Strap on your boots and get ready for a journey through time with Savannah Military Tours—one of the newest tours in town as of May 2016. Try to keep up with a former marine and army veteran as they charge through the many spots in Savannah overflowing with military history.
Starting at the Webb Military Museum, the tour then combs the city, hitting 17 of the most military-affiliated squares to reveal the different roles Savannah had in wars over the ages. The expedition explains everything from the Siege of Savannah— one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolution—to Savannah’s efforts in World War I and II in supplying troops.
“I’m a native of Savannah and I felt there was a dire need for a tour that would open people’s eyes to the rich military history here,” said Mike Cates, who owns Savannah Military Tours with his wife, Dianne.
With an abundance of ghost, pirate and “historic overview” tours, Savannah was lacking a tour downtown that delved deep into her bloody past and the many wars and battles that she was a part of. Mike and Dianne opened the tour in an effort to change this, recruiting Army Combat Veteran David Woods and Marine Combat Veteran Austin Eskew, along with Michael Irving, a good friend/military enthusiast, to join their unit.
Mike Cates got the idea for a military tour after buying a M35 military cargo truck. He thought it would be an exceptional idea to start a military history tour and drive people around in the massive military vehicle. However, due to city ordinances, they opted for air-conditioned vans instead.
Also the owner of Savannah Port Tours and Savannah Cams, Mike is a huge military buff, who was bestowed an “Honorary Veteran” title by the VFW in Savannah for his efforts in supporting those who served. Both Dianne and Mike have fathers and friends who are veterans, as well as family members who are currently serving in the military. Their main objective in all of this is to give back to those who have served and sacrificed for the community, while teaching others about the past military efforts in Georgia’s First City.
“We give a dollar back for every ticket we sell,” Dianne explained. “We donate it to the VFW here in Savannah.”
Mike and Dianne are working hard to add a few new stops to their tour, such as the many forts around Savannah and the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. Dianne is the most excited about the Air Force Museum, as she wants to get as much traffic from downtown to the museum as possible. Mike also has plans to ask the city for reconsideration to allow the tour to take place inside of his M35 military cargo truck. You might not be able to ride in style in a military truck as of right now, but these guys have big plans for this tour’s future!
Tours run about $20 per person and start at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., or other times by request, starting at the Webb Military Museum, 411 E. York St. Combo tickets are also available for only a couple extra dollars to get both the tour and admission into the museum. For more information, call Savannah Military Tours at (844) 645-8687 or go to savannahmilitarytours.com.