Archive for July, 2008

Dee Armstrong’s Advice to Her Replacement

July 30, 2008

  A lot of people have asked me about Dee Armstrong now that she is no longer with WTVM.  The timing was interesting because I talked with her this morning, the day after the announcement that Dee’s replacement had been named. Barbara Gauthier, who grew up in Waverly Hall, Georgia will be coming to take over the co-anchoring duties that Dee had performed. Her impressive resume includes stints at BET, WXIA in Atlanta, and radio and TV stations in Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Hartford. She has a husband and 2 children.  She is a Mercer University graduate.

 

  I asked Dee if she had any advice for her replacement. She said, “I would tell her to make WTVM a part of her life, but not her life.  One of the reasons that I am handling this situation so well is that my job was not totally who I was. I was called ‘Mama’ more than I was called Dee. I spent a lot of my time raising kids.. Also, I have music. I perform and I write songs.  So when people ask me if I miss television, I say no.”

 

  I can indentify with that. I also tell people “no” when they ask me if I miss television. Dee pointed out that, like her, I had other interest when I was working in T.V. “You were writing and sailing and doing other things.” She was right, and she is right about it being a good idea not to let your career become your whole life.

 

Dee Armstrong, former WTVM news anchor

Dee Armstrong, former WTVM news anchor

  

She did say, though, that she has been overwhelmed this last month because she now works on her schedule, not on someone else’s . She anchored on WTVM for more than 20 years. “Now,’ she said, “if I am sitting at the computer and I look out the window and see some flowers that need watering, I just stop what I am doing, get up, go outside and water the flowers.”   I don’t water any flowers, but I do put water into my hydroponic garden that sits on a table in my sun room. I am about to “plant” lettuce.

 

  Dee told me she is doing fine. She works in financial services now. She said she is doing a lot of teaching about financies for Primerica, which is associated with Citibank. She is happy doing that. She did, however, let me know how hard it had become for her at the station for the last months that she worked there. She said that she felt even people who wanted to be friendly would stay away from her at work for fear of management thinking they were siding with her.

 

  Also, she is still pursuing her civil rights suit against the station.  I am not going to get into that because litigation in underway. If it ever reaches trial, we’ll get the details then.

 

  So that’s how it is going with Dee Armstrong, probably the best known person in the Columbus-Phenix City- Fort Benning area,  a month after her job ended at WTVM.

 

  

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General White Leads Victory Coaltion’s Fight to Improve The Image of South Columbus

July 28, 2008

  When people come to the Columbus area to visit the National Infantry Museum, Major General (Ret.) Jerry White doesn’t want them leaving with a bad impression. That’s why he is working hard for the Victory Coalition.

 

Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry White

Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry White

 

 

  He has been instrumental in forming the group of business leaders in South Columbus who are working to improve the reputation of that part of town. They want to put an end to its reputation as a crime infested haven for drugs and prostitution.

 

  I recounted to him a conversation I had with a young Army wife about why she and her Airborne School husband didn’t live in South Columbus. “Just think of the gas money you could save by living close to the post.”

 

  “Well, we looked it over. When saw the conditions of some of the neighborhoods with things like cars sitting on blocks in the front yards, we decided we didn’t want to live there.”

 

  “It doesn’t have to be that way, Dick,” General White told me. “We have to get the city to enforce the laws on things like that in the same way it does in other parts of town. We have to have a greater police presence in South Columbus in order for people to feel it’s a safe place. It wasn’t always like this.”

 

  I told him that I could remember when it wasn’t like that, when a lot of people from all over Columbus went to South Columbus to go to the nice restaurants like the Coco Super Club. “And,” he added to my list, “the Villa Nova and Black Angus. Black Angus was my favorite,” he said. “A lot of people just don’t understand. They don’t even know why Victory Drive is called Victory Drive, that it’s named that in honor of the great victory that ended World War Two.”

 

  General White is getting some solid backing in his quest to improve the area. His good friend Sam Friedman recently opened the new Suburban Extended Stay Hotel on Victory Drive.  Columbus’ only USO is located there. The United Service Organization came into being during World War Two to help soldiers away from home fight loneliness with things like dances, ping pong, basketball, and movies. Columbus had a big one on 9th Street  for white soldiers and a smaller one for African American soldiers. Jim Crow was alive and well then. They were packed during the war, but Columbus had been without one for years.

 

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel

 

 

  The hotel, which boasts an impressive pool and patio area for outdoor barbeques, has a military theme, including a General’s Suite, and a model of the new National Infantry Museum in the lobby.

