Fort Johnson Military Museum
November celebrates Veterans for their service to our country, and even with Fort Johnson (Fort Polk) such an integrated part of the Vernon Parish community, there is a lot to celebrate and discover about our military contributions. Did you know there were major military exercises throughout north and west central Louisiana in 1941 to train troops for WWII? Louisiana’s Legend Country, Vernon Parish, is full of legendary history. You can learn more about our history at Fort Johnson Military Museum. Learn a few facts below.
The Fort Johnson (Fort Pork) Military Museum is housed in a new 3600-square-foot facility with objects and historical artifacts relating to Fort Polk history, including uniforms, equipment, weapons, training aids, and more to help visitors understand the role that Fort Polk has played in preparing the Army for war.
The Fort Johnson Museum exhibits artifacts and interprets the historic contributions of the Army at Fort Polk from 1940 to present day. Fort Polk’s storyline emphasizes the training missions and development of Army doctrine at the post during WWII; the Korean War and the 1950s; the Vietnam War and the Infantry Training Center; the late Cold War and the 5ID (Mech); and later missions involving peacekeeping and the Global War on Terror. Exhibits include those in the museum gallery, and static displays of macro-artifacts on the museum grounds, in Warrior Memorial Park, and at Polk Army Airfield.
Camp Polk started as a site for the Louisiana maneuvers of WWII. During this period, the Army modernized from horse-drawn equipment to a fully mechanized force. Soldiers of the Red and Blue maneuver armies learned lessons in tactics and leadership in West Louisiana, preparing them for combat overseas. Check out this interesting video further explaining the maneuvers: LegendCountry.com//FortPolk
Fort Polk served as the Army’s largest infantry training center from 1962 until 1976. This mission involved preparing most of the infantry soldiers for combat in Vietnam: over one million infantry recruits trained at Fort Polk. It was during the Vietnam War that Fort Polk became famous for its mock Vietnam villages, known as Tiger Land.
In 1941, Camp Polk was established under eminent domain, and 250 families were evicted from their farmsteads. Many suffered acute financial hardship as a result. However, their sacrifice provided a vast training area for the largest maneuvers ever held. The displaced “Heritage Families” are commemorated for their contribution to the Army’s readiness. In addition, a portion of the museum highlights the “Heritage Families” for their sacrifice.
Museum hours of operation are Tuesday-Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The museum and Warrior Memorial Park have self-guided tours, but guided tours are available. Contact the museum staff for special group tours. The museum is open free of charge to all service members, their families, and the public at large.
There are many legendary things to do in Vernon Parish. Take your family on an excursion to the Fort Johnson Museum to learn about the past and honor those who have gone before us. For more information, visit: LegendCountry.com/FortJohnsonMuseum. Follow Vernon Parish on social media to stay up to date with all the latest events and activities.