LIMA — Most of us are familiar with the tanks made at Joint Systems Manufacturing Center.
The Abrams M1A2SEP V2 is the pride of the military, and the hard-working men and women at the plant have been working on a new version of the tank, the Abrams M1A2SEP V2 Half Pint, which is a half-size replica of the battle tank.
Many requests come into the center to have an Abrams Main Battle Tank at parades and events throughout the year but due to times of low and high production, cost of transportation, permits, security, escort personnel, tank crew personnel and police escorts, they could not accommodate 90 percent of the requests.
This one-of-a-kind tank won’t see any battles but will foster goodwill in promoting the tanks that are made in Lima.
On Friday, the Half Pint was dedicated and christened in ceremonies at the Veterans Flag Memorial, next to the plant on Buckeye Road.
Charlie Couch headed up the building of Half Pint.
“You could take a tape measure on it, measure any part of this tank, put it on that tank and it will be exactly half-scale,” said Couch.
Getting the tank from an idea to a reality took some time.
“From start to finish, it’s taken four years from planning, designing, fabricating, painting, right at four years,” he said.
The tank will be used in parades and other events that promote the center.
“Absolutely. Parades, events throughout the state of Ohio and even have already been offered to go out of state as far as Colorado. UNOH has invited us to take it to Florida. The schedule is filling up fast,” said Couch.
The Half Pint tank doesn’t fire lethal projectiles, like its bigger brother.
“Our ammunition is T-shirts and bags of candy,” he said.
Greg Gebolys is chairman of the Veterans Flag Foundation Memorial, the organization that has taken ownership of the Half Pint tank.
“We can show the community all the way from Dayton to Toledo what we do here and what these people do here every day. They build tanks and they build weapons systems to defend our country and we’re trying to show that to the people that these people serve this country too by what they build for our men and women that fight every day for us,” said Gebolys.
Today, the Half Pint tank will be on display at the VFW car show in Wapakoneta.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.