The colorful and often tragic history of Texas is full of tales of the heroes who have taken up arms in the name of justice and liberty and the fight for independence and freedom. From the heroes of the Texas Revolution to the fighting Texans serving the U.S. Armed Forces in the modern campaigns of Iraq and Afghanistan today, and all times between, military history and tradition runs deep in the Lone Star State.
Such great Texan-soldier heroes as Dwight Eisenhower and Chester Nimitz made their military mark in Texas, and countless thousands of fellow Texans have joined them down through the years in service to the flags of the Nation and the Republic. And now, there legacy has been prepetually recorded in the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin.
Established in 1992, the Texas Military Foreces Museum is the only museum in the nation that presents the history of the Texas Military from the Texas Revolution to the present.
The TXMF can trace their roots to the 1830s, when Stephen F. Austin formed local militia groups to defend against Indian attacks and Texas militia forces defeated Mexican regulars at Gonzales and Goliad. Since that time, the TXMF have continued to distinguish themselves in both war and peace and, while the missions and force structures have evolved over time, the tradition of the citizen soldier with close ties to local communities continues to this day.
The museum is a comprehensive warehouse of historical information and exhibits honoring Texas military foeces down through time. Exhibits include:
Texas Revolution – A diorama of the final assault on the Alamo, March 6, 1836, is depicted along with replicas of the Twin Sisters cannons used in the Battle of San Jacinto. A diorama of the Battle of San Jacinto, the battle in which Texas won its independence from Mexico on April 21, 1836, and an exhibit of the ten battle flags of Texas are presented as well as information on William B. Travis, Sam Houston, Juan Seguin, General Santa Ana and Stephen F. Austin.
War Between the States - An exhibit depicting the role of Texas in the War Between the States is presented by pictures, uniforms, weapons and biographies of various confederate officers who had distinct ties to the Lone Star State during that period of time. Flags of the 10th Cavalry are on display, along with mannequins dressed in period uniforms with equipment.
Buffalo Soldiers - Called the “Buffalo Soldiers” by their adversaries, the U.S. 9th and 10th Cavalry were stationed at different times on the Texas frontier during the Post Civil War Period. They bravely protected citizens from Indian and bandit depredations and attempted to maintain law and order. The 9th Cavalry was in Texas first before being replaced by the 10th. During World War II, the 9th Cavalry became a part of the 56th Cavalry Brigade when the 112th Cavalry was sent overseas to the Pacific Theater.
Spanish-American War - Shown in our exhibit are weapons and uniforms of the period and a roster of a company of one of the regiments raised in Texas to fight in the war. None of the regiments fought, but one performed occupation duty in Cuba. Of particular note is a write-up and a pistol that belonged to Captain William Walker, Commander of Troop G, 1st Texas Volunteer Cavalry. Part of this exhibit is an 1897 Colt-Marlin machine gun. which was the first machine gun adopted by the U.S. Armed Forces.
World War I Memorabilia, photographs, uniforms and equipment of soldiers who served in the 36th Infantry Division and 90th Infantry Division are displayed. The 36th Division was born with the mobilization of the Texas and Oklahoma National Guard for World War I in 1917.
Between the Wars - After World War I, the 36th Division was formed entirely in Texas and, along with the 56th Cavalry Brigade, constituted the Texas National Guard. The Cavalry Brigade was not part of the 36th Division and consisted of the 112th and 124th Cavalry Regiments, which were horse mounted. Pictures and memorabilia tell the story of this time period.
World War II - A major portion of the exhibits in the museum detail the story of the 36th “Texas” Infantry Division, the 112th and 124th Cavalry Regiments, the 111th Observation Squadron and the Texas Defense Guard. Texas National Guard units fought in Europe, Burma and the Pacific, while the Texas Defense Guard organized 50 battalions to guard Texas against invasion and sabotage. American, captured German, Japanese and Italian equipment and weapons are included in the exhibit.
Captured Enemy Equipment - Weapons and equipment that belonged to German, Italian, Japanese, North Vietnamese and Iraqi troops seized during the various conflicts are displayed. Included are rifles, pistols, swords, flags, machine guns, recoilless rifles, rocket launchers, antitank rifles and mortars used against Texas troops.
History of Military Aviation - The history of U.S. military aviation is depicted using model aircraft in 1/72 scale. The collection begins with the military version of the Wright Flyer and contains various landmark aircraft developed by the United States military through the years.
Weapons Display - In Room 2 of the main gallery there are, on display, various weapons used by Germany, Japan, Italy, Austria, France, England and the United States during World War I. Also on display are weapons used by the Allies and the Axis during World War II and weapons used during the Vietnam War, the Korean War and the most recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Individual as well as crew-served weapons are on exhibit.
Korean Conflict- Practically the entire Texas Air National Guard was called to active duty for the Korean Conflict. Combat missions were flown in the skies over Korea in “MIG” Alley.
Vietnam War - Although no Texas National Guard units fought in the Vietnam Conflict, many members of today’s Texas Guard are Veterans of that Conflict. The Texas Air National Guard flew “short tours,” support missions hauling cargo. The Texas Army National Guard was tasked to form a separate infantry brigade for intensified training for possible deployment. For two and one half years, the 36th Infantry Brigade, made up mostly of units from the 36th Division, conducted intensified training. It was ranked as one of the best National Guard Brigades in the country when the decision was made by President Lyndon Johnson not to mobilize the National Guard for the Vietnam Conflict.
The Gulf War - Twenty-five Texas Army and Air National Guard units were mobilized for Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Four Army Guard units were deployed to the Middle East and the 136th Military Airlift Wing provided in-country support, flying the C-130 aircraft. Numerous Air Guard personnel also served in the war on an individual basis. Exhibited are items of equipment captured from the Iraqi Armed Forces by the 49th Air Traffic Control Platoon and Company G, 149th Aviation.
The Texas Cavalry exhibit shows the development of the Texas Cavalry as it converted from horses to tanks. It consists of a blacksmith shop, two mounted Texas Cavalrymen, swords, flags of the 112th and 124th Cavalry Regiments, guidons and scale model tanks. The development of the tank is depicted by models of American, German and Japanese tanks. Two horse-mounted cavalymen depict the spirit of the Texas Cavalry.
The Texas Hall of Heroes is a special exhibit honoring Texans who have received the Medal of Honor. Large replicas of the Army, Navy and Air Force Medals of Honor as well as the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor are mounted on the walls. Pictures and the citations of all Texas Medal of Honor recipients are on display.
The Texas Military Forces Museum is located in Building 6 on Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. The street address is 2200 West 35th Street, just west of Loop 1 (MOPAC Blvd).
Hours of Operation
Wednesday - Sunday 10:00 am - 4:00 p.m.
Monday and Tuesday Closed