HAZARD—One of downtown Hazard’s staple attractions may be finding a new home soon as officials prepare to move it from Main Street to the Disabled American Veterans’ (DAV) building on Industrial Drive.
Hazard Mayor Nan Gorman said the tank, which currently sits beside the amphitheater on Main Street, will hopefully not be there by this fall.
“I felt like with the new (picnic) shelter that it really didn’t belong there,” she said. “It should go out with the service people.”
The M60A3 Patton tank, a first generation battle tank introduced in 1960 that remained in service from 1961-1997 through the Vietnam, Iran-Iraq, and Persian Gulf wars, was donated to the city in 1995. Former Mayor Bill Gorman requested the tank in September of that year in order to help further commemorate those in the community who have served their country.
In a letter to the U.S. Army Automotive and Armaments Command, the former mayor explained why the city was so interested in the donation.
“The City of Hazard has on one side of its City Hall a war memorial to all the soldiers who have died in the service of their country from the Second World War through Desert Storm,” Gorman wrote. “We would like to place this tank as part of our war memorial and we would like to have it as soon as possible.”
Gorman said she remembers the interest her late husband had in getting the tank to help memorialize those who fought for their country who lived and still live in Hazard.
“He was a service man and he wanted it, and he thought it’d be good for the children to see it and some of the adults that were familiar with it to see it again,” Gorman said. “He just thought it was an educational thing.”
The tank was received in Hazard in December 1995 and has been there since, offering many photo-ops for visitors and locals alike over the years.
Gorman said she started trying to get in contact with the Army division it came from last year in order to have it moved. Though it will come at no cost to the city, this division is the only entity that can move the tank, which means the mayor has played the waiting game since getting confirmation it would be moved last year.
“I got kind of alarmed that we weren’t hearing from them, so I called Senator (Mitch) McConnell,” Gorman said.
Even with the senator pushing the command to move forward with the relocation, it has been over five months since the mayor has seen any progress for the move.
“I will call them again and ask them when they intend to (relocate the tank), or try to give us a general idea because we’re going to do some planting down there this fall and we’d like to know if we’ll be able to or not,” Gorman said, adding that the extra space would allow for any number of activities or decorations there.
Gorman said she has also been in contact with Commander Jim Ed Williams of the DAV Chapter 64 in Hazard who, after being denied a request for a military vehicle donation due to lack of equipment on hand, agreed to take the tank off the city’s hands.
“With some of our discussions that we were having on different items, I guess it was, she (Gorman) said that they (the city) were moving the tank,” Williams said.
He added that the process has not been a simple or easy one. Besides waiting to hear back from the division about the relocation, the DAV also had to pay around $1,000 to have a reinforced concrete slab to set the tank on.
“It’ll all work out,” he said. “It’s something nice to have on display for these veterans.”