General George Patton Museum Reopens | HistoryNet MENU

General George Patton Museum Reopens

By HistoryNet
4/6/2011 • HistoryNet

Exhibits inside the General George Patton Museum of Leadership.
Exhibits inside the General George Patton Museum of Leadership.

On April 1, 2011, the museum that honors hard-charging General George Patton at Fort Knox, Kentucky, had its grand reopening. Previously known as the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, it is now the General George Patton Museum of Leadership; the "Calvary and Armor" portion relocated to Fort Benning, Georgia.

To get the scoop on this division and what changes it will bring, HistoryNet interviewed Christopher Kolakowski, director of the General George Patton Museum of Leadership at Fort Knox.

HistoryNet: First off, tell us a bit about yourself, your responsibilities at the museum, and how you came to be a part of it.

Christopher Kolakowski
Christopher Kolakowski
Christopher Kolakowski: My career has been devoted to preserving and interpreting the military history of the United States. I’ve written, published, and spoken on various aspects of U.S. military history from 1775 to the present. I grew up in Virginia, the son of an Army ROTC graduate and a teacher, and studied history and communications at Emory & Henry College, followed by a Master’s Degree in Public History from the State University of New York at Albany. I worked for the National Park Service for nine years, a year each at a local historic society in New York and the New York State Capitol as a tour guide, 18 months with the Civil War Preservation Trust saving Civil War battlefields, and three wonderful years as chief preservationist for Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site in Kentucky. After a year in Atlanta as Chief Curator of a museum about the Army Reserve, in late 2009 the Army made me an offer I couldn’t refuse to come to Fort Knox and direct the Patton Museum. As Director I oversee a wonderful staff of five people, set strategic direction for the museum, and generally direct all aspects of the Patton Museum’s operations. Part of my job is to also be a historic expert for Fort Knox and the soldiers stationed here.

HN: Some major changes have been taking place at the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor. Tell us what’s happening.

CK: There’s a lot going on here at Fort Knox, and this is an exciting time to be here. In 2005 Congress directed that the Armor School move to Fort Benning, Georgia, as part of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). The Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor was directed to divide, with the Armor and Cavalry part moving to Fort Benning to operate as the National Armor and Cavalry Museum. The remainder (20% of the collection, including the General Patton Collection, plus incoming objects from donors and incoming commands) will be recast into the General George Patton Museum of Leadership.

'The greatest assemblage of Gen. Patton's belongings in the world.' Click for larger image.
'The greatest assemblage of Gen. Patton's belongings in the world.' Click for larger image.
That division occurred in September 2010, and we are now operating as the General George Patton Museum of Leadership under the aegis of the U.S. Army Accessions Command. My staff and I work for Accessions Command.

HN: The General Patton Collection—what does it include? What would visitors see?

CK: The Patton Collection is the greatest museum assemblage of General Patton’s belongings in the world. We have the iconic items like his helmet, leather jacket, ivory-handled pistols, and the car he was riding in when he was fatally injured. We also have more intimate objects like his cane from World War I, toys from his childhood, and everything in between.

HN: Apart from the exhibits, the museum is also home to an extensive library and the Patton Archive. What are a few examples of what researchers can find in the collections?

CK: Like the museum, the library has also divided due to BRAC. The manuscripts from the Patton Collection remain, which include a lot of different maps and documents especially from the time he commanded Third Army. We also have many of General Patton’s certificates of promotion to the different ranks he attained. In addition we also have several collections relating to African-Americans here at Fort Knox and various aspects of post history. In the summer of 2011 we are getting the papers of Accessions Command’s first two commanders plus some items related to the history of Army recruiting. Much of these collections has never been used before by researchers.

HN: The Patton Museum Foundation has set a goal of creating a new museum that, in the Foundation’s words, "will set a new standard for military museums." That sounds like a challenge worthy of the general himself. What are some of the plans for achieving this goal, and how will it be funded?

Staff of the Patton Museum, September 2010. Click for larger image.
Staff of the Patton Museum, September 2010. Click for larger image.
CK: It’s funny you ask that, because I am working with them right now on answering that question. We are one of only three Army Museums not tied to a specific branch, unit, or post, which gives us a wide scope of stories to tell—much wider than that of the old Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor. Another aspect is sheer size: the current museum building has 33,000 square feet of display space, which is a lot to fill. By comparison, the National World War II Museum in New Orleans has only 16,000 square feet of displays right now.

The museum’s front area will be open on a reduced capacity until the fall of 2013 with exhibits on General Patton, Fort Knox, and Army leadership. The idea is to give a taste of what is coming in the expanded permanent exhibits. Those larger permanent exhibits will tell the story of Army leadership from 1775 to the present. Funding is coming from the Army, the Foundation, and other partners; we’re still shaking the trees to an extent.

HN: Museum visitors can pose some very unusual and unexpected questions. Are there any that have been put to you that you particularly remember?

CK: Some of the best questions come from people who have ancestors or some other direct connection to a unit or story you are telling. It is always fun to give information and see it mean so much to them. I also like to get questions that seek the deeper reasons or interpretation behind an event or person, such as “How did the Patton of North Africa turn into the Patton of Sicily? How did the Patton of 1943 become the Patton of 1944–45?” These really allow you to get into some great stories and discussions.

HN: Thanks for taking time to share this information with us. Is there anything you’d like to add in closing?

