By Jon Fairchild
A cannon barrel aimed at the sky breaks the gently sloping plains, the steel frame of a behemoth of a tank standing guard as sentinel. Nearby, a platoon of men works frantically to restore another tank: the sound of mechanical clanging, of repair duties, of engines rumbling, and cannons firing rises through the air. Some men are wounded; a mechanic working on the tank had his finger badly mauled by metal as he worked. Yet dedication to the cause presses them onward. The work must be done, and quickly, to prepare for the assault.
Where, and what, exactly is this assault? Doughboys providing desperately needed relief to beleaguered French and British allies in World War I? American G.I.s and tankmen pushing across the fields of France to liberate Paris in World War II? Perhaps U.S. Marines defending against the threat of communism in the name of containment in Korea and Vietnam? No, this tank and the garage nearby where restoration efforts proceed are located in College Station, Texas. The year is 2013. The assault these men are preparing for is the 13th Annual Open House for the Museum of the American G.I., where a host of visitors will descend upon the museum in March to enjoy the Living History Day display of their excellent collection of American military vehicles.