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Vietnam Diorama Unveiling

March 28, 2020

event image

Veterans of one of the fiercest battles in the Vietnam War
to gather and tell their untold story in free event at Relic Room


Specialist Frank Marshall and his comrades in the 2nd of the 506th, 101st Airborne Division, fought the very last major battle Americans experienced during the Vietnam War.

It’s regarded as one of the bloodiest fights of the war. They lost 139 men, and hundreds of others were wounded. And no one back home even knew about it.

“When we first got home, nobody would believe us, nobody wanted to hear,” he remembers now. “We were in one of the worst battles of the war, and nobody even knows about it.”

The folks back home will know more on Saturday, March 28. That’s when the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum will unveil its new diorama of Fire Support Base Ripcord, designed and constructed by the Wildcat Chapter, Armor Modeling and Preservation Society. The meticulously detailed diorama, which shows the entire base and hill it was on, will be the first piece of the museum’s major Vietnam exhibit that will open fully in the fall.

The event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the museum at 301 Gervais Street, is free and open to the public. Here is the schedule of events:

  • 10 a.m. – Official unveiling of the Fire Support Base Ripcord diorama.
  • 11 a.m - Frank and other veterans of the Battle of Fire Support Base Ripcord will speak about their experience.
  • 2 p.m. - The builders of the diorama will tell how they did it – a painstaking task that took two years.
  • 3:30p.m. - Former Lt. James Lawrence, a Citadel graduate and veteran of the U.S. Army's first big battle in the war – the one featured in the film "We Were Soldiers" – will talk about his role in that battle, and also speak to the significance of what happened at Ripcord.

For Frank, getting together with a dozen or so of his comrades on March 28 will be something special. “I wouldn’t be here today if not for these guys,” he says, and it’s the first time they’ll be back together in 50 years.

“We’re all looking forward to it.”

Read more about the exhibit.