Volume 4, Issue 2
November 20, 2008


Welcome to the eleventh 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 accoutrements 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 eleventh newsletter, we highlight the activities of our volunteers during a recent Volunteer Work Day!

VMMV Volunteers Show Tropical Storm Hanna Who's the Boss

Hi, I am Bruce Oppenhagen and I am the Volunteer Coordinator here at VMMV. My job is to interface with the VMMV staff and work with the volunteer cadre to support the activities at VMMV-such as Volunteer Days and preparation for our Open House. And I want to tell you a little bit about our latest project

On Saturday, 6 September, we had a Volunteer Day at VMMV to work on a technology testbed of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV). You may remember the CAL-1 from our last newsletter. Over time the vehicle had wood and metal cladding added to the basic hull for testing purposes, altering her silhouette. VMMV wanted to remove this vis-mod and restore the CAL-1 to her original configuration. So we consulted some reference material, got an idea of the work ahead and with the staff of VMMV I organized a Volunteer Day.

And what a day it was. It just so happened that Tropical Storm Hanna was making a visit to the East Coast on Saturday and boy did she leave a mark with high winds and drenching rain. But that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the VMMV volunteers as over 15 highly motivated folks showed up.

Under the expert eye and tutelage of VMMV Staff Member Marc Sehring, tools were handed out and the job of removing the CAL-1's exterior began. Sawdust flew as cordless drills, pliers, pry bars and all manner of wrenches were used. The volunteers split up and attacked different corners of the vehicle and worked as self-organizing teams. When and where needed, work was stopped to noodle thru a particularly difficult section of the project.


But by the end of a wet and windy day, the Volunteers all had a smile on their face as they stepped back to admire their handiwork….our CAL-1 with her original form back. Perhaps a little dirty and tired, but with high spirits at a job WELL DONE!!! Thanks Guys!

If you would like to volunteer at VMMV, please register via the volunteer page on the museum's web site. Thanks, Bruce.

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.

Whitworth: From the mid-19th century up to the 1970s, the British used the Whitworth, or the "Halford" unit of measurement for nuts and bolts before they standardized on the US SAE of Unified National Fine (UNF) system. Although Whitworth nuts and bolts have common English-sounding names-such as "half-inch" or "3/4 inch"-they are not the same size as the SAE specification used in the United States. They also have different pitch and shape for their bolt threads.

Whitworth bolts are not measured across the flats of the head like you are accustomed to, but the diameter of the nut or bolt the wrench is intended to fit. Mixing a Whitworth wrench with an SAE bolt will result in a ruined wrench, busted knuckles or a stripped bolt….what a mess.

So VMMV has to have a full spectrum of wrenches, nuts and bolts in many different sizes-metric, SAE and Whitworth for example. During the Open House you might spot a Volunteer with a half inch wrench in his or her pocket, but it could be a half-inch Whitworth in disguise for a bolt head that is actually 0.920 inches across. Those folks wrenching on old British sports cars are also likely to have a set of Whitworths in their garage!!


Mike Panchyshyn-Editor