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M-1 Abrams tank joins Reagan Library collection

M1 Abrams tanks are moved into place to be loaded into a C-5M Super Galaxy Nov. 15, 2011, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

A display of America’s military strength is growing at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum with an M-1 Abrams tank, known as the fiercest of the U.S. ground combat vehicles, joining the collection.

“The tank is a powerful symbol of American might,” Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said Saturday, Dec. 4, during an unveiling ceremony. “Just as President Reagan represented confidence around the world, tankers around the world know this is the fiercest combat vehicle that has been upgraded many times.

“I can’t predict where the next conflict will be,” she said, “but I have no doubt the Abrams will be in the thick of the fight.”

The M-1 Abrams tank, named for the late Gen. Creighton Abrams, has been the primary battle tank for the Army and the Marine Corps since 1980. This tank joins a U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat Fighter and a U.S. Air Force F-117 Stealth Fighter that was unveiled at the library in 2019.

“Having seen this tank fight, we’re honored to have it displayed here,” Gen. James McConville, the Army’s chief-of-staff, said.

As part of the unveiling event Saturday, McConville promoted an Army soldier to specialist in a surprise ceremony.

Specialist Alejo Chin, 20, is stationed at Ft. Irvin, an Army training base near Barstow. The soldiers at that base are tasked with representing opposing forces in training exercises for other Army units along with Marines and militaries from allied nations.

“We send our units out there to make sure they have a terrible day,” the Army’s top general said. “They create a great training experience.”

Chin was also given a challenge coin in recognition of special achievement.

“You raised a great son,” McConville said following the promotion ceremony while speaking to Chin’s mother, Lorraine, by phone. “We’re proud of him and we want to reward him.”

Chin was surprised, saying “It was pretty amazing.”

The promotion means he’ll move into a higher leadership role in his unit, get more pay and more opportunities for education, Chin said.

The soldier said he joined the Army because his grandfather and uncle served.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.

The dedication event took place as part of the Reagan National Defense Forum, a top national defense conference.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute hosted the dedication. The nonprofit foundation was created by Reagan and promotes his legacy by sharing his principles: “individual liberty, economic opportunity, global democracy and national pride.”


(c) 2021 The Orange County Register

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