Fort Drum Remembers 9/11: Housing history
With all of its history, since 9/11 and before, Fort Drum needed a place to house it all... and someone to take charge. The man who now runs it would have never even considered it - had it not been for the attacks. In the seventh and final piece of his September 11th and Fort Drum series, YNN’s Brian Dwyer tells us more about the museum and its curator.
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FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- On that day in September, Kent Bolke was serving in the United States Coast Guard. He waited and waited until that call finally came…two years later. He would be headed to the 1000 Islands to help install new homeland security measures. And it was on that trip, that he found his future.
"We decided to come down and visit Fort Drum and I saw the statue. I thought man, this is a division that has its history and understands its history. That statue later led me to, when the position came open at Fort Drum, that I decided to become the curator here," said Kent Bolke, 10th Mountain Division & Fort Drum Museum Curator
The museum has become the place to look back on everything 10th Mountain and Fort Drum, and a whole lot more. The museum hits upon all major time frames in history, including the War of 1812 that brought the Army to the North Country, World War II and even the quiet years that followed. It also features Somalia, Haiti and of course, the current conflicts.
"Then we start to talk about OIF and OEF. Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The 10th Mountain Division were some of the early units into both these operations," said Bolke.
But Bolke says this museum, isn't just words on a plaque, but rather a trip back in time.
"We're not really going to present the overall, this unit went this date and this unit did that mission and such. What we're going to show is what living conditions were like. What equipment did they wear? What did they use throughout history," said Bolke.
It's all about educating the soldier, history repeating itself, learning about the past and mixing in the future.
"My mission is soldier education. That is the primary mission of this museum. It's to let soldiers learn from their history. We have exhibits on display right now that talk about IED's and show you captured enemy weapons and give you an idea of what the fight going to be like when you're there. We're working on an exhibit right now that's actually going to move beyond history and actually show you what you need to expect when you go to the fight," said Bolke.