Americans in Wartime Museum
Honor • Educate • Inspire
Fall 2018 Issue
In This Issue
Kraig Butrum Joins NMAW as CEO…………………….1
Voices of Freedom Summer
A Salute to Our
Kraig Butrum selected as first CEO of the
National Museum of Americans in Wartime
The Board of Trustees of the National Museum of Americans in Wartime (NMAW) has named Kraig M. Butrum, a national leader in non-profit management, to serve as its first Chief Executive Officer.
“I am excited to welcome Kraig to lead the National Museum of Americans in Wartime,” said Allan D. Cors, founder and president of NMAW. “As a seasoned non-profit executive, he brings to us a full complement of experience in bringing our vision to fruition.”
With more than 25 years of senior management experience, Butrum has guided national and international organizations through major capital campaign projects that include start-ups, fundraising, corporate giving, institutional branding, donor relations and other executive management responsibilities. As a Vice President of Conservation International, he directed a five-year, $635 million fundraising campaign.
“Our family has a long history of serving our nation on the battlefield and home front. Both of my grandfathers served in World War I. My father was a B-17 pilot and a German prisoner of war. Both of my brothers-in-law served proudly in Vietnam and my nephew served in Desert Storm.” Butrum said. “Leading the National Museum of Americans in Wartime and seeing it be realized will be a small token of my gratitude to them and the millions of other Americans who stepped forward when asked.”
Founded in 2008, the National Museum of Americans in Wartime is a not-for-profit cultural and educational institution dedicated to honoring those who have served in all branches of the United States military and on the home front, from World War I to the present. The Museum will serve to educate the public, especially young people, by telling individual stories of personal experience, realities of war, and sacrifices made by Americans striving to preserve our freedoms.
Voices of Freedom Summer Activities
Honoring and Keeping the Stories
The Voices of Freedom kicked off the busy 2018 Summer event season in Carlisle, PA, at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center for the Army Heritage Days held on May 18th—19th. This is the first year we have taken part in the annual event. Rain on the first morning and threats of rain the remainder of the weekend kept crowds light, however, those who attended were greeted with tank and halftrack demonstrations and reenactors depicting army units from colonial days to present. The Army Heritage and Education Center was also open to visitors and provided those guests with a walk through of the Army’s rich history.
In Carlisle, six interviews were conducted in the mobile recording studio with veterans from WWII, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Plans are in the works to attend next year’s event.
For our next trip, we brought the mobile recording studio to the Mid-Atlantic Museum’s WWII Weekend held on June 1st—3rd. As was the case in Carlisle two weeks prior, the threat of rain hung over the weekend event, however, damp weather held off. The exception was Sunday afternoon when overcast skies gave way to light rain. Some of the scheduled aerial demonstrations needed to be altered but, for the most part, the event went on as planned.
Despite crowds being lighter than in past years due to the rain threat, staff was still able to conduct 11 interviews, which included four with WWII veterans. The event, which is held during the first weekend in June, is always fantastic and one that we plan to be a part of for many years to come.
We began July at the Dale City Independence Day Family Fun Day, which was followed by the WWI & WWII Weekend at Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, VA, on July 14th—15th. Despite having no interviews scheduled, we were able to conduct four with seasoned veterans and civilians from WWII, Korea and the Gulf War. When we weren’t conducting interviews, staff gave tours of the studio and promoted the mission of the museum.
At Oatlands, we had the honor and pleasure of interviewing Col. Robert Shawn, USAF (ret.). Col. Shawn served during WWII flying P47s and P51s in support of ground forces in Bastogne and Normandy. He would serve again during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Col. Shawn earned three Silver Stars, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
In 2018, staff with the Voices of Freedom has conducted 31 interviews. The next event will be the 2018 Open House, September 22-23.
If you served, either as a civilian or a member of the military, in support of the war effort or are a witness to the events of September 11, 2001, we would love to hear from you and preserve your story. Participants will receive a copy of their interview at no cost. Contact Dennis Gill at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for a date and time that will work for you. To those who have already participated, we thank you.
Save the Date!
2018 Open House
September 22 and 23
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days
“Tank Farm” in Nokesville, VA
A First – the Battle of the Food Trucks on site!
We are looking to make the 2018 Open House our best one ever! We have many unique features and events planned for all attendees, including a demonstration by the United States Marine Corps Historical Society, veterans discussion panels and veteran interviews conducted on-site by the Voices of Freedom Project. Visit our website to register and get directions!
Profile: One Determined Documentarian Rishi Sharma from Redondo Beach, CA
We have highlighted this amazing young man in the past. We caught Rishi in action interviewing World War II vets this summer in Pennsylvania. Here is an update:
“I am 20 years old and I have been on a mission to interview at least one WWII combat veteran every single day until the last one passes away.
These men are my biggest heroes and my kindred spirits, as they are the only people who I truly enjoy talking to and learning from hours on end. I want them to know how grateful I am for the sacrifices they have made, which has allowed me a chance at a good life. I also try to be an outlet in which these men can share their experiences of their war days in a censor free environment.
I have decided to dedicate my life to interviewing these veterans and bring awareness to their sacrifices. I have completed nearly 260 interviews so far. The interviews are on average 4-6 hours long. The interviews are filmed but there is absolutely no commercial aspect to this as I just provide a DVD for the veteran’s use.
Growing up I have always been interested in WWII. When I was little I used to want to be a Marine but when I thought of a Marine, I thought of a man with nothing but a rifle in his hands and the shirt on his back. I have always felt that these men are my heroes and I have always been interested in WWII.
