The grand opening of the U.S. Army Armor and Cavalry Gallery in the National Infantry Museum was held Thursday morning and one large item was of particular interest to Warren Williams of San Diego, Calif, who was in Columbus for the occasion.
“That’s my company commander’s tank,” he said, standing in front of the vehicle, an M113A1 armored personnel carrier.
Williams’ unit, Company D, 16th Armor, 173rd Airborne Brigade used the vehicle in Vietnam. One nickname for it was “The Green Dragon.”
Other tanks on display include a French FT-18 Renault tank used by American troops in World War I and a M3 Stewart Tank used by American troops in World War II.
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Williams served one year in Vietnam in 1966-1967. After his military service, he became a history teacher.
“It has been 47 years,” he said.
He said seeing the tank in the museum “validates that what we did was worthwhile.”
He was very impressed with what he saw and said it was proper that the museum have a section for the armor and cavalry which have always worked closely with the infantry.
The 3,500 square foot gallery features weapons from as far back as the Revolutionary War.
Included in the gallery is an area highlighting dragoons and the evolution of the cavalry, an area highlighting mechanization and the rise of armor, an area highlighting the development of armored warfare , an area about armor and cavalry training and an area covering the Cold War to the present.
Speaking at the grand opening ceremony, Col. Robert E. Choppa, the Infantry School commandant, said it was “truly a great day.”
Brigadier Gen. Leopoldo A. Quintas, the Armor School commandant, said this was a “momentous occasion,” and that until the opening of this gallery the museum “lacked an important component.”
“It is a fantastic exhibition,” he said. “It is about connecting the past to the present.”
He said there are many lessons to be learned from the museum exhibits and that many of the challenges the modern soldier faces are the same as the ones of soldiers in past wars.
“It shows where we have been, where we are today and where we are going,” he said.