News: Ivy Division museum preparing for move to Fort Carson
Story by Sgt. Philip Klein
FORT HOOD, Texas — The transition of the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood to Fort Carson, Colo., involves more than just moving Soldiers and their families. It also involves moving the artifacts of the Ivy Division's long history.
The division's museum and gift shop have been preparing for the move to Fort Carson since the 2005 Base Realignment and Closing commission announced that the Ivy Division would return to Colorado.
Currently the museum is scheduled to remain open until the division change of command on July 16. The gift shop, which is maintained by the 4th Inf. Div. Association, has already discontinued shipments of new products and will close on May 29. A new gift shop is already operational in Fort Carson.
The 4th Inf. Div. Operation Iraqi Freedom Memorial will remain at Fort Hood.
Maj. Mike McElrath, the deputy G5, is spearheading the division's effort for the museum's move. He is the lead coordinator on getting the history of the Ivy Division to its new facilities since the move was announced.
"The division has been working on the move since the BRAC revealed its plans, back in 2005 even though we didn't have a firm date for the move," said McElrath. "After we returned from deployment, G5 Plans was asked to pull the staff together and get on the same page, and the initial planning has gone into high gear since early this spring."
"Nineteen vehicles will make the move to Carson, which includes the Vietnam era vehicles as well as the M1 Abrams main battle tank and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle which are in front of the division headquarters," said McElrath.
The World War I and World War II era vehicles will remain in place at their current position.
"We have done a one for one trade with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment [museum] for their WWI and WWII era vehicles that have remained at Fort Carson," said McElrath.
In addition to the vehicles, the division has a large assortment of artifacts on display and in storage that have to be moved to Fort Carson.
"We are working on a three phase operation for getting our history to our new home and setting up a new museum," said McElrath.
Ceilia Stratton, the museum's curator, said the plan calls for getting the majority of the material up to Carson by the end of the summer and using existing infrastructure to display the division's history. Currently a temporary structure is being built which would serve as a transitory site for the museum. There is also a long term plan for a larger museum which would be capable of housing all the displays of the division's historic legacy.
Stratton serves an important mission for the division. She collects, preserves and displays the rich history of the 4th Inf. Div. Now she is passing on her responsibilities as the Ivy Division curator to the new curator at Fort Carson, Steve Ruhnke.
"We are very lucky to have an experienced person like Steve heading up our new museum in Colorado Springs, his expertise as a curator and historian will benefit the division," said Stratton.
From 1917 until the present day, the 4th Infantry Division has been involved in most of the major world events that have shaped the destiny of the U.S. Army, the United States, and the world.
Since its inception the 4th Infantry Division has been home to more than 250,000 Soldiers. Sixteen Soldiers of the division have been awarded the Medal of Honor, and the division has earned 21 campaign streamers and recently completed its third deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom. The men and women who serve in this division, both past and present, represent our nation's credentials.
"It is very important that the history of this division is preserved and stays with the division wherever it goes. We owe it to our veterans who have served with the division. We also owe it to new Soldiers to keep a record of the division so they are aware of its accomplishments," said Stratton.