Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Tanks for the memories

I spent most of last week at the Army’s archives up in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. On Thursday it was warm and sunny so I took a break and walked the mile-long "heritage trail" outside the archives. It was fun, if you’re into military history. They’ve built a series of replicas — a redoubt from Yorktown, a ...

557471_ricks2_204.jpg
557471_ricks2_204.jpg

I spent most of last week at the Army's archives up in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. On Thursday it was warm and sunny so I took a break and walked the mile-long "heritage trail" outside the archives.

It was fun, if you're into military history. They've built a series of replicas -- a redoubt from Yorktown, a mini firebase from Vietnam, a bit of World War I trenching. Also, they have on display a variety of old Army weaponry -- a Cobra gunship, a World War II tank destroyer, and some tanks. Plus, for some reason, lots of small artillery pieces. No Abrams tanks, Bradleys, Strykers, or MRAPs as of yet. I think they should also get a Humvee, for me the characteristic U.S. military vehicle of the 1990s. I'll long remember that combination of the smell of dust and radio.

Anyway, it would make a perfect rest stop for anyone driving this summer on Interstate 81 or the Pennsylvania Turnpike with a minivan bursting with boys and dogs. (Which reminds me of my parents back in the 1950s putting my one of my older brothers out of the station wagon and making him trot along behind the station wagon to work off some of that excess boy energy.)

I spent most of last week at the Army’s archives up in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. On Thursday it was warm and sunny so I took a break and walked the mile-long "heritage trail" outside the archives.

It was fun, if you’re into military history. They’ve built a series of replicas — a redoubt from Yorktown, a mini firebase from Vietnam, a bit of World War I trenching. Also, they have on display a variety of old Army weaponry — a Cobra gunship, a World War II tank destroyer, and some tanks. Plus, for some reason, lots of small artillery pieces. No Abrams tanks, Bradleys, Strykers, or MRAPs as of yet. I think they should also get a Humvee, for me the characteristic U.S. military vehicle of the 1990s. I’ll long remember that combination of the smell of dust and radio.

Anyway, it would make a perfect rest stop for anyone driving this summer on Interstate 81 or the Pennsylvania Turnpike with a minivan bursting with boys and dogs. (Which reminds me of my parents back in the 1950s putting my one of my older brothers out of the station wagon and making him trot along behind the station wagon to work off some of that excess boy energy.)

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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