Iron Mike Statue
The Iron Mike Statue that stands in front of the Airborne & Special Operations Museum stands at 16’4″ tall and weighs 3,235 pounds, and is meant to represent a paratrooper that has just jumped into battle in WWII. This version of Iron Mike is dedicated to all paratroopers: past, present, and future. He was sculpted by Leah Hiebert, appointed by LTG Sink, in 1960 and 1961, using SGM James Runyon as a model for the WWII-era Paratrooper. LTG Sink decided on the pose, uniform and gear that Iron Mike would wear, wanting him to resemble the artwork from the cover of Ross Carter’s book, “Devils in Baggy Pants”. He is made from polyester strips dipped in epoxy that have been stretched over a steel frame. Originally installed at the southern entrance of Fort Bragg at the Knox Gate, he was later replaced with a bronze replica that now stands in the traffic circle in front of the Post Headquarters since 1979. On 14 June 2010, the original was refurbished and placed in front of the Airborne & Special Operations Museum.
Begun in 2014, The “Mike to Mike” Half Marathon and All American Marathon take place in Fayetteville/Ft. Bragg, starting near the original Iron Mike Statue in front of the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Historic Downtown Fayetteville, finishing near the replica Iron Mike Statue on Fort Bragg.
The rocks at the base of the Iron Mike Statue have great significance. They were brought in from the the famed Currahee Mountain, where the first paratroopers of the 101st and 11th Airborne were trained at Camp Toccoa. Here, over 17,000 soldiers reported, trained, and successfully became paratroopers during WWII. Numerous highly-decorated units trained at Toccoa, one of which was featured in Steven Spielberg’s Band of Brothers. Paratroopers would run “3 miles up, 3 miles down” this mountain for training. Today, “Currahee” is the motto of the 506th Infantry Regiment.
The inscription on the rocks says:
The rock base beneath Iron Mike has its own story. In July 1942 over 5,000 men arrived at Camp Toccoa for training as a new type of soldier, a Paratrooper. Over the next few years over 17,000 soldiers of the 501st, 506th, 511th and the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiments trained at Camp Toccoa.
These boulders were acquired with the assistance of the landowner, the US Army and the city of Fayetteville from the storied Currahee Mountain in Toccoa, Georgia. Today “Currahee” is the motto of the 506th PIR.
“Currahee is a Native American word that means “Stand Alone”.
Paratroopers “Stand Alone” as they drop behind enemy lines.