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Masontown VFW hosts formal dedication for M41 tank

MASONTOWN — The parking lot of Post 1589 Veterans of Foreign Wars in Masontown was packed with people for the dedication of a newly acquired M41 tank.

“We dedicate this tank to the memory of all veterans past, present and future,” Adjutant Gen. William E. Crane said. Crane, along with Delegate George Street, was instrumental in getting the tank for the VFW.

“I started working with Sen. Dave Sypolt to get the tank. That was before I was elected,” Street said. “I thought having it on display would be good for the town and the organization. Dave made some of the initial calls but we weren’t able to close the deal.”

Street said he continued to look for a way to add the tank to the VFW’s display.

“I contacted our Adjutant Gen. William E. Crane, and through him and the West Virginia National Guard we were able to get the tank.”

Street said he wrote a grant for $4,000 to be used to pour a pad for the tank to sit on.

Following Crane’s speech, the Preston County Honor Guard performed a traditional three-shot rifle volley, “Taps” and said a prayer for all who have served, are now serving and those who are still missing in action.

Earlier, VFW member Tim Wilson said the tank is an M41 Walker Bulldog. He said the 40-ton tank was named after the late Gen. Walton “Bulldog” Walker who was killed in a Jeep accident in 1950.

“It was built by Cadillac as a light medium tank during the Korean War, and was used in Vietnam,” he said. It had a 500-horse power, air-cooled engine that was later changed to diesel.”

According to, the main theater of operation for the M41 was Vietnam. At first, it replaced the few M24 Chaffee models inherited from the French in 1964. The M41A3 was first used by units of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam in January 1965, followed-up by American vehicles with the UD deployment in 1965-66. The ARVN used the model intensively until the end of the war.

The ARVN Rangers were the light infantry of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Trained and assisted by American Special Forces and Ranger advisers, the Vietnamese Rangers infiltrated beyond enemy lines in search and destroy missions.

Wilson said Cadillac ceased production of the M41 in late 1954. It was replaced by the M551 Sheridan during the 1960s.