Rare iconic Sherman Tank returns to America
A rare operational Sherman tank owned by the Kadish Museum of American Armor has become part of a public display of World War II armor at the American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport, 1230 New Highway Farmingdale, New York, for the purpose of honoring American servicemen and women who have defended our freedoms.
The Sherman tank represents one of forty thousand built during World War II to provide Allied armored forces with the means to overwhelm the more powerful German panzers that conquered Europe. The Sherman tank was also found on battlefields ranging from North Africa to the Pacific and was effectively used by allies after World War II including the State of Israel.
There are few operational Shermans left in the United States and none on public display in the northeast. President of the Kadish Museum of American Armor, Lawrence Kadish, stated, “The Sherman tank is an iconic images of World War II and it still speaks to us over an historic span of sixty five years about bravery in the face of a ruthless enemy. It is a lesson that is no less important today than it was when the first M4 Sherman engaged the Nazis.”
American Airpower Museum President Jeff Clyman stated, “This museum, together with Lawrence Kadish, has the ability of presenting to the public operational weapons of war – not for the purpose of glorifying combat – but to instill in a new generation an understanding – a genuine appreciation – of why they live in a nation that is free. Seeing these aircraft and armor here at Republic breaks through the clutter that envelope all of us – distractions that divert us from recognizing what is important.
The Sherman M4 tank has no operational weapons but its powerful engine will enable the tank to roll down the flight line at the American Airpower Museum accompanied by equally rare American armor of World War II including an M8 Greyhound, a M 20 armored command car, jeeps and other vintage weapons. In addition, through the efforts of Pratt Brothers, a member of the Long Island Contractors’ Association, the Sherman tank will periodically be transported to appropriate public events that honor active duty American military personnel engaged in the War on Terror and American veterans who have defended our freedoms.
Paying tribute to those who gave their lives for freedom
This particular tank was acquired from Europe and shipped back to the United States through the efforts of Congressman Steve Israel. Israel stated, “I was genuinely honored to be able to play a role in helping retrieve an important part of our nation’s past. Tens of thousands of American G.I’s rode into battle aboard these tanks and many did not live to see their legacy of liberation and victory. As an avid student of history I find there is no small irony that the last time this particular tank made an ocean voyage there was a genuine fear of being torpedoed by German U-Boats hunting convoys heading for Britain. Today, this Sherman has returned home on a new and equally important mission, keeping our heritage alive.”
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli told the audience of veterans, “Families will experience the sight and sound of a Sherman tank clanking towards them and begin to understand what a grandfather did for them during a time long ago in Europe or the Pacific. This dramatic presentation also reminds us that the War on Terror continues against an implacable foe, a ruthless enemy and a brutal opponent.
New York State Senator Charles Fuschillo said, “Those Americans who fought in these tanks were at a disadvantage because while these fighting vehicles were state-of-the-art on the eve of America’s entry into World War II they were under-armored and under-gunned when they began to see combat. It was the valor of their crews that gave them the winning edge in battle after battle. It is that courage we salute today.”
Among those speaking is Guenter Bier who, as a child, recalled his hometown being liberated by Shermans and realizing that when they arrived outside his Leipzig apartment the war was truly over. Also attending is Hy Horowitz, a Sherman gunner/driver who says the tank was not the best on the battlefield but gave Americans the speed and firepower to outfight the enemy.
U.S. Congressman Peter King agreed. “This extraordinary museum has gathered together some of the most amazing aircraft and armor of World War II but they have not lost sight of the fact that it remains about our military personnel who have fought to defend our freedoms. I congratulate Lawrence Kadish for making this commitment in acquiring the Sherman and allowing it to be displayed where tens of thousands will be able to see it.”
Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone explained, “The role of historic airpower and now armor has helped make the new Route 110 Corridor a vibrant and important economic anchor for the town, the county, and the region as a whole. And in the process, you have ensured that our American veteran will never be forgotten.”
In addition to Pratt Brothers, others who are joining forces include Local 138 of the Operating Engineers, Polimeni International and ABC 7 which is co sponsoring the tank’s museum presentation during Memorial Day ceremonies scheduled for 2011. The Sherman M4 will be maintained by Stevens Service Station, Freeport, a recognized military specialist.