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The Story of the Tank

American Legion Post 202 had applied several times over the years for a "static display" from the military hoping for a cannon, a Huey helicopter, anything that would attract attention to our Post. Finally in May of 2022 we received a letter from U. S. Army TACOM that a tank was available in Kansas if we wanted it. We had just two weeks to give them an answer. The tank was at the Kansas Museum of Military History near Wichita that had gone out of business.

There was much to consider, mostly cost. TACOM specified the requirements for the concrete pad it had to be placed on and our responsibility for care of the tank. The Army would still own it. Then there was the cost of transportation of the 16-ton vehicle; a 320-mile trip.

A visit to ESS Construction took care of the concrete cost. ESS would donate the concrete to honor veterans.

Fortunately, one of our Post 202 members had a nephew that was part owner of ATR Towing in Columbia. ATR had a 30-ton flatbed trailer and gave us a great deal in support of Veterans. That made getting the 1960s vintage M551 Sheridan tank a no-brainer. It would give Post 202 much needed attention.

Fuel Stop

Fuel stop in Topeka - Photo by Paul Hobbs

The tank is named in honor of Civil War Union General Philip Sheridan. A total of 1,700 M551 Sheridan tanks were built until production ceased in 1970.

The M551 Sheridan was developed to provide the U. S. Army with a light armored reconnaissance vehicle with heavy firepower. Armament included: 152mm Cannon - main gun, 7.62 mm Machine Gun, 50 Cal Machine Gun, Shillelagh direct-fire guided missiles, Grenade launchers - 4 per side. Fire Control is by Laser Range-finder.

Approximately 200 Sheridans were used by the U.S. Army in Vietnam where they saw extensive combat action. In December 1989, the Sheridan saw its first combat since Vietnam during "Operation Just Cause" in Panama. They also saw service in "Operation Desert Shield" and "Operation Desert Storm"

Vietnam War Crew

The Sheridan had a crew of four; Commander, Gunner, Loader and Driver. Vietnam - Photo by Herbert Brady, U. S. Army Signal Corps Photographer

Dessert Strom Crew

M551 Sheridan in Desert Storm - Photo from U.S. Army Ordnance Corps

ATR placing tank on pad

ATR Towing setting the Sheridan on the 8-inch-thick pad - Photo by Paul Hobbs


Installation complete at Post 202- June 23, 2022 Photo - by- Paul Hobbs

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©     Herbert Williams American Legion Post 202
3669 Legion Lane
Columbia, MO 65201

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