 

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Patio and Pool Area

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Patio and Pool Area

 

 

  Two more hotels will open soon, a new Holiday Inn Express and a Candlewood, and a fourth hotel is in the works that will locate on the National Infantry Museum site.

 

  “We are talking major change,” General White said. We are going to have 500,000 people coming into this area to visit the Infantry Museum. This is going to mean, in addition to the new hotels, restaurants,  4 to 5 hundred jobs. We are working with an already formed group of business leaders called Columbus South in calling on business people in the area to clean up their places, to become a part of the Victory Coalition and change the reputation of South Columbus.”

 

      

Fife Whiteside’s Side

July 24, 2008

  Departing Muscogee County School District Board member Fife Whiteside is concerned that Dr. John Phillips could continue on as superintendent after he finishes his 90-day interim term. He cites a blog post on Richard Hyatt’s Columbus speculating that may be in the works. He pointed that out to me in a letter he wrote in response to my blog post about the Board’s call meeting to approve a three-month interim term for retired Superintendent John Phillips. Dr. Phillips told me that he has no intention to serve more than the 90-days, that he was reluctant to even do that but that he did it for the children and a smooth transition.  

 

  In commenting on my post, Mr. Whiteside said he wished I had talked to him about it because I wasn’t given the complete facts. He’s right. I should have talked with him to get his side. Now, I am going to do my best to report it from the letter he sent.

 

  In my blog I reported that Board member Dr. Phillip Schley told me that Mr. Whiteside was wrong about receiving advance notice of the meeting, that he phoned him a week before. Mr. Whiteside, whose main objection to the job offer was that not enough notice of the meeting was given, said Dr. Schley did call him to tell him that the highly qualified man who was going to be offered the interim job turned down consideration so the special meeting had to be called. However, he said he talked with that man and was told by him that he was only offered not the 90-day job. He was offered  the 30-day term that was arranged so that Dr. Phillips could qualify for full retirement and full salary when assumed the interim job. State rules require Dr. Phillips not be employed by the District for 30 days after he retired.  And the real kicker is that the man told him that Dr. Schley had contacted him four months prior to Dr. Schley’s conversation with him only a week before the call meeting.

 

    “These facts, taken in tandem, make it clear that at least some on the Board knew what Dr. Phillips plan was at least four months before all of the Board members did. Also, it’s clear that he did not want the public to know that he would be claiming retirement while on the payroll.

 

  “This disparity of information flow to the Board members is the major reason for so much disharmony on the Board, in my view.”

 

    In my post I related the statement by Dr. Schley said that the Board may be harmonius after the first of the year. Mr. Whitehead said that may be true since some current Board members appear to have been involved in recruiting candidates, who he assumes are people who would agree with them, to replace departing Board members.

 

  “The question is whether or not this is a good thing.”

 

   After that statement, he went on to comment about relate that Dr. Phillips left the Bartow County School District insolvent by $4.5 million and that most Board members only learned about it after he had left.  Dr. Phillips told me that he did not know about the $4 million dollar deficit before he left so he couldn’t have told board members. He explained that the four million resulted from a new state mandated accounting system involving two months that school teacher salaries are pro-rated. “I found the system in financial difficulties when I took the job and got them out of it and was praised by the Board chairman for doing it.” The audit states that problems resulted for the district when the state cut back funds because of a shortfall in tax revenues.

 

  Mr. Whiteside concern, he says, is that the MCSD Board will be too harmonious. “Boards become harmonious because they are working well together, or they are doing nothing.”

 

  As to Dr. Schley’s charge that Mr. Whiteside is on a personal vendetta against Dr. Phillips, he said, “I am certainly not on a ‘vendetta’ against Dr. Phillips, but I will say that I do have personal issues with Dr. Phillips, and not to admit that would be a lie.” He said his personal position is about 15-20 percentr personal, and about 80-85 percent philosophical and professional.

 

  He said Dr. Phillips has a dark side to his operating style where he “Straightens out his Boards.”  Support him and he’s accommodating, don’t and he doesn’t. He said he had been personally attacked by Dr. Phillips and his administrators when he disagreed with him. He didn’t go into details. Dr. Phillips said that is “categorically untrue. I have bent over backwards in trying to get along with him.”

 

  Mr. Whiteside concludes with, “All of that, however, is pretty much academic, because I will be gone, I am thankful to say, in about five months. What will be interesting is to see if Dr. Phillips will be. If not, you can assume the problems will go on, but you may not know about any of them. That’s the thing people should be afraid of.”

