Army tank located in Waukon for past 25 years transported to new home in Maxwell

by Joe Moses

Those passing by the 100 block of Allamakee Street in Waukon have likely noticed some change with the recent removal of the Army tank that had been located near the Vet’s Club since the early 1990s. During the evening of Thursday, October 25 this past week, Hennessy Towing of Waukon and various personnel from veterans organizations and City employees of Waukon and the south central Iowa community of Maxwell were involved in moving the tank in preparation for its transport to its new location in that small Story County community.

The M60 Army tank located at the Vet’s Club was last used in Vietnam before being decommissioned, but it was developed for a late World War II campaign. The tank came from Fort McCoy in Wisconsin before calling Waukon home in 1993 after a two-year planning process. Its new location will be Maxwell, a small town of just under 1,000 people located southeast of Ames.

Vietnam Army veteran John Regan of Waukon, president of the “Big 10” Board consisting of members of VFW Post No. 4117, American Legion Post No. 62 and other organizations, discussed the reasons behind the relocation of the Army tank. Regan indicated that the war relic will be missed but the decision to move the tank was made due to changing federal requirements regarding maintenance, demilitarization and additional future costs associated with keeping it for display purposes. As with other military displays and monuments using weaponry, the Army tank at the Vet’s Club was provided by the federal government on what is essentially a loan basis under federal safety and maintenance stipulations, with that scenario continuing at its new location in Maxwell.

As depicted in the photos accompanying this article, moving the tank from the front lawn of the Vet’s Club to Allamakee Street where it could be loaded on to a trailer was a project that took much of that Thursday evening, with that 100 block of Allamakee Street being blocked off to all traffic. Using one of two semi-sized tow trucks, Hennessy Towing of Waukon initially moved the tank approximately six feet east toward the Vet’s Club building, allowing enough room to then pull the tank in a southwest direction on to Allamakee Street, avoiding the flagpole in front of the Vet’s Club.

The tank was then pulled north on Allamakee Street in front of the County Courthouse and Vet’s Club by both of Hennessy Towing’s large tow trucks, where it was eventually pulled on to a low-centered flatbed trailer, the same type of detachable flatbed used for transporting wind turbines. The process took several hours due to the size and weight of the tank at 93,000 pounds, 320 inches in length and 143 inches tall.

The tank slowly moved just inches at a time with the anchored tow trucks using winches individually or in combination, pulling the tank up the street. Wooden blocks were used to protect the street curb from the tank’s tracks during its transition from the Vet’s Club front lawn to the street, and also as a precaution behind the tank’s tracks, preventing it from rolling backward as it was being pulled north up the street, where it was eventually pulled on to the trailer for transport.

The Army tank will now be added to the Freedom Rock site that is part of a Veterans Memorial located in the community of Maxwell which honors all veterans with murals depicting conflicts including WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. The Freedom Rock’s murals were painted by Ray “Bubba” Sorensen and were inspired by the military experiences of their local American Legion and VFW members.

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