Nov 11, 2012

Garst has great display of military items

BY RYAN BERRY 
MANAGING EDITOR 
GREENVILLE – Garst Museum in Greenville has long been a draw for people wanting to know more about Ft. Greene Ville, Annie Oakley or Lowell Thomas. However, one area the museum that should be a must stop on visitors tour is the Military Display. The display is located upstairs in the original Garst building.

It may surprise one to know that Garst Museum has uniforms and artifacts from nearly every war. Starting with the War of 1812, visitors will be able to see the progression of how America’s military changed and evolved. There are also displays on the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and most recently, Iraq. One of the few uniforms not on display is one from the Mexican War and that is because most soldiers wore regular clothes. Only the officers wore a uniform.

Several individuals are also honored for their contributions to America’s military.

Did you know a Greenville High School graduate was the first female to fly an Apache helicopter? Pam Carpenter, a 1973 graduate, became the first female pilot the Apache. A picture of Carpenter in her flight gear, as well as helmet and uniform are on display at the museum.

Visitors will also find information on Lt. Colonel Paul Thornhill who served as an Air Force One pilot from May 1968 to January 1969 under President Lyndon Johnson. Thornhill later became President Johnson’s private pilot. Originally from Darke County, Thornhill died in 1995 in Austin, Texas.

There have only been three Darke County natives awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. James Bennett Bell and Isaac James earned the honor while fighting in the Civil War. Douglas E. Dickey earned the honor during Vietnam. Garst Museum honors Dickey with a special display. Visitors will not only get to see his dress uniform and learn more information about the hero, they will also get to see his Medal of Honor.

There is something to see and learn in every corner of Garst’s military exhibit. If you don’t look up, you might miss a map/rendering of Andersonville Prison. The large piece of artwork is perched atop a display for female uniforms in World War II. Andersonville Prison was a Confederate Prison and Sumter County, Georgia. The prison is known for its lack of care in dealing with Union Prisoners of War. At one point, the prison held over 32,000 soldiers, but was only built to accommodate 10,000 prisoners. At war’s end, Andersonville Prison had nearly 13,000 deaths related to disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding or exposure.

Garst Museum has also photographed every piece of the military exhibit and has it available for persons who cannot climb the stairs to the upper floor.

Be sure to visit Garst Museum on Nov. 11 for a special exhibit and display. The Civil War Expedition: A Soldiers Life, features a collection of Eaton area resident Jack Barnhart. His collection has been featured at several National Parks, the Ohio Historical Society and Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford Museum. The exhibit will be open from 1-4 p.m. Barnhart will present a lecture at 2 p.m. He will speak about his Civil War collection and will share several little known stories about the Civil War. The exhibit and lecture are free to the public; however, regular admission will apply to tour the rest of the museum. The exhibit and lecture will be hosted in the Lowell Thomas Meeting Room. Any veteran who brings in a photo showing them in uniform will receive free admission for themselves and their immediate family to tour the entire museum on Sunday. 

Lt. Colonel Paul Thornhill, originally from Darke County, was the pilot of Air Force One while Lyndon Johnson was president. 

Pam Carpenter is honored in a display at Garst Museum. The Greenville High School graduate was the first female Apache helicopter pilot.
Medal of Honor recipient Douglas Dickey is remembered with his a display of his uniform and medals earned while serving in Vietnam.
More than one wall is dedicated to World War I uniforms and artifacts.

The Garst Museum display is not limited to American artifacts. There is also a display of German artifacts from World War II.

This is a rendering of Andersonville Prison. The prison held over 40,000 union soldiers and it is nearly 13,000 soldiers died to disease, malnutrition and other causes.

The veterans display begins with the oldest uniform on display in the exhibit. This uniform is from the War of 1812.

The Spanish American War is one of the many wars involving U.S. troops featured at Garst Museum.

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