In just a few weeks Branford's * will be returned to town after the Connecticut National Guard took the nearly 15,000-pound vehicle in the early morning hours of Aug. 3.
Col. John Whitford, Spokesperson for the CT National Guard, said after hearing how upset the town's people were, the guard led by Major General Thad Martin, decided to restore the tank as planned but will return it to the pad in front of the Branford Armory where it had rested for more than 30 years.
"Taking into account the value this APC had to Branford, we will paint it, restore it and put it back in Branford," Whitford said this morning.
Though the vehicle is still CT National Guard property and does not belong to Branford, according to Whitford, the Armored Personnel Carrier has value to the town and the organization has decided to return it.
As one of many items on the CT National Guard's list of federal historic pieces, the M114 APC was taken from Branford to be restored and join a display of other vehicles at Camp Niantic, stated Whitford. While the other pieces taken from other towns will stay at the camp, the Guard decided they had enough equipment and will return the APC to Branford. Whitford said all other pieces will stay with the collection.
Used as an Armored Recon Vehicle in the Vietnam War, the M114-style APC was built in 1962. While we're still researching the history of the vehicle and how it came to Branford, Whitford was able to confirm that the APC had a mounted M50-caliber machine gun, it was "swimable," and could be parachuted from a plane.
As we wait for its return sometime in September, please share your stories and knowledge of the tank in the comments section or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Sept. 10, the APC, which will be painted OD green, complete with a large Army star insignia on the side, will be displayed for family day at Camp Niantic. After that, Whitford anticipates the vehicle's return to town. Stay tuned to Branford Patch for details.
*The APC is, in fact, not a tank though many people commonly refer to it as one.