Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano hosted a program to honor America’s citizen soldiers who have served in the nation’s armor divisions, on Saturday, August 6th at the Museum of American Armor at Old Bethpage Village Restoration. The museum placed operational tanks in the field, including: a Cold War M48 Patton tank; a WWII Sherman tank; a Pacific theater Stuart tank; as well as half-tracks and other tracked military vehicles. The program was made possible, in part, through the support of PSEG.
“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. “Tanker Saturday was a great opportunity to witnessing these historic tanks in operation, but more importantly to say `thank you’ to all who have served and those who continue to wear the uniform.”
Tanks that were 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 also rolled 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, located at 1303 Round Swamp Road in Old Bethpage, is inside the grounds of Old Bethpage Village Restoration and open year round, Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission donations are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and veterans and $5 for children. For more information, please visit www.museumofamericanarmor.org.