Korean War-era transport to get some needed TLC


SPOTSWOOD – Students and the community are being called to attention to fix up an important display at the borough’s Veterans Memorial Walkway.

An armored troop transport vehicle used in the Korean War has been a major component of the memorial for about 15 years, but time has taken its toll on the exterior, according to Frank Yusko, a Spotswood High School teacher leading the charge to have the vehicle restored.

Time and the elements have caused the transport to become pitted and rusted. Yusko and students from the school’s history and Octagon clubs, which he advises, plan to make it like new again.

“It needs to be brought back to its original luster,” Yusko said. “The military transporter was a gift from the government, but it is up to us to keep it preserved.”

Yusko, who was on the committee to create the memorial years ago, said he spoke to Mayor Barry Zagnit about the vehicle, and the mayor agreed it was time to improve its condition. Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Spotswood post also support the project. Also on board is Travis Fryzowicz, of Milltown, a U.S. Marine who fought in Vietnam and previously restored a Jeep from that war. Fryzowicz has been a guest speaker in Yusko’s high school classes.

“With my students and our local vets providing the muscle, we should soon have this armored vehicle from the Korean War back on its feet,” Yusko wrote in an e-mail.

Yusko said all the hatches are sealed on the nonfunctional vehicle, and there is no need to perform any interior work. The project is purely cosmetic. The vehicle will have to be sandblasted, then repainted using the proper materials. Yusko also wants to make sure all the markings are correct.

“You want to restore it to its original look,” he said, describing the transport as an authentic piece of military hardware and an important component of the Veterans Memorial.

“It shows the public a piece of military history,” he said.

Yusko was planning to meet with his students to assemble a committee to work on the project. “They will provide the time and labor while [Fryzowicz] provides the expertise,” he said.

There was no time frame for the work yet, and the students may have to raise money for the restoration.