Burger at Huske Hardware House and Brewery.  Plan things right and you may get to take in one of the Fourth Friday celebrations as well.  Feel free to call or message me and I can give you precise directions, recommendations or meet up and show you what there is to see.

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