CK: We have some exciting things happening at the museum over the next few years, and I would encourage you and your readers to come out and see us. The best one-stop source of information about the Patton Museum is our website at Thanks for your interest.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To learn more about General George Patton, see World History Group’s publication Patton in His Own Words, edited and annotated by award-winning historian and author Dennis Showalter.

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75 Responses to General George Patton Museum Reopens

  1. Jim Conlon says:

    I had the priviledge of Guarding the Patton Museum in 1974 while I was in the Army. It was in the middle of a huge rain storm during the overnight hours. I was one ticked off shortimer but still enjoyed the history I was able to read at the time. I’m sure things have changed there since then.

    • cathy says:

      Thank you Jim…very much.

    • chris leet says:

      What a waste of are tax money and time,moving most of the collection of armor vehicles and Tanks to fort bennings ,Ga. I here now they lost there funding from the Federal Gov.for there Museum.Iam 54 years old lived here in louisville,ky and have always enjoyed visiting Fort Knox Patton Museum since I was 8 years old.This is were the armored division started .It left here because the museum was to my understanding no longer to be funded by the Fed. Gov. now after at least 5 Decades here at Fort Knox it all moves to its new home (thats not even built for the next 5 to 7 years.) Guess what now they will have to depend on private funding!!!Mean while all of the Tanks are in storage where no one can see them. What a Big Cluster @#$#@!

      • Charles Lemons says:

        Chris: The only reason the museum moved is because Congress decided to pass the BRAC act in 2004 – which mandated the move of the Armor School to Fort Benning GA. The collection is still funded by the Government – but certain elements in Congress decided that the Army should not be building “museums” when the money should be used elsewhere (go figure). THe existing building at Fort Knox was built by private funds in 1972 – and so we will have to wait until a private foundation builds another building at Benning.

  2. James McCubbins says:

    Wish I’d have read this column before loading my kids and wife in the car and driving across the state to see a collection of armored vehicles that is no longer there. What a waste.

  3. G. F. Hofmann says:

    Agreeded, a waste. No longer is there a proud armor collection that outline the history of mechanization. It all started at Fort Knox and the old Patton Museum. Not worth the visit.

    • L. Dighera says:

      You will find some of the tanks and other vehicles used at the Desert Training Center (founded by Patton in 1942) at the General Patton Memorial Museum .

      Information about the Desert Training Center is on-line here: .

      Letter to General Martin Craig from General George s. Patton, Jr. written in May 1942 just after he had opened the Desert Training Center in April:

      “I have been having a very interesting time here and for once in my life have gotten all the tactical work that I want. We have been here twenty-three days to date and have had thirteen major tactical exercises, including some with two nights in the desert….

      The chief trouble here, as I suppose everywhere, is with the younger officers who haven’t been at the business long enough to have any self-confidence, but I believe that the vigorous use of a polished toe against their hind ends may eventually induce them to do something besides sit on their asses!

      I wish to God we would start killing somebody, somewhere soon, and trust that if we do, you will use your best influence to see that I can take a hand in the killing. Just to keep my hand in for Marshal Rommel, I have shot one or more jackrabbits every day that I have been here, with a pistol; the best shot being a sitter at ninety paces—which was, of course, luck—but then I have usually been lucky.”

      • L. Dighera says:

        Museum link: generalpattonmuseum(dot)com

        Desert Training Center link: dtcskytrail(dot)com

  4. Tim McFadden says:

    I’m not wasting my time coming there. The Patton Museum without armor? How incredibly lame and pathetic. I notice that the administration of the museum is too ashamed of their own inadequacy to mention that the armor collection which was such a major part of the museum is no longer there.

  5. Sarah Daniels says:

    I wish the tanks were still there. I took a group of special needs people up there last year and they really enjoyed it. I was hoping to take the kids this summer. might still do it because I think it was still full of other important history, but probably not as much fun…

  6. John Campbell says:

    I have many a fond memory of the Patton Museum. It’s been nearly a decade since I was there. It’s said to hear of the loss of the armor collection.

    Patton was a tank commander. How can you have a museum dedicated to him without any armor? Or in the least examples of the kind he commanded and fought against.

    A sad day indeed.

  7. Tom Tingley says:

    This was a 4oo mile round trip wasted, and 3 disspointed grandkids. At leaste they can look at the pictures we took when thier parents were young.

  8. Fred W. Washburn says:

    We planned our trip to Louisville with stop on the way at the Patton Museum. Our grandson is a tank/armor nut, and I was in the 2nd Armored Division in 1967. Both of us are disgusted and sad the we are going to a museum for the greatest armor commander our country ever had, with no armor. Who thought that up? Kid wants to see something other than paper and old uniforms. Where’s the beef? Don’t know if we’ll bother going now.

  9. Bob Allen says:

    What a crime, or at least immoral handling of a great collection. It seems to be the way our Government handles all Historical collections now, no preservention. It appears any and all true preservation will fall into the hands of the private sector, and / or private collectors / collections now.

    Do we dare wonder where and how the former collection is being displayed, stored, and guarded at this time ?

    What a way to honor our past, and future, armored soldiers.

    A truly sad day for Armor History and Fort Knox, Ky.

    • Nate says:

      The armor collection is housed in an indoor storage facility in Fort Benning, GA. They moved the armor school there and a new armor museum is in the works. I have seen some of the exhibits and they are being well taken care of. And as for guarding.. it is on Fort Benning.. there are plenty of troops there to keep watch!

