During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. War Eagles Air Museum (Santa Teresa)
This aviation and history museum in the far southeast part of the state is a gear head’s delight! They have one of the largest collections of historic military and civilian aircraft, classic automobiles, and aviation and automotive artifacts in the Southwest.
Stroll through their football-field sized exhibit hanger and check out aircraft from World War II and the Korean War, plus the Vietnam-era. Best of all, many of the aircraft are maintained in flyable condition. In addition to aircraft and automobiles, you can spend hours here exploring the museum's engines, instruments, weapons, photographs, documents, newspaper clippings, uniforms, scale models and more. Find the War Eagles Air Museum at 8012 Airport Road, Santa Teresa.
2. McBride Military Museum (Roswell)
Ok, who went to New Mexico Military Institute? If you did, no doubt that you know this bronze and marble statue. "The Bronco" is part of the McBride Museum. This museum is small, but it curates the school's long, rich history, with artifacts and historical information. For a more complete experience, combine the museum with a tour of the campus.
Founded in 1891, hundreds of Institute graduates have gone on to serve in the U.S. military and have fought in campaigns from World War I to present day, including Medal of Honor recipient, John C. Morgan. The museum is on the campus of NMMI, on the second level of Luna Hall, at 101 W. College Boulevard, Roswell. The museum is free and open to the public from 8 am to 4 pm, on weekdays.
3. Glorieta Pass Battlefield (Pecos National Historical Park)
The Civil War in New Mexico? You bet! In fact, the Battle of Glorieta Pass is often called the Gettysburg of the West. After two days of fighting here, U.S. troops effectively ran the Confederates out of the New Mexico Territory.
From the Pecos National Monument, take a ranger-led van tour of the battlefield and learn the importance of landmarks like Pigeon's Ranch (shown). You can also hike the 2.25-mile Battlefield loop. Note: Van tours fill quickly, so advance reservations are recommended. The Pecos National Monument is off New Mexico 63, in Pecos.
4. Veterans Memorial Park and Hamilton Military Museum (Truth or Consequences)
The Dianne Hamilton Military Museum, dedicated in November of 2009, is the most recent addition to Veterans Memorial Park. The museum includes items like war memorabilia, artifacts once owned by local veterans and a display on the Buffalo Soldiers.
Veteran's Memorial Park is also home to a small-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Purchased by local business people, the replica traveled the country before retiring to Truth or Consequences. The park also has a Walk of Education, a path made in the shape of a Congressional Medal of Honor. Markers along the path commemorate each of the conflicts the U.S. has been involved in since 1775. The museum and park are located at 996 South Broadway in Truth or Consequences.
5. Ernie Pyle Home and Library (Albuquerque)
Though not a veteran, Ernie Pyle was famed for his first-person accounts of the ordinary infantry "dogfaces" during World War II. Pyle received a Pulitzer Award for his work. Before the war, Pyle traveled the country and wrote about ordinary people. When World War II broke out, Pyle wrote about ordinary American soldiers until he was killed by a sniper at the Battle of Okinawa.
The City of Albuquerque acquired the Pyle House in 1948 and opened it as a library. While it's a fully-functional library, details of the house have been preserved, down to his white picket fence (often mentioned in his columns) and the grave marker for his dog. As well as books, the library houses a small collection of Pyle's work and memorabilia. (Shown: Pyle with a tank crew from the 191st Tank Battalion, US Army at the Anzio Beachhead in 1944.) The Ernie Pyle House/Library is at 900 Girard Boulevard, Southeast, in Albuquerque.
Have you visited any of these often overlooked military-related sites? Which are you adding to your trip-list?