 

  There, I’ve tried to give you Fife Whiteside’s side.

 

 

 

 

The Witch at Work on Victory Drive

July 21, 2008

  Things are looking up for Port Columbus, the National Civil War Naval Museum. Business is better and is expected to get a lot better, maybe double attendance, which was 22,000 in 2007. And it’s all because of a witch and another museum.

 

  When construction of the National Civil War Naval Museum was started 8 years ago, Columbus business leader Bill Turner advised the museum’s board to put some sort of attraction in front of the museum to catch the public’s attention on Victory Drive. Otherwise, he said, “All people are going to see when they drive by is a brick building.” The advertising potential for the museum is substantial since 30,000 cars a day pass by on Victory Drive. 

 

  Museum Director Bruce Smith said drawings were made for a focus group to react to different attention getters. First of all, a replica of the ironclad CSS Jackson was shown, but people really didn’t know what it was. “But, when we showed them a drawing of the Water Witch, they recognized it as a boat. We knew what we were going to have to do.”

 

Bruce Smith, Port Columbus Director and Water Witch

 

  It took a while, but now it’s getting done. The U.S.S. Water Witch, which is under construction, is far enough along to catch the eye of riders in vehicles on Victory Drive now. The 50 foot smoke stack is up, as well as the masts for the sails and it’s already making a difference. Visitations are up 14 percent over last year.

 

  “When it’s finished and we put the sails up, and smoke starts coming out of the smokestack, and the side paddlewheels turn, they are really going to take notice, and it’s going to dramatically increase attendance. When you add to that the traffic generated by the National Infantry Museum, we believe our attendance will double.”  The Infantry Museum plans to open on March 20, 2009 

 

 

Bruce Smith and Tom Gates

 

  Tom Gates, who was president of the old Confederate Naval Museum for 16 years, and a big supporter of Port Columbus, pointed out that all of the big tourist attractions in this part of Georgia and Alabama are working together with the Columbus Visitors Bureau to promote tours of the area. It will be a matter of all of the attractions cross plugging each other.

 

  The Water Witch went into service in 1852 as a survey boat for the United States Navy. It was used to survey rivers in South America, but became a mail boat, supply ship and blockader in the Civil War. It was captured by Southern sailors, but was later burned to prevent it from falling back into Union hands. Now, you can see a full-sized replica of it under construction in front of Port Columbus on Victory Drive.  

 

  So far, $800,000 has been raised to build the boat, but that’s not enough. To put on finishing touches, like rigging and sails, which will make it a major attraction, another $250,000 has to be raised. Target date for finishing construction is November 11, Veterans Day.

 

  If you would like to see construction progress, click this link. The live video cam is featured on the Port Columbus website.

Why We Need to Stop Using Plastic Bags

July 20, 2008

  After reading about the damage that plastic bags are doing around the world, I am glad to be able to say that I bought a couple of cloth bags and am slowly getting into the habit of remembering to take them into the store with me. Check out this link.

 

  The bags only cost me $0.99 each.  Get a couple. You’ll feel better doing the right thing.

Comparing the Cost of Driving to Using Mass Transit

July 19, 2008

 Hey! The price of gasoline has dropped below $4 a gallon. Who can resist such a bargain?

 

 

But diesel is still way up there. What if you had to fill up this baby?

 

There is one good answer to this, public transit. Let’s take a look at the difference in cost.

 

Right after I took the shot of the pickup, the driver and his young son came out of the gas station’s convenience store. After mutual greetings, the conversation with the young daddy, a friendly man, went something like this.

 

  “Do you use this truck for work?”

 

  “Oh, no. It’s my play thing, but I do drive it to work.”

 

  “Any idea what gas mileage it gets?”

 

  “Not enough,” he answered with a smile.

 

  “How much?”

 

  “Oh, on the highway, about 18 miles to the gallon.”

 

 “That’s pretty good for a truck that size.”

 

  “Yeah, not bad. In town it’s about 13.”

 

  “What does it cost you to fill it up?”

 

   “About a hundred dollars.”

 

   “How often?”

 

   “Once a week.”

 

   “That means you are paying $400 a month for gas.”

 

   “Well, actually, 500.”

 

   “Do you plan to switch to a smaller vehicle?”

 

   “No. This one is paid for.”

 

   “What you are paying a month for gas amounts to a good car payment.”

