to know your VMMV staff & vehicles
this section we will introduce you to the people and armor of
the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles. We will chat with
the VMMV staff, so that you can get to know the people who "keep
'em running" and work so hard behind the scenes. And also
provide a behind-the-scenes look into the history of individual
vehicles in the VMMV collection. In this, our third newsletter,
we have a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the new movie
"Flags of Our Fathers" -- based on the best-selling
VMMV Goes Hollywood...
Marc and Robert's Excellent Adventure!!!
had a great summer as Marc and Robert took our M4A3 Sherman
and newly refurbished LVT4 to Iceland to participate in the
filming of the upcoming movie "Flags
of Our Fathers." The movie is currently scheduled to
be released in 2006; be sure to look for Marc, Robert and VMMV's
spent June working on the LVT4, pulling maintenance, painting
the vehicle and assembling a veritable mountain of spare parts--engines,
alternators, starters, tools, etc to prepare for a month of
simulated combat on Iceland's shore in the North Atlantic .
VMMV's prior experience with filming was readily apparent, as
Marc, Robert and a cast of volunteers left nothing to chance--testing,
checking, re-testing and getting spare parts---there are no
Radio Shack's in the middle of the North Atlantic!!!! The last
critical test was to conduct a float check on the LVT4 in one
of the ponds on VMMV's property. Thanks to the superb skills
of the VMMV staff, there were no leaks and the prep. work was
July 5th, the vehicles were moved on Lo-Boys and driven to the
Penn Terminal in Philadelphia where they were loaded on a container
ship bound for Iceland. The container ship left on 10 July and
arrived in Iceland in late July.
in Iceland, our two vehicles joined equipment from across the
US -- post-war Higgins Boats, three other Shermans, 6 LVTs,
trucks, jeeps and several tractors vismodded to look like Japanese
tanks. Marc and Robert immediately jumped into action; testing
our vehicles, running motor checks and acquainting production
staff and extras with the capabilities and limitations of both
armored vehicles. The can-do spirit of Marc and Robert was apparent
to the production company as Marc and Robert were quickly drafted
as "corporate assets" to fix other armored vehicles
that did not arrive in working order or broke down.
11 August, after a week of training, filming began in earnest
and continued every day until 5 September. The days were long.
Marc described being on the set of a movie as similar to combat--Hours
of waiting, checking, and rehearsing punctuated by a few minutes
of sheer mayhem as the beach assault scenes were filmed. Our
crew and vehicles were surrounded by explosions, 50 caliber
machine guns hammering away as different scenes were blocked
out and filmed. There were formation shots at sea with other
amphibious craft, with simulated artillery landing amongst the
LVTs. Then the actual assault went in--with more explosions
simulating naval artillery and when they hit the beach--hundreds
of extras swarming out of, over the top of, and amongst the
vehicles. Despite the gunpowder and snorting tank guns, all
filming was done saftely and there were no accidents or injurys.
the beach scenes, the movement inland was next. Filming concentrated
on breaching the berm, with lots more artillery and now the
M4A3 became a star, helping to reduce beach fortifications and
belching flame from her cannon.
did get to rub shoulders with celebrities. Our LVT4 hosted Clint
Eastwood -- the film's director -- as Marc took him for a swim
in the Amtrac . We also swam with all the other major star's
of the movie!!
filming ended, the work was not done. Although each vehicle
was hosed down with fresh water daily to prevent corrosion from
the salt water, the LVT4 and M4A3 had seen hard use and needed
some tender loving care. To comply with US Dept. of Agriculture
regulations, the vehicles were scrubbed from track link to commander's
hatch to prevent any foreign soil or objects from being transported
to the shores of the United States. Gear and spare parts were
inventoried and packed away. After a wrap-up party, Marc and
Robert drove the vehicles one last time down to the pier for
loading onto a container ship which arrived in Philadelphia
in early October.
done to Marc and Robert!!! VMMV will continue to post pictures
from this most excellent adventure throughout the winter, so
check back often!
The lexicon of armored vehicles is filled with a bewildering
amount of acronyms. And at the VMMV we have a few of our own.
Here we will have the VMMV word of the day so you may better
understand the conversations you might overhear at VMMV.
"Needle Gun" -- No, VMMV has not changed missions
and become a MASH. Nor are we giving out Flu Shots. If you hear
a VMMV person talking about the needle gun, it likely means
they are involved in stripping rust from metal. The needle gun
is an air driven tool that uses pulses of air to drive metal
spikes (looking like overly large needles, hence the name) against
metal to pound away surface rust from nooks and crannies that
you can't get to with a grinder.
Open House for 2005 has been postponed to 2006 due to several
factors, not the least of which was an overly active Hurricane
Season! We are greatly sorry, but hope to have a spectacular
event in June of next year. Please stay tuned for updates.
Christmas and a Happy New Year from all the staff and volunteers