to know your VMMV staff & vehicles
In this section we will introduce you to the people and armor of
the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles. We will chat with the
VMMV staff, so that you can get to know the people who "keep
'em running" and work so hard behind the scenes. And also provide
a behind-the-scenes look into the history of individual vehicles
in the VMMV collection. In this, our eighth newsletter, we talk
with Larry Tucker, one of VMMV's highly skilled volunteers, restoration
specialist, communications technician, and website expert.
to "Inside the Mind of Tucker."
Wow Larry, that is
quite a long list of skills
.how did you bring those skills
Well, I first met
Mr. Cors about 20-25 years ago at a military vehicle rally down
in Fredericksburg, VA. At that time, he only had one jeep--my how
the collection has grown from such a humble beginning!!! Since we
shared the same interest, we stayed in touch over the years, and
then as the collection expanded, the need for restoration work increased.
I used my experience from the work site to help with each vehicle's
electrical system. In addition, as we started our first couple of
Open House's I put together a PA system out of old parts from a
missile system! And most recently, I built, maintain and update
Where did you become
an electronics supergenius?
It started with a
phonograph oscillator in the 40s that was a very low power transmitter
in the AM broadcast band. I connected a microphone and record player
to it that became a neighborhood radio station. I enjoyed then and
now working on old radios which were surplus after WWII. The next
step was getting a amateur radio license (K8RKB now WB4GZU). In
the early 50s, I joined the Civil Air Patrol and talked the local
Air Force recruiting office out of a Link Trainer they had that
was in pieces. It became a real challenge as it filled up half of
my father's three stall garage. It took me a year to get it together
and working properly. As it was a blend of mechanics and electronics
it became a great learning experience. But that Link trainer got
me in trouble with my dad and school. You see, I would work all
night on that trainer, adjusting the mechanical and electrical circuits,
so much so, that I would be exhausted in the morning. I would fall
asleep in the middle of class! That didn't go over very well with
my teachers. And when my neighbors asked my dad why the lights were
on in the garage all night-the jig was up. I stopped working all
night on that trainer and did better in school. The next step was
the U.S. Air Force where I spent four years in Airways Air Communications
Service (AACS). The career field was with high power transmitters
and all types of communications equipment.
Once I was out of
the Air Force, my first civilian job was with Western Electric,
then to Bell Tel. Labs. I got to see the computer come of age through
the first generation electronic switching systems used in Autovon.
The network evolved to digital and light wave transmission. The
first machines were the size of a house, to the dawn of the digital
revolution. During that time, I worked on communications and electronic
equipment at sensitive sites all around the Washington DC area.
Larry, what are your
future plans for the VMMV website?
I try to keep the site fresh with regular updates, no matter how
small. I try to keep it interesting. As I learn more about websites,
I try and optimize the site for fast loading, so that folks with
a dial-up connection can enjoy the pictures of our collection as
much as we enjoy putting them back together. I take care of emails
to the museum and I have automated the registration process for
the Open House. That has helped save a lot of man-hours.
Ok, now we get to
know more about Larry the person. What is your favorite tank of
Hands down the M-24
Chaffee. I have worked on it, it is a sweet driver for old guys
like me and just an all around beautiful tank. And that is also
my favorite tank in our collection!
What was the best
battle rifle of all time?
The M1 Garand
WWII it was the best infantry rifle on the battlefield. Gen. Patton
had it right-it was the best battle implement.
Ketchup or Mustard?
Mustard Onions and
Spicy Chili (The only way to serve a hot dog) !
VMMV's Roving Reporter
What has four thousand
military vehicles, Field Marshal Montgomery, a Spitfire Flyby, consumes
250,000 pints of lager and has its own radio station? Perhaps you
guessed the Allied Armies marshalling in England in late 1943/early
1944. You were close, but in this case we are talking about the
2007 War and Peace Show at Beltring, England--the biggest military
vehicle event in the world. Thousands of people come to Beltring
to dress in period costume, show off their restored vehicles, see
tanks parade by in the arena, participate in re-enactments, or perhaps
to shop around the vendors looking for that hard-to-find part.
This year, VMMV's
ace journalist Marc traveled to Beltring on behalf to VMMV to look
for tank bargains and pick up a few spare parts to help restore
Marc, for those that
have never been to Beltring, can you describe it?
Beltring has been going on for about 25 years and draws participants
and visitors from around the world. It's the biggest grouping of
"all things military" in the world. The French, Germans,
Swiss, and Danish all have large contingents. I even saw a few vehicles
from Poland and Czechoslovakia. The event took place from 18-22
July this year at the Hop County Farm Park in south-eastern England.
To give you an idea
of the immense size of Beltring, the British Army brought a Challenger
II main battle tank--which was displayed alongside a privately owned
Challenger I. Either one of those would make commuting on the Beltway
a whole lot easier.
In addition to model
makers, gun collectors, living history shows, and re-enactors, Beltring
is about unique military equipment. Two displays this year caught
the eye of this reporter--the first was an entire platoon of US
WW II recon vehicles-four M8 armored cars and one M5 Stuart were
all painted with correct platoon markings for the late 1944 period.
It is great to see armored vehicle owners band together like that.
As neat as that was, I think the living history exhibit of a captured
V-2 site was the most unique exhibit at Beltring. The tremendous
amount of work in fabricating, transporting and erecting such a
large exhibit really paid off as it was correct in every detail.
Mike, I am signing
off now as I am off to buy some FV 432 and Scorpion powerpacks now.
I'll join y'all back at VMMV when I get back from Beltring.
The lexicon of armored vehicles is filling with a bewildering amount
of acronyms. And at the VMMV we have a few of our own. Here we will
have the VMMV word of the day so you may better understand the conversations
you might overhear at VMMV.
MIG = Even tho the
VMMV collection is located on an old airstrip-Aden Field-we don't
have any Soviet MiG fighter aircraft, but sometimes you might hear
us talking about MIG. Does this mean we are branching out? No, MIG
in this case stands for Metal Intert Gas--a specific type of welding,
vice an old Soviet fighter plane. MIG welding got its start in WWII
and is still in wide use today because of its versatility, speed
and low cost. In MIG welding, a welding gun feeds an electrode which
is consumed during the welding process. An inert gas--also fed via
the welding gun--shields the welding puddle from the atmosphere
until the welding puddle has cooled sufficiently to prevent the
introduction of impurities which might weaken the weld. VMMV restoration
experts use the MIG welder to help fabricate parts or join them
Have a great summer
from all the staff and volunteers of VMMV.