 

    “That’s true, but this one is paid for, and even if I wanted to switch, I couldn’t get much of a trade-in for it now. The capital expense would mean I wouldn’t save by switching.”

 

  Just think, if he were still making payments on it, and paying for maintenance and repairs, it would be close to a thousand dollars a month.  

 

    Well, what if he used public transportation? In Columbus, at $2.50 a day for round trips to work, it would run him something like $55 dollars a month. That’s $55 compared to $500. In Atlanta, it would run him about $77. In New York, $88.

 

  Even if he considered taking a bus, he probably couldn’t because he probably lives in a suburb which has no public transportation.  I didn’t think to ask him, but the chances are high he does live in a suburb because so many people do. And that’s another big problem. It’s called sprawl and it’s all over America.

 

 

  

 

    

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

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Metra vs. Marta – Marta’s Ridership Is Up 14%; Metra’s Up 7%

July 18, 2008

  Atlanta’s Marta transit system offers more convenience than Columbus’ Metra. But, it also costs more to use. Let’s look at the comparison.

 

   Columbus buses run every hour. Marta buses have varying frequencies, some as long as a 30 minutes, depending on demand.  However, Atlanta’s trains run every 5 minutes on trunk lines and 10 minutes on branch lines during the rush hours. Atlanta wins that one hands down.

 

  An adult one-way fare on Marta is $1.75. On Metra, it’s $1.25.  Metra does charge $1.90 to Fort Benning.

 

  Senior citizens and disabled in Columbus pay $0.65 one way. In Atlanta it’s $0.85.

 

  Marta offers K-12 students ten trips for $10.50. Columbus students can get a monthly pass for $20.00.  So, if Metra student riders who use the monthly pass get a much better deal because that comes to about $5.00 a week.  

 

  Marta offers university students a $40 unlimited ridership for a month. Metra doesn’t specify whether the 31 Day Trip Card is for university students as well as K-12.

 

  As far as ridership is concerned, Metra averages almost a million boardings a year, while Marta averages about 140 million.

 

  . Columbus has 40 busses covering 9 routes. Marta has 544 buses covering 120 routes and 238 rail cars. Those 238 rail cars have more boardings than Marta’s 544 busses.

 

Marta serves a population of almost 2 million people. Columbus serves a base of almost 300 thousand.

 

  Marta’s overall ridership is up 14 percent over this time last year. Metra’s is up 7 percent so far over last year.

 

  What good are those comparisons? I don’t know. I guess they just tell us that it’s cheaper to ride Metra, but Marta’s service is more convenient. Some will say, well, it costs more to live, but pay is higher in the Atlanta area.  It appears pay is definitely higher, and maybe the costs are higher for shelter because real estate is higher, and so are property taxes, but I doubt if there is much difference in food and clothing. One thing is for sure, though, life is a lot less hectic in Columbus than in Atlanta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metra Plans for The Future

July 17, 2008

 

  I did something I haven’t done since 1949; I rode a Columbus city bus on a regular route just to see what it is like now. (I have ridden on chartered city busses since then.)  I took the Uptown route because it is the shortest one. I was not comfortable. The wooden seats were hard, really close together, and sometimes I wondered if the bus had any shocks or springs on it, but that was because the Uptown route uses only “trolleys,” busses that look like trolleys.

 

Metra Trolley Bus, 2008

Metra Trolley Bus, 2008

 

 

 
  I think perhaps the real trolleys that Columbus had in the 1900’s rode better because they were on rails and rails don’t have bumps and potholes. The bus trolleys are quaint and perhaps add to the historic district atmosphere, but the people who ride those busses regularly would be better served with the regular, comfortable busses that travel the other eight routes in Columbus. Maybe the trolley buses could be used just for Historic District tours and special events, etc.   
 
 
 

 

 

 Columbus, GA Trolley on 10th Street in 1900

 Columbus, GA Trolley in 1900   Courtesy, Georgia Dept. of Archives and History

  

 The bus made a lot of stops, causing the short route that goes from the transfer station on Linwood Blvd on a loop through downtown Columbus and back to take almost an hour. That route did put the bus stops within two blocks of just about anywhere downtown. And it was definitely being used as people got on and off a lot. At least they didn’t suffer as much as I did on those hard seats because I rode the whole route.
 
 
 

 

 

Metra Trolley Bus Interior

Metra Trolley Bus Interior

  

  As Metra Director Saundra Hunter and I discussed the future of mass transit, we agreed It is a far more fuel efficient way of transporting masses of people than private cars. Also, it leaves a smaller carbon footprint. But, for it to increase ridership , the system has to become more convenient. 

