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 Brant, 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 Brant, the group’s CEO. “There will be historians out there to share history on each vehicle.”

Brant 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 Brant. Williams, 97, is the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II.

Brant 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,” Brant said.

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

“It can be a rough ride,” Brant 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 Brant 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 Brant.

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

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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