Tank farm open house offers up-close look at Americans in wartime experience

 “War is hell,” said William Tecumseh Sherman, Union General in the U.S. Civil War. Dennis Brandt, the organizer of…



“War is hell,” said William Tecumseh Sherman, Union General in the U.S. Civil War.

Dennis Brandt, the organizer of this weekend’s tank farm open house, in Nokesville, Virginia, hopes to make sure future generations don’t forget that.

The Americans in Wartime Experience — a not-for-profit group that honors those who served in the U.S. military —  is holding a tank farm open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, in Prince William County.

“You’ll be able to see 60 military vehicles and tanks, spread out nicely on 70 acres of land,” said Brandt, the group’s CEO. “There will be historians out there to share history on each vehicle.”

Brandt said the Marine Corps flame thrower team will hold a demonstration at 10 a.m. Saturday.

“If you’ve never seen a flame thrower, that’s what Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams used on Iwo Jima,” said Brandt. Williams, 97, is the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II.

Brandt said visitors will be able to get up close to the strongest vehicles the military uses: “It’s a lot of steel,” he said.

“You’ll be able to touch, smell, and even get on top of some of the vehicles out there, and just take it in,” Brandt said.

Given the toll war takes on members of the military and their families, Brandt said that toll is one of the reasons it is important keep that history alive.

“It can be a rough ride,” Brandt said. “My father served on Iwo Jima in World War II, when he was 17 years old. He didn’t talk about it for 60 years, until a few weeks before he passed.”

His father’s reluctance to recount his experiences made Brandt more determined to learn and share the story of Americans who make the sacrifice of going to war.

“I certainly want to be able to tell my grandchildren about my father. And I want to tell them about what it was like — and it wasn’t pleasant,” said Brandt.

The event will take place at the Tank Farm at 13906 Aden Road in Nokesville. People need to register for the event.


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