Fort Meade: two reservoirs to find new homes as teaching tools
Nearly three years after the Fort Meade Museum closed, a team of contractors has moved three tanks from the building vacated April 18-19, so they can be transported to new homes and once again serve as teaching tools.
The Liberty Mark VIII and M-3A1 light tanks will be part of the US Army Armor & Calvary collection at Fort Benning, Georgia, and the FT17/M-1917 hybrid light tank will be on display at the 1st Cavalry Museum at Fort Hood, Texas.
“In 2018, the Army Museum Enterprise was tasked by the Secretary of the Army to reform the artifact collection and operational footprint of the AME,” said Lt. Col. Torrance L. Conner, US Army Center of Military History, Deputy Director of Army Museums. “This is a four-pronged effort that includes consolidating museums into multi-museum facilities, downsizing the art and artifact collection, downsizing the facility footprint into 30 facilities, improving the management of sensitive objects and optimizing museum programs and education efforts. Fort Meade was one of those places.
Armored Training Support Facility personnel assessed the three armored macro artifacts to determine their historical significance and decide where to place them.
“The collection of U.S. Army armor and cavalry housed at Fort Benning’s Armor Training Support Center is the direct descendant of the AEF Tank Corps and Fort Meade Tank Corps,” Conner said. . “As the primary armor collection for the United States, the Armor TSF was a primary choice for the Mark VIII. The Armor TSF is a very large new building, and the Mark VIII would be kept inside, protected from the elements for the rest of its life.
Additionally, the Armor TSF will also house the M-3A1.
“The tank will provide an educational platform from early tank engineering to the current tank, to give them a sense of how far they’ve come in history,” said Jay Michael Auwae, transportation officer at the Center of Military History at the American army.
The FT17/M-1917 travels approximately 1,500 miles to become a permanent part of the National Mounted Warfare Museum, which is currently under construction at Fort Hood. It will be exhibited in the museum’s rotunda.
“This pristine artifact will also be kept in a museum and will pay homage to mounted warfare,” Conner said. “The NMWM at Ft. Hood was selected because of his armored experience and was the headquarters of III Armored Corps, which was activated in May 1917 in France.
Removing the three tanks from inside the old museum and loading them onto semi-trailers to transport them across the country required a great deal of logistical coordination.
“It’s the best Mark 1918 tank in the world,” Auwae said. “We didn’t drag him at all during the move. He was taunted left and taunted forward.
The movement of the tanks will ensure that they are no longer locked in a dark building, but can again be a visible reminder of the army’s history.
“Every day when we train armored soldiers and cavalry riders at the Armor TSF, we address the importance these vehicles played in the history of their day, the development of technical vehicle systems, and how they influence today’s technology, the tactics that played an important role in World War II, the ballistics of weapon systems and the human factor of these machines,” said Len Dryer, U.S. Army Armor & Cavalry Collection , director of Armor TSF. “The machines also introduce science and simple physics to the soldier at an easy to understand level.
For more information on the Army Museum business, visit https://www.history.army.mil.