From 1940 through 1944, the workers at the American Car & Foundry – Berwick Plant, produced 15,224 light tanks for the Arsenal of Democracy. Prior to the United States entering World War II, these tanks were provided to the Allies – England, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand – as part of the Lend-Lease Program. These tanks chased Rommel across the North African Desert on into Sicily and Italy, battled from the South Pacfic and Asian jungles to islands of Japan and across the Russian steppes and Normandy beaches to Berlin. At peak production, the ACF was producing 40 tanks per day. This was just part of the war-time effort put forth by the 9,135 employees from 177 municipalities throughout northeastern Pennsylvania who worked at the Berwick Plant. The Berwick Plant produced millions of artillery shells, more than ten thousand D7 bulldozers, numerous rail cars, and other components in support of the war effort. This was in addition to the thousands of local men and women who served in uniform in the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines, many of whom paid the ultimate price.
The Stuart Tank Committee was established to locate a Berwick-built Stuart tank and return it to Berwick to honor the workers who built them and the soldiers, Marines, and Allies who rode them into battle. Through donations collected over the past few years, the Stuart Tank Committee, on March 22 through 24 of 2013, was able to conduct a “Weekend with Stuie” event. A 1942 Berwick built M3A1 Stuart Tank took part in the Columbia County Bicentennial Parade and Exhibition. The tank was brought to Test Track Park where a well-attended Memorial Ceremony for the workers and veterans of the area was held. This particular Stuart Tank is owned by Steve Greenberg of Wilsonville, Oregon and unfortunately, was just here for a visit.
Research by the Stuart Tank Committee indicates there are approximately 156 Stuart Tanks remaining in the United States. Although most are the property of the Department of Defense, as many as two dozen remain in private hands. Currently, a fully restored M3 series Stuart Tank similar to the one brought to Berwick for the “Weekend with Stuie” event sells for $200,000. An M5 series Stuart Tank in the same condition sells for $250,000.
The public’s reaction during the “Weekend with Stuie” event has reinvigorated the Stuart Tank Committee. Originally established under the auspices of the Berwick Historical Society, new partners such as Berwick Borough Council, Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, Berwick Industrial Development Association, the Stuart Tank Chapter of the Marine Corps League, and others, along with supportive media coverage from the Press Enterprise, Times Leader, WHLM and Metrocast, has brought added attention to these efforts. All funds raised will be used toward the establishment of a Stuart Tank Memorial in Berwick. We have set a time limit of 8 years to raise the funds necessary to obtain a Stuart tank. If, after 8 years, we have fallen short of obtaining an actual Stuart tank, all monies raised will be used to honor the contributions of all involved with the Stuart tank and to educate those who followed as to the efforts of these individuals.
The Stuart Tank Committee wishes to ensure that ALL workers throughout Pennsylvania who were involved in building these tanks and all soldiers who rode these tanks into battle are recognized for their heroic efforts during a time of world conflict. It must be noted that this simply is not strictly a Berwick project, but a project to honor everyone who had a part in anything Stuart tank related. This desire is emphasized in the committee’s core mission statement which encompasses all people who played a part in making the beloved Stuie a part of history. Donating would assure that the memories of your grandfathers, friends, neighbors, communities, and family will remain alive when it comes to recognizing the efforts they played to help protect democracy.
To help in the building of the Stuart Tank Memorial for ACF workers and military veterans, your tax deductible contributions can be addressed to:
Central Susquehanna Community Foundation
Stuart Tank Fund
725 West Front Street
Berwick, PA 18603
Make checks payable to Central Susquehanna Community Foundation (CSCF), note “Stuart Tank Fund” on memo line. Visit the Bring Stuie Home donation page
for information on making a donation using credit cards or PayPal.