Branford’s Armory Tank Gone Forever [Video]

Just as the workday began, a piece of Branford history was rolled away.

This morning at 9:58 a.m. Erik Barone, 38, and son Chase Barone, 3, watched a piece of Branford history roll down Montowese Street.

About a half dozen members of the Connecticut National Guard lifted and hauled the 12,600-pound iconic M114* Armored Personnel Carrier (locally called The Tank) from its resting spot in front the Armory with plans to relocate it to Camp Niantic.

“I remember when I was his age – I played on this thing,” said Erik as he held Chase in his arms.

“It’s like a landmark,” he added.  “You give people directions by the Armored Personnel Carrier.”

Erik who considers himself a military buff also comes from a family of servicemen (his father and brother both served). He said he’s sad that his son will not be able to climb and play on the tank as he did growing up. Eyes glued to the men working to remove the tank, Erik said, “I guess progress sucks.”

Col. John Whitford, Spokesperson for the Connecticut National Guard, said he isn’t sure, off-hand, how old the tank is but does know that its been in front of the Branford Armory for more than 30 years.

Whitford explained that the Connection National Guard is taking Branford’s beloved tank and other pieces of equipment from towns across the state to restore and preserve the state's National Guard history in one place. Branford’s tank, as well as other area combat vehicles and helicopters, will be displayed at the entrance of Camp Niantic, said Whitford. The tank, he added, will be repainted and historical plaque will be created so visitors can learn about it.

As the heavy crane used to lift the tank pulled out of site with the M114 APC on a flatbed, following closely behind, Chase waved goodbye while Erik sighed, “It’s just a slab of concrete now.”

The original story stated that the tank was a M113; it is in fact an M114. Though locally called "the tank" it is not a tank but rather an APC.

Jeff Pechmann August 04, 2011 at 01:57 AM
When I was a kid, there was a "real" tank there. One with a gun, I remember it actually in the parade, they would outfit it with rubber tracks to go on the road. We were sad to see that one go and get replaced with the one that just left. Now there is nothing, sad to see it go.
Marcus Little August 04, 2011 at 12:17 PM
I used to play on the tank when I was a kid and my kids love to see it when we walk by. Sad to see it go. Now just an empty slab.
2senseworth August 04, 2011 at 01:47 PM
That whole section of town is in rough shape- especially with that ugly abandoned factory with crumbling walls and broken windows blocking what could be a beautiful river view. This may seem like a stretch to some but to me, the tank always sort of looked like it was the cause of the buildings sorry state, and I for one am glad to see it go. I am all about celebrating patriotism but a tank speaks to me of destruction and desecration. Many will argue that 'war' is a necessary evil, I know, but perhaps we can find a more appropriate place for this type of 'memorial', as well as provide a more appropriate playscape for our kids. Just sayin'.
Brett Balisciano August 04, 2011 at 02:01 PM
Heart breaking - I used to play on that tank all the time as a kid!!! It is truly just a shame they had to remove it. Now they are going to re-paint it too? Why cant people just let things be!!
John Tyler August 04, 2011 at 05:31 PM
The APC was a tribute to Heavy Tank Company, 102nd Inf Regt, 43rd Inf Division. It was requested by Tom Sudac, a past member of Hv Tk Co. Instead of an M-26 Tank, an Armored Personnel Carrier was provided. John Tyler, Ex M/Sgt


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