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Museum Faces Unique Task Of Documenting 'New' History

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The Airborne and Special Operations Museum

has a unique challenge on its hands.

Instead of documenting the past, the museum staff is documenting the present, recording "new" history in the war on terror.

Items like the Taliban flag that's on display are gems for the museum. A Coscom unit at Fort Bragg brought the flag back from a deployment.

The museum's collections manager, Mary Dennings, is in search of any other items that can one day be known as artifacts from Operation Enduring Freedom.

For now, the museum is collecting what it can, like the uniform worn by one of the first black female commanders in Afghanistan.

It's easy to see the Taliban was not that sophiscated by the few things the museum already has on display. Bragg soldiers found an Enfield rifle that dates back to 1913.

Al-Qaida also was fighting with a homemade grenade launcher that is on display.

"The technology doesn't really matter," museum employee George Stefanski said. "As long as it shoots any type of round or projectile, they'll use it."

One of the items on the museum's wish list is a Taliban uniform. But because the uniforms are often filled with lice, soldiers are not allowed to bring them back to the United States.

At the museum, Operation Desert Storm is the last major conflict to have a large display. But don't expect to see Operation Enduring Freedom anytime soon because history is still in the making.

"We want to make sure we tell the right story and factual story," Dennings said. "So we want to hold off until we have all the facts and can do it properly."

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