Tag Archives: army

Armed Forces History Museum in Largo Closing January 29

As a nation, we recently marked the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Those interested in history and those who are touched by the solemnity of this recent anniversary will get a lot out of a visit to the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, not far from Tampa, FL.

Inside the WWII room featuring models from the movie Tora, Tora, Tora

Inside the WWII room featuring models from the movie Tora, Tora, Tora

Closing sadly later this month, the museum has memorabilia from just about every military action from the last 100+ years. In fact, this collection is the largest of its kind in the Southeast!

Of special note is a room depicting America’s entrance into World War II. Film buffs will remember the movie Tora Tora Tora. The museum has the models that were used in the film and the large room features a projection screen with snippets from the film in addition to a central area where the models reside. Overhead Japanese zeros can be seen in addition to a giant mock ship representing the fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor.

The French city scene realistically depicts the scars left because of war

The French city scene realistically depicts the scars left because of war

What impressed me the most was the incredible attention to detail about each historical era’s vignette. For example, the building that shows a bombed Parisian block has an almost a Disney-esque quality to it. The creators of this museum intended to transport visitors to the locations, not just to slap historical items in cases, though there are many well-preserved artifacts to be seen.

Visitors can browse at their leisure, taking in the pride of American service with opportunities for reflective contemplation, too, at the all-too-real effects of war.

The museum’s founder, John J. Piazza, passed away October 3, 2016, and the expense of continuing the museum has proved too cumbersome for the family. As such, the collection will be returned to those who have provided items on loan, with the remaining collection to be sold off. Speaking of a loan, if you’re planning to loan to get cash, fill out the form here at cash crazy website. You can also see there more loan options with a low interest. like the cash loans option.

FACT: A dedicated Marine Veteran, Mr. Piazza started the Injured Warriors Fund of Florida, and was Chairman of the Department of Florida Marine Corps League Scholarship Fund.

The Armed Forces History Museum opened on August 16, 2008 and has faithfully recognized and honored generations of Americans who sacrificed so much more than their share, including their very own lives.

Hands-on fun inside a M-60 Patton training turret, a US Army tank from the 1960s-70s.

Hands-on fun inside a M-60 Patton training turret, a US Army tank from the 1960s-70s.

Guests can enjoy dioramas representing different eras of military conflicts complete with authentic vehicles such as jeeps, tanks, and even an ambulance, and they can even know where to get new versions of these cars in many Jeep dealer in Miami for the fanatics. In addition, visitors can scrutinize glass cases filled with weapons, reconnaissance equipment, letters, vintage magazines and more.

You won’t want to miss this gem of a museum. Plan your trip now before their doors close at 4 p.m. January 29, 2017.

There are a variety of ticket options:

Adults: $17.95
Seniors: $14.95
Kids (4-12 years): $9.95
Teens (13-17 years):  $12.95
College Students w/ID:  $12.95
Veterans: $14.95
AAA Members: $15.25
Retired military (20 years+): Free
Active military: Free
3 Years & under: Free

An add-on adventure is a ride in the M8 Armored Car from 1943. For an additional fee, you can get up in this WWII and Korean War-era vehicle that was used for high-speed mobility. On the first lap of the track you’ll see why speed is one of its most noted assets!

The Armed Forces History Museum is located at: 2050 34th Way North, Largo, FL 33771 or call (727) 539-8371 for additional information. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. (They’re closed Mondays and major holidays.)

Visit them online at: http://armedforcesmuseum.com/.

#PushupChallenge for #MissionUnited and Heart of Florida United Way

As Kelly mentioned yesterday, we love our Veterans – local vets, United States Vets, all Vets. So when Heart of Florida United Way challenged me to the Mission United Push-up Challenge, I had to accept.

Giving $20 is the easy part for most people, and anyone who’s able could (and SHOULD!) do that, no problem. The other part of the #20or20 challenge was a little bit more challenging. Twenty push-ups. Non stop, no breaks. Probably not as painful as it sounds.

I can’t tell you the last time I did a pushup, let alone twenty in a row. (Sad, I know.) If my laughable efforts in doing twenty pushups can raise awareness or even $20 to help make a Vet’s life a little easier, then it’s the least I can do for them. THIS was the challenge for me, or so I thought. Our veterans (and their families) voluntarily give up so much for our freedom and are not given due credit – or a break – when they return home. This definitely needs to change and NOW.

I’m totally out of shape but still, arguably, strong and… youngish. To hold myself accountable I decided to take the Push-up Challenge even further and tripled the challenge;

  1. Do said push-up challenge in the middle of your driveway where all of your neighbors – who are mostly gone at this time of the afternoon – are ALL conveniently home and ALL outside. With their kids. And their dogs.
  2. Dedicate each push-up to Veteran. Twenty Push-ups, Twenty Veterans.

