The 69th Infantry Division's proud history is honored in the new Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby, Mississippi which was dedicated on October 27, 2001. Plan a visit to see the exhibits and patriotic memorials to the brave men of the Fighting 69th and other units who trained at Camp Shelby before shipping off to World War II combat.
Many VIPs were present at the opening festivities on October 27, 2001 (left to right):
Our 69th Association President, Ray Sansoucy, while not on the speaker's platform, attended and represented the 69th Infantry Division at the opening ceremony.
The large museum includes a 38-foot-tall triangular copper monument with the names, photos and heroic tales of 70 servicemen; more than 17,000 donated artifacts, from dress uniforms to a real "Mae West" tank; a simulated WWI trench complete with sounds of machine guns and explosions; and a history of every American war since the War of 1812.
Museum visitors can study exhibits explaining the Fighting 69th´s heroic campaign through Europe, from the English Channel to the crucial battles for victory against the Third Reich in the heart of Germany.
Veterans and their families will see photos and memorabilia of the 69th and other soldiers who survived the grueling training regimen in the hot, humid pine woods around the 136,000-acre Camp Shelby military reserve. Camp Shelby is about 15 miles south of Hattiesburg, MS, on U.S. 49.
The Armed Forces Museum houses memorabilia from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War. Over 6,100 items are displayed from all branches of the military. The museum also features a library. Open Monday-Friday, 9 am-4 pm; and Saturday-Sunday, 1 pm-5 pm. Admission is free.
Joe Lipsius (center) donates a historic map of the linkup sites between the 69th Infantry and the Soviet Army to Chad Daniels (right), Director of The Armed Forces Museum in Camp Shelby, Mississippi. James K. Richardson is at left.
Lipsius finally met Richardson in person at the museum on August 14, 2003. Joe was formerly S-2 (intelligence officer) for Regimental Headquarters, 272nd Infantry Regiment, and is the founder and Co-Webmaster of the 69th Infantry Division's Website. Jim was Communications Sergeant for Company B of the 272nd Infantry Regiment, and is retired as Co-Webmaster and Site Engineer of this website. This was the first meeting of the two who, along with Amy Rose, Editor and Website Treasurer, have developed the 69th´s Website.
The meeting had two purposes: (1) for Joe to finally meet Jim face to face after countless hours of e-mail messages developing the Website; and (2) for Joe to present the Armed Forces Museum copies of the situation maps of the 272nd Infantry Regiment's move across Europe from the Belgium-German border on February 9, 1945 (when it first engaged the enemy) until May 9, 1945, VE Day. The 13 maps (scale 1:100,000), show Regimental and Battalion Command Posts by dates, plus some attached Unit locations. Also, two special maps cover the phase lines of fighting in the City of Leipzig and the first meeting of the American and Soviet Armies in WWII at the Elbe River on April 25, 1945.
If you have 69th Infantry Division memorabilia or WWII artifacts of any type that you would like to donate, please send them to The Armed Forces Museum. This includes patches and military insignia, unit histories, diaries kept or letters written during WWII, newspaper articles, photographs, uniforms, souvenirs from Germany, or any item you think a visitor or researcher would like to see.
Please include as much description as possible of each item separately, the full name and address of the donor, and the full name, rank and Unit of the 69th member.
Mississippi Armed Forces Museum
Camp Shelby, MS 39407-5500
Chad Daniels, M.A., M.S., Museum Director
In the 69th Bulletin Vol. 55 No. 3 May-Aug 2002, 69ers and their families were given an opportunity to purchase 24 in. by 24 in. (2 ft. by 2 ft.) granite plaques costing $1,000 which would be engraved with their 69er´s name and be placed in the "Court of Honor" at The Armed Forces Museum, Camp Shelby, MS. Only $635 was raised for the 69th plaque. It was decided to buy the next size up with slightly different wording. The donors were notified. One of the donors was so disappointed that he offered to make up the difference to purchase a much larger plaque provided that his name was kept anonymous, and any monies that might trickle in would reimbursed to him. Thank you Mr. Anonymous 69er! Your generosity will be long remembered and bring honor and joy to countless thousands of 69th families and friends.
Shown above are some of the granite bricks at Camp Shelby honoring members of the 69th Infantry Division whose families participated in the "buy a brick" program which is no longer offered by the museum.
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