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World War II-Era Artillery to Move from Covington to Elsmere

A pair of World War II-era field artillery pieces are moving from Covington to Elsmere.

The Covington city commission is expected Tuesday to approve a move of the relics, whose history is unknown, from an eastern entrance of Devou Park to outside the Ralph Fulton VFW Post 6423.

"They're in surprisingly good condition," Covington Neighborhood Services Director Ken Smith said. "It's not difficult to imagine an artillery crew cranking them back into action."

The city decided to pursue a new home for the guns after rebuilding and rededicating its Armed Services Memorial in Devou Park back in 2017, and also after the demolition of the Pohlmann-Linnemann VFW Post 1484 in Elsmere.

The current remaining VFW Post in Elsmere has strong ties to artillery guns and wanted them. The City of Covington first checked with veterans' organizations like the American Legion Post 203 and Marshall-Schildmeyer VFW 6095, but they did not want them.

Post 6423's commander, Ken Wininger, said veterans there were thrilled to be able to retrieve and display the guns.

Some of its members served in artillery units, primarily with the Kentucky National Guard. Wininger is a first sergeant still attached to Bravo Battery of the Guard's 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery (B Battery 2/138th), known as the "Longrifles."

Having served in the National Guard for 30 years with deployments in Afghanistan and other places, he's proud of the role that Artillery units have played in the nation's wars and said having the guns in Elsmere "builds a connection to the past and brings it all together - the link between the local posts and what we do and the history of our local units."

"Artillery is the 'King of Battle.' General Patton said it best: 'I do not have to tell you who won the war. You know the artillery did,' " Wininger said. "Artillery defines the American war effort. There is no defense (against it). All you can do is hide. It's the scariest thing on the battlefield."

He said the symbolic boost to Post 6423 in Elsmere would be timely and welcome given the ongoing struggle to keep veterans organizations healthy.

"You can compare the importance of Artillery to the battlefield to the importance of organizations like the VFW to veterans," he said. "We're not just a place to play bingo but a place that helps the community, provides services and support to struggling veterans, and that advocates on a national level for those who served."

Wininger said the artillery pieces would be moved as soon as he could work out the logistics. He has volunteers lined up to clean the guns and paint them before they're installed amid a grassy area in front of the Post's building on Dixie Highway, where the public can see and visit.

He hopes to hold a re-dedication ceremony before the November election.

As for the bronze plaque that currently sits between the guns, Smith said the city will work with Covington's VFW 6095 to relocate the plaque to its 47th Street location. Officials there want the plaque because it's dedicated to the fallen members of the closed VFW Post 1484, which merged with the Latonia VFW.

-Staff report

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