New Military Museum In Jackson County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

New Military Museum In Jackson County

"It's something I have been working for 44 years," Museum Owner Doug Mansfield says.

Since the age of five Doug Mansfield says he's had a passion for collecting military artifacts.

"Like soap, cigarettes, razors, cigarettes, helmets, hats, jackets, and coat everything the GI used in every day life and combat," Mansfield says.

Now more than 16,000 of these collector's items can been seen inside the new GI museum that features all types of memorabilia from the World War One era to the current war on terror.

"This case contains a lot of items my son used and brought back from Operation Iraqi Freedom," Mansfield says.

Also included in this place of military memories are authentic letters and post cards, canteens, and language guides used by soldiers.

There's even a special section dedicated to African Americans and women who served their country.

"It is important to me to honor and include African American, and memorabilia from African American in WWII is so hard find, so the few pieces that I have are extremely important to me," Mansfield says.

But Mansfield says what stands out the most about this GI museum is the memorial to Master Sergeant Sean Cooley.

The 35-year-old George County native was killed in Iraq back in February when a bomb exploded near his vehicle.

"Their can't be a more befitting tribute to some like Sean than what we are doing here," Manfield says.

The museum features a dedication to Cooley and his military career including pictures and other memorabilia. His wife Laura says Cooley loved being a soldier.

"Sean was a very giving person he loved being a nurse. He loved being a soldier," Laura Cooley says.

"He loved what he was doing. He knew it would be possibility that he would be killed, and he still went knowingly," Laura Cooley says.

And hopefully this museum will help people remember the sacrifices Cooley and others made in service to their country.

The G-I Museum is open every first and third Sunday of the month. For more information on the museum, call Doug Mansfield at 228-218-7739.

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