Fort Leonard Wood is approximately an hour and a half scenic drive from Atlantis Island Condos and is a “must do” day trip for military history buffs. Originally a basic training center in 1940, today Ft. Wood is the only installation that is home to three Army Schools. The installation represents all branches of service, Army, Marine Corp, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
The John B. Mahaffey Museum Complex, located at 495 South Dakota Avenue, Fort Leonard Wood, is home to four museums, that are open to the public, and have no admission fees. The four museums document the history of the fort itself, as well as the history of each of the three Army Schools.
The Fort Leonard Wood Museum was established more than 25 years ago and features artifacts from the post’s past. The highlight of this museum is the collection of World War II barracks that depict life at Fort Leonard Wood since the Second World War. Twelve World War II buildings were set aside to preserve the past for future visitors. These buildings include four barracks, two mess halls, three day rooms, two orderly rooms, and a regimental commanders quarters. Exhibits also include artifacts of the Axis prisoner of war camp that housed Italian and German prisoners of war during World War II. This museum also documents the life of the installation’s namesake, Major General Leonard Wood. Major General Leonard Wood was a Medal of Honor recipient, Military Governor of Cuba, and Governor General of the Philippines. In 1910 he was named Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and held this position until 1914. A physician, he is the only medical officer to have ever been named to the Army Chief of Staff position. Fort George G. Meade in Maryland was temporarily renamed Fort Leonard Wood in his honor during the 1920’s but reverted back to it’s current name in the 1930’s. Groundbreaking for Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri was December 3, 1940 and the installation has always retained Major General Leonard Wood as it’s namesake.
The US Army Engineer Museum was established in 1989, as part of the relocation of the Engineer School from Fort Belvoir, Virginia to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. The museum highlights five aspects of the Army’s engineering mission:
The US Army Chemical Corps Museum was relocated from Fort McClellan, Alabama to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in 1999. The museum is divided into six separate galleries:
June 2008 was the 90th anniversary of the Chemical Corps and also the 10th anniversary of the Civil Support Teams. The Chemical Corps Museum dedicated a new exhibit June 24, 2008 to honor the history of the Civil Support Team.
The U.S. Army Military Police Corps Regimental Museum was originally located at Fort Gordon, Georgia and was relocated to Fort McClellan, Alabama in 1975. The museum, along with the United States Army Military Police School, was moved to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in 1999 due to the closing of Fort McClellan under the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure’s (BRAC) recommendation. The mission of the museum is “ to collect and preserve the material history of the Military Police of the U.S. Army from 1775 to present. The museum also promotes the heritage and traditions of the Military Police branch and the values of the U.S. Army to Soldiers and civilians through public exhibits, educational programs, and branch training support.”
The Pulaski County Courthouse Museum, located in nearby Waynesville, on historic Route 66, also houses an exhibit of interest to military history buffs. The museum features a war room that features military memorabilia from 1776 to the present, with uniforms and items from Fort Leonard Wood.