      • Charles Lemons says:

        Indeed – the armor collection is being well cared for and is, in fact, expanding with the addition of vehicles from the collection at Aberdeen (seven vehicles so far) as well as from Minnesota and from the National Infantry Museum. I went down to visit last week and am satisfied with the progress so far. Still, they need an exhibit building since they are having to plan to exhibit in the National Infantry Museum building. That building is not designed to take anything bigger than a light tank.
        C. Lemons, Curator, Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor (retired)

      • Bob Allen says:

        From recent photos it appears the collection is not as “in door” and “taken care of” as one would be led to believe. One can see vehicles that were once displayed inside, and stored inside are now outside, ie: German Marder II, Hetzer and even a U.S. Jumbo Sherman, now with the main gun removed and exposed to the elements. Why would anyone send more “priceless vehicles to GA to set exposed, or while others set exposed to the elements?

        “Down sizing” is the buzz word in todays military, just like in the mid 70’s, we are slowley distroying our militarys “experienced soldiers” as more will decide to throw in the towel. Sad that our museums are suffering along with it as well.

  10. Anthony Baker says:

    I have visited the museum many times in the past and enjoyed it with friends,girlfriends and family. I was planning on taking my nephews this week and needed to see when it closed. I am shocked and sad to see what has become of the museum. I believe we will make other plans to see a museum out of town.

  11. Ann Sipes says:

    Come on guys,

    Things change, time changes, that’s history in the making. George Patton was a leader of men, who just happened to drive tanks. His forceful personality was human, a sign of great character and daring, whose tanks were driven by brave young soldiers. The tanks are inanimate, the man and the men were living souls, and his story lives on in many hearts. The tanks are rusting away. His story will always remain to inspire young soldiers no matter then or now. Give the new museum a chance. To me, the man has always been more interesting than the machines.

    I’d like to see something on this site about the WW II Barracks, it will be a great attraction for veterans, I would think.

    Yes, I’ve been to the museum several times, my Air Force veteran husband, and my USN veteran brother loved it, but the man for whom the museum is named also carried such fascination to both of them.

    • James says:

      I’m a veteran, along with my father and some other family members. Trust me, it would NOT be a great attraction for we veterans to see barracks, WW2 or any other era. Four walls, wooden (or tile, depending on your era) and bunk beds. Not the kind of thing you take your kids or grand kids to see. And a lot of us find the equipment just as interesting, if not more sometimes, than the man. That isn’t a slight, just an observation.
      They should have at least divided up the armor, leaving some at the indoor museum at Ft. Knox where it belongs, and sending some to Benning, where the armor school is now located and also deserving of an armor museum.

  12. Michael Rebman says:

    Today we visited the Patton Museum as we do every few years & was shocked to see, well, nothing! This museum was thrown under the bus by the government, 80 PERCENT of the museum (Literally all of the tanks were sent to Ft. Benning GA). The museum is down to 2 small galleries & only one worth seeing. The museum takes 20-30 minutes tops to complete. We drove 6 hours for this? I am furious & shocked & saddened. We will never go back to the Patton Museum again & now I have to drive all the way to Georgia to see the tanks I grew up with seeing. They claim they will rebuild but those tanks were rare & irreplaceable.
    Trust me DO NOT GO HERE, it is not worth even a 1 hour drive!

  13. Richard Beckman says:

    An outstanding collection of WWII armor and a part of our national history has been dishonored by being removed from the Patton Musem. What a crime that one of our greatest military and armored commanders has had the museum that honors him stripped of almost all of the vehicles that were used in his campaigns. Even the soldiers in the small remnants of the museum had no idea what had been removed and stated “I just sit at the desk” The vehicles that remain outside are full of graffiti and soda cups. Very disrepectful of the thousands who died for this country.

  14. Daniel Roberts says:

    My son and I came to Kentucky from St. Louis, MO because of Kentucky’s Machine Guns Shoots and Military Weapon Show in Knob Creek, KY.

    Also We enjoyed visiting at Patton Museum in the past because the German Panzers and American Tanks are my favorite hobby. This past Sunday morning we came to the museum because I wanted to show my favorite Panzer: King Tiger to my son. We were shocked to learn about many historical military vehicles were relocated to Fort Benning, GA.

    The people who lives in Midwest States are able to drive and to visit at the museum during weekends. Now the historicial military vehicles are at Fort Benning, they won’t and will not be able to visit there because driving to Fort Benning is too long for them.

    We will not attend the Patton Museum in the future when we attend KY’s Machine Guns Shows again. I am sorry for my saying my feelings about it.

    P.S. You should sell those historicial military vehicles to the people of Kentucky (or any states)…..I strongly believe that those people would create the Tankfest show (or military vehicles show) in KY or somewhere that people will attend in the future.

  15. Michael Rebman says:

    The sad part & the real crime here is that the new Armor Museum at FT. Benning HAS NOT BEEN BUILT YET! So I assume the tanks that could have stayed at the Patton Museum for another couple of years are sitting closed up in some warehouse when they could have left them at Ft. Knox until the new museum is completed instead of just leaving with the Armor school. Keeping these tanks in Kentucky for as long as possible, that battle should have been waged by your congressman & was not. It’s just a crying shame for the people of kentucky & they could of at least left some of the indoor tanks but they took them ALL. The Museum now has some lame name like the Patton Museum of :Leadership but people go there to see tanks, Hello??

  16. Michael Rebman says:

    The funny part is that they are now down to 2 small galleries each gallery the size of maybe 2 grade school classrooms BUT the gift shop is original & about the size of one of the galleries. There were 5 employees in the museum & us 2 guests & that was it. The lady that works the gift shop was reading a book because there was nobody there to buy anything & I suspect she sells virtually nothing anymore as there were never more than 10 guests at one time in the museum. One of my fondest memories was of the Panzer MK4 tank outside in the side park that STILL had the original faded Africa Corps logo still painted on the tank, that’s gone!

