By How Miller
All photos courtesy How Miller and Lew Chapman

As part of a very busy visit to Fort Bragg, scheduled to be re-named Fort Liberty, A325 Duc Hue teammates, Lew Chapman and I, had the distinct pleasure of perusing the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare (JFKSW) Museum.

After a closure, it was reborn in April of 2021 in a newly revamped building, about a block from the old location. It is open to the public, and it is not very difficult to get on base to see it. Chapter 78 member Jim Duffy visited in May, 2022 and took a lot of pictures, many of which we showed in Sentinel June 2022 issue.

After we saw most of the exhibits, it was time for our scheduled meeting with the Museum Director, Roxanne Merritt. She has been caring for the museum, and the Green Berets whom it so eloquently honors, for forty years. Not only is she a fount of knowledge, she is clearly the glue that binds this treasure together along with her three employees.

She has personally interacted with a great many of the SF and Special Ops legends, as well as one-tour Green Berets such as Lew and I, SF families, and the general public. She has many tales she can share, and many I’m sure she can’t. When I mentioned to her how valuable she is to the Regiment, she deferred, saying that it was you who talked to your congressmen and others who saved the museum. After the closure was announced she began to be very busy interfacing with many of them. Eventually SF and others came to the rescue.

Chapter 78's How Miller with Director Roxanne Merritt

The glass-cased displays run the gamut from the SF precursors — Devil’s Brigade, OSS, and Philippine Scouts in WWII, through the founding days of SF and PSYOPS in 1952 as a permanent part of the army, Laos and Vietnam, Central and South America, and Africa, to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Each display tells a story, replete with actual artifacts from the events, from Sten Guns used extensively by the OSS, to anti-tank Javelins used from Iraq to Ukraine, and even some spears. There are some gold plated weapons “donated” by Sadaam Hussein’s son Uday, along with a toppled statue of Sadaam. One of my favorites is a mockup of Nick Rowe’s V.C. captivity, before he escaped and eventually founded the SERE school. Its realism includes a life size “Nick Rowe” shackled in a bamboo cage in the jungle, and a sound track with jungle sounds and distant gunfire. It is extremely easy for a Vietnam Vet to become immersed.

The displays are as far ranging as is the SF experience. There is working with the indigenous personnel around the world, such as the Montagnards and Afghans, and surprises like the OSS working with Ho Chi Minh. You’ll find “Barbara,” the actual model used to plan the Son Tay Raid, and even a revealing display about the Q-course’s culminating event: Gobbler Woods, later revamped and renamed Robin Sage.

Nick Rowe exhibit