Kenneth J. Carroll spent World War II aboard the USS Mount Baker, an ammunition transport ship named after a 10,000-foot volcano in Washington state.
On Saturday, Carroll’s son, Kevin Carroll, will be wearing the military dog tags his father wore, while helping to host a display of military equipment at the Museum of American Armor in Plainview.
“It’s a pleasure to see these World War II vets and listen to their stories,” said Kevin Carroll, whose father died in 1987.
Carroll, an amateur historian and volunteer at the museum, will be on hand as the museum marks Armed Forces Day with a weekend-long simulation of a World War II military encampment set in the French countryside. The display is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The simulation will feature tanks, artillery and other war material. Military enactors from Long Island and surrounding states will demonstrate combat tactics, while displaying personal collections of period weaponry and uniforms.
Armed Forces Day was the brainchild of President Harry S. Truman, who in the aftermath of World War II wanted to establish a single day to commemorate the contributions of military personnel in service of their country.
After the National Security Act of 1947 reorganized the military into separate Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines under a single Department of Defence, then Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson formally announced the establishment of Armed Forces Day.
The reorganization transformed the U.S. military, which before World War II had a standing force of fewer than 335,000 personnel. Today’s active duty military numbers 1,304,946 troops, plus another 817,000 reservists and 100,000 civilian employees, contract security and other workers.
There will be a number of Armed Forces Day observances across Long Island on Saturday.
Eric Hesse, a retired Army colonel who is director of the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs, is scheduled to speak at a gathering at the Armed Forces Plaza in front of the H. Lee Dennison state office building in Hauppauge.
Carroll said he began volunteering at the museum two years ago, after retiring as supervisor of the South Huntington Water District, as a way of honing his interest in defense history.
“I’m a scale modeler, and armor is one of my pursuits,” Carroll said. “I love military vehicles of all kinds.”