New Infantry Museum Features Unique Statues - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

New Infantry Museum Features Unique Statues

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  The attention to detail is remarkable. You can see every line, every expression, and even fingerprints.

That's because the figures that grace the 100 Yards Ramp at the National Infantry Museum aren't ordinary statues.

"You'll see some 40 figures on this ramp. Every one of those figures is a real soldier from Fort Benning, Georgia. That's not a mannequin. We selected these soldiers, actual soldier's in today's army, sent them to New York and had them cast," said Major General Gerry White, Chairman of the National Infantry Foundation.

The chosen infantrymen posed for hours to capture turning points in American history.

"They stuck a straw up our nose and made us breathe through it and put the plaster on, made a mold of our face and they started doing our body - the front half and the back half and then they did our lower body," explained Captain Matthew Makaryk.

"They actually hung us from a rope at some points to get the grimace and they built the cast around us and built the uniforms and equipment on after that," said Captain Jeff Preston.

"The molding, once they peeled off my face piece, there was no question. It looked exactly like me, like a clone. It was unreal," Sergeant Chris Rocha said.

All of that work made the eight battle scenes on the ramp very real. They feature actual pieces of history, including an original Huey helicopter and massive Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

"We had to put it on this ramp before we built the building because we couldn't have gotten it in here otherwise," Major General White explained.

As for the soldiers whose likenesses line the museum's ramp, the project was just another way for them to give back to their country.

"Just to be at the time and place where I could contribute to this museum is huge but to be immortalized in it so to speak is just beyond words," Captain Preston added.

"Forty, fifty years from now when I get to show my kids my face- I'm looking forward to that. It's kind of neat. A part of me will always be at Fort Benning," Captain Makaryk said.

After 100 yards and over a time of 235 years, the ramp comes to a fitting end at the American flag. In the foreground soldiers march on.

According to Major General White, "Those soldiers are marching into the future. They're going to fight for us somewhere, some place, some time and hopefully continue to preserve the freedoms that all of us enjoy."

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