Special Delivery

Veterans Memorial Park taking shape

An M42 Duster is one of the latest additions to the Veterans Memorial Park near the Byron Cox Post 72 American Legion.
An M42 Duster is one of the latest additions to the Veterans Memorial Park near the Byron Cox Post 72 American Legion.
Bob Cox/Journal Review Photos

Two more pieces of military memorabilia arrived at the new Veterans Memorial Park this week. An M42 Duster and M110 Howitzer are the two latest additions to the park near the Byron Cox Post 72 American Legion.

The Duster was placed in the park Sept. 29. It is a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, but was effective in providing ground support during the Vietnam War. American soldiers named the gun a duster due to the large amount of dust it produced while traveling on Vietnam gravel roads. The Viet Cong called the gun “Dragon’s Breath” because of the weapons rapid fire capabilities.

During the war, the gun was used primarily for point security, convoy transport and perimeter defense since the Viet Cong air force was not a factor in the conflict.

Introduced in 1953 during the Korean War, the Duster was effective in providing low air support against the Korean air force. The maximum speed was 35 miles per hour and had a combat weight of 49,500 pounds.

The gun was taken out of service in 1972.

The second piece of artillery was placed in the park Wednesday. It is a self-propelled M110 howitzer and was used in Vietnam and both Gulf Wars. The 32-ton howitzer has an 11-foot long barrel that can fire its 200-pound projectile 10-16 miles. During the battles in the Gulf, the cannon was adapted to fire nuclear ammunition.

The GM motor maximum speed was 30 miles per hour and could shoot three rounds in two minutes.

The M110 was used by the Army in the Korean War and primarily used by the United State Marine Corps in the gulf wars. The Howitzer delivered Wednesday is marked USMC.

The gun was retired in 1972.

Both guns came from the AAF Tank Museum located in Danville, Virginia.

In November, a refurbished Huey helicopter is due to arrive here from Florida.

The job of unloading and placing the pieces was taken on by Froedges Inc. as a donation in-kind. Froedges’ owner Loyal Bell was on hand to watch his employees meticulously unload the heavy equipment. Bell called the project worthy and he is happy to be a part of it.

“I want to help the community and this project is important to help us remember the people who have served in the military,” Froedge said. “I had classmates that lost their lives in Vietnam and have worked with veterans from the war. This is one way to remember and thank those guys.”

Veterans Memorial Park board member Mike Spencer said the park is ahead of schedule and he is thankful for the help the project has received from the community.

“We are probably six to nine months ahead of where we thought we would be,” Spencer said. “Without the generosity of the local people, we would not be as far along as we are. We are very grateful for the support we are receiving.”

The board also is selling commemorative bricks to be used at the main display in the park. Any individual, family, organization or business can purchase an engraved brick. The bricks have three lines that can have 18 characters, not including spaces, available for the veteran’s name and military information. Bricks are $100 each. Forms are available at Hoosier Heartland State Bank and at the American Legion Post.

The park committee is still in need of monetary donations. All donations can be sent to the American Legion Post 72, 101 Walter Remley Drive, Crawfordsville, IN 47933. Make checks payable to the Veterans Memorial Park.