Military vehicles, troops occupy fairgrounds


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Photos



  • Photos by John Church John Barretta of Essex County, dressed in Vietnam War era equipment, with a 3.5 inch Super Bazooka.




  • Michael Wilder of West Milford as a German Gebirgsjager (alpine or mountain soldier).




  • A deuce and a half truck, so named for its ability to carry two and a half tons of cargo. off road




  • Luke Ceppler , 8, of Stillwater with a Russian GP28 machine gun.




  • Military vehicles on display.




  • A British Scorpion reconnaissance vehicle



MTA

The Military Transport Association (MTA) is a non-profit membership organization for people interested in collecting, restoring, and operating historic military vehicles.

Military vehicles and troops occupied the Sussex County Fairgrounds Saturday and Sunday with little resistance.

The nonviolent invasion was not orchestrated by Vladimir Putin. The vehicles were part of the Military Transport Association Spring Show and Swap Meet and the troops were living history re-enactors.

The rain Friday night may have discouraged some vehicle owners, but 127 display vehicles registered for 13th annual event, according to association president Randy Emr. Down from last years’ record turnout of 164 vehicles, the weekend’s turnout was still the third best.

Many of the regularly attending WWII vehicles were missing, with the speculation that they were scared off by the forecast of scattered rain showers.

Veterans support organizations, military fraternal organizations and vendors set up in the Richards Building. Additional vendors set up their tables in several of the open sided sheds.

Living history
The living history re-enactors set their tents on a grassy area near the fairgrounds administration building.

Last year John Smith of Ogdensburg portrayed a German soldier and Dave Golinger of Long Island appeared as a Russian soldier. This year Smith was joined by Michael Wilder of West Milford as a German Gebirgsjäger.

“I did Civil War re-enacting and my friends told me to try the WWII era,” said Wilder. “The Gebirgsjäger, loosely translated as mountain troops, were the only unit to have short beards when out in the field.”

When in garrison the troops were expected to be clean shaven. The two German troops were still outnumbered when Golinger returned this year with three other Russian troops.

Vietnam
Several re-enactors portrayed the Vietnam War. Mike Kuszeleski of Toronto, Ontario, portrayed a radio operator.

“When not using the radio they would make a loop out of the antenna and tuck the end in under a strap to make it less conspicuous,” Kuszeleski said.

Officers and radio operators were prime targets for snipers.

Mike Szmanski of Maywood portrayed a M60 machine gunner. He said the M60 was called forward when a unit made contact with the enemy and needed suppressive firepower to either advance or to withdraw.

Preferring a more powerful weapon, John Barretta of Essex County, carried a LAW, lightweight anti-tank weapon, around the encampment. The LAW was a single shot, disposable weapon and as there were very few North Vietnamese tanks it was commonly used to destroy enemy bunkers.

“After you fired the weapon you were supposed to smack it against a tree to destroy it so the enemy could not somehow reuse it,” Barretta said.

There was a display of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong weapons and equipment but the soldier was nowhere to be found.

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