On Feb. 24, Fort Benning will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a commemorative day at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center. The celebration, called Columbus Salutes the Centennial, will highlight the history of the infantry at Fort Benning.
The celebration will feature numerous activities for the public including live music, film screenings, drone demonstrations and Silver Wings parachute jumps. Popcorn and drinks will be available for free at the Rally Point Canteen, and food trucks in the parking lot will provide a variety of other options at affordable prices.
The DownRange combat simulators, souvenir photo booth and rock climbing wall will also be operating for free as part of the celebration. Kids can dress up in uniforms and take pictures at the selfie station, and the Fife and Drum will be open for dining as well.
One special focal point for the day will be the living history performances occurring at the museum and various locations on the campus. Dozens of Officer Candidate School students have been asked to give mini-performances and interact with guests throughout the museum.
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Maj. Gen. Eric Wesley, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, said the goal of these performances is to help Americans truly understand the role soldiers have played throughout history. “We are standing on the shoulders of giants,” he told the students during rehearsal, “and you are bringing those giants to life.”
Veteran volunteers will be stationed at the Global War on Terrorism Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial Plaza to visit with the museum’s guests. Some of these veterans are New York City firefighters who were on duty on 9/11 and will share their stories throughout the day.
In addition to two jumps by the Silver Wings Parachute Team, Fort Benning’s state-of-the-art robotics and drone programs will be performing demonstrations. Guests can also explore a UH-60 helicopter, vintage tanks and modern fighting vehicles on display.
Another special guest will be making an appearance at the Centennial. Sgt. Stubby, the star of Fun Academy Motion Picture Studio’s film “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero,” will be visiting the celebration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The film, which releases this April, highlights the true story of a stray dog who became a hero in World War I.
Fort Benning’s centennial occurs on the same year as TSYS celebrates its 35th anniversary. TSYS honored this by becoming the presenting sponsor for Columbus Salutes the Centennial, as well as the sponsor for an invitation-only preview for community leaders taking place the night before the Centennial.
“This family event will be a wonderful way to celebrate Fort Benning,” said M. Troy Woods, chairman, president and CEO of TSYS, “and the tremendous contributions soldiers and their families have made in our community.”
Columbus Salutes the Centennial is being organized by the National Infantry Museum Foundation, Columbus 2025 and the Maneuver Center of Excellence. For more information, visit the museum’s website at nationalinfantrymuseum.org or call 706-685-5800.
If You Go:
What: Columbus Salutes the Centennial
When: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Feb. 24
Where: National Infantry Museum, 1775 Legacy Way.
Schedule of Events:
9:30 a.m. Silver Wings Parachute Jump, Inouye Field
10:00 a.m. “Fort Benning: Follow Us,” Giant Screen Theater
10:00 a.m. High School Band, Front Lawn
11:15 a.m. “Fort Benning: Follow Us,” Giant Screen Theater
11:30 a.m. MCoE Rock Band, Front Lawn
12:30 p.m. MCSD Video Competition, Giant Screen Theater
1:00 p.m. Silver Wings Parachute Jump, Inouye Field
1:15 p.m. “Fort Benning: Follow Us,” Giant Screen Theater
1:30 p.m. MCoE Jazz Band, Front Lawn
▪ Living History Performances, Throughout museum and campus
▪ MCoE Robotics Demonstration, The Courtyard
▪ DownRange Combat Simulator Cavezza Hall
▪ Rock Climbing Wall, Parking Lot
▪ MCoE Drone Demos and UH-60 Helicopter, Inouye Field
▪ Souvenir Photo Booth, Cavezza Hall
▪ Uniform Dress-Up and Selfie Station, Patriot Hall
▪ Popcorn and sodas, Rally Point Canteen
▪ Sgt. Stubby will be at Columbus Salutes the Centennial from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.