October 21, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
49°F

Anti-tank gun reclaims its place with community’s help

MEDINA — A shinier-than ­new World War II anti-tank gun reclaimed its space at American Legion Post 202 on Tuesday.

The gun sat outside the post from the 1960s until June, when it was moved to Champs Auto Body on State Road for restoration.

John Dague, front left, and Jim Thornburg, front right, work Tuesday to secure an anti-tank gun outside the Veterans Memorial Hall, 620 N. Broadway St., in Medina. The gun, which had sat outside the hall since the 1960s, was removed in June for restoration. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY MARIA KACIK KULA)

John Dague, front left, and Jim Thornburg, front right, work Tuesday to secure an anti-tank gun outside the Veterans Memorial Hall, 620 N. Broadway St., in Medina. The gun, which had sat outside the hall since the 1960s, was removed in June for restoration. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY MARIA KACIK KULA)

Brian Sloyer, vice president of Champs, explained his company sandblasted the gun to remove decades’ worth of rust and then painted it army green.

However, Sloyer said the paint was slightly different from the standard-issue flat paint used by the Army. This had a sheen that would cause problems for troops on the ground.

“We’re not having to worry about the enemy seeing a slightly shiny cannon. The more sheen it has, the easier it will be to clean,” he said.

The gun made its way on a flatbed truck back to the legion’s Veterans Memorial Hall on Tues­day.

“When it was delivered (to Medina) in 1947, it didn’t look quite that good,” longtime legion member Ralph Waite said.

The gun was one of three weapons that came to Medina from Camp Perry in Ottawa County in 1947, Waite explained. One of the guns went to Uptown Park on Public Square. Two went to the American Legion, which then had a building on North Court Street. When the legion moved to North Broadway Street, it took one of the guns and gave the other to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5137 on Pearl Road in Medina Township.

The gun’s makeover is the result of a community effort. Champs donated its services. North Gateway Tire in Medina Township donated new tires. Transcounty Towing hauled it to and from the post. Medina Auto Parts Car Quest donated sand and primer for the job.

“You’re more than happy to give back to (veterans) for every­ thing they’ve done,” said Champs’ Sloyer, a former Marine.

Outgoing Post 202 Com­mander Bill Parker said he was happy with the outcome.

“It looked like it rolled off the assembly line and is ready for action,” Parker said.

“It’s a living memorial for the post. … It should be good for another, hopefully, 50 to 60 years,” he said.

In June, Army veteran Jim Smith of Cuyahoga Falls, who has restored several large mili­tary weapons and vehicles, was on hand to look over the cannon before it was moved. The gun’s trailer contained a plaque dated 1941, but Smith said the gun portion was older.

He said World War I destroyer ships were armed with those types of guns, but they were taken off to be used as anti-tank weapons in World War II.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.