  17. Jordan Scott says:

    I feel sorry for Christopher having to try to put apositive spin on something that has gutted the whole armor branch. The MCE is a joke and a misguided control move by the Infantry IN school. As soon as the powers in control all started wearing SF, CIB, Air Ass., Ranger tabs and badges they went after control of the main part on the ground force that was most effective in Desert Storm, Armor. As a former driver, loader, gunner, tank commander, PL, XO and CO I rarely found IN command that could properly deploy armor effectively. Some how most IN commanders believe a Bradley is a tank and end up with smoking PCs. Thank God this is in Simnet world. Infantry has its place and is very essential and I respect those willing to go IN. Removing Patton from Armor and vicea versa is a discredit to a great american leader. At the close of our Armor Officer Basic Course in Ft. Knox, we, soon to be armor leaders were ordered to a ceremony at the Patton Museum to be pinned with leadership tabs. This occurred at the break of dawn under the light of torches surrounded by the armor steeds of our past mounted comrades and leaders and those of our defeated foes. This has all been cast assunder for the pursuit of power and control and not the betterment of the US Army. Forge the Thunderbolt, FT. Knox, KY. Patton is probably exclaiming “Sons of B!t@hes, wish I could slap them all”.

  18. Rick Dickerson says:

    First I would like to ask all of those armor nuts what history did you learn from looking at just the tank sitting there. Over the time period from 1986 till 2010 the armor school side of the museum took away all of the old uniforms and items used to tell the early history. The displays never changed on over 20 years. The museum was a store house of things. I am a retired armor and cav NCO. I am glad to see the new direction the museum is moving in. We will now tell the stories of the soldiers, their battles and their leaders. The museum is under a total renovation and adding new items to the vast collection each week. when was the last time you could walk into a WW2 barracks and get the history of the soldiers and their training? We will have that in the next year. if all you want is armor go to Ft. benning in about 10 years. we will have more to see and do. many displays will be interactive and cause you to think. I am proud to be a part of the new General George Patton Museum of Leadership.

  19. Christopher Kolakowski says:


    Thank you for your feedback; as you noticed, the Patton Museum has undergone some profound changes over the last 18-24 months as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.

    The primary mission of any Army museum is to train Soldiers, and the former Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor existed primarily as a training tool to educate new armor crewmen about the history of their branch. This meant that the Armor part of the museum needed to make the BRAC-directed move with the Armor School to Fort Benning so it could continue its training mission. Since the new focus of the Patton Museum is Army leadership, it’s only appropriate that General Patton remain the centerpiece of the museum – he is, after all, one of the most iconic Army leaders. That is why the entire Patton Collection remained when BRAC split the museum and shipped the Armor & Cavalry collection to Fort Benning. The Armor School Museum determined what vehicles went to Fort Benning, and they took what they felt was necessary to fulfill their mission.

    We still do have several tanks, located in front and rear of the museum, as well as on post, in Radcliff, and in Muldraugh. We have had roughly 70,000 visitors since the building was completely handed over in April this year – before then, both museums existed in the same building until Armor fully departed. The exhibits that are currently in the building are our interim exhibits, as we are under a huge renovation and transition. We are working on obtaining new collections and have gotten many new items to assist in telling our new story. Patton without a museum full of tanks is still Patton, the Legendary Leader. The Patton Museum of Leadership goes beyond simply the Armor Branch and tells the story of Army Leadership of all branches including Armor.

    Lastly, please remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. The scale of renovations will be to the degree of the WWII Museum and National Infantry Museum, but it takes time and resources. What you saw gives a taste of what is coming. This winter we are working to upgrade the interim exhibits, to further develop the Army leadership story. We are also working with the Patton Museum Foundation and our Army partners to resource the $5 million necessary to complete the permanent exhibits by 2014. Other projects and programs include a restoration of a WWII-era barracks (the last one at Fort Knox), a restoration of General Patton’s Command Van from 1944-45, a monthly film series call Hollywood Goes To War, and interpretation of our monuments and Armor stories in Armor Memorial Park next to the museum. All of these should come to fruition in 2012.

    Please bear with us as we transform and grow into our new scope and mission. I appreciate your support during this transition period, and invite you to revisit as we open each phase of the new General George Patton Museum of Leadership. You can keep track of our progress at and/or

    Christopher Kolakowski

  20. Michael Rebman says:

    Thanks & I support your continued efforts to re-develop the Patton museum now that 80% of the museum was shipped to Ft. Benning. However people go to the Patton Museum to see TANKS & for me to drive 3 Hours each way from Cincinnati I better see LOTS & some German Armor too, afterall that is what Patton faced & fought against in Europe. I don’t think you will be able to find any German Armor unless maybe Aberdeen is willing to give up some but not likely. I will wait a few years & check back but I think you will need to add quite a bit more armor if you want to draw people from anything more than just the Louisville area, Just my 2 cents. Also using the theatre to just show the short clip of the intro to the Patton movie looped over & over & over again was just a pitiful use of a nice little theatre, how about some clips of the real Patton giving speeches like you use to show?

