Log In

Reset Password

Spotlight: Redball Military Transport Club brings history to life

If you happened to be driving past the Gilbert fairgrounds recently, you might have thought the military had taken over the fairgrounds, but it was the Redball Military Transport Club showing people part of our country’s history.

The Redball Military Transport Club is an organization of historians, vehicle preservationists and collectors interested in collecting, restoring, displaying and enjoying antique historic military transport equipment, vehicles and mobile weaponry transport.

This is done in respect and recognition of our armed services men and women, past and present, who have defended our freedom and in tribute to the military transport that played a critical role in that defense, according to club member, George Carson of Tannersville.

He owns a 1953 Dodge M37/42 truck that was converted inside to be an office where the men could use maps to send coordinates by Morse code to soldiers who were in the field.

“Inside of the back of the truck was made with special panels that would block out the light inside the truck that the men needed to study the maps and send messages,” Carson said.

Charles Kern, who is 84, and a member of the Redball Transport Club, rode his 1942 Harley-Davidson military bike all the way to the West End Fairgrounds from Jonestown.

“I ride it all the time. It is in perfect condition and other than a little cosmetic paint, I have never had to fix anything,” he said.

“All the vehicles are privately owned and maintained by members. The vehicles represent all periods from 1941 to the present,” Carson said, and added the club also has one of the largest collections of vintage World War II vehicles of any club in the Northeastern United States.

The club participates in parades, veterans events, historic displays, re-enactments and local civic events and hosts two major club events each year, Carson said.

The next event they will be attending is the Monroe County Veterans Day Parade at 1 p.m. Nov. 7.

Club history

The Redball Military Transport Club was established in 1992 with an initial membership of about 11 military vehicle enthusiasts who first met in Mountainhome.

The club takes its name from the famous World War II truck supply route, the Red Ball Express that originated in Normandy in the fall of 1944.

The Red Ball continually resupplied Allied troops advancing swiftly across France toward the Siegfried Line in Germany.

This trucking supply mission ran round-the-clock for about 90 days. During that period the Red Ball Express delivered over 412,000 tons of much-needed supplies to the Allied troops that ultimately overwhelmed the enemy.

For more information, email club president Ron Gardner at redballpresident@gmail.com.

George Carson's 1953 Dodge M37/42 had everything an office would need. When not being used, everything was packed up in wooden boxes so if stopped and searched, the enemy would assume it was just supplies, making it less likely they would take time to look in them.
George Carson stands by his 1953 Dodge M37/43 truck.
Charles Kern proudly sits on his 1942 Harley-Davidson military bike. Kern rode the bike from his home in Jonestown to the club's event in Gilbert.
This jeep was most likely used in the late 1940s through mid-50s as a transport jeep for moving military back and forth to different units.
George Carson of Tannersville shows how to set up the office that was responsible for sending map coordinates using Morse code. This truck was the lead truck when moving to a new location. AMY LEAP/TIMES NEWS