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It’s Turning (Olive) Green Outside!

The arrival of spring probably doesn’t impact our southern readers the way it does to us “Northerners.” While we are shoveling snow, chiseling ice or just trying to keep our garages warm enough that the radiators in our vehicles don’t freeze, we imagine our friends south of the Mason-Dixon Line enjoying shirt-sleeve garage time, leisurely drives, and outdoor displays. Well, Spring is here, and everyone, north and south, is ready to come out and enjoy the olive green side of life.


Though taking the snow tires off the cars reaffirms the awakening of springtime, nothing is more exciting this time of year than the host of shows and events that give historic military vehicle enthusiasts the chance to start their engines and drive their trucks, jeeps, cycles and tracks. It’s a great time to show off your vehicles at local and regional shows, but this year, due in part to low gas prices and centralized location, the National—nay, International—MVPA Convention promises to be an event not to be missed by anyone interested in the military vehicle hobby.

I have been attending Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) conventions for about 15 years. Though olive drab is the common theme, each one has presented unique opportunities. Whether it was Joe Garbarino coming ashore atop an M4A3E8 at Alameda, a literal swarm of DUKWs floating at Portland, or a genuine military vehicle rodeo in Louisville, local MVPA affiliates have worked hard to put on a celebration of military history that can be enjoyed by anyone.

This June 25-27, the Rolling Thunder Living History Educational Foundation is the special host of the 40th Annual MVPA International Convention. Taking place in the Kansas Expocenter in Topeka, Kansas, this event is going to stand out as the “perfect family get-away.”

Why is that? Well, for starters, the Rolling Thunder Chapter has obtained access for MVPA members at some prime history locations in and around Topeka and Kansas City. The National WWI Museum is the United States' preeminent museum dedicated to the history of the Great War. It is at its prime, celebrating the centennial of the First World War. Fort Riley, the “home of the Big Red One,” is nearby featuring the U.S. Cavalry Museum, the Big Red One (First Division) Museum, and military simulators. The Kansas National Guard Museum and the Combat Air Museum are located at nearby Forbes Field.

So there is no shortage of things to do in addition to attending the Convention. But that’s not what is important. What is, is the opportunity to gather and share with some of the top vehicle enthusiasts in our hobby. Whether your interest is in restoring, tuning, modifying or preserving military vehicles, the MVPA has grown to embrace and understand your interests. Today, rock climbers, resto purists, scale modelers, and reenactors all share floor space and lecture rooms. In the 15 years I have been involved in the organization, I have witnessed the organization investigate, invite and embrace all the various aspects of researching, owning, driving and enjoying military vehicles.

The International Convention is our “Super Bowl,” our “Kentucky Derby,” and our “Indy 500.” It is the time to come together, share your own passion, and show your love for historic military vehicles. It is the one place where you can find folks wearing G503 caps, Steel Soldier tee-shirts, MTA patches, and flying MVCC flags. It’s time to Represent! Come on, join us in Topeka to show your colors—even if they are limited mostly to khaki and olive drab.

Keep ‘em rolling,

John A-G
John Adams-Graf
Military Vehicles Magazine and Military Trader

For more info on the 40th Annual MVPA Convention in Topeka, KS, go to:

Or to renew your MPVA membership:

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