Orange board mulls acquiring historic military equipment to honor vets

  • An Orange resident has suggested the town apply to receive an obsolete piece of military equipment to put on display at Memorial Park, pictured. File Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 11/19/2021 5:05:28 PM
Modified: 11/19/2021 5:05:36 PM

ORANGE — A resident has suggested the town apply to receive an obsolete piece of military equipment to put on display at Memorial Park.

Paul Lyman, the Selectboard’s representative for the Trustees of Soldiers Memorial, has reached out to the Army donations specialist at the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) to inquire about the process of receiving such a donation and asked Tom Smith, vice chair of the Selectboard, to put the matter on a meeting agenda. Members discussed the issue Wednesday.

According to a letter Lyman emailed to Smith, the Trustees of Soldiers Memorial is in the process of expanding the veterans wall to include the names of those involved in conflicts that have occurred after the Vietnam War.

“I thought that it would be a good idea to obtain another piece of historic equipment that can either be added to the Memorial Park, or any other location to honor veterans,” Lyman wrote. “The equipment requested is obsolete, Army combat equipment that is no longer operational and is rendered inoperable.”

He wrote that examples of donated equipment include tanks, howitzers, mortars and helicopters. He suggested requesting “any combat material” to decrease wait time.

Lyman explained a request form gets sent to TACOM, which would then include Orange on the list to receive a piece of available equipment. An exact location will need to be determined when the form is submitted, Lyman added.

More information about the Static Display Program is available at bit.ly/3qOd67s.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Tom Smith acknowledged that receiving a helicopter would not be feasible.

Town Administrator Gabriele Voelker chimed in to say Colin Killay, the town’s superintendent of highway, cemeteries and parks, expressed concern about anything else being added to Memorial Park, which includes the veterans wall, the peace statue, benches, flagpoles and a cannon.

“That park is already difficult enough to mow and take care of,” Voelker explained. “So we have a concern with that, a maintenance concern with that.”

She suggested Butterfield Park or a section of Riverfront Park.

Selectboard Chair Jane Peirce said she supports bringing in Lyman to speak at a meeting. She also said she wants ample opportunity for public input on this matter.

“I have to tell you, I’m not excited about having a tank on any town property. I wonder what message it is we are trying to send by whatever it is we choose to put in whatever place we choose to put (it in). We already have a cannon in Memorial Park,” she said. “I am thrilled to support the veterans and honor everyone who’s made a sacrifice to make this country what it is, but I’m not sure that I, personally, would be that excited about adding another giant piece of military equipment in the center of town. I’m not sure what it says about us.”

Clerk Pat Lussier said she thinks the obsolete military equipment would be “a nice feature to have in the right spot.”

Lyman, who works full-time for the Army National Guard and is a member of the American Legion, told the Greenfield Recorder he regularly deals with TACOM and thought a donation would be a nice way to “bring a little bit of history to the town.” He also said a piece of old military equipment might draw some people to town for a visit.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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