HARTFORD, Wisconsin - Soldiers with the Wisconsin Army National Guard transported an M60A3 tank from in front of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Hartford, to its new home in Woodruff, Wisconsin, as part of a training exercise June 16.
There was a large turnout of people to watch as the Black River Falls, Wisconsin-based 1158th Transportation Company moved the tank from the VFW post in Hartford, to the VFW post in Woodruff.
Staff Sgt. Diana Metz, with the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 229th Engineer Company, explained that the 1158th was required to take a very specific route while transporting the tank. Since it was such a large load to transport, they had to be careful what streets and bridges they took en route to their final destination.
"The tank was one of the largest ones they had made at the time," said Jack Wirth, a Vietnam veteran and member of the Hartford VFW. "The reason it was retired was its size. It was just too big and heavy to get up hills, or around anywhere really."
The 1158th sent a four-man team to move the tank, with two different military transportation vehicles - a "Wrecker", which is a powerful tow truck, and a heavy equipment transportation vehicle, or HET, which is similar to a flatbed semi truck.
There were some difficulties in moving what was once a 50-ton tank, but the City of Hartford dispatched a small road crew to help aid in moving the tank onto the HET vehicle trailer.
Mike Eggleston, the Hartford VFW commander, explained that the tank was originally delivered to the post in 1968 by the 1158th, and it was a sad sight to watch it go.
"We would love to keep it, but the old building had to be shut down," Eggleston said while the 1158th worked on hooking up the tank behind him.
Of his unit's role of moving the tank to the VFW post in the 1960s and moving it away in 2014, Sgt. Jonathan Bohl, of the 1158th, said, "I didn't know about the history behind the tank, but it does give you a sense of pride."
Due to a lack of funding, the old post had to be shut down and relocated, and the VFW ultimately had to sell the tank.
Frank Zogar, commander of the Woodruff VFW, was there as well to see the tank off and thank Eggleston in person.
"It's a wonderful piece of history, and I'm proud to have it be part of our city," he said as the tank was being loaded onto the trailer. "I think it will be a great addition to the post and to the city."