 

  

 Miss a bus at a stop now and you have to wait an hour before another one will come along. She says the system hopes to go to a half-hour between arrivals.  That is going to mean adding 15 new busses to the 40 the system now has, and hiring additional drivers and mechanics.  However, that cost will be offset by an increase in riders.

  

 With the price of gasoline expected to stay high and perhaps get higher, public transportation will, of necessity, make a big comeback. The question isn’t “if” but “how soon?” It took $4 a gallon gas to make people finally switch from their gas guzzling SUV’s and monster trucks to smaller, more fuel efficient cars. It is understandably hard to give up with convenience of cars. I can remember how liberated I felt once I got my first one and didn’t have to walk across the street – we did indeed , at one time live across the street from a bus stop -.to a bus stop and sometimes have to wait up to 15 minutes to catch a bus.  15 whole minutes! I still prefer my car, but I’m willing to switch. It would be a lot cheaper for me to ride the bus downtown from north Columbus, but the nearest stop is two miles away. Guess I could drive to the stop, but I’d have to have a place to park. So Metra has some kinks to work out before it can handle a big switch to buses, but it knows that and already has plans to make the changes.

 

 

 

 

  

Metra Ridership Up by 7 Percent

July 16, 2008

 

  When Saundra Hunter went for her regular workout at a spa, she noticed that a fellow exerciser’s husband was waiting for her in his car. Her friend, who has to pay $100 to fill up her SUV, explained that she leaves it at home a lot now.  She said that it just costs too much to fill it up, adding, “We have stopped going everywhere in separate cars very much. He even takes me to work and picks me up when I get off.”

 

Saundra Hunter, Metra Director

Saundra Hunter, Metra Director

 

   There is another even cheaper way to get around town: Metra busses. Some folks have figured that out, and ridership is up. Saundra, who is director of Metra, said it has already increased 7 percent over last year. Metra customers average about 82,000 rides a month.

 

“I expect that trend to continue and we’ve been getting ready for it.”

 

  Who rides the bus?

 

   “The low income, or ‘dedicated,’ group is the majority. However, we are getting more ‘riders of choice’ now.”

 

  “Dedicated” is a nice way of saying they can’t afford cars or taxis. “Riders of choice” means they can, but opt not to, because too much of their income is going to pay for gas.

 

  Not only is this group going to grow, it is a positive thing if it does, we agreed. Mass transit is not just cheaper, it’s much more fuel efficient if enough people use it, and it leaves a smaller carbon footprint.

 

  However, to encourage more riders of choice, some improvements will need to be made. For one thing there is too much time between busses. You miss one and the next one won’t be along for an hour. Metra has plans to start running busses every half hour. That’s not going to be cheap.

 

  “We’ll have to buy 15 new busses, and hire more drivers and support personnel,” Saundra told me.  Metra now owns about 40 busses, with more than 20 in operation at any given time.  

 

       

  

 

Metra Bus

Metra Bus

 

   I told her that when I was a boy, back in the 1930’s and 1940’s, busses were ubiquitous, arriving at bus stops every fifteen minutes and bus stops were within easy walking distance of most places.  My family had a car, but my dad used it in his business so I ended up riding the bus a lot.  I had a lot of company. A lot of families didn’t even have one car back then.

 

 

 

Columbus Buses at Transfer Station, 12th and Broadway, 1944

Columbus Buses at Transfer Station, 12th and Broadway, 1944

 

 

 

  Also, I walked and rode my bike a lot. People tried to live close to relatives, schools and shopping areas then. Instead of supermarkets that were two miles or more away, you had the neighborhood grocery store. Also, you could order groceries on the phone and they would be delivered to your door! Really! I think there was a minimum amount that you could order to get the service, though.

 

 I was a short city block away from 11th Street Elementary School; a block and a half from an aunt, uncle and four cousins; and about four blocks away from three movie theaters and retails stores. But, if I wanted to go all the way out to the Royal Theater, which was about two miles away,  or over to Idle Hour Park in Phenix City to go swimming, play arcade games, bowl or play on the playground (I broke my leg on that playground) , I took the bus.

  

 When I started to go to high school, I took the bus. The stop was across the street from 11th Street Elementary, which was even a little closer to our house than the school.

