Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Col. Black responds to his critics on the fate of the Army Heritage Center

By Col. Robert "RLTW" Black, USA (Ret.) Best Defense bureau of Ranger affairs Thanks to all of you who responded to my post. I appreciate your views. I surmise that Bearcat is a Marine. A soldier would not expect the Army Museum to be dependent on the USMC museum for visitors. Your remark that Carlisle ...

history.army.mil
history.army.mil
history.army.mil

By Col. Robert "RLTW" Black, USA (Ret.)
Best Defense bureau of Ranger affairs

Thanks to all of you who responded to my post. I appreciate your views.

I surmise that Bearcat is a Marine. A soldier would not expect the Army Museum to be dependent on the USMC museum for visitors. Your remark that Carlisle is in the middle of nowhere shows an interesting view of parts of the United States that are outside Washington D.C.

By Col. Robert "RLTW" Black, USA (Ret.)
Best Defense bureau of Ranger affairs

Thanks to all of you who responded to my post. I appreciate your views.

I surmise that Bearcat is a Marine. A soldier would not expect the Army Museum to be dependent on the USMC museum for visitors. Your remark that Carlisle is in the middle of nowhere shows an interesting view of parts of the United States that are outside Washington D.C.

To Hunter, Please don’t just drive by, visit, and make an informed judgement. It’s OK by me if Tom gives you my email. I would try to show you around.

To Zac Schmidt. You are right on about my remarks on slavery. My great-grandfathers fought on both sides in the Civil War. Sgt John Wesley Black Co I, 42nd North Carolina Infantry would kick my butt for introducing that. This is the 150th of the Civil War and I’m kind of living in that era now. I’m studying more about what led up to the terrible slaughter. There were slaveholders who fathered children on black women and then sold their own children. That grinds my soul, but you are correct, I should not have mentioned slavery.

It certainly is easy for me to do research at AHEC, but I’m 82 and my research days are nigh over. I remember what it is like to do research at the National Archives in DC. To get a day’s work in: leave before dawn, by time you hit Frederick, Maryland, you are in gridlock, finish work by 3 pm and get out or you are in bumper-to-bumper traffic. There are three interstate highways connecting here at Carlisle. It is easy to get to.

Of course I love this place. In 1948 I enlisted at Carlisle Barracks as a Recruit–we made Private after basic. After Korea, Japan, the Fulda Gap in Germany, Vietnam etc, I retired out of the Army at Carlisle Barracks with 30 years and two Combat Infantry badges. Yes, I do love this old post and the Army Heritage and Education Center. The bricks and memorial stones that honor the memories of my dead Ranger buddies are in the ground here, the American Oak we Rangers planted is here. Are they going to rip those up? I make no apology for being emotional about this. But, there is also logic to saving an existing fully functioning facility that has $48,000,000 already invested, while asking deferment on $31,000,000 to start another and considerably more expensive one.

Are we now so financially callous that when talking savings and expenditures we can only think in billions and trillions. A million still means a lot to me. What we are considering here will easily involve $100,000,000 before it is done.

I think Belvoir is the wrong place for the Army museum. I don’t know why everything has to be in Washington, DC but if it does, put it on the metro. Tear down some Generals housing and put the Army Museum at Fort Myer next to Arlington. If consolidation saves money leave AHEC in support of the War College and bring the Center for Military History and the Institute of Heraldry to join AHEC.

This is like the old Willie and Joe cartoon,"The hell this isn’t the most important foxhole, I’m in it." People in DC seem to want everything there and the hell with the rest of the country.

If a family comes from California, Texas, Michigan to visit Washington DC. Why would they drive down I-95? Belvoir is not on the Metro., the following attractions are on the metro and a museum at Belvoir must compete with them

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY AND ARLINGTON HOUSE. WOMEN IN MILITARY SERVICE FOR AMERICA MEMORIAL. THE U.S. ARMY BAND "PERSHING’S OWN"
(FORT MCNAIR)
THE WHITE HOUSE , THE ELLIPSE
THE CONGRESS
THE SUPREME COURT BUILDING
THE MALL
Washington Monument
World War II Monument
Korean War Monument
Vietnam War Monument
Vietnam Women’s Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial
THE SMITHSONIAN (nearly all buildings on the national mall are Smithsonian)
National Museum of American History
National Museum of Natural History
National Museum of The American Indian
National Portrait Gallery
National Postal Museum
National Museum of American Art
Arts and Industry Museum
Freer Gallery of Art
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
National Air and Space Museum
The African American Civil War Memorial
Black History Recreation Trail
Emancipation Statue
Frederick Douglas National Historic Site
Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House
Ford’s Theater (site of Lincoln assassination)
German-American Heritage Museum
Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
Library of Congress
National Aquarium
National Arboretum
National Gallery of Art
National Building Museum
National Museum of Crime and Punishment
National Museum of Women in the Arts
National Geographic Museum
Department of the Interior Museum
The Air Force Memorial
U.S. Navy Museum
The Naval Heritage Center
United States Navy Memorial
Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial and Tattoo
Pentagon Memorial
Ulysses S. Grant Memorial
Newseum
The Textile Museum
Anderson House (Society of the Cincinnati)
National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism (WWII)
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
National Museum of American Jewish Military History
International Spy Museum
National Museum of Health and Medicine
Washington National Cathedral
The John F. Kennedy Center For Performing Arts
The Ronald Reagan Building and National Trade Center
National Theater
Shakespeare Theater Company
Washington National Opera
Union Station
The House of The Temple, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
J. Edgar Hoover F.B.I. Building
Islamic Center
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
The Kreeger Museum
DC Cruises
DC Harbor Cruises
DC Ghost Tours
DC Metro Chocolate Tours
DC Metro Food Tours
C&O Canal Boat Rides
Old Town Trolley Tours
FDR Memorial
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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