  21. cathy says:

    My husband and a friend went 2 years ago to the Patton Museum and also got close to Fort Knox.
    We live about 90 some miles from the D Day / World War Two museum in New Orleans. After hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, much of the D Day museum underwent remodeling.
    The truth is…as was stated above…change is inevitable. Unfortunately, many museums are vastly under funded. Tanks seem to be an important ” draw” for many of the people who have made comments.
    Frankly, if enough dissatisfied veterans and others ban together..perhaps ” change” will occur.
    Museums can and will accept fact, it is the benefactors that can make or break any museum.
    Help ” build” this museum….bring back the tanks, and perhaps an I max theater etc.
    If there is leadership with a vision..” If you build it…they will come”. Support this museum…and get your friends to do the same.
    My Dad was part of D Day….and I will be glad to make a donation in his honor and memory.
    Thank you, Christopher, for saying that Rome wasn’t built in a day….
    Colonial Williamsburg today exists and thrives due to benefactor donations…
    I hope to visit the museum in November… Keep up the good work.
    If New Orleans re named ” World War Two” museum can assist in any way, I feel sure it will.

  22. Michael Rebman says:

    What disappoints me regarding the Armor collection is that Ft. Benning does not even have a museum built yet to display the Armor & it won’t be ready for several years. So why ship the entire
    collection so early when there is no museum ready to accept them & those pieces were already on display at the Patton Museum & could have been enjoyed by visitors here in the midwest for maybe another 2-3 years while Ft. Benning gets their act together. Somebody remaked earlier that if I just want to see Tanks then just drive to Ft. Benning, well lets see, Cincinnati to Louisville -vs- Cincinnati to Georgia, there is more than a little difference in distance there don’t you think?

    • Bob Allen says:

      After a recent visit by a friend to Ft.Benning your comment of “another 2-3 yrs.” is kind. We will be lucky to see an armored museum in the next 10-15 yrs.. The collection is apparenty in such disarray.

      CMH is the one to blame for this fiasco.

      What a waste of armored history.


  23. Michael Rebman says:


    The shame of it all is they could have just left the armor at the Patton Museum for the next 10-15 years while the new museum at Ft. Benning was being built & people could have continued to enjoy that priceless collection in a protected museum. Does anybody know where the armor is NOW since there is no museum to display them in? Some dark warehouse?

    What a waste!

  24. Rick Dickerson says:

    It is a shame that many people do not understand the systems that are inplace, when BRAC first came down and said that the Armor School was moving back to one of the original Tank School locations many people were greatly offended. Yes it is true that there is not a new museum as of yet built at Ft. Benning and it may take a while for it to be built and opened to the public. However there are still artifacs to be seen at the General George Patton Museum and over the next couple of years as we expand the inside and outside exhibits there will be so much more to see and experience.

    • Bob Allen says:

      Maybe people do not understand the “systems that are in place”, but what the public sees is the wholesale destruction of the armored collection. Yes there are artifacts to be seen at the “Patton Museum”, but as I understand it, recruiting uniforms and Patton’s pistols can only be looked at for so long.

      What the Patton Museum is missing here is not what will happen to its museum, but what will happen to the priceless vehicles that are rusting away to the elements of Ft.Benning, that is the discussion going on above.

      As I remember, most if not all vehicles in the museum were restored under difficult circumstances, and most if not all were in working order. You cannot expose vintage vehicles to the elements, even short periods of time, and not expect them to survive, mechanically or cosmetic. This alone shows disreguard for the “Armor Collection.”

      Makes one wonder, if the museum is handled this way, how is our armor school doing at its new location ?


      • Charles Lemons says:

        We are taking care of the vehicles at Fort Benning but, as Rick said, we do not have a museum yet. An exhibit is being created (temporarily) for the Armor and Cavalry museum in the National Infantry Museum – but it will be a least a year in the making. The National Armor and Cavalry Museum, as we are known now, has recently taken over a complete motor pool where all of the vehicles (except necessary monument vehicles) are being stored and worked on. In addition we have a restoration building with a large number of bays and two 10 ton overhead cranes. We have also been receiving a large number of additional vehicles, such as another Panther, T34/76, M3 Lee, Mark VIII Heavy, T4 Christie, and a PzKw II Light Tank.

      • Bob allen says:

        Did not realize you had transfered with the “New Museum”.

        Can you tell us the location and how the construction of the new Armor Museum Bldg. is going ?

  25. Paul Cooksey says:

    Dear Sir: I have lost my grandpaw (Samuel T. Smith) years ago and have learned that he said that he was on Genral George Pattons staff. I am planning a trip to your museum (2-17-2012 and 2-18-2012) to see if he shows up in any staff pictures. Any information would be appreciated. My grandpaw was a man of honor and diginity, and very humble. I would have loved to hear his stories of the war and life experiences with General Patton. Thanks in advance for your help, Paul Cooksey, 5640 Lexington Cir, Lumberton, Texas 77657

    • Sharon Swain says:

      Mr. Cooksey,

      I was not able to locate a photo that identified a Samuel T. Smith in any of the staff photos that we have in the General George Patton Photo Collection. Many of the photos just use the collective description – “staff.” The Archives are open M-F from 0900-1630 and I’ll be happy to pull some of the photos so that you can see if any contain shots of your grandfather. It might be helpful, if you could bring some additional information as to your grandfather’s military service [his rank, his unit, places where he served] when you come. I look forward to meeting you.

