(August 15, 2017) The National Museum of the United States Army is due to open in 2019, but some of the first artifacts are in place already at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. These are artifacts so large and heavy that they have to be set on reinforced concrete slabs now so the museum can be built around them.
The first artifact was put in place July 31. It is an M3 Bradley fighting vehicle. The one chosen for the honor was the lead vehicle in the 2003 charge from Kuwait to Baghdad in the invasion of Iraq.
Also, a Sherman tank known as the Cobra King was lifted to its permanent location earlier this month. Cobra King was the first tank to break through the German lines surrounding the city of Bastogne, Belgium, on Dec. 26, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge.
A landing craft known as a Higgins boat landed the next day on the museum grounds. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allied supreme commander in Europe during World War II said the Higgins boat “won the war.” Used in invasions in Europe and the Pacific, Higgins boats carried more troops to shore than all other crafts combined.
A Renault FT-17 tank known as Five of Hearts has also arrived. During World War I’s Meuse-Argonne offensive, it helped make a critical break through the German lines. The Five of Hearts was given to France and is the only one known to survive that was used by U.S. personnel.
The museum is set to open in late 2019 on 84 acres just south of Washington, D.C. It is expected to attract 700,000 visitors each year. The Army is the only service now without a national museum.