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Tank on permanent display at New Mexico veterans park

CARLSBAD, N.M - Drivers passing by the Veterans Memorial Park on Wednesday whizzed by and then came back to reassure themselves they had not imagined what they saw -- an M42 anti-aircraft Duster vehicle perched high on a concrete pedestal.

The Duster, on permanent loan to Veterans Memorial Park from the New Mexico Military History Center in Santa Fe, was delivered by the New Mexico National Guard Wednesday and was placed in the park with the help of Guardsmen and city workers.

Joe Epstein, chairman of the Veterans Memorial Park, located on James Street on the east side of the Lower Tansil Dam, said a dedication ceremony will be held next month with Gov. Susanna Martinez expected to attend, along with other local, state and federal dignitaries.

"This has been a community project," Epstein said. "Southeast Ready Mix donated the concrete for the pedestal, Jaime's Welding is doing the fabrication for the fence that will go around the Duster, and the city will install it. The Elk's Lodge No. 1558 donated the money to purchase the fencing material."

In addition to the Duster, the committee is working to relocate one of the concrete storage bomb vaults from the Cavern City Airport. During World War II, the airport was known as the Army Air Field, where hundreds of men were trained on the then top-secret Norden bombsight.

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