      Sharon Swain, Librarian/Archivist, George Patton Museum of Leadership

  26. Mike Staublin says:

    I have been away tending other things and only recently started thinking about a trip to see the museum that I loved so much. My first visit to Ft Knox was as a Cub Scout when the museum was actually inside the fort. I could probably find the building if I was allowed to drive around a bit but the only other thing I remember clearly is climbing around inside one of the tanks. Later in life I visited the then new Patton Museum and spent hours inside and outside looking at the armor. I visited during Living History days and enjoyed seeing the equipment that acutally ran. Now that is gone and it saddens me greatly – what next will the Air Force Museum be moved to Colorado Springs?

  27. Kathy (WAC-1973 V.N.Era) and WWII baby born at Nuremburg trials says:

    Life is Too short to complain about such things. Lets say a prayer for our loved ones overseas and around the world.

  28. Michael Rebman says:

    The sad part Mike is that the midwest is the red headed stepchild anymore. The US Air Force Museum is the largest aviation museum in the U.S. & maybe the world but did they get a Space Shuttle? no way. The museum is in Dayton Ohio but if that museum were anywhere else but the midwest they would have gotten a shuttle. The same thing goes for the Armor museum. The Ft. Benning area & that state is more populated than western Kentucky so why not steal all the tanks & send them to Georgia where more people can see them.

    • Mike Staublin says:

      The AF Museum will get one of the Military Shuttles when they finnally retire those – you know the Top Secret ones launched from Vandenburg ;)

  29. Ken says:

    I am extremely saddened by the fact that the armor has been moved to Fort Benning. I live in Louisville and took great pride in visiting the museum to view the Sherman tank from the 4th Armored Division, 37th Tank Btn. This was one of the units my father served in during WWII, along with the 16th Armored, 26th Tank Btn. I have a picture of my father standing beside the tank and have taken pictures of my children standing beside the tank. I felt like it was a way to re-connect with my late father each time I visited the museum. I wonder if they removed the names on the wall of the donors when they removed the tanks. My father’s name was there also. This is a great disservice to all armor veterans.

    • Charles Lemons says:

      The tank is presently stored inside at the National Armor and Cavalry Museum’s storage and restoration facility at Sand Hill, Fort Benning, GA

  30. G. F. Hofmann says:

    We revisited the museum hoping to see a change. Again we were disapointed. Patton with no tanks! In Feb. 2012, the Congressional Research Service reported that the cost to move the Armor School and large portions of the Patton Museum to Benning was estimated at $773 million. As of Feb this year the cost has been $1 billion. That makes the operation at a 30% over run of tax payers dollars. And still there is no end in sight. It is a sad commentary on what has happened to armor history.

  31. Rick Dickerson says:

    Mr. Hofmann you have not done your homework. The General George Patton Museum is not without tanks. Most of what was left at Ft. Knox is now in the museums new motor pool and under going cleanup, repainting and ready to move back to the museum by mid ot late summer. The museum has gotten 2.3 million to use toward the new exhibits that will be implaced by June 14th 2013 for the grand reopening as part of the Ft. Knox Armys Birthday events that will take place here next year. You can get more correct information at the museum web site: or by going to the museum Facebook

    • Charles Lemons says:

      Rick – did you really mean to insult Dr. Hofmann in your reply? He has been going to the museum for years and knows that the General George S. Patton Museum of Leadership not the Armor Museum and has only those few tanks you folks had to strip from the monuments we left around the post in remembrance to the Armor School. The tanks that 100th Division brought with them does not an Armor Collection make. You need to refer to your collections policy. And you should stop claiming the history of the Armor Museum – your museum is almost 2 years old now, whereas the Armor museum (now at Fort Benning) is 63 years old and still going strong.

      • Amber says:

        What Rick did not mention in his comment is that we are not only repainting the macro artifacts we had here, but are in the process of completing transfers to obtain more macros from various Army museums to be added to the collection in the permanent exhibits. These will round out our collection. And you are absolutely right, we are not an Armor museum, but that is not our mission. We are a museum of Leadership, here to inspire our Soldiers, Civilians, and Youth to be better leaders in the military and in society as a whole. We use the collection to make a personal connection with the visitors, and in that way, to create an experience unique for everyone. The museum has undergone numerous renovations and will be open next year to the public.

      • Bob allen says:

        I thought the Patton Museum was already open ? Is it or is it not open now ?

  32. Michael Rebman says:

    Museum visitors don’t want to see what was “left” at Ft. Knox, they want to see WWII tanks namely rare German, Russian & Japanese tanks, most of which were shipped out to Georgia. How many Tigers & Panthers were “left” at Ft Knox? My guess is that what is left at Ft. Knox are probably, M1 Abrams, M60 & maybe M48 Tanks? Those are great tanks but hardly rare & not the same variety we have been accustomed to seeing over the years. That being said I know the horse is already out of the barn & those tanks are NOT coming back so I will say “Thank you” for trying to make something out of the carnage that took place when the museum was robbed of it’s collection last year.

    • Charles Lemons says:

      We did leave them two Shermans and a StuG III. Blame Congress for moving the Armor School – which the Armor Museum belongs to.

    • Bob allen says:

      The public will have to wait to see an Armor Museum. I think we all know the armor would be moved to support the Armor School, but to move it from public display and a much more protected area for conservation is the hard part to accept, when they are “years” from even starting a new “Armor Museum.

      • Charles Lemons says:

        Mr. Allen: Agree. The Government promised money for a “storage facility” for this move, but that is not going to happen any time soon. As we did in the 1940s and 50s, we have had to settle for what we could find ourselves – this motor pool at Sand Hill. And like before, this problem will have to be solved the same way – with money raised by the museum’s private support foundation. No, not the Patton Museum Foundation, but rather the National Armor and Cavalry Museum Foundation. Believe me, the museum staff (now down to three) is working hard towards that goal.

