The Phoenix

Gen. Spaatz Museum in Boyertown celebrates Vietnam War Veterans Day

Memorabili­a from local Vietnam veterans displayed

- By Jesi Yost

To commemorat­e National Vietnam War Veterans Day, the General Carl Spaatz USAAF Museum in Boyertown displayed a special Vietnam War era memorabili­a exhibit and a museum admission discount for veterans March 26 and 27.

The exhibit, composed of donated memorabili­a and individual items on loan to the museum from local Vietnam veterans, consists of equipment and clothing from that era and was on display in two locations within the museum through April 3.

“This would be what someone would look like leaving the perimeter,” Tom Gosse, director of marketing for the museum, said as he described a Vietnam field uniform. “Many times in Vietnam, you didn’t bother with the shirt. It’s just too hot, this (uniform) was extremely heavy and extremely hot, but it was a lifesaver.”

Also part of the special exhibit is a re-creation of an M60 Machine Gun, nicknamed The Pig, due to its size.

“You gave this to your best soldier,” said Gosse. “The best, strongest person carried The Pig.”

A highlight of the exhibit includes a Marine Corps “Mule” vehicle with the missing man ceremony field display. A Mule is a four-wheel drive, gasolinepo­wered truck/tractor vehicle that can carry up to a half-ton off-road. The Missing Man Ceremony Field Display includes a soldier’s rifle and boots, with helmet on top.

One part of the display featured an MCI or Meal, Combat, Individual canned wet combat rations along with photograph­s and Donald L Conrad of Barto’s order to report notice for his

induction into the armed forces on May 26, 1969.

“The equipment tells the story,” said Kristian Steffenhag­en, “Oftentimes, if you deconstruc­t the machinery it will tell you more about the environmen­t that led to its creation. Oftentimes, you get a very complicate­d history behind the developmen­t of a machine … why it is the way it is. And then occasional­ly, you wind up with standout stuff like these two pieces of ammunition (50-caliber round and 20mm shell) which are so widespread that they are still in use in various places around the world in a variety of roles.”

Steffenhag­en explained the difference in technology between a 50 caliber round and 20mm shell.

“Through World War II and into Korea, we were using 50-caliber machine guns. By the time Vietnam rolls around, the M61 Vulcan has come about and that is a 20-millimeter shell which is a significan­t upgrade in firepower. This 50-caliber round fires anywhere between 750 and 1,000 rounds a minute; the 20-millimeter shell fires 6000 rounds a minute.”

The museum featured a video and period music with songs like “I Fought the Law,” by The Bobby Fuller Four.

National Vietnam War Veterans Day is acknowledg­ed on March 29, honoring the more than 2.7 million Americans who served in the war. The date was chosen because after 20 years in Vietnam, the last U.S. combat troops left the

 ?? JESI YOST — FOR MEDIANEWS GROUP ?? John Conrad and Rachel Conrad of Fredericks­burg and Katie Rumpilla and Vietnam veteran Brian Rumpilla of Gilbertsvi­lle pose with a flag outside of the General Carl Spaatz National USAAF Museum in Boyertown. To commemorat­e National Vietnam War Veterans Day, the museum displayed Vietnam War era memorabili­a and offered an admission discount for veterans March 26 and 27.
JESI YOST — FOR MEDIANEWS GROUP John Conrad and Rachel Conrad of Fredericks­burg and Katie Rumpilla and Vietnam veteran Brian Rumpilla of Gilbertsvi­lle pose with a flag outside of the General Carl Spaatz National USAAF Museum in Boyertown. To commemorat­e National Vietnam War Veterans Day, the museum displayed Vietnam War era memorabili­a and offered an admission discount for veterans March 26 and 27.
 ?? JESI YOST — FOR MEDIANEWS GROUP ?? Charlie Minsky, 10, with his father, Andrew, and grandparen­ts Christinia and Bart Minsky, found all four of the French Safehouse Escape Room items, completing the mission with just two minutes to spare at the General Carl Spaatz National USAAF Museum in Boyertown. The museum is planning an exclusive escape room in April.
JESI YOST — FOR MEDIANEWS GROUP Charlie Minsky, 10, with his father, Andrew, and grandparen­ts Christinia and Bart Minsky, found all four of the French Safehouse Escape Room items, completing the mission with just two minutes to spare at the General Carl Spaatz National USAAF Museum in Boyertown. The museum is planning an exclusive escape room in April.
 ?? JESI YOST — FOR MEDIANEWS GROUP ?? Part of the General Carl Spaatz National USAAF Museum team, Ray Page, Tom Gosse and Charles Haddad pose with a Marine Corps “Mule” vehicle with the missing man ceremony field display — a highlight of the special Vietnam War era memorabili­a exhibit.
JESI YOST — FOR MEDIANEWS GROUP Part of the General Carl Spaatz National USAAF Museum team, Ray Page, Tom Gosse and Charles Haddad pose with a Marine Corps “Mule” vehicle with the missing man ceremony field display — a highlight of the special Vietnam War era memorabili­a exhibit.
 ?? JESI YOST — FOR MEDIANEWS GROUP ?? A collection of U.S. veteran autographs and stories compiled by Chris Bosswell in several binders on display at the General Carl Spaatz National USAAF Museum in Boyertown.
JESI YOST — FOR MEDIANEWS GROUP A collection of U.S. veteran autographs and stories compiled by Chris Bosswell in several binders on display at the General Carl Spaatz National USAAF Museum in Boyertown.
 ?? JESI YOST — FOR MEDIANEWS GROUP ?? Kristian Steffenhag­en explains the difference in technology between a 50 caliber round (127mm) and 20mm shell, both pictured. The 20mm cartridge is larger of the two.
JESI YOST — FOR MEDIANEWS GROUP Kristian Steffenhag­en explains the difference in technology between a 50 caliber round (127mm) and 20mm shell, both pictured. The 20mm cartridge is larger of the two.
 ?? JESI YOST — FOR MEDIANEWS GROUP ?? Vietnam War era memorabili­a exhibit includes a recreation of an M60 Machine Gun - nicknamed The Pig.
JESI YOST — FOR MEDIANEWS GROUP Vietnam War era memorabili­a exhibit includes a recreation of an M60 Machine Gun - nicknamed The Pig.

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