Marine Corps to be honored in presentation of rare amphibious assault vehicle to the Museum of American Armor in memory of Kevin Kronlund

The Museum of American Armor in New York is acquiring a rare World War II era LVT (Landing Vehicle Tracked) “Buffalo” amphibious assault vehicle from Thea Kronlund as part of a joint decision to create a permanent living tribute to her late husband and armor collector, Mr. Kevin Kronlund and his leadership in keeping alive our nation’s military heritage.

Mrs. Kronlund stated, “On the eve of Kevin’s death the Museum of American Armor acquired his Long Tom cannon and M 4 artillery tractor for the purpose of making it a cornerstone of the museum’s armor collection on Long Island. Over the passage of time the museum has made repeated references to Kevin’s legacy when visitors come to tour their facility.  Given that the museum is located within one of the largest veterans populations in the United States and some 35 miles from Manhattan, we thought his LVT would be an appropriate means to create a lasting tribute to Kevin’s legacy that would be appreciated by many.”

Honoring a quiet patriot

Museum vice president Gary Lewi said, “We are deeply honored to be thought of by Thea as the future home for this unique weapon of war that brought tens of thousands of Marines to hostile beaches across the Pacific. At the time of Kevin’s tragic death he had already earned a national reputation as a quiet patriot who shared his love of our nation’s military with anyone fortunate enough to meet him. Equally lasting was his offer of insight, expertise and unique skills in keeping these 70 year old vehicles operational. We can try to repay that debt by memorializing the man and his mission through this LVT.”

Weighing over 16 tons, the amphibious vehicle being donated is similar to those first used by the U.S. Marines to assault the well-entrenched Japanese enemy in the Pacific on the island of Tarawa in late 1943. Of 125 vehicles used, only 35 remained operational by the end of the day, underscoring the fierce and bloody fighting that took place. Nevertheless, it became obvious to American planners that these armor vehicles, nicknamed Buffalos, had a vital role to play in bringing Marines ashore under fire across the Pacific. Future versions would be upgraded with more armor, machine guns and even tank turrets. In all, over 18,000 were built and are 26 feet long and nearly 11 feet wide.

Formal dedication this summer

The vehicle will be formally dedicated on August 6th, the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima that set the stage for the Japanese surrender. Had Imperial Japan fought on thousands of LVTs would have been forced to come ashore under murderous fire from Kamikazes resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Marines and untold Japanese military and civilian casualties.

Lewi said the museum’s intent is to use the LVT as the centerpiece for a permanent display that honors Kevin Kronlund and the Marines who took the Buffalo into battle. “I think that Kevin would have liked the idea that his operational vehicle will be used to greet every Leatherneck and his family who visits the museum. It is very much part of Marine Corps history and Kevin played an instrumental role as a custodian of that historic chapter.”

While still capable of amphibious operation it is not the current intent of the museum to use the Buffalo off Long Island beaches.




Contact: Gary Lewi 212 843-8010