      • Bob Allen says:

        I hope no one thinks the Armor Museum Staff would do any less, and I hope no one thinks the discussion going on above in no way reflects on their person, of either Museum.

        If only tarps could be arranged for the vehicles outside, it would be somewhat better for them, and would make everyone fell a little more at ease. We all know these artifacts can never be replaced. One would think CMH would take interest and step up, after all, is this not part of their job, preservation ?

        Keep up the good fight, glade to see you in GA.


      • Charles Lemons says:

        Will do Bob – we’ve been working on getting tarps and hopefully the ones we have can be properly applied.

  33. Rick Dickerson says:

    Charels there was no insult intended toward Mr. Hofmann by what I said. I do know that many people and old supporters out there are dislike the fact that the armor has moved away. However as we have tried to get the word out that we are still here as the General George Patton Museum of Leadership our focus has changed from just being about the armor vehicle but now telling of the great leaders of the US Army which include General Patton, Abrams and many of the distingushed soldiers and NCO’s who have lead our military to the greatness we have today. You know as well as I do the CMH would not allow 2 Armor museums to exist. We stayed the Patton Museum and Led now has the National Armor and Cavalry Museum in Ft. Benning. We here at the Patton Museum support len Dyer and his team in their efforts to build their museum from the ground up as we are doing the same here. Both museums have great base collections and both tell the great stories. I for one will lokk forward to seeing the new armor museum once it is finished as I was a armor/cavalry soldier.

    • Dr. G. F. Hofmann says:

      Rick, you missed the point. Apparently government waste is ok with you that as of February, and still counting, the cost over run was at $227,000,0000 or 29.4%. Why move all the armor before a facility was available at Benning? The country was in a severe economic recession. Years ago in Armor Magazine I predicted the problems inherent in the move. Since the army cut their expected funds for the Benning musuem, the future does not seem bright. The 6th Armored Division Association over the years contributed $120,000 to the Patton Museum as an Armor Museum. What would you tell these veterans that you moved their pavers a few feet? Lets cut through the emotions and deal with reality. There are bureaucratic problems infesting the whole operation.

      • Amber says:

        Dr. Hofmann,
        The point that Rick was trying to make is clear. I think what everyone needs to remember at this point is that the government had a timeline to complete BRAC. That means, you have X number of days and X number of funds to complete a FULL move to the new base. Funding is a funny thing, and the money has to be allocated and committed within those time constraints. I think people are missing the big picture. The Armor School moved. Fort Knox’s mission is changed, therefore, it’s museum has changed. Cadet Command is the Senior Mission Command and our new museum will reflect this new focus on Leadership. Fort Hood also has a great collection of tanks if people really want to see more tanks. I don’t really understand the bantering on here when the government is to blame for this, not the museums. When both are finished, both museums will be fantastic museums.

    • Bob allen says:

      In todays politics the term “waste” and “over runs” have no meaning. No one could even start to think the moving of the armor school would take place when it was first announced. No one “off record” could not beleive it, but “on record” they hard to agree with it. Kentucky’s own politicians are the ones to lay the blame of the loss of the Armor School” to. BRAC is just the tool they use as the scapegoat.

      BRAC suggested moving “steel and tonage” over small arms and wheeled vehicles, to a base with no firing ranges for tank guns, and a base not even with enough land mass to support an Armor School.

      Makes one wonder who owned the land that had to be purchased and will still have to be purchased for the new school.

  34. Mike Staublin says:

    I don’t feel qualified to comment as I just don’t know the particulars. I do know that something from my childhood and young adulthood is now gone. With all the delays I have to wonder if there will be a proper display of the armor taken er moved to Georgia and will I see it in my lifetime and that makes me sad.

  35. Michael Rebman says:

    Evidentally Aberdeen Proving Grounds is also losing it’s armored collection courtesy of BRAC. The armored collection is being moved to Ft. Lee Virginia.

    • Charles Lemons says:

      Not all of them are moving to Fort Lee. A number of the vehicles have been transferred to the National Armor and Cavalry Museum (formerly known as the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor) at Fort Benning. So far the Mark VIII Heavy Tank, a PzKw V Ausf A, a T34/76, an M67 Flame tank, a T62, the T4 Christie, and an M3 Grant have been shipped to Benning. The museum also has possession of the PzKw II, Marder II, and Tiger I – which had been loaned to the Germans some years back

      • Snake36Bravo says:

        Hello Mr. Lemons,

        What happened to the Panther Ausf G outside with missing roadwheels, tracks and other elements?My understanding is the Armor School at Benning only wanted the running condition prototype Panther with late war turret. There was also a Mark III outside.

        I visited PMA as I knew it right after coming off active duty. In my excitement I jumped the rope to take a picture of the rear deck and escape/loading hatch of the Panther. While it’s a shame that the majority of the captured armor of WW2 is gone as a curator and military historian myself I believe in your mission and dedication to both museums.

        My grandfather served in the 10th Panzer Division during WW2 so my connection to the armor comes from a different perspective. When I went through Benning for initial training and Airborne school there were also a large number of AFVs outside exposed to the elements. I am incredibly happy to hear the motorpool at Sand Hill is housing the armor.

        Patton was a true leader so I get the new mission of the museum at Knox. His only contribution was not armor alone. There are also no museums to Heinz Guderian though he did more to birth the concept of armored warfare.

