By Mrs. Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)November 8, 2012
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- More than 100 large pieces of American military history began arriving at Anniston Army Depot Nov. 5. These items are part of a collection being transferred from Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.
"The Center of Military History is relocating its macro artifacts from Aberdeen to various other locations," said Leslie Rankin, curator for the Center of Military History's clearinghouse here on the installation.
The move was dictated by a Base Realignment and Closure action, which required the consolidation of artifacts for the Army. Anniston's clearinghouse is receiving a number of them for storage and, perhaps, refurbishing.
The depot is one of many places where these macro artifacts -- tanks, artillery, motorcycles and a variety of other vehicles -- will go. Fort Sill, Okla., and Fort Benning, Ga., are among the other installations slated to receive a number of pieces -- items that are in line with their missions.
"At Anniston, we will serve as a repository for items that are not ready, in terms of their physical condition, to be sent to locations that fit their mission," said Rankin, adding that the clearinghouse will also receive a small number of items the museums don't have space for yet.
"We have a depot and they have limited square footage," she said.
Many of the artifacts being shipped to the depot were selected based upon the depot's mission -- not for display at the installation, but for restoration.
The Center of Military History plans to contract with Anniston to restore each of the worn artifacts to archival condition -- using paint and materials in keeping with that of the time. The vehicles will not be brought to working condition, but their appearance, down to the upholstery, will be in keeping with each artifact's time period.
"We will only restore a certain number of items each year and we don't know those numbers yet," said Ray Lindsey, logistics management officer for the clearinghouse, adding that the exact number processed each year by the depot's production area will depend upon the center's need as well as the needs of the various museums.
In order to store all these large items, Anniston's clearinghouse is expanding, at least temporarily.
They are incorporating part of the Ammunition Limited Area. A portion of one building and much of a parking lot formerly used by the Anniston Chemical Disposal Facility will now house artifacts. The center will take over 39,000 square feet of parking space and, as the items are restored and have a need to be stored out of the weather, they will be taken into the building.
As the pieces are restored and sent to museums for display, the amount of space needed for storage is expected to decrease.