“Tanker Saturday” to put tanks in the field to honor GIs who have served in America’s armor divisions
On Saturday, August 6th at 12 Noon, The Museum of American Armor at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, 1303 Round Swamp Road, Old Bethpage, will honor America’s citizen soldiers who have served in the nation’s armor divisions by operating in the field a Cold War M48 Patton tank, a WW II Sherman tank, a Pacific theater Stuart tank, as well as half tracks and other tracked military vehicles. The program is made possible, in part, through the support of PSEG.
Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano is inviting the public as well as all veterans and their families to this unique event and looks forward to welcoming the families of veterans who served and many who were trained to either operate or maintain armored vehicles, trucks and other Army and Marine vehicles.
“The Museum of American Armor has become a living classroom that continues to provide us all with a better understanding of the legacy of freedom provided by our veterans,” stated County Executive Mangano. “We look forward to seeing these historic tanks in operation, but more important is the opportunity to say `thank you’ to all who have served and those who continue to wear the uniform.”
PSEG’s Frederick Daum explained, “Our support for this program underscores PSEG’s continuing efforts to connect our region with the veterans who live in literally every Long Island neighborhood and every town. From creating career opportunities for those who have recently returned from deployment to strengthening educational programs that ensure a new generation of Americans understands their heritage, we believe this is an important mission as a community partner.”
PSEG’s support will allow the armor museum to place its period armor tanks in simultaneous field operation in salute to the American veteran and is inviting all those who have served, and their families, to witness the display.
Museum founder and president, Lawrence Kadish, observed, “These tanks have been acquired over time for a single purpose, to honor those who have served our nation. Now more than ever we need to pause and give thanks to those who have worn the uniform.”
Bill Walden, Commander of the Nassau County Council of Veterans of Foreign Wars, stated, “This presentation is a powerful reminder of America continuing to stand tall against tyranny, the courage of those who have served and the commitment of Nassau County and supporters such as PSEG to make these programs available to the public.”
Tanks that will be operating include the Cold War M48 Patton tank, although the museum’s example actually served with the Israeli Defense Forces and fought during the 1973 Yom Kippur War along the Suez Canal. Considered surplus by the United States by the early 1960s, it was transferred to Jordan as part of a military assistance program that existed between the two nations. During the 1967 Six Day War Israeli forces captured this M48 and incorporated it into its own tank force.
The classic M4 Sherman tank of World War II will also be rolling out the museum doors, one of the most famous and recognizable tanks of all time. Production exceeded 50,000 with a number of different manufacturers producing a broad range of variants, many of them modified in the field. With nowhere near the hitting power or protective armor of the late war German tanks, the Sherman was one of the most dependable and rugged tanks of World War II. Once tactics were developed that allowed them to assault German Tigers and Panthers from ambush the Sherman would prove deadly on the battlefield.
The museum’s Stuart reconnaissance tank was extensively used in the Pacific as its smaller size made it easier to maneuver in the jungle fighting that characterized that conflict, and was often deployed by Marine units. In Europe the Stuart was deployed as an armored scout whose mission was to spot the enemy and then report back so reinforcements could be brought to the front.
The Museum of American Armor, 1303 Round Swamp Road, Old Bethpage, is inside the grounds of Old Bethpage Village Restoration and is open year around, Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, veterans and children.
“Tanker Saturday” on August 6th begins at 12 Noon with tanks operating periodically throughout the day.
Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano gets a briefing on the Sherman tank at the Museum of American Armor as part of its Tanker Saturday on August 6th, from (l-to-r) museum director Mark Renton of Massapequa Park, Jim Lennon of Levittown and James Hart of Plainview.