(Tribune News Service) — Since childhood, Alexander Kose has been fascinated by moving war machines.
The retired Army colonel and veteran tank crewman will be among re-enactors bringing to life this weekend the legacy of the armored and artillery branches of the US military.
The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Middlesex Township, Pa., will host Army Heritage Days Saturday and Sunday. Free and open to the public, the event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The weekend will feature WWII-era tanks and live artillery firing demonstrations. There will also be living history exhibits, demonstrations of historic weapons, and history-based STEM experiences — science, technology, engineering, and math — such as a World War II coastal artillery station.
The event will continue inside the Visitor and Education Center where visitors can participate in a meeting with veterans and explore the exhibits of the museum. The public can also visit the museum shop or participate in the Army Heritage Center Foundation book sale.
Parking is free and the heritage center is handicapped accessible. For more information, visit the website at https://ahec.armywarcollege.edu or call: 717-245-3972.
Kose is a re-enactor with the 68th Tank Battalion of the 6th Armored Division as well as a volunteer member of the US Tank Corps of AHEC. The mission of both groups is to preserve, maintain and equip vintage armored fighting vehicles and conduct driving and shooting demonstrations as well as educational living history interpretive programs.
“I am privileged to have this opportunity and eternally grateful to the owners and the museums that make this all possible,” Kose said.
Q: What role did tanks play on the historical battlefield?
A: Tanks have been an integral part of mechanized combined arms maneuver warfare since their combat debut in the Battle of the Somme in September 1916.
Q: What were tank crews like in the past?
A: Hard, hot, cold and very dangerous.
Q: The tank in which you will be this weekend, has it seen combat? What do you know of its history?
A: This is a fully restored/operational 1944 Sherman M4A3E8 tank owned by John Tippins of Sewickly. The crew includes retired US Army tankers and a former US Navy helicopter pilot.
We believe the turret was in action somewhere due to obvious damage on and inside, but we were unable to discern its history. Easy 8s were used in World War II, the Korean War and the Arab-Israeli conflicts.
The turret and hull were separate components of two different tanks that were put together after a war.
Q: What are some of the challenges with repair and maintenance?
A: Nothing we can’t overcome; our efforts are a labor of love.
Q: What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing the old tanks in operation or up close?
A: While each of the vehicles we outfit is a truly magnificent historical artifact, the real story is that of the young soldiers who took them into battle, their crews.
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