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Armed Forces History Museum's Touch-A-Truck Educates Visitors on World War II

See, hear and touch military history Saturday at the Armed Forces History Museum.

The hosts a series of Touch-A-Truck with World War II re-enactments as a part of its Sizzling Summer promotion.

At a recent event Patch had a chance to check it out and chat with the First Infantry Reenactment Group. The non-profit group includes amateur World War II historians and enthusiasts as well as veterans who want to continue sharing their experiences.  The group hosted the re-enactments at the event.

Some of the weapons displayed were the semi-automatic pistol, M1A1 rocket launcher, and a M-19 replica, which were dominant American weapons from 1942-1945. The infantry explained the weapons and demonstrated vast knowledge on the history of World War II and how the weapons fit into the history of the United States. The demonstrators also fired some shots off the weapons when possible.

The founder of the First Infantry Reenactment Group, John P. Thomas, told Patch he was inspired to create his non-profit organization by his father who was a World War II veteran who fought in the battles against Japan and is now deceased. Although his father did not discuss the war much, and Thomas has experienced a life-long interested in military and American history.

"Our goal is to bring honor and recognition to any American who was a veteran or has a veteran in the family or has served in some capacity during a time of war," Thomas said.

After noticing World War II re-enactments two years ago at an event, Thomas decided to start his own organization and offer the same service but in a new and educational manner. Thomas recruits young men who are approximately the right age to fit World War II times for his infantry. 

"Veterans who get involved can get back to sharing that part of their lives with others and do a service at the same time," Thomas said. "We try to share some war year flavor as well with music, pin-ups, and baseball that highlight the culture of the United States and military during World War II."

If you go:

The Touch-A-Truck and World War II re-enactments return July 21st and August 18th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $17.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids. Museum admission is included. Some vehicles will be available for rides at an additional fee.

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David July 19, 2012 at 07:05 PM
I wish more people would check out this little hidden gem off Ulmerton Road. What a vast array of up close and mostly touchable weaponry and vehicles. Having the veterans there for this even just makes it that much more realistic.
kathy ray July 23, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I took My son there a couple years back. I think its time to trek down there again! (its only an hour and a half drive for us, but well worth it!)

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