Tanks removed from Manistee National Guard armory

Tanks set to be relocated at active armories across the state

Sgt. First Class Tim Arnold, manager of the Manistee National Guard armory, worked Wednesday to prepare one of the tanks outside the armory to be removed from the property. The tanks are scheduled today to be sent to the Michigan National Guard headquarters in Lansing and from there, sent to other active armories to be displayed. (Sean Bradley/News Advocate)

Sgt. First Class Tim Arnold, manager of the Manistee National Guard armory, worked Wednesday to prepare one of the tanks outside the armory to be removed from the property. The tanks are scheduled today to be sent to the Michigan National Guard headquarters in Lansing and from there, sent to other active armories to be displayed. (Sean Bradley/News Advocate)

 

MANISTEE — Pieces of local military history rolled away Wednesday from the Manistee National Guard armory, the former home of the 126th Bravo Troop.

The two tanks outside the armory, located at 555 First St., were taken away from the property by National Guard troops from Fort Custer in Augusta and are scheduled to be sent today to the Michigan National Guard headquarters in Lansing, according to Sgt. First Class Tim Arnold, manager of the Manistee armory.

“They are going to be repainted and repurposed to other armories throughout the state that are still open,” Arnold said.

The Manistee armory closed last summer, with the 68-member troop known as the Black Knights reassigned to the Grand Valley Armory in Wyoming, which is near Grand Rapids.

Arnold said the removal of the tanks is part of the armory’s closing process.

The tanks were put on loaders for travel purposes. Along with being displayed outside the armory, they were used in parades and other functions in recent years, and many people have taken pictures while sitting on them as well. (Sean Bradley/News Advocate)

The tanks were put on loaders for travel purposes. Along with being displayed outside the armory, they were used in parades and other functions in recent years, and many people have taken pictures while sitting on them as well. (Sean Bradley/News Advocate)

“The (Manistee) VFW was trying to get them but they actually belong to the National Guard Historical Society so they have to go back through the process; re-inspected, pretty much not put back into condition but repainted on the outside,” he said.

Although the tanks are part of military property, Arnold said “it hurts” that they’re getting moved.

“As long as they’re getting moved to a different armory where they can be displayed accordingly, I think I’d be fine with it,” he said. “I think people are going to miss it. It’s right down the main street going to the beach and a lot of people stop and get on them and take pictures with them.”

Until a few years ago, Bravo Troop soldiers drove tanks down River Street in various parades and events.

Removing the tanks is one of the last things happening regarding the closing the armory.

“The internet service basically got shut off April 1 … no one’s really working here anymore. We’re still getting equipment out inside but it’s down to the last little bit of stuff,” he said. “The last thing that will happen is the sign will come down (that says) ‘The Home of the Black Knights’ and the flag will come down on the inside. We’re getting pretty close to that point.”

He projects that by May 15, nothing else will be left at the armory building.

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Posted by Sean Bradley

Sean is the city and cops and courts reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the entertainment and Reasons to Celebrate pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3109 or sbradley@pioneergroup.com.

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