Sherwin-Williams coatings are used daily around the globe to protect and enhance everything from homes to finished goods to industrial and marine equipment, but no coatings “mission” is more important than that of protecting the U.S. Armed Forces. As a longtime supplier to the military, the company recently helped pay homage to the men and women who serve our country through a donation to the National Armor and Cavalry Heritage Foundation
The contribution of nearly 300 gallons of primer and topcoats as well as finishing equipment was used to refinish and refurbish seven historic U.S. Army armored and cavalry vehicles on display at the temporary outdoor home of the new Armor and Cavalry Museum. The coating project was recently recognized by the Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC), which awarded its Military Coatings Award of Excellence to all the companies and individuals that donated materials and time.
Pattons’ Park, where the vehicles now stand, was dedicated on Veterans’ Day, November 11, 2014, at Fort Benning, Georgia. The vehicles represent the period of armored service from World War II to the present, and each vehicle has been restored to its period specifications.
“Sherwin-Williams is honored to be a part of this important project that pays tribute to the men and women who have served to guarantee our freedom as well as the mighty equipment that they operated,” said Dennis Karnstein, President & General Manager, Sherwin-Williams Product Finishes. “It was our privilege to join with suppliers and painting contractors from around the country to ensure that these vehicles and their histories remain available for training and educational purposes for generations to come. We’re proud to have served such a worthy cause and are most appreciative of the SSPC’s recognition of the project through its Military Coatings Award of Excellence.”
The refinishing project occurred under the guidance of David Boyd, Chief Executive Officer of Vulcan Painters, Inc. in Bessemer, Alabama, who worked to secure donations from 12 coating and equipment manufacturers and six industrial painting contractors. Many of the individuals who took part in the projects were veterans or close relatives of veterans. The refinishing work took place from July through August 31, 2014.
The Move… and the Need
The vehicles now on display are among 300 that were moved to Fort Benning from Fort Knox, Kentucky, in conjunction with the relocation of the U.S. Army’s Armor School. The School joined with the U.S. Army Infantry School to form the Maneuver Center of Excellence.
Formerly displayed in the Patton Museum of Armor and Cavalry at Fort Knox, the historic armored units found themselves without a museum home at Fort Benning. While most of the collection is being stored at Fort Benning, the Foundation sought to display a small portion of the collection at Pattons’ Park, on the site where the new museum will be located in the future.
To aid in the development of a new Armor and Cavalry Museum at Fort Benning, the National Armored Cavalry Heritage Foundation was founded as a 501(c)(3) organization. The museum will eventually be gifted to the Army, allowing the armor collection, as well as 200 years worth of archival records and documents, to be stored and displayed for public view. Fundraising for the museum, estimated to cost $60 to $65 million, is underway, and the Foundation hopes to complete the building in 2020. It will be adjacent to the National Infantry Museum and will be the U.S. Army’s largest museum complex.
“We wanted the community and visitors to have access to these vehicles – keeping them in storage does no one any good,” said Rick Young, Executive Director of the National Armor and Cavalry Heritage Foundation. “We wanted to continue to honor the men and women who served our country with these vehicles and show the community that we are making progress toward the permanent museum. We want to draw interest both locally and nationally to obtain donations that will help make the permanent museum a reality.”
To properly display the vehicles, they needed to be brought back to “fighting strength” in terms of appearance – removing layers of rust and refinishing to original standards.
The vehicles were all primed with Sherwin-Williams military coatings, and three were finished with Sherwin-Williams MIL-DTL-53039E, Type IX Chemical Agent Resistant Coatings. “In a way every one of them has Sherwin-Williams product on them,” said Cory Allen, Quality Director, Vulcan Painters.
The vehicles refinished for the project include:
M26 Pershing – developed in late World War II; used primarily in the Korean Conflict
M48 Patton – used during the Vietnam War as the U.S. military’s primary battle tank
M113 Armored Personnel Carrier – used during the Vietnam War, Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq
M114 Command and Reconnaissance Carrier – used in the Vietnam War as an armored fighting vehicle
M60A3 Main Battle Tank – used in U.S. service through 1997, primarily a Cold War-era vehicle*
M551 Sheridan – Vietnam, Europe (Cold War) – used in Operation Just Cause (Panama) and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm*
M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle – used in the Persian Gulf War and Iraq War, still used by the military*
*Denotes finish coat supplied by Sherwin-Williams
An M4 Sherman tank, the primary battle tank used by the U.S. military in World War II as well as Korea, and an M1 Abrams, which saw action in the Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq, are also part of the display collection.
Young expressed his appreciation to all who donated supplies, time and labor to the project. “"The National Armor and Cavalry Heritage Foundation would like to thank Sherwin-Williams and all of the companies and individuals that made this project a success,” he said. “ It was a great display of patriotism, pride and professionalism that led to the preservation of American armor history through the restoration of these vehicles. We are truly humbled by the generous support for this project and appreciate your dedication to your profession. The excellence displayed by all involved speaks volumes for your industry as a whole."
To learn more about the National Armor and Cavalry Heritage Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.armorcavalrymuseum.org
Editor Contact: Allen Pfenninger of Fahlgren Mortine | +1-216-298-4653 | firstname.lastname@example.org