Introduction

Studying history is important to understand where we’ve come from and recognize the evolution of change to inspire us moving forward. Today we have superior equipment, stronger military vehicles and more accurate weapons that protect our soldiers overseas. But to understand how our military has evolved to what it is today, we must look back on the preserved stories of those before us.

To do this, we offer educational tours to area schools that share America’s military history through our veteran’s stories. It’s one thing to learn about war in a classroom or a textbook, but a whole other experience to see and touch the artifacts up close and in person.

To keep our visitors educated on new topics, we periodically change out our displays. Each section of the museum focuses on a different story, war and artifact from all five branches of the military: U.S. Marines Corps., U.S. Army, U.S. Airforce, U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard.

Experience the exhibits below when you visit the Military Veterans Museum!

 

Brutus Replica

Brutus Replica

The Brutus gun truck was built in 1969 for the Vietnam War and was active from January 1969 to May 1972. It has two forward .50-caliber machine guns and a 7.62 mm minigun in the rear.

About 20 volunteer organizations and people banded together to create a Brutus replica, which is displayed in our motor pool. The project was initiated by Roger Blink, one of the original Brutus drivers.

There were many other gun trucks used for convoy support. These trucks were placed in the kill zone while all other vehicles fled the area being attacked.

Visit the museum to see a full list of the crew that gave their lives in service on the Brutus gun truck as well as the crew that helped build the Brutus replica.

Did you know you can request our Brutus replica and/or its equipment for your event?

Learn How

Exhibit Arms

Small Arms and Artillery

The museum also features weapons from many theaters of war, including hand-to-hand, small arms, light and mounted machine guns, artillery pieces and more. The two most popular weapons on display are the Recoilless Rifle (RCLR) and the Quad 50 machine gun mount.

  • The RCLR is a lightweight, direct fire artillery weapon used for infantry support. The museum displays three different U.S. RCLR models, the oldest an M18, 57mm model produced in the 1940s for WWII. The M40 RCLR were mounted to jeeps as well as a tracked vehicle that the Marine’s named ONTOS. These rifles were replaced by guided missile or rocket propelled weapons in the early 1970s.
  • The Quad 50 machine gun mount is featured at the museum. These units were often mounted on a halftrack (M16) or on the back of a two and a half ton truck in WWII. These guns were used on a gun truck for convoy protection. Part of the Quad 50 mounts were made in Neenah, Wisconsin, by the Kimberly-Clark Corporation during war effort of WWII.

Exhibit Uniforms

Personnel Gear

One of the largest sections of the museum’s artifact collection is the uniforms and accoutrements display, which has thousands of items we rotate frequently. Be sure to stop in often to see our new displays!

Uniforms range from the Spanish-American War of 1896 to current day conflicts. Caps, belts and cartridge boxes date back to the 1860s during the Civil War.

The bulk of our artifacts are from veterans of Wisconsin and surrounding states. Individual donations of veteran uniforms typically come with medals, ribbons and military paperwork, which provides our tour guides with stories and details of the jobs they did to risk their lives to keep us safe at home.

  • U.S. Army Cavalry Sergeant’s sack coat from the Spanish-American War worn by B. Johnston. Donated by Cecelia and Patrick Peterson.
  • WWI U.S. Army Officer’s tunic with insignia attached, worn by an unknown captain. The uniform was tailor-made in Paris.
  • U.S. Navy blouse worn by Seaman first class R.W. Zick. Insignia shows he served aboard the USS Worcester, a light cruiser that launched Feb. 4, 1947.
  • Korean War U.S. Marine Corps service dress jacket worn by Master Sergeant Jack Pankratz during his service from 1948-1952.
  • U.S. Air Force dress jacket worn by E-5 Dean Baus in 1998. Insignia indicates he served as a member of the Base Honor Guard. Uniform was donated by Cherie Baus in 2004.

Exhibit Russian Tank

Russian T-34 Tank

The Russian T-34 Tank (85mm bore) was manufactured during WWII in May 1945 and deployed to Mongolia to fight the Japanese. It sustained at least two hits that left marks on the hull of the armour.

In 1990, Bob Costa from Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, reached out to the Russian government and asked if it would donate a Russian tank as a “great gesture of goodwill” to a small Wisconsin military museum. It arrived one year later fully refurbished with tools, spare parts, uniforms and documentation about its importance in history.

T-34 Tank Facts:

  • Production rates for T-34 tanks in 1943 was about 1,300 per month.
  • With such a quick turnaround time to make them, the outward appearance and quality standards were poor.
  • The tank displayed at the museum was used in a scene from the action-packed Marvel movie Ant-Man in 2015.

 

Interested in featuring our T-34 tank or its equipment at your event?

Learn More

Exhibit Medals

Wisconsin Medal of Honor Wall of Honor

Congress established a Medal of Honor Wall in 1861. Since then, 63 medals of honor have been awarded to citizens of Wisconsin. To keep this tradition local, we display our own Medal of Honor Wall of Honor to recognize those Wisconsin veterans who received the highest award for bravery.

We continue to search for and add items to our display until we can recognize all 63 recipients in some way.

So far we have two of the 63 men featured. Both veterans are U.S. Army veterans from Menasha, 1st Sgt. Elmer Burr and Sgt. Maj. Ken Stumph. Burr received the award posthumously as a member of the 32nd “Red Arrow” Division in December 1942. Stumph, still living in Wisconsin, received the award for his actions near Duc Pho in South Vietnam on April 25, 1967.