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Monday, April 12, 2021

Letter from the Editor: The Big One

Military Museum of Fort Worth

www.facebook.com/militarymuseumoffortworth/

I got one of the last visits to the Military Museum of Fort Worth before it began a big – pun intended – relocation project.

The Military Museum – one of Fort Worth’s less-well-known gems – is moving into new and larger digs at Ridgmar Mall. The planned opening date is Veterans Day (Nov. 11). The museum will be in the northwest corner, facing out toward 183 between Dillard’s and J.C. Penney.  

More room means more cool stuff, including some larger pieces of military equipment, such as a fully restored World War II Willys Jeep. But there will likely be more.

Military Museum of Fort Worth photo by Robert Francis

If you haven’t been following the saga of the Military Museum, it started in a small former grocery store off Camp Bowie. It quickly outgrew that space and eventually moved to the Stockyards. It has gained support, along with more space, along the way.

The man behind the Military Museum, Tyler Alberts, is scrupulous in his research and has helped many visitors learn a lot about either their own service or the service of their loved ones.

The now-former location had a great World War I trench – complete with a plastic rat – that will put you in mind of the film 1917. The new location will probably have an expanded version of the trench.

I have two relatives – my grandfather, John Haney Francis, and my great-Uncle John Chitwood – who spent time at Camp Bowie. My grandfather was in the 111th Ammunition Train in the 36th Infantry Division. Uncle John was with the 132nd Machine Gun Battalion Company B 36th Infantry Division. On Oct. 8, 1918 he fought in support of the 141st Infantry Regiment 36th Infantry Division at the battle of Saint Etienne-a-Arnes. My grandfather was at that battle as well.

Tyler Alberts of Military Museum of Fort Worth photo by Robert Francis

Alberts knows a lot about Camp Bowie and said he can track down where my relatives lived in the camp and where that site is today. Yeah, he brings history alive like that.

I’ll let you know more on the museum and its move as it gets closer to Veterans Day. Meanwhile, I’m sure the Military Museum could use your help during the move, either personally or monetarily.

Maybe by the time the museum opens, we can gather together and the museum and Alberts can make history come alive again.

Robert Francis

Editor

Fort Worth Business Press

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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