While Fort Bragg has operated at a health protection level of “Charlie” since March that has led to visitor limitations, soldiers and families can still check out outdoor memorials across the post.
We’ve compiled a list of a few of the iconic statues and memorials across post along with what they are and for whom they’re named.
From an Iron Mike replica — there are three — to a time capsule with a letter from President John F. Kennedy, and steel from the Twin Towers, here’s your cheat sheet to the monuments’ significance.
—Meadows Statue: Meadows Memorial Parade Field, near Yadkin Road.
Maj. Richard “Dick” Meadows was a special operations commander who enlisted in the Army in 1947 at the age of 16 and joined the U.S. Army Special Forces in 1953, his biography with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command states.
Meadows was involved in conflicts from the Korean War through the Vietnam War and served as a team leader during the Son Tay Raid to rescue U.S. prisoners of war in 1970, according to research from the University of North Carolina Library.
He was team leader of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam — Studies and Observation Group commando teams operating behind enemy lines in Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
Meadows was also instrumental in the creation of the military task force known as Delta Force in the 1970s, according to UNC Library research.
He retired from the military in 1977 but served as an advisory, including during operations in Tehran during the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1980.
Meadows died in 1995 at the age of 64.
The statue, which depicts Meadows in full combat gear carrying a Car-15 semi-automatic rifle, was donated by politician Ross Perot in 1997.
—Bronze Bruce: Special Operations Memorial Plaza, near Desert Storm Drive and Yadkin Road.
The 22-foot Special Warfare Memorial Statue was the first Vietnam memorial in the United States and was dedicated in 1969, according to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
A Special Forces soldier was chosen because “nearly all Army special operations soldiers killed in Vietnam were Green Berets,” the command’s information states.
The statue depicts a sergeant first class noncommissioned officer carrying an M-16 rifle, with one foot crushing the snake “symbolic of tyranny in the world and the threats and dangers that will instantly bring him to action.”
The statue cost $100,000 and included donations from actor John Wayne, who starred in the 1968 movie “The Green Berets;” songwriter Barry Saddler, who wrote “The Ballad of the Green Berets;” former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara; and funds donated from Special Forces soldiers “all over the world.”
—Bull Simons Statue: JFK Special Memorial Plaza, near Ardennes and Marion Street.
Col. Arthur D. “Bull” Simons commissioned in the Army in 1941, served in the Pacific theater and returned to the Army in 1951, according to his biography.
He joined the Special Forces in the late 1950s.
After serving as chief of staff at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Center for Military Assistance at Fort Bragg, he commanded the 8th Special Forces Group from 1963 to 1965.
After serving in various capacities with the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, Simons was drafted to serve as deputy commander for the Joint Contingency Task Group Ivory Coast.
In 1970, he and 59 raiders attempted to rescue Americans held in a prisoner of war camp northwest of Hanoi in what was known as the Son Tay Raid.
Simons retired in August 1971. In 1979, Ross Perot, the president of Texas-based Electronic Data, asked Simons to lead the rescue of two of his employees who were arrested in Iran. Simons died May 21, 1979.
The statue depicts Simons during the Vietnam era and was donated by Perot, according to UNC Library research.
—Yarborough-Kennedy statue: In front of Kennedy Hall, near Ardennes and Marion Street.
According to UNC Library research, then-Brig. Gen. William Yarborough convinced the Army to adopt the green beret as the official special forces headgear in 1960.
Yarborough met with then-President John F. Kennedy on Oct. 12, 1961, at Fort Bragg, which led to Kennedy approving the use of the green beret, according to an Army article.
The statue was created and paid for by Ross Perot, a long-time supporter of special operations.
Perot previously said the idea behind the statue was to commemorate the meeting between Yarborough and Kennedy, to “honor one of the founders of modern Special Forces,” and to honor Kennedy’s relationship with Special Forces and his own World War II service.
—Iron Mike statue replica, near Armistead and Randolph streets at Fort Bragg
The Iron Mike statue was created by Leah Heibert, wife of deputy post chaplain Samuel L. Hiebert, between 1960 and 1951.
Fayetteville researchers attribute Pfc. Michael A. Scambellure, an 82nd Airborne Division soldier, who received the Silver Star for his heroic actions in Sicily, for originally inspiring the statue.
Using Sgt. Maj. James Runyon as a model, the statue depicts a World War II-era airborne trooper with a Thompson submachine gun.
The original statue is located at the entrance of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum on Bragg Boulevard in Fayetteville.
The replica and original statue sit on top of stone from Currahee Mountain at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, a training site for World War II paratroopers.
Lt. Gen. T.J.H. Trapnell presided over the 1961 dedication ceremony and was quoted as saying “the paratrooper is now a symbol to freedom-seeking peoples throughout the world,” according to UNC Library research.
According to the UNC Library, another bronze replica of the statue is located at Sainte- Mère-Église, France, commemorating airborne soldiers’ actions during the invasion of Normandy.
—The Eternal Flame, Fort Bragg Main Post Parade Field, near Alexander and Randolph streets.
The sculpture is dedicated in honor of victims of 9/11 and for service members who died in the Global War on Terror and those who continue to fight.
The caldron is formed from a 300-pound hunk of steel recovered from the site of the World Trade Center attacks.
The rest was turned into bricks that are housed at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum.
For a base, officials chose stone from Currahee Mountain at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, a training site for World War II paratroopers.
—Unit memorials: Memorials to commemorate soldiers of all conflicts are located across Fort Bragg.
The 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade has a couple of memorials in front of the battalion’s headquarters.
The Winged Assault Memorial is in honor of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jesse Phelps, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kenneth Stancil, Spc. Donald Grella and Spc. Thomas Rice, who died when their helicopter was shot down Dec. 26, 1965, in Vietnam.
Each was declared as missing in action until the Department of Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office announced their remains were found and identified in 2010.
The 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group also has its own POW/MIA monument with more than 30 names of those serving in the Army Air Corps’ 403rd Bombardment Squadron during World War II.
The 525th Military Intelligence Brigade’s Lighting Memorial pays tribute to 67 soldiers who died in support of the brigade’s wartime operations over 11 campaigns.
And the 82nd Airborne Division and U.S. Army Special Operations Command each have living memorials where names are added to Global War on Terror memorials.
For a complete list of Fort Bragg’s monuments, check out the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitor Bureau’s and UNC Library’s lists online.
(c) 2021 The Fayetteville Observer
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.