News: Raider Brigade gains Patton series tank
Story by Pfc. Andrew Ingram
FORT CARSON, Colo. – Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, have a piece of Army history in the form of an M47 Patton series tank on display in front of their headquarters building, as of Aug. 1.
Col. Joel Tyler, commander, 1st BCT, requested the 1950s era tank so that its presence could help instill unit pride and remind soldiers of the Army’s long history of military excellence, said 2nd Lt. Blake Ritchey, engineer officer, 1st BCT.
“There is a lot to be learned from the past,” said Ritchey, who organized the transport of the tank. “These historic pieces we surround ourselves with are just small reminders of our victories; our successful past and our promising future.”
Transportation Specialists assigned to 59th Quartermaster Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, used a M1070 heavy equipment transporter to move the tank from Fort Carson’s Kit Carson Park to the brigade headquarters.
“Support from the 43rd SB is essential for missions like this,” Ritchey said. “Most Fort Carson units don’t have the equipment or the expertise for a move like this, and they are always willing to help their fellow units.”
M47 Patton tanks, built to replace the M46 model and Pershing-series tanks, saw action in the Korean War before being replaced by the more effective M48 in 1959.
Although designated as a light infantry unit, Raider Brigade soldiers probably used Patton series tanks during the division’s cold war mission in Germany in the early 1950s, said Steve Ruhnke, curator of the 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson Museum.
“The biggest improvement with this series was the 90 mm gun,” said Ruhnke. “At the time, this was the biggest gun out there.
“In World War II, we struggled with our 75 mm tanks while the Germans and Russians had 88 mm. This evened the playing field.”
Ritchey said he hoped Raiders would draw inspiration from seeing the 44-ton tank as they arrive at work every day.
“This tank is a piece of our heritage,” he said. “I believe it will help build esprit de corps and bring the unit together… and it is motivating to see something so impressive as you walk in the door in the morning.”