(Old Bethpage, N.Y) The Museum of American Armor at Old Bethpage Village Restoration Village today announced that former New York City Police Commissioner and Marine Corps veteran Ray Kelly is joining the museum’s Board of Trustees.

Mr. Kelly was the longest serving Commissioner of the New York City Police Department in its history and rose from cadet to the department’s top job during his 47 years on the force. The Commissioner is a combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He led fellow Marines during the Vietnam War as a First Lieutenant including the bloody chaotic battles of Operation Harvest Moon that broke the back of a Viet Cong offensive south of Da Nang.  Upon returning home Commissioner Kelly joined the Marine Reserves and retired with the rank of Colonel.

Commissioner Kelly stated, “I am proud to be part of an organization that will not only pay tribute to every American who has worn the uniform, but is becoming a destination that will serve as a living, vibrant classroom that keeps alive the courage and valor of our American heritage.”

Museum founder and president Lawrence Kadish said, “We are immensely proud that Commissioner Kelly has agreed to serve on the museum’s board. It underscores the importance of our mission of honoring the past for the purpose of paying tribute to the heroes in our own families as well as serving to remind us all that America continues to face a dangerous world. “

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano welcomed the announcement. “The Museum of American Armor could not have a better ally than Ray Kelly. His extraordinary tenure as New York City Police Commissioner reflects his professional integrity, his personal resolve and his quiet patriotism. His board position at the Armor museum will ensure this emerging destination in the New York metropolitan area will allow it to go from strength to strength. “

Commissioner Kelly has also served as Director of Police under the United Nations Mission in Haiti, and as an Interpol Vice President. During the Clinton Administration, Kelly served as Treasury Department Under Secretary for Enforcement.  He is currently a commentator for ABC News on issues relating to terrorism and is president of risk management services at Cushman & Wakefield where the firm offers clients specifically designed solutions to manage and mitigate risks around the world.

The Museum of American Armor www.museumofamericanarmor.org will be dedicating its 25,000 square foot building this June 6th within Old Bethpage Village Restoration through a public private partnership with Nassau County and the State of New York.  It reflects an effective multi-purposing of OBVR that has won the endorsement of the History Channel as it campaigns to preserve our nation’s history.

At the recommendation of the County Executive, more than 25 operational WW II vehicles in the museum’s collection have the ability to create an armored column that replicates the environment faced by of American forces during World War II. Place the armor in a setting of vintage farmhouses and country roads reminiscent of the WWII era Normandy countryside, and one has walked into a virtual time machine that puts visitors in touch with American military history. While based in its new facility, armor will operate in the village setting several times a year in concert with living historians so that visitors can capture the sights and sounds of Europe in 1944.