• Colorful markings make this light, full-track tank from France that was produced in 1935 and used during World War II appear sad to leave its home on the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum tank field at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

    Title

    Colorful markings make this light, full-track tank from France that was produced in 1935 and used during World War II appear sad to leave its home on the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum tank field at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

  • The 21,000-pound World War II-era French tank is all trussed up with lifting straps and loaded onto a flatbed by a 90-ton crane for its journey to Fort Lee, Va. Aug. 4.

    Title

    The 21,000-pound World War II-era French tank is all trussed up with lifting straps and loaded onto a flatbed by a 90-ton crane for its journey to Fort Lee, Va. Aug. 4.

A historical migration took place at Aberdeen Proving Ground last week - one that when completed will permanently change not only the face but the attributes of this nearly century-old installation.

The U.S. Army Ordnance Museum began one of the largest, if not the largest, move in the history of the U.S. Army Center of Military History's Army Museum System as 60 of its assets were transported down I-95 to the new home of Ordnance at Fort Lee, Va.

While it can be stated simply that the museum is moving, the endeavor itself is anything but simple. It involves the logistical coordination of a number of elements, not the least of which is the actual movers themselves.

I spent the entire week of Aug. 3 to 7 with the contractors assigned this task and came away wholly impressed; not only with their skill but with the respect and even awe with which they handled those precious and priceless Ordnance assets.

This commentary is an introduction to a series to follow over the coming weeks of the Ordnance Museum migration - an emotional subject for many of the Ordnance faithful both on the installation and in the local community.

The series will touch on the technical as well as the emotional aspects of this move. It will discuss the planning as well as the planners. But more importantly, it will attempt to bring you face to face with the splendid symbols of the Ordnance Corps that make up the museum and hopefully provide a respectful memento for those unable or unwilling to make the trek to Virginia to view them for themselves.

I've visited the museum several times over the past 10 years; covering stories and ceremonies, but I never fully appreciated the importance of what this community possessed until now. While there are still plenty of artifacts left to view, the gaping hole of what once was there should not be ignored. It should, in fact inspire everyone to visit, gaze upon and admire the treasured relics that are still here.

Fort Lee also is the home of the Quartermaster Corps in which I served while in the Army. Throughout my career I was stationed in maintenance and supply units with Ordnance Soldiers. Without exception, all spoke fondly of Aberdeen Proving Ground and it wasn't until I made my home here that I understood that fondness. A big part of it was due to the Ordnance Museum that houses the foundation of the Corps.

Ordnance and Quartermaster Soldiers would be hard pressed to function, one without the other. And now they will not only serve together but, due to this pivotal undertaking, will learn together as well. With all due respect to the emotional aspects of this move, perhaps, this is as it should be.

Page last updated Mon August 24th, 2009 at 10:16