BAUMHOLDER, Germany -- Being in the military, sooner or later everyone has to pack up and move. But what if your baggage includes numerous tanks, half-tracks, artillery pieces and a building full of old uniforms, weapons and other military paraphernalia' That's the challenge the 1st Armored Division Museum is facing as it relocates to Fort Bliss, Texas, along with the 1st AD and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
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To help with moving the tanks and half-tracks, the U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder called on the local Rech Crane Company. A massive red crane, one of the company's biggest, made simple work of loading the vehicles onto the waiting semi-trucks.
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Even though Rech employees operate cranes and move things for a living, moving World War II-era vehicles is not something they do every day. Several Rech employees as well as the truck drivers were training their cell phones and digital cameras on the movement.
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Even the crane operator, Heiko Kunz, paused to capture the moment by snapping a photo from high atop his strategic location in the "driver's" seat.
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"Today we are loading up some of our vehicles that will be located at Fort Bliss, Texas, in support of the 1st Armored Division moving to Fort Bliss," said Ryan Mayer, museum specialist.
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"The museum follows the division, in support of the division, so when the division was relocated to Fort Bliss, the museum follows, as it did when the division deployed to Germany in the '70s. This is a natural kind of occurrence," said Mayer.
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"These vehicles are tangible reminders, witnesses if you will, of the division's history, the division's long history," he said.
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"It's important that these vehicles go with the division so they can continue to educate, inspire, 1st Armored Division Soldiers of their proud history. I look forward to seeing the new museum at Fort Bliss," said Mayer.
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The actual name of the museum is the Old Ironsides Museum. It was first established at Fort, Hood, Texas, during the 1950s. Following the 1st Armored Division's move to Germany in 1971, the museum reestablished in Ansbach, Germany.
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Museum curator Nicole Suarez is responsible for coordinating the museum's move to Fort Bliss. She said she feels confident with the support she has received.
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"We're lucky to have the support of the Baumholder garrison," said Suarez. "The logistics team here is amazing. They're true professionals, and we feel pretty comfortable with them moving our vehicles."
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Suarez worked at the museum last year as a volunteer. When the curator left she took over as curator.
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And although she has only worked a short time at the museum, she said she has an emotional attachment to these reminders of the past.
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"It's hard letting go. They're like children. It's hard letting people take care of them for a while," said Suarez.
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"But I think everything will be just fine. If things go like they have gone today we're going to be great," she said.
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After the relocation of the 1st AD Headquarters to Bad Kreuznach, Germany, in 1991, Baumholder was chosen as the new home for the museum.
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The large installation size and high troop numbers made it a logical choice. Work began in 1992 and the museum opened on Baumholder the following year.
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The Old Ironsides Museum now follows the division to its new home at Fort Bliss, Texas.
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When the members of the division arrive after their deployment to Iraq, they'll find the museum ready and waiting to include the latest chapter of the storied unit's history.