Columbia military museum holds first festival

You probably know that the Civil War’s first gunshots were taken in South Carolina, but were you aware that South Carolina was the site of more Revolutionary War battles than any other state? Or that the first submarine to sink a ship in combat was the HL Hunley, which torpedoed the USS Housatonic off the coast of Charleston in 1864?

“South Carolina has a long and distinguished legacy of military history,” says Steven Jeffcoat, J.D., L.L.M, who, among other duties, handles publicity for the South Carolina Military Museum, which opened in 2007. “We’re the only museum in the state that covers the full range of South Carolina’s military history, from 1670 to the present.” And when he says full range, he’s not kidding: the museum is chock full of more than 400 years worth of period weaponry, uniforms, artillery pieces and vehicles, including an interactive AH-64A Apache “Cockpit Weapons and Emergency Procedure Trainer” (CWEPT).

On Saturday, June 7, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., the museum will hold its first Palmetto Military Festival. In addition to celebrating the grand opening of the museum’s second building, which will be devoted to history from WWII and beyond, the festival will honor veterans, particularly those who served during WWII.

In addition to the museum’s permanent collection, the festival will have on display vintage military vehicles including an American WWII armored half-track, German WWII military vehicles, a German WWI-era Light Field Howitzer and an M1897 Field Gun. Kid-friendly German and Belgian Shepherd War Dogs will also be on hand as well as police and military K-9s from the Richland County’s Sheriff’s Department and Fort Jackson.

The SC Military Museum is located at 1225 Bluff Road, Columbia. Admission is free. For more information, visit scmilitarymuseum.com

Katie McElveen, Special to The State