 

   Also, a big difference then was that the busses were operated by a private company. They could make a profit. That, like Scarlett’s Old South, went with the wind.  Transit systems are municipally owned and they don’t make a profit. “There are no public transit systems that are not subsidized by the government any more,” Saundra told me.

  

So public transit is on the way to making a comeback. It is going to require a different mindset, not only on the part of potential riders, but governmental leaders. Everyone is still thinking in terms of cars and roads.

 

 

 

This is IT!

July 14, 2008

  

  My former WTVM newsroom co-worker and still friend Cyndy Cerbin took me on a fascinating tour of the new National Infantry Museum recently.

 

 

  

CC

Cyndy Cerbin

 

 

 Cyndy is now Director of Communications for the Infantry Foundation. She said, “Dick, this is the ‘It’ they were talking about when they said Columbus needs an ‘It’ to attract lots of tourists.” Since this baby could bring in between 400,000 and 500,000 visitors a year, I think she’s right.

  

 

 

 

 National Infantry Museum Panorama

 National Infantry Museum Under Construction

 

 

   Fort Benning is already supplying 3,000 visitors a week to eat in the city’s restaurants, stay in its hotels and visit tourist attractions.  With the original National Infantry Museum still operating on post, and, in town, add the Coca-Cola Space and Science Center, the National Civil War Naval Museum, the Columbus Museum, and an attractive softball complex at South Commons, and you can see they already have a lot to do.

 

  Those 3,000 visitors come from all over the country to Fort Benning each week to attend a loved one’s graduation ceremony. That ceremony is going to move to the new National Infantry Museum’s “back yard.” The field is ready now, but the stands have to be added.

 

  

 

NIM GRAD FIELD

National Infantry Museum Graduation Field

 

  

 

  Either before or after the ceremony they’ll be able to stroll through the World War II barracks area, which not only boasts real WW II barracks, but General Patton’s headquarters building and the cabin near it where he slept. They’ll also see a WWII Patton tank, and a smaller tank of the type Patton used during Fort Benning exercizes.

 

  

 

WWII Barracks

World War II Barracks

 

 

 

 

Patton Shack and Tanks

Gen. Patton’s Sleeping Quarters and Patton Tank

 

 

  

   Once inside the !00 million dollar museum, they’ll walk along the Last One Hundred Yards Ramp, It’s called that because of the famous saying that, “the infantry owns the last one hundred yards of battle.”  This one hundred yards will contain exhibits that graphically depict, with virtual high-tech aids, seven major battles fought by the infantry, ranging all the way from the Revolutionary War to Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan.

  

 

 

NIM Lst. 100 Yrds.

Last 100 Yards Ramp 

 

   A couple of standouts will be a real Bradley Fighting Vehicle that saw action in Iraq and Vietnam era Huey Helicopter. Both will hang over the side of the ramp where they will also be seen from the Grand Hall on the Gallery level. The Bradley is already there. Cyndy said that it’s so heavy it had to brought in during the early stages of construction, that the museum is being built around it. 

 

  

 

NIM Brad Ft. Vehicle

 Bradley Fighting Vehicle

 

 

 

 

BFVOH

Bradley Fighting Vehicle seen from Grand Hall on Gallery Level

 

 

  

  At the end of the ramp is the  Fort Benning area, where they will see and experience how young civilians are transformed into soldiers. There will be a jump tower. Also, a virtual firing range will allow visitors to experience the same virtual firing training that our soldiers receive. There will also be a section dedicated to the relationship with Columbus over the years.

 

  

 

FBA

Fort Benning Section

 

 

 

Because of the Department of the Army’s sanctioning of the museum, it cannot charge admission. However, it can charge admission to the 300 seat IMAX Theater and adventure simulators. Income will also be generated by the full service restaurant and gift shop.

 

 

 

 

IMAX

IMAX Theater Entrance

 

 

The galleries on the lower level will feature large exhibits of the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam together, and the desert wars.

 

  

NIMDW

Desert Wars Exhibit

 

 

 

 The Vietnam exhibit will feature another Huey that is already in place. Part of the Vietnam exhibit will recreate the jungle atmosphere of Vietnam, including the tropical weather that soldiers had to endure while fighting in that country. 

 

 

VNHUEY

Covered Huey Helicopter in Vietnam War Exhibit

 

  

 You’ll be able to see the finished product on March 20, 2009.  That’s the target date to open the museum. As the late Arthur Godfrey used to say on CBS Radio, “If the good Lord be willing and the creek don’t rise,” I’ll see you there.