The only reason I am alive today is because of these heroic men. They went in as ordinary boys in extraordinary circumstances which churned them out as men.”
To learn more about Rishi’s work, visit heroesofthesecondworldwar.org.
Landscapes of War Update
More than an Oak Tree
Inspired by the White House planting of a single oak tree from one of the most horrific battles of World War I, the planned National Museum of Americans in Wartime will incorporate Sessile oaks from the Belleau battlefield as part of its World War I “Landscape of War.”
“My grandfather would not say much about his experience in World War I,” said Kraig Butrum, new CEO of the Museum. “But he did remark how so much death and destruction could transfer a tranquil forest into a living hell. One hundred years later, these trees will symbolize how we can recover from the scars of war but also how we should never forget those who sacrificed and served.”
This past June, President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron planted a Sessile Oak tree outside the White House in the first ceremonial act of Macron’s state visit.
The new White House gift, a European Sessile Oak sapling, is 4 1/2 feet tall and between five and 10 years old, according to the First Lady’s office.
The tree comes from Belleau Wood, the site of a battle in World War I in which more than 9,000 American soldiers died.
Rain Rain Go Away
Due to the record rainfall that covered most of the Northeast this summer, construction crews had to temporarily delay the grading operation on the National Museum of Americans in Wartime’s Dale City site.
“Grading the location is a critical and time-consuming process,” said Carl Rigler, project manager for Dewberry Engineering. “The soil needs to be compacted and engineered to accommodate all of the museum’s facilities as well as tanks and military equipment weighing tons. We need to do it right.”
The good news is as we went to press for this issue of the newsletter; work began again on the site. Stay tuned for more updates in future newsletters.
Tank of the Month Club
Highlight on The Wartime Museum’s M5A1 Stuart Light Tank – “The Eager Beaver”
By Tank Restoration Volunteers
David Horton and Gordon Ridings
The M5A1 Stuart light tank was introduced in 1942 as a result of the Army’s continuing need for a light, fast armored reconnaissance vehicle. It was the culmination of design improvements, which ultimately resulted in the largest produced and most recognizable variant seen in the ETO. When production of the M5A1 ceased in June of 1944, a total of nearly 7,000 had been produced.
The M5 series of tank, while grossly outgunned and under armored in comparison to other tanks of its day, had several technological advancements other vehicles of the period did not have. These advancements included an auto choke system for the twin Cadillac V-8s, and the grandfather of today’s automatic transmission, the hydramatic. The hydramatic allowed for ease of operability and maneuverability, both of which helped the tank to fulfill the high-speed reconnaissance role. Additionally, the use of the V-8 automotive motor allowed for a lower octane of gasoline to be used, which resulted in additional crew safety.
The M5A1 had a crew of four men. In the front left of the tank sat the driver. In the right front sat the assistant driver, who also served as a bow gunner. In the turret of the tank on the left sat the gunner who operated the 37mm cannon along with a coax 30 caliber Browning machine gun. Lastly, on the right side of the turret sat the tank commander. The tank commander would also serve as the loader due to the cramped space in the turret and small size of the projectile.
The M5A1 was armed with a total of three 1919 Browning Light machine guns and the 37mm main gun. It was capable of carrying a total of 6,750 rounds of 30 caliber ammunition and a total of 147 rounds of 37mm ammunition. The velocity of the 37mm rounds performed well against other similar light tanks, but later proved to be of little consequence for more heavily armored vehicles.
The M5A1 that is in the museum’s collection has had an interesting past to say the least. Prior to its arrival at the museum, it was restored by a collector who had registered for the road. Like most of the Stuart light tanks that are in museum collections in the United States, it came out of Portugal where they were surplused. The Portuguese had received the Stuarts as part of the MAP (Military Assistance Program) after the Second World War.
Most recently, the Stuart has been adopted by a group of NMAW volunteers ensuring that it is in top running order and crewed correctly for events. They have taken pride in it ensuring that will continue to run for years to come. They have worked tirelessly performing the necessary maintenance on the suspension, motors, fluid exchange, and have recently put new fuel pumps in with the assistance of the museum staff. As most tankers in World War II did, the volunteer staff has named the Stuart “Eager Beaver.” Keeping with the pop culture of the 1940s, the name is based on Stan Kenton’s popular song Eager Beaver, which is fitting moniker as it has been the centerpiece of several local events over the past few months.
A Salute to Our Volunteers
Scouts and Scavengers!
Each year at the Annual Open House at the Nokesville “Tank Farm” you see both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts eagerly participating in the weekend event.
The Boy Scouts and their leader David Marron of Troop 1636 from Mount Pleasant, Maryland, have mastered their compass directions by managing the hundreds of cars, motorcycles, trucks and vans that bring guests to the Farm.
Girl Scout Troop 899 led by our very own Devon Pass staffed the veteran’s check-in table and the Children’s Scavenger Hunt Activity. The Scavenger Hunt activity is a unique challenge – the hunters must find veterans from each major war conflict and obtain their autographs to earn the prize. It’s always fun to watch the youngsters interacting and learning from our veteran attendees who generously give their time. This year Senior Scout Alexis Pass has been working at the Tank Farm to complete her Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn in her lifetime. During our Open House plan to stop by her display to learn about her project.
The tremendous growth and success of the Annual Open House would not be possible without our volunteers and we are grateful for their time and dedication.
National Museum of Americans in Wartime 8500 Executive Park Ave., Suite 412
Fairfax, VA 22031
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