Fort Carson is the only major military installation in the U.S. with a combat division that doesn't have a dedicated, comprehensive museum to recognize the service and sacrifice of all who served there.
More than 70 units, including 12 divisions, have called Fort Carson home since the installation opened as Camp Carson in 1942. The Mountain Post Historical Association has assumed the mission to document and tell their story.
"We really believe in the mission," said Katie Lally, executive director of the association. "There are so many artifacts and so many stories that aren't being told and we don't want them being lost."
From the association's headquarters in the 5,000-square foot interim museum provided by Fort Carson, the all-volunteer staff - save one part-time employee - strategize how to bring the $6 million, 17,000-square foot Mountain Post Historical Center to fruition. The association is partnered with the Department of the Army Center for Military History and Fort Carson, but budget constraints have left the responsibility to fund the project on the association.
It has collected nearly $1.5 million for the facility that will be just outside Fort Carson's main gate.
"We are really passionate about trying to build something for the mountain post that really talks to the sacrifices and service of all those soldiers who have gone through Fort Carson," said retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Edward Soriano, association president.
Soriano said he hopes the museum will anchor interest in south Colorado Springs, much like the Air Force Academy does in the northern part of the city. He said because the new museum will be publicly accessible outside the installation, the association also has a memorandum of agreement with the state of Colorado to make the new museum a point of interest in conjunction with Cheyenne Mountain State Park.
"It's not just about the museum," Soriano said. "It's not just about brick and mortar. We really have a compelling story to tell. We have got to have something that is enduring that recognizes the accomplishments and sacrifices of our soldiers and their families."