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NEWS | Dec. 4, 2018

Another piece of Fort Eustis history

By Senior Airman Tristan Biese 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Army Transportation Museum received a 1940 M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage Half-track at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Dec. 3, 2018.

The museum received the M16 Half-track from the U.S. Army Museum Support Center in Anniston, Alabama, to better tell the story of combat vehicles during World War II.

“We thought this would complement the fact that we had an anti-aircraft element here,” said Mark Sammis, U.S. Army Transportation Museum curator. “Since we don’t really have anything here in the museum collection that tells that story, we thought this would be a good edition.”

The M16 Half-track was a common type of half-track used by U.S. forces during World War II, with the front wheels of the M16 Half-track used for steering, the rear rubber treads were used to travel over more difficult terrain. The back of the vehicle was mounted with a M45 Quadmount Maxson anti-aircraft weapon, however, the quad machine guns could be turned away from the sky to fire at enemy ground troops as well.

“You got four 50-caliber machine guns shooting down at you, that’s a lot of bullets going down range,” Sammis said.

While the vehicle no longer has its weaponry mounted on the back, the M16 Half-track is still a tribute to the anti-aircraft training facility and the more than 20,000 Soldiers it trained at Fort Eustis during World War II.

“We’re trying to get a little more emphasis on Fort Eustis itself and what they did here,” said Sammis. “Both when the transportation school was here and prior to it.”

As the war continued and came to an end, the German and Japanese air forces suffered great losses, and due to that the use of anti-aircraft training began to decrease, said Sammis.

With this decrease, Fort Eustis transitioned into what it is commonly known for today – a U.S. Army transportation school.

The staff at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum want to showcase not only the transportation history of the Army, but the many chapters Fort Eustis has had throughout its 100 years in history.