The U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum, the U.S. Army’s only museum not on a military base, stands minutes from I-95 in the heart of downtown Fayetteville. On a regular basis, the Smithsonian-quality museum welcomes visitors from all over the country and all over the world. 

In the main gallery, guests walk through history, starting from test platoon to present day. The gallery includes multi-media exhibits, full-size military equipment, artifacts, uniforms, photos and detailed histories for each conflict and campaign. While the main gallery can take up much of a visitor’s time, there are a few not-to-miss items outside of the main gallery.

Iron Mike

Make time to visit: 
  • Iron Mike stands at the entrance to the museum. This statue originally stood at the entrance to Fort Bragg (now Fort Liberty). Once renovated, in 2010 it was installed at to the entrance of the U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum. Today, Iron Mike is a favorite spot for visitors to grab a picture.  

  • Overlooking Iron MikeConstant Vigilance is the world’s first memorial to special operations canines killed in the line of duty. It recognizes all dogs from the United States, United Kingdom or Australia who have died in the line of duty since 9/11. A small plaque with each canine killed lists their name, date of birth, country and the date they died. The inscription on the front of the plaque reads:

Constant Vigilance

  • Just outside the museum, hundreds of paver stones honor those who fought and died for our freedom. The Reflection Garden at the back of the museum is the perfect place to reflect upon the Soldier stories the museum highlights.

  • ​On the left side of the lobby, the U.S. Military Medals of Valor are displayed: Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, and the Congressional Medal of Honor. Additionally, visitors can learn the stories of each Medal of Honor recipient from the Museum’s Medal of Honor kiosk.

Dog tag casualties

  • Across the parking lot form the Airborne & Special Operations Museum, the Visitor Center at North Carolina Veteran’s Park holds two special exhibits. A unique 33,500 dog tag chandelier hangs from the ceiling. Nearby, an exhibit holds dog tags that represent each North Carolinian killed during each war and conflict since World War 1. Organized by each conflict, the exhibit is a powerful representation of the lives lost in defense of our country. 

These are just a few of the museum’s gems. Make plans to visit and explore not only the museum but also other military sites around Fayetteville. The Patriots, Past & Present Cultural Heritage Trail provides an overview of sites from the Revolutionary, Civil War and modern military era. 


The Airborne & Special Operations Museum is currently open  Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, Noon-4 p.m. and Closed on Monday. If you are not able to visit in person, check out the Virtual Tour.