Military Collectors Drive And Display Vintage Vehicles

It is a very public display of patriotism. Flag waving vintage military vehicles parade along the coastal highway.

"Show our patriotism and support the troops," said longtime military collector Doug Mansfield.

He proudly drove his Vietnam era vehicle.

"It's really fun when you work two and three years to make one of these things run again. And to get it out and run it like this and see the people appreciate it. It really makes it worth the work you put into it," says Mansfield.

A brief stopover at the foot of Courthouse Road attracts attention. Wide eyed youngsters explore the curious rides, while old timers share war stories and other military memories amid the waving flags.

Club members not only enjoy restoring the vintage vehicles, they appreciate preserving the history behind them.

Kevin Kuehling is club president of the Mississippi Coast Watchers.

"It's all done by private money. The families own these vehicles. They're not sponsored by anybody. And all the time and the sweat equity is put in by them," he explained.

"It took me a year to put it together," said former military mechanic Jerry Dildy, as he showed off his 1919 Model T.

Dildy has worked on many of these old vehicles. His Model T was used as a military utility vehicle.

"And in 1919 you had a choice of having a starter or a hand crank. And this one is a hand crank. No starter on it," he said.

Two cranks and his old engine roared to life. Hand cranked, but still reliable.

The owners enjoyed sharing their vehicles and the military memories they represent on this Independence Day.

"We're really glad everybody came out to see us. And hopefully we can make this a yearly event," said Mansfield.