Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fort Clinch Planning World War II Program Fernandina: Vets' Items on Display

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fort Clinch Planning World War II Program Fernandina: Vets' Items on Display

Article excerpt

Byline: Manoucheka Celeste, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Fort Clinch State Park expects more than 600 visitors to come and reflect on a dark period in American history on the weekend of Memorial Day.

The second annual World War II Remembrance Weekend will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 26 and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 27. But the main day for display of wartime weapons, equipment and vehicles is May 26.

Military collectors and vehicle owners, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4351 in Fernandina Beach, the Friends of Fort Clinch and Fort Clinch State Park are joining forces to create the exhibit that will include live weapons firings.

"It's like a museum that we are going to set up outside," said Frank Ofeldt, a military collector and a ranger and interpreter for Fort Clinch. "It will feature items from the Army, Navy, Army Air Corps and Marines."

The vehicle displays will include several Willys army jeeps, which were commonly used in the war, an M-3 armored car, an armored personnel carrier and a Harley army motorcycle, according to Ofeldt and park ranger George Berninger.

Some of the display will include German and U.S. weapons including a German MP43 short assault rifle, a Browning Automatic Rifle, a Thompson submachine gun, a Garand M-1 Rifle, a 1903 Springfield rifle and a 50-caliber machine gun. There also will be be 45-caliber and 9mm handguns.

Some of the vintage weapons will be fired by their owners, all of whom have served in the armed forces. The history of each weapon will be told before it is fired.

Combat gear, field gear and various uniforms also will be on hand.

A homefront display will consist of clothing, information pamphlets and paraphernalia collected during the war.

The World War II museum at Camp Blanding, the Florida Army National Guard training facility south of Middleburg, also will have a display exhibited by curator Maj. Greg Parsons.

The Army Air Corps display will feature items that were used on bombing missions in B-17s and B-29s.

German equipment captured as war trophies will be on display.

Visitors also can meet veterans of World War II at the event. …

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