New Castle News

Local News

June 5, 2014

Restored World War I Howitzer dedicated

NEW CASTLE — A World War I cannon was restored by local school students who read accounts from local soldiers as part of their project.

The refurbished French M1897 Howitzer was unveiled yesterday on its new cement pad in front of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s Cunningham Armory at 820 Frank Ave.

It will serve as permanent memorial to the first battalion of the 107th Field Artillery which has its headquarters there.

The cannon was restored by 35 Lawrence County Career and Technical Center students who have been working for 18 months stripping old layers of paint, repairing damaged areas, priming and repainting it.

They began work in November, 2012. During the project  the students also read first-person battlefield accounts written by soldiers from the 107th in World War I.

Many students who worked on the cannon attended the dedication, although some already have graduated. All of the students involved received certificates in appreciation for their work. In addition, their names are on a plaque affixed to the Howitzer.

Major James Clancy, who conducted the dedication, said several community groups also helped with the Howitzer rededication by donating to the project.

Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo, who served in the Air Force, called the refurbishing “a great tribute to World War I and to all of you and the armed services.”

The 107th traces its lineage to 1861 as Hampton’s Battery. The unit participated in the Civil War, World War II and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit also has been activated during natural disasters and other local emergencies, most recently during a snowstorm in February.

Besides the 107th’s battalion headquarters, New Castle is also home to one of the National Guard’s field maintenance shops. About 120 National Guard soldiers are assigned to New Castle.

About 50 people attended the re-dedication.

(Email: grzebieniak@ncnewsonline.com)

 

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