  36. Charles Lemons says:

    The Panther G, as well as the other PzKw III are down at Benning, along with the rest of the Armor Collection. The Collection is now being used for its original purpose – instructing armor soldiers. Hopefully the Armor Museum Foundation will collect enough funds to build a new museum building for the public.

    • Michael Rebman says:

      Any ETA when the new armor museum will begin construction? How is their fundraising going? Where is the armor being displayed from now until then?

      • Charles Lemons says:

        The Armor Museum foundation is collecting funds – but don’t hold your breath, it will take a while considering the finacial climate right now. The vehicles are presently be stored (and worked on) at a dedicated facility at Sand Hill.

  37. Dr. G. F. Hofmann says:

    At one time there was at APG a restored T3 Christie infantry tank.This was one of three assigned to Fort Benning. Four Christie CC T1s had been shipped to Fort Knox by 1932. Where is the one remaining Christie T3 today?

    • Charles Lemons says:

      Actually Dr. Hofmann, APG had one of the restored Christie Combat Cars (which you know was pretty much identical to the T3 Infantry Tanks) – as far as the Infantry Tanks – they were all scrapped in the late 1930s. The combat car was repainted to look like the T3 Infantry Tank and it is now resting in an enclosed yard at Fort Lee VA. The T4 Christie, on the other hand, is now at the National Armor and Cavalry Museum at Fort Benning.


  38. Dr. G. F. Hofmann says:

    Charles, years ago I had an opportunity to inspect the Christie at APG. Took numerious pictires. At that time there was a debate over was it an infantry tank or cavalry Combat Car? How did you confirm it was a CC? What is it doing at Fort Lee? If it is a CC, should it not be at Fort Benning? I guess it does not make a difference, since the debacled move and the questionable financial situation regarding the Armor-Cavalry museum.

  39. Jim says:

    Well this is a huge disappointment. I was planning on bringing my family to the museum this weekend after bragging about how terrific it is for many years. I served at Knox in the late 1980’s, 4/15th Infantry, 194th Armor Brigade. My son was born at Ireland Army Hospital. After reading what has happened to the museum we will be cancelling the trip to Knox and will be going elsewhere. Having also served at Benning and visited the excellent Infantry Museum, I don’t know what they were thinking moving the Armor to GA. Should have kept the armor where it all began and let Benning continue with Infantry exhibits. It’s a shame to see what’s become of a once great Museum and Fort Knox. Consolidating everything only makes it more difficult for Americans to enjoy our great military history.

  40. Brett says:

    Well, I had been wanting to visit this museum for years, and my job is finally taking me up to KY next week. I’ll be not far off over in Bardstown, so I’m going to go and see it. I understand some folks disappointment in the moving of several of the iconic armored vehicles, however that’s just how the government works. They’ve literally pissed away money for years and now they are operating so far in debt, many of the things we enjoy can no longer be funded as they have always been. I’ve been a Patton finatic all my life. I’ve read his books, and the books about his life and circumstances surrounding his death. Just to see his personal weapons is more than enough for me.

  41. Brett says:

    OK, so after driving over 200 miles out of my way, I felt the need to share this. The museum very CLEARLY states on the website that the museum closes at 4:30 Tues-Fri. This is an absolute lie. I arrived at 4:07 to find the gates closed and locked, and a sign posted at the entrance stating the gates will be locked a half hour before closing. I called, and someone who identified himself as a private (and who had the excitement level of a dead goldfish, and likely the IQ to match) said they close the gates at 4:00. I stated that I had just driven over 200 miles out of my way to get there and didn’t intend on staying but just long enough to see the Generals Colt on display. He said no. I said I did all this driving even though everyone who has ever been said the museum is worthless now that they have removed all the armor and shipped it off to Ft Benning and I’m not asking for anything special, just to see the Colt. ALL I WANTED WAS 10 MINUTES, 10 FRIGGIN MINUTES to see the Generals sidearms in the display. He said there was nothing he could do. No elaboration, no intention whatsoever to even think of just letting me see 5 minutes inside. Quite frankly, I find the way they are running the place to be an absolute slap in the face to the man it’s in honor of. If nothing else, General Patton is known for his absolute discipline, and the fact that anything less was unacceptable. So the people who run the place advertise one set of hours of operation, and then use another…….that is unknown until you are in the parking lot. If the General was still around, the whole lot of them would be unemployed (or better yet, on the front line paying the penalty for their ignorance of his values. They should all be ashamed of themselves. Also note, they have ZERO email contact. You can call the numbers and talk to the living dead, or send snail mail. Thanks a lot guys, you are doing a great job DIShonoring a great man and his legacy.

  42. Mike Staublin says:

    I was planning a trip to Dayton to visit the AF Museum and because of sequestation the Presidential display is not open and you can not view the aircraft that are in this special controlled area and from the web site there isn’t much hope of it being opened back up until the budget things are settled and they said something about this being a 10 year process. Not only are Air Force One’s kept in this facility but many other aircraft including Civial Air Patrol historic aircraft that the public can not view. Before I visit ANY Museum on a military base I would check and make sure what you want to see is going to be viewable

  43. George F. Hofmann, PhD says:

    Brett, I feel your frustrations. Last time we visited Knox, it was a depressing place. Even today I cannot get answers from the people who are involved in the Armor-Cavalry museum at Benning. Just silence! They just do not respond, yet they want money. Millions of dollars have been wasted (over-runs) on the BRAC move from Knox to Benning. What do we have relating to armor vehicle history? Total mismanagement.

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