Just outside of Hattiesburg is a Mississippi National Guard training base called Camp Shelby. It is a large base with a really remarkable museum. The Mississippi Armed Forces Museum honors the servicemen and women of all branches with exhibits that often tell the personal stories of Mississippians who served their country.
It features great displays offering a well presented history of the wars fought by this nation, but the most remarkable aspect of the museum is the personal stories. Dozens and dozens of exhibits tell the stories of these individuals like a young man who immigrated from Italy with his parents in the thirties and joined the army right after America joined the fight in WWII. He was not yet a citizen and because he was technically Italian he was sent to an internment camp. Two months later he rejoined the Army, became a Ranger and parachuted into France on D-Day. He jumped again on operation Market Garden, remembered in the movie A Bridge Too Far. After the war he returned to Mississippi, bought a farm got married, had five children and lived to the age of 93.
Fascinating accounts of individual pilots and Marines, sailors and soldiers who fought in the Civil War, the Mexican War, WWI, WWII all the way through Desert Storm and their lives after service in Mississippi.
The museum’s goal is to educate future generations about the price paid for freedom and prosperity by the people of Mississippi.