Bob English has been collecting military memorabilia for over 20 years. All of Bob’s display items in our museum are from World War II and some came from his father, who was in the Army. Bob, however, never served In the military.
“I collected most of his items from flea markets, on the internet and military gun shows,” said Bob.
His dads items include the map reading book, compass and the cartridge belt on the 101st Airborne Paratrooper mannequin.
“The 101st Airborne Paratroopers who jumped at Normandy weighed around 150 lbs. and averaged 5’3″. Their gear weighed up to 150 lbs. on their bodies,” Bob told me. Most all the items found in the display case would have been part of the 150 lbs. of gear that a paratrooper from the 101st Airborne would have on him when he landed.
Bob graciously loaned his military collection to the museum and has much more items he has collected over the years.
Bob was looking for a way to honor men who were in the military. Not only did he enjoy collecting the items but gets a lot of feedback from other veterans who have seen and admired his collection. “It brings back memories and they appreciate it. I was raised in a generation that enjoys these items and what they stand for,” Bob said.
Along with his military hardware, Bob is the proud owner of a 1972 M151A2, 4 cylinder fully rigged Jeep. He and his brother found the jeep in a field near Van, Texas. His brother bought the jeep ad the two brothers restored it. Eventually his brother sold Bob the jeep and he continued in its restoration. Today, it includes a Browning M2-50 calibre machine gun, radio sets, and roll over protection.
The Jeep has all military or reproduction military, however the 50ca. machine gun is a reproduction. “I display the jeep in parades, veteran day events, car shows and Memorial Day events. I just want to honor the men who served our country,” said Bob. “I want to keep the military history alive, this is just part of it,” he said proudly.
ITEMS DONATED TO THE VAN ZANDT COUNTY MUSEUM