Monday, January 7, 2019

KDOT employees revive military history

By Deb Gruver,
Public Affairs Manager for south central Kansas 

 Mic Huddleston jokes about how he got involved in helping restore World War II vehicles.

"Wrong place at the wrong time," he says with a chuckle.
Mic Huddleston, Area Supervisor for Area Four in District Five, right, chats with Kevin Lockwood about the World War II vehicles they have restored together.

But surrounded by some of the half-track and other vehicles his tinkering has helped brought back to life, it's obvious Huddleston loves spending time at Kevin Lockwood's spacious shop.

Huddleston is the Area Supervisor for District Five's Area Four in Great Bend. He's been helping restore Lockwood's WWII collection for about 20 years.

"This would not be here without Mic," Lockwood says.

Mic Huddleston has been helping Kevin Lockwood restore World War II vehicles for about 20 years. He says it's one way to honor those in his and Lockwood's family who have served in the military..

Both Huddleston's and Lockwood's families "have a good history of military service," Huddleston says.

Lockwood and his team of volunteers take the vehicles to schools, air shows and other events. Huddleston really enjoyed going to Fort Hays for Hays Days. 

Lockwood owns the vehicles. He bought his first one in 1990. Since then, he and the crew have restored about eight, including an LVT-3 Bushmaster, thought to be the only operational one of its kind in the world. Used in the Pacific Theater, it could load a Jeep or a canon and haul Marines onto a beach or rescue wounded.

"This is basically a ship that crawls on land," Lockwood says.

This LVT-3 Bushmaster is believed to be the only operational one in the world. 

An average restoration takes a couple of years, the two men say. About five people, including Lockwood, show regularly to help out. 

It's a lot of work, Huddleston says, but worth it.

"It's one way to pay back," he says.

This is what the LVT-3 Bushmaster that Kevin Lockwood, Mic Huddleston and other volunteers restored looked like when they first got it. Both vehicles were in about the same shape, and the crew decided to restore the other one.

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