The National Museum of the United States Army marked another important step towards completion with the recent installations of a WWI Model B Liberty Truck and WWII 40 mm Bofors Anti-aircraft Gun. The Museum, which is being constructed at Fort Belvoir, Va., will open to the public in 2020.
The Liberty Truck was installed April 2, positioned in the Army and Society Gallery. In 1917, the Department of War worked with private industry to address the Army’s critical need for a cargo hauler made with universal parts so the trucks could be built and repaired by more than one manufacturer. Of the almost 9,500 trucks produced by 15 manufacturers, more than 7,500 were sent overseas.
“The Liberty Truck was the first truck to be developed as a dedicated military vehicle,” said Paul Morando, director of exhibits. “We are extremely pleased that the restoration team brought the truck back to near-original condition to help us tell this important milestone in the Army’s story.”
The Bofors Gun was installed April 4. The Bofors Gun was originally invented by Bofors Ordnance of Karlskoga, Sweden, as a naval and land anti-aircraft weapon. The design was adopted by the U.S. military in 1941 to fire high-explosive rounds with a contact fuze against aircraft and an armor-piercing projectile against ground targets. The tableau which highlights the Bofors Gun depicts African American Soldiers of the 466th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion preparing to fire on Japanese aircraft attacking an Army airfield in Papua, New Guinea.
“The stories told through these artifacts are not only the stories of the U.S. Army, but of America,” said retired Brig. Gen. Creighton W. Abrams, Jr., executive director of The Army Historical Foundation. “With eight of the largest and most impressive artifacts in place, the Museum is really taking shape. Visitors will truly marvel over the stories associated with these artifacts when the Army opens the museum doors to the world next year.”
The 185,000-square-foot museum is being constructed on 84 acres just south of Washington, DC. It will be the only museum in the Army Museum Enterprise dedicated to preserving and promoting the entire history of America’s oldest and largest military service. Currently, the Army is the only military service without a national museum.
For a virtual tour of the museum, go to https://armyhistory.org/about-the-museum/.