GREEN During the 42nd Military Vehicle Preservation Association Convention last month at the old Cleveland tank plant, now the I-X Center, MAPS Air Museum's Vietnam-era MASH Field Hospital took the top honor for all the "Best Overall Display."
The display was created by MAPS member Ted Mathies. The show was attended by 14,000-15,000 people, many of whom had a chance to visit the display. It was chosen for the top award from more than 100 of other exhibits and vehicles on display.
The display, which is more than 1,000 square feet, measures 16- by 24-feet, and depicts a battalion aide station as it would have appeared during the Vietnam War - though the equipment used also covers the time frame 1943-1980. It took more than two days to move, more than two days to set up and then more than two days to take down. There are 250 major pieces of equipment in the hospital along with numerous miscellaneous smaller pieces such as scalpels, probes, clothing and food items.
Mathies has a close connection with the display.
"I served in Vietnam as a medic from 1969 to 1970 with the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division and the 18th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division," he said. "During my tour, I treated 60 soldiers in combat, over 1,500 Vietnamese during local health calls, and 1,000s of G.I.'s at the base hospital facility."
Mathies started collecting for the display eight or ten years ago.
"I bought an old IV bottle at a MVPA show in Findlay and that is how it all got started."
Over the ensuing years, he has bought most of the items on display, but also has received donations from friends, MVPA members, Ohio Motor Pool members,and others to help fill out the display.
"I am always looking for donations for the exhibit and am really very grateful to all my friends for helping out," said Mathies, who also has two vehicles as part of his collection, an M62 Crane Wrecker and an M910 Contact Maintenance truck.
His wife, Judy, used to help him with the display and also filled in for tours when it was on display at MAPS. But health issues have limited what she has been able to do in recent months. She still remains very supportive of his efforts. This is the first time in four years that the display has gone on the road. Prior to that, it might be put on display up to six times a year at various events around the area.
During the spring, summer, and early fall the display is open to the public at the Military Aviation Preservation Society (MAPS) Museum on the west side of Akron-Canton Airport off Massillon Road. It is one of the high points of the annual local school tours in the spring of the year. Students get a chance to see first hand how wounded soldiers are treated when they are injured. They also get a chance to wear flak jackets, helmets and carry medical packs and radios to see what soldiers went through in the field.
The display is back at the MAPS Museum and is open to the public during normal museum hours. It is located outside the main hanger to the left of the flight line. For further information on MAPS and upcoming events, including the August Collings Air Show, visit the museum site at www.mapsairmuseum.org or call the museum at 1-330-896-6332.