Museum of American Armor welcomes rare M18 Hellcat to its presentation

Long term loan from Connecticut armor museum reflects regional alliance

The U.S. Military Museum of Connecticut and the Museum of American Armor on Long Island have announced a strategic alliance that allows a number of historic vehicles on display in Danbury to be transferred on long term loan to the New York not-for-profit institution. The agreement was celebrated today as a rare World War M18 tank destroyer was unloaded at the Museum of American Armor inside Old Bethpage Village Restoration.

Gary Lewi, a vice president and board member of the Museum of American Armor (MAA) stated, “First and foremost is the question how do both institutions pay tribute to John Valluzo, the late founder and president of what was the Military Museum of Southern New England (MMSNE) who sought to create a vibrant and dynamic tribute to the American G.I. Our Long Island institution shares a parallel mission and we do so within one of the largest veterans populations in the United States so there are obvious synergies that both museums sought to explore.”

Sustaining a legacy

Al Barto, a board member of the Connecticut based military museum observed, “There is little question that our institution has fallen on hard times since John’s death. He was a veteran, a visionary and the driving spirit behind the museum – and it is becoming apparent that he was truly the indispensable man. This long term agreement allows his legacy to be on public display in a vibrant institution.”

Lewi stated, “U.S. Military Museum has a number of the tanks and other vehicles that are historically significant and should be seen by the public and their importance appreciated. The Museum of American Armor will continue to welcome elements of the collection as we have the venue adjacent to a major highway (the Long Island Expressway), the population density and a considerable media market required to achieve the strategic objectives of both institutions.”

In cooperation with Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, the Museum of American Armor has under 25,000 square feet of space some 30 operational military vehicles that include a Sherman tank, a Stuart tank, an extremely rare Long Tom artillery piece, an M48 tank that was used by the Israeli army during the fierce 1973 Yom Kippur War, among other vehicles. Located within a Nassau County preserve the museum has used some 200 adjacent acres to stage living history presentations attracting thousands of people.

Founded by Lawrence Kadish who serves as its president, the museum board includes former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Dr. Calvin Butts, president of the State University of New York at Old Westbury, Steve Napolitano, president and CEO of First Nationwide Title, and Michael Polimeni, CEO of Polimeni International, among others.