“Seven … eight … zero … zero … zero … three!”
Dan Gasser calls out the numbers in a booming, stadium-beer-vendor voice. His wife, Natasha, dips her right hand into a glass bowl and pulls out another winning ticket.
“Seven … seven … nine … eight … three … six!” Dan shouts.
It’s raffle time at the family-owned and -operated American Armoured Foundation Tank Museumin Danville, Va., a 300,000-square-foot former milling factory that contains more than five football fields’ worth of steel-plated history. Parked in neat rows like soldiers at parade rest are a rare World War I British tank, a Russian T-34 (arguably the greatest of all workhorse tanks) and a 65.5-ton M103, which was the last of the “heavy tanks” made in America. There are 52 tanks in all, plus scores of armored personnel carriers, self-propelled anti-aircraft weapons and long-barrel howitzers on wheels. This amount of muscle is on public display in only a handful of places around the world.
If the Gassers ever get the urge to invade North Carolina, they could do serious damage.