A new way to honor veterans recently rolled into Old Bethpage’s storied Museum of American Armor.
Lawrence Kadish, president and founder of The Museum of American Armor, recently announced the acquisition of an iconic Vietnam War armor vehicle that will serve as a keystone to the museum’s commitment to honor those Americans who served during that conflict.
The V100 Commando, a four-wheeled armor vehicle with twin machine guns in a turret, was extensively used during the Vietnam War to protect military convoys heading out to supply remote outposts and to protect air bases housing Huey helicopters and fighter bombers.
“There was not a single patrol where these vehicles were not on the front line and we intend to use the acquisition of the Commando to remind our visitors of the courage and sacrifice of those who served in Vietnam and those who did not come home,” said Kadish.
The Museum of American Armor has some 40 operational military vehicles under the roof of a 25,000-square-foot facility inside Old Bethpage Village Restoration in cooperation with the Administration of Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. Opened on the anniversary of D-Day, 2014, an average of 14,000 people visit every year with special weekends set aside to observe historic military anniversaries.
“Far too few study our nation’s military history and fewer still understand or appreciate the role of our citizen soldiers in defending our nation,” said Curran. “The armor museum’s role as an educational center has become crucial, and this latest acquisition adds additional depth to its presentation.”
Bill Walden, Past VFW Nassau County Commander and Hicksville VFW Post 3211 Commander, said that the museum is a powerful sight to behold and of the utmost importance to various communities across Long Island.
“The Museum of American Armor has become a powerful living tribute for those who have served over the decades,” said Walden. “This Vietnam War-era military vehicle will ensure that one more chapter is appropriately told to visitors and the families of veterans who come to pause and reflect.”
Joseph Ingino, of Lindenhurst, Southern District Director of Vietnam Veterans of America, New York State Council, said that this new vehicle in particular represents Vietnam vets.
“These Commando armored cars were a common sight in Vietnam in that they were always being used to strengthen convoy protection on roads subject to ambush,” said Ingino. “There will be few Vietnam vets who will not recognize this vehicle and recall their service a very long time ago.”
Referring to the number of American fatalities during the Vietnam War, Michael Sapraicone, museum board member, and founder and president of Squad Security, said the museum’s exhibit is yet another way to appreciate the sacrifices of service people.
“There are 58,220 compelling reasons to remember this conflict and the armor museum is moving forward on its pledge to do so through the acquisition and presentation of this unique military vehicle,” said Sapraicone.
The Commando was first deployed to South Vietnam in 1963 for use by the U.S. Army Military Police, the United States Air Force, the Marine Corps and South Vietnamese military forces. The vehicle carried a crew of two with up to ten soldiers as passengers. Armament often included top-mounted machine guns although other weapons such as M134 Miniguns were sometimes installed to add extra firepower.
The museum’s efforts are made possible, in part, through the support of PSEG Long Island, Amtrust Title, Squad Security and Bethpage Federal Credit Union.