Volume 3, Issue 3
December 01, 2007


Welcome to the ninth issue of "Heavy Metal" -- the newsletter of the

Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles (VMMV). Our mission is our motto -- by working to restore armored fighting vehicles, artillery, small arms, uniforms, and accouterments of the US military and other countries, we hope to share the legacy of the sacrifice and courage of our fighting men and women with future generations of Americans. Located in Northern Virginia, our collection has grown to over 90 vehicles, starting out with the first US tank, the M 1917 through such legendary US vehicles as the M4A1 and M4A3 Sherman , M3A1 and M5A1 Stuart , M24 Chaffee , M3A1 Half-track , M36 Jackson and M3 Lee along with a few vehicles you might not know existed -- such as a prototype of the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) tank.


Get 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 ninth newsletter, we highlight one of the events that makes us proud to work and volunteer at VMMV-our participation in the 171st Reunion of the 2d Cavalry Regiment.

The day dawned cloudy and chilly, but the staff and volunteers of VMMV turned out in droves on Saturday, 10 November to honor our nation's veterans and showcase the VMMV collection to the vets of the 2d Calvary Regt. The 2d Cav. is a storied unit, formed in 1836 as the 2d Regiment of Dragoons and served in the Seminole War, Civil War, WWI and with Patton's Third Army during WWII. It helped screen the Austria-Czech border during the Cold War and then served in Operation Desert Storm. It currently has a Stryker Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq.

As the 2d Cav. veterans arrived in the morning, VMMV personnel put the finishing touches on the vehicle and small arms display. As folks wandered amongst the static vehicles, or shouldered an M1 Garand for the first time in 70 years, quiet conversation filled the air as the memories came flooding back.

Then, as VMMV President Allan Cors began the formal presentation by citing the Pledge of Allegiance and Star Spangled Banner, the grey clouds parted and blue sky lent a wonderful backdrop to the VMMV display. Mr. Cors thanked all the veterans present and past, noting his personal thanks and that of the VMMV staff and volunteers for their service to our country. He then highlighted the big plans we have for the future with the "National Museum of Americans at War"-to honor the ordinary Americans who did extraordinary things on the battlefield and the homefront in our nation's time of crises.

As the vets eyes swung out over the VMMV battle area, the rumble of a nine cylinder radial engine began to fill the air-and from around the corner came an M4A1 Sherman into view to begin VMMV's live vehicle display. The Sherman and crew took a lap around the field and then paused for pictures. As the M4A1 departed, an M5A1 Stuart took its place. This was a particularly meaningful vehicle for the 2d Cav. veterans as it was a mainstay of their unit during WWII. The Stuart's twin Cadillac engines helped to speed it into the scene at VMMV. As the dust cloud settled, an M24 Chaffee from VMMV's collection showed off its stuff. The Chaffee was the replacement for the M5A1 and had its combat debut with the 2d Cav.

VMMV then moved on to the Regiment's Vietnam legacy and brought out an M-113 APC. The M-113's paint gleamed in the sun as the spotless vehicle roared around. Then, in a nod to the foes faced by the 2d Cav, VMMV fired up our T-72. As clouds of diesel smoke bellowed from its exhaust, the T-72's slim profile dashed across the arena. As the once Warsaw Pact enemy tank moved off, VMMV closed its live vehicle display.


But the display of horsepower did not end there. After a wonderful display of Civil War weapons by 2d Cav re-enactors, a bugle call echoed across the land, and suddenly the riders of A and H Companies, 2d Calvary, astride their beautiful horses galloped onto the scene. The unit appeared from behind the trees and thundered up to the appreciative audience. Under the command of its officer, the unit executed a series of precise maneuvers exactly as its predecessors did on the battlefields of the Civil War. In response to a unique series of bugle calls, the riders broke into column, line and back into column-before executing a cavalry charge!!! It has been nearly 150 years since of the grass of VMMV has seen such pounding by hooves and horseflesh.


After concluding their horsemanship display, A & H Companies dismounted and demonstrated an impressive command of period skirmish tactics. After remounting and forming up in front, the riders were led thru a complete series of Civil War saber thrusts and cuts. As the sabers slashed the air, you could hear the last echoes of the bugle die away in the distance...concluding the reunion. Applause filled the air and the 2d Cav. folks took one last walk amongst the VMMV displays before leaving.

It was truly a special honor for VMMV to honor our nation's Veterans on this day with the men and women of the 2d Calvary Regiment!

VMMV Steps out for a week on the Town!!!!

VMMV dressed up one of our HMMWVs for her three night debut at the 2007 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) show in downtown Washington DC. Wearing her makeup in the form of a fresh coat of desert tan paint applied by chief makeup artist Marc Sehring, our HMMWV was sporting an ATK lightweight 25mm Bushmaster Chain Gun as an accessory. With a rate of fire of 250 rounds per minute, dual ammunition feed allowing selection amongst a variety of 25mm rounds such as Programmable Airburst, Shotgun, and Armor Piercing, our HMMWV was certainly dressed to kill!

New paint job and sporting a remote controlled chain gun.
ATK lightweight 25mm Bushmaster Chain Gun
Looking good in a nice setting

Although VMMV's staff and volunteers are more used to mechanic's coveralls, we put on our tophat and tails to escort our girl to her debutante ball. We spent quite a bit of time painting, polishing and shining up the HMMWV until her tires literally gleamed and we wanted to show her off. As you can see, from the accompanying pictures, we drew quite a crowd at AUSA. As the show ended, we had to return her Chain Gun jewelry and bring her back to VMMV where perhaps you can see the belle of the ball at our next Open House.

VMMV Acronym

The lexicon of armored vehicles is filling with a bewildering amount of acronyms. And at 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 the museum.

Tanker Bar: In this case, we don't mean a local gathering spot in which VMMV staff and volunteers gather to savor an adult beverage after a long day of work. No, we mean tanker bar-as in a pry bar that is on steroids!!! A tanker bar is a 5 to 6 foot long steel pry bar that tapers to a chisel point at one end used wherever a tank crewman needs a little extra leverage and a standard 3 foot pry bar just won't cut it. Remember, everything is bigger on a tank!!!

Have a great New Year from all the staff and volunteers of VMMV!

Mike Panchyshyn-Editor