Archive for May, 2011

Fort Huachuca Museums

May 31, 2011

Established in 1877, a time when army forts were generously sprinkled over southeast Arizona, Fort Huachuca is the only one which survived to the present day as an active military post. Established during the Indian Wars, the fort was the headquarters of the 4th Cavalry patrols that pursued Geronimo and his band and brought about their surrender to General Nelson Miles in 1886. It also was a site of the use of the heliograph for communication during the pursuit of Geronimo in the Indian wars.

Huachuca has served as home of the famous Buffalo Soldiers, who chased Pancho Villa in Sonora, Mexico in 1916 after his attack on Columbus, New Mexico and Agua Prieta, just across the border from Douglas, Arizona. In World War II two Black infantry divisions, the 92nd and 93rd, were trained on Fort Huachuca’s ranges and served valiantly in the Pacific theater and in northern Italy. Today Fort Huachuca is an important military intelligence and communications center.

The museum re-creates the story of the U.S. Army in the Southwest, displaying uniforms of various periods, early equipment and weapons and model rooms, which present the daily life of the soldiers and their families. There is a museum store which sells books on many topics and mementos. The museum is housed in a building which was first used as bachelor officers’ quarters, then a chapel, and officers’ club and a headquarters building.

Exhibits include pioneer life on the post up thorough recent wars.  Helmets and breastplates from the era of the conquistadores are showcased along with miniature wagons. Fully furnished period rooms show how officers’ wives made life on the frontier attractive.  The kitchen features a butter churn, wringer washer, and a sewing machine. Don’t miss the Buffalo soldier statue located at the traffic circle at Winrow Road and Smith Street. Several exhibits are
dedicated to the role of the Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Huachuca and the American West. In the museum annex, visitors can see more displays, a diorama of a
cavalry camp scene, wagons and an artillery gun.

Because of the Fort’s active military status it is necessary to stop at the gate before entering to visit the museums. The visitor will be asked to show a picture ID such  as a driver’s license, as well as vehicle registration and proof of insurance.

B Troop, 4th US Cavalry (Memorial) commemorates the history of the U.S. Army’s participation in the Indian Wars in the Southwest. B troop is not connected to the museum. Established at Fort Huachuca, Arizona on July 4, 1973, B Troop dresses in authentic uniforms of the U.S. Army in the 1880s. The group participates in military ceremonies, parades, and mounted cavalry demonstrations across Arizona and the nation.

The first soldiers at Fort Huachuca ensured the protection of the first Anglo settlers in the San Pedro Valley and later were responsible for protecting the border with Mexico. As soon as the first permanent houses were completed, soldiers began sending for their families. The first to arrive was Caroline
Whitside, the wife of Captain Samuel Whitside, the post’s founder and first commander. Their 20-month-old son Dallas died and was buried in the camp’s
first graveyard and was later relocated to the current post cemetery which may be visited. Many who served at Fort Huachuca earned distinguished  eputations in the world including the father of Fiorello LaGuardia, an ardent social reformer who would become mayor of New York. Malin Craig, the son of the post’s first quartermaster and a member of Whitside’s troop, would become Army Chief of Staff just before World War II. In the museum the traveler will find everyday household utensils, books, quotes from diaries and journals, flags, and photographs.

The U.S. Army Intelligence Museum

            This museum acts as a central repository for historical artifacts which put the military intelligence mission into perspective. In addition to being of general interest, it provides a teaching tool for the U.S. Army Intelligence School. Although military intelligence gathering has existed since the dawn of warfare, the craft gained a vital role in the Army during the Civil War and has grown during each conflict. Its role is now recognized as a formal Army organization the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps. The first aerial photography was taken from a hot air balloon but on display is an early drone which was used to remotely photograph and survey an area. General John “Blackjack” Pershing took the lessons he learned from chasing Pancho Villa to World War I.

Visitors will see surveillance and espionage tools from the Civil War, the notorious Enigma Machine coding device used by the Germans during WWII, one of our Cold War espionage jeeps, a surveillance drone and a 12’ x 10’ section of the Berlin Wall, replete with graffiti political statements.

US Army Intelligence Center Fort Huachuca Museum Boyd & Grierson Fort Huachuca AZ 83613-6000 Tel: 520-533-3638

 

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Grand Canyon Skywalk

May 16, 2011

Walk where eagles dare to fly. Carved by the Colorado River more than million years ago, the Grand Canyon captures the hearts of visitors with its magnificent splendor. Located at the canyon’s west rim, the Grand Canyon Skywalk allows visitors to “Walk the Sky” on its unique glass bottomed observation deck that spans 70 feet (21.34 M) over the canyon’s rim and sits 4,000 feet (1,219 M) above the Colorado River. A construction masterpiece, the glass deck, which is the only element that
separates visitors from the canyon floor, weighs 1.2 million pounds. Completed in 2007, the Skywalk is located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation in northwest Arizona.  David Jin envisioned the idea of extending a glass bottom observation deck directly over the edge of the Grand Canyon, and presented his idea to the Hualapai Tribe. As a result, the Skywalk was developed and allows for a bird’s eye view of the tribe’s sacred canyon formation known as Eagle Point or Sa nyu wa, which means “eagle” in the Hualapai language. The bridge deck, constructed with diamant low-iron glass and structural  nterlayer glass consisting of six layers, is ten feet-two inches (3.11 M) wide. Bridge glass railings were made with the same glass as the deck but with three layers bent to follow the walkway’s curvature. The glass railings are five feet-two inches (1.58 M) tall and have been designed for high wind pressures. The bridge was assembled on top of the canyon wall in line with its final placement. The Skywalk bridge deck was designed for a one hundred pound per  square foot live load along with code required seismic and wind forces. Design aspects included wind loading and pedestrian induced vibration analysis. Two tuned mass dampers inside the outer box beam as well as one inside the inner box beam at the furthest extension of the bridge were installed to reduce vibration induced by pedestrian footfall. The bridge weighs a little more than one million pounds (454,545 kg) without counterweights but including the tuned mass dampers, railing hardware, glass rails, glass deck and steel box beams. The walkway can carry 822 people that weigh two hundred pounds (91 kg), but maximum allowed occupancy at one time is 120 people. Skywalk engineer, Kenneth Karren discussed Skywalk glass with St. Gobain (Germany), who claimed that it could stop a bullet. Karren requested a sample of the glass be sent to Las Vegas for him to test. St. Gobain obliged, and Karren took the glass into the desert outside Las Vegas and shot the glass with his rifle from one hundred yards. The glass stopped the bullet and the overall structure of the glass remained intact.  Adjacent to the Skywalk, the Hualapai Tribe provides tribal song and dance performances in an outdoor amphitheater, as well as handcrafted arts and jewelry. Visitors can dine at the Skywalk café. Future plans for the Grand Canyon Skywalk complex include a museum, theater, VIP lounge, gift shop, and a restaurant where visitors will be able to dine outdoors at the canyon’s rim.

Grand Canyon Skywalk Mailing Address Administrative Offices 5985 W. Wigwam Ave Las Vegas, NV 89139

Tel: 702-220-8372 Fax 702- 220-8517 Web site: www.grandcanyonskywalk.com