Texas Military Forces Museum

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The Texas Military Forces Museum is located near the parade grounds at Camp Mabry. I have always wondered about this museum while sitting in Mopac traffic, so I was glad to finally visit. The base’s entrance is actually on West 35th Street, but the guards will direct visitors over to the museum building.

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The museum traces the history of Texan military forces since the first militia was created by Stephen F. Austin in 1823. Texas currently has three military branches: the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, and the Texas State Guard. All are represented in the museum’s displays.

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A small army of military vehicles are packed into the 45,000 square-foot building: lots of jeeps, trucks, and support vehicles, two helicopters, some tanks (including a German Hetzer), and even a Piper Cub airplane.

JC20160228_1055Even if you’re not into military history, there’s lots of random-but-interesting stuff to learn here. Who knew that Texas had a Navy? Yep…back in the 1800s, when Texas was a Republic. How are field kitchens organized? See for yourself in the mess truck. Why were German Hetzer tanks still used after World War II? Because they were built like a tank.

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Some unusual collections have been donated to the museum. For example, their conference room walls are lined with cases and cases of US Army insignia.

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Another collection of over 600 metal toy soldiers and vehicles from the 1930s is on display.

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The Texas Military Forces Museum is a popular destination for scout and school groups, but is really a pleasant way for anyone to spend an afternoon. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

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