Connecticut town gets beloved ‘tank’ back

Armored personnel carrier served as memorial

A “tank” is installed as a memorial in Branford, Conn. Pictured from left: Capt. Kip Miller, Troop C 1st Squad 265th Calvary Commander; Tom Sudac, who was chair of the dedication committee; Mrs. Robert (Dorothy) Kirkland, who donated the plaque in memory of her late husband; Staff Sgt. John Schwanfelder and Staff Sgt. Ronald Frattini in this photo fom 1978. (Mary Johnson Photo Enhancement/www.newhavenindependent.org)

The town of Branford, Conn., has been dealing with a case of here today… gone tomorrow… and here again the day after.

In early August, the town’s tank (actually an armored personnel carrier) was removed without any apparent warning from the National Guard Armory on Montowese Street. The MV was installed by the town’s Korean War Vets as a memorial and has sat in front of the Branford Armory since the 1970s.

According to reports, the National Guard, in an effort to gather historical equipment for display in Niantic, removed the tank Aug. 3 without notifying the veterans or any town official. High-ranking National Guard officials didn’t know and didn’t check to learn that the armored vehicle was actually a war memorial given to the town by Gov. Ella Grasso.

A granite plaque at the site is inscribed: “In memory of the men who served their country in the Conn. Army National Guard units attached to this armory. Nov. 12, 1978.”

Col. John Whitford, public affairs officer for the Connecticut National Guard, stated that since learning of the “value” the vehicle held for the people of Branford, his commanding officer had decided to send it back to town. It will be refurbished, repainted and will be placed back on its concrete pad sometime after Sept. 10.

For more details, visit  www.newhavenindependent.org.

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