Adam and I recently took a day trip up to Fort Knox, Kentucky to visit the George Patton Museum. The museum is on the Army base, so you have to stop at the main visitor center and get a visitor pass for the base. For us, this process was pretty easy, we were able to use a kiosk, insert our driver’s license, submit to a quick background check, and then received a visitor pass to present at the gate. While I looked forward to seeing the museum, I have to be honest that my expectations were far too low. This facility is truly a hidden gem. The focus is on General Patton, and on continued examples of leadership into the modern day Army.
When you first arrive you walk down the front of the building from the parking lot, passing several armored vehicles, a monument garden, and the facility sign.
Once inside, you watch a short film about the life of Patton, that I am guessing was put together in probably the 1950s. Interestingly enough, ,the narrator of the film is….Ronald Reagan. Once the video is complete you start the walk through the museum. The first room contains several artifacts of Patton’s younger life, and then you cross into the second room. That for me, was the first ‘oh wow’ moment. Inside the second room is the staff car that Patton was riding in when he was involved in the accident that 12 days later would take his life. The car had been confiscated from the Gestapo and converted to Patton’s staff car, after the accident, the car was repaired and returned to service as a staff car. It was moved to the museum in 1951.
As you move through the museum, there are numerous Patton artifacts that are amazing, and then you start working your way into more modern times. The next ‘oh wow’ moments were related to the first Gulf War. They have the table where the negotiations to end the war took place and the planning table used by General Schwarzkopf.
Next up were items from the second Iraq War, including a poster that was removed from Saddam International Airport.
The next powerful moment was a fire truck that was parked outside the Pentagon on 9/11. It was parked near the impact zone, and fire from the explosion caused the rear of the truck to burn and melt. The melted material you see on the ground around the truck was from the Pentagon.
After we left the museum, we drove around the base some. They hand out maps of historical buildings when you enter the base, so we tracked down a building built in 1942 to resemble a LST, or Landing Ship like the ones used across WWII, and specifically on D-Day. They used this building to design equipment and tactics for removing tanks and other equipment from the ships once landing on shore.
And of course, last up, is a shot of the famous gold vault, that we took through the sunroof while driving out. They somewhat discourage stopping near the vault, so this was the best we could do.