Monuments Men

Read the account of Army curators who identified and retrieved historic items of interest from the Pentagon following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.

By National Museum of the United States Army

Leslie D. Jensen, Leslie D. Jensen, 2021, From the collection of: National Museum of the United States Army
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Leslie D. Jensen, Leslie D. Jensen, 2021-04-26, From the collection of: National Museum of the United States Army
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Leslie D. Jensen is a museum curator specializing in military history who has been in the museum field since 1971. He worked in various positions in Colonial Williamsburg, then served as Curator of Collections at the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia. Within the Army Museum System, he has been Museum Curator at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum, Fort Eustis, Virginia, and Director of two U.S. Army museums, the 2d Armored Division Museum at Fort Hood, Texas and The Old Guard Museum, Fort Myer, Virginia.

He was a museum curator in the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, DC for ten years, both as a planner for the National Museum of the United States Army project, and Chief of the Collections Branch. He taught numerous training sessions for Army museum personnel concentrating on research and regulatory issues. He oversaw the movement of the Army’s storage area for historic items from Pueblo, Colorado to Anniston, Alabama. After the September 11 attack on the Pentagon, he led the Army team to identify and retrieve items of historic interest from the building.

He has been Curator of Arms and Armor at the West Point Museum, West Point, New York since 2002, where he is in charge of a collection of 2,000 small arms, 300 pieces of artillery and numerous other arms related items. He provides classes for cadets and the USMA History Department on a regular basis. He has mounted several exhibits there, including “Arms and Armor of the Age of Exploration, 1492-1625”, “Remember Fort Sumter; Operations Against Charleston, 1861-1865”, and “American Presentation Swords at the West Point Museum.”

Mr. Jensen is a Fellow of the Company of Military Historians, past President of the Company, and recipient of the Company’s Distinguished Service Award. He is a member of the English Arms and Armour Society, and Secretary for the New York City based Armor and Arms Club, founded by the curator of arms and armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1928. He is the author of two books, 32d Virginia Infantry and Johnny Reb, the Uniform of the Confederate Army, as well as a number of articles. He was an advisor for the Time-Life Civil War series. He researched and wrote the National Park Service study on the Fort Sumter flags for Fort Sumter National Monument. In addition to his interest in uniforms, weapons and the Civil War, Mr. Jensen has a strong interest in southern material culture and World War I.

A Battlefield at Home, pg. 1, Leslie D. Jensen, 2002-05, From the collection of: National Museum of the United States Army
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A Battlefield at Home, pg. 2, Leslie D. Jensen, 2002-05, From the collection of: National Museum of the United States Army
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A Battlefield at Home, pg. 3, Leslie D. Jensen, 2002-05, From the collection of: National Museum of the United States Army
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Col. Timothy R. Frambes, U.S. Army, 2019-09-18, From the collection of: National Museum of the United States Army
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Stemming the Tide, John M. Carland, 2000, From the collection of: National Museum of the United States Army
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Statement of Capt. Timothy Frambes

"On 18 October 2001, as part of my intern rotation with the U.S. Army Center of Military History, I was afforded the opportunity to enter damaged areas of the Pentagon to document, collect, and recover artifacts following the terrorist attack of 11 September that year. The damaged areas of the Pentagon were soon to be cleared of all office furniture, equipment, and furnishings prior to the deconstruction of the affected areas as part of the rebuilding project. I entered the building as a part of a combined team of historians from the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps historical centers.

Entering the crash site from the left side (as you viewed the collapsed area), our team was escorted to the third floor of the E-Ring of the Pentagon. Coming out of the stairwell and exiting toward the huge gap created by the force of the crashing aircraft, blast, and subsequent collapse of supporting structures, we had access to all the offices and corridors that had been damaged by smoke and fire. Previously, personnel had cleared much of that first open area with shovels to move the ruble and debris into piles. The debris piles were comprised of the former contents of innumerable bookcases, shelves, and filing cabinets.

Below a blast resistant window, so identified by the fact that the window glass had melted in cascading sheets rather than shattering, I began to shift through one of the rubble piles. One of the books I came across seemed familiar in size, cover coloring, and font. I recognized the book as one of the CMH Vietnam History series. Finding that ironic, I picked up the scorched and water-soaked book, turned it over and saw that it was Combat Operations: Stemming the Tide, May 1965 to October 1966 by Dr. John Carland, my sponsor at CMH. Believing that Dr. Carland would appreciate the irony of my find, I secured the book as recovered property of the author and returned it to his possession the following morning."

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