Number Two was more of a challenge than I thought initially. I mean, I know a bunch of Veterans including two of our Central Florida Top 5 writers and contributors, Nando Torres and Gerald Clark, but for some reason I blanked after nine?

So I posted on Facebook, asking my military friends (female, male and canine) for their branch of service and rank but didn’t tell them what I was doing, other than they’d get a laugh in the end. Not with me but at me – and I’m totally fine with this!

Heart of Florida United Way is hoping Mission United will be a sort of hub for veterans and their families to dial and locate services. A simple call to 2-1-1 “serves as a central contact for veterans to access community support, ensuring that service members and their families are never more than two steps from the help they need,” says the website.

Also, according to local stats on the Mission United site, 118,000 veterans call Central Florida home, where a staggering third of the homeless population in Florida is made up of homeless male veterans. The State of Florida also has the third largest population of veterans, after California and Texas.

Listed below, in no particular order, are twenty Veterans I dedicated my (pathetic yet slightly comical) push-ups to in the video above;

  1. (My Grandfather) Private First Class Walter Steib, United States Army, World War II (even though I said WWI)
  2. (My Uncle) David Steib, United States Air Force
  3. (My Great Uncle) Private First Class Clay Cain, United States Marine Corps
  4. Captain Sara Kirstein, United States Marine Corps
  5. (CFLT5!) Staff Sergeant Fernando Torres, United States Air Force
  6. EM2 David Kuskie, United States Navy
  7. First Lieutenant Paul Reickhoff, United States Army and US Army Reserves
  8. E4 Louis James Sellitto, United States Navy
  9. Staff Sergeant and Cancer Survivor Shirley Desiree Rincon, United States Army
  10. Specialist 4 and Cancer Warrior Larry Klein, United States Army, Vietnam
  11. Sergeant Tom Santiago, United States Army, Desert Storm Vet @OrangeBuickGMC
  12. MM2 Jamie Nestrick, United States Navy
  13. ET1 DJ Nestrick, United States Navy
  14. Master Sergeant Don Eggert, United States Army
  15. E5 Sergeant 82nd Airborne and Cancer Survivor Roland Seidel, United States Army
  16. Robert Spar, United States Navy Medical Core
  17. United States Navy Captain and International Space Station Commander Scott Kelly
  18. (CFLT5!) Specialist Gerald Clark, United States Army Reserve
  19. Lieutenant Colonel Donald Briere, 82nd Airborne, 5th Special Forces Group & Founding Member of Delta Force
  20. Sergeant First Class Robert E Dolim, United States Army and United States Air Force

If I can do twenty push-ups, you certainly can! Do a quick video, share it on social media and challenge others using the hashtags; #MissionUnited #PushupChallenge #20or20. Make sure to tag @HFUW too on Twitter!

Not into sweat, potential public embarrassment or physical exertion? Donate $20 to Mission United here.

Top 5 Honors for Veterans Day

CFLT5-Event-Featured-Image Veterans Day

Having a grandfather, uncle, granduncle, sister-in-law and father who have all served in the Military, I have a deep admiration for those in the military both past and present. I appreciate and admire their service to our country. Thankfully I’m not the only one who wishes our service men and women the very best.

A special thank you to our own Veterans here at Central Florida Top 5, Nando and Gerald!

For Veterans Day 2015, there are a myriad of small (and big) thank you’s offered up to those who have or are currently defending the US of A.

Here are my Top Five:

  1. Hotels and Resorts Leading the way, Westgate Resorts wants to thank service men and women. Starting tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. U.S. military veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and The War on Terror can apply to receive a complimentary stay at a Westgate Resorts property, including resorts in Orlando and Las Vegas. Beginning November 11 at 9 a.m. EST, the first 2,500 eligible service members who complete the online military appreciation form that will be posted on their page will receive a complimentary three-day, two-night vacation at an eligible Westgate Resorts property in Orlando, Florida; River Ranch, Florida; Branson, Missouri; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; or, for the first time, Las Vegas.
    Many other hotels and resorts are offering discounts including Rosen Hotels & Resorts Orlando. They’re giving 50% off accommodations of standard rates, and golf through the end of 2015. Participating hotels include, Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando, Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista, Rosen Inn International, and Rosen Inn near Universal. Valid military ID is required. Book here.
  2. Theme Parks, Attractions & National Parks reward our heroes with programs that service personnel in for free and offer their family members discounts. SeaWorld has Waves of Honor; WDW offers a discount on 4-day passes for military (read details here); and Universal has discounted tickets at military bases around the country for re-sale to active duty, and Sunshine Retirement Living for the retired military and Department of Defense personnel. Wild Florida is giving $6.00 off adult and $3.00 off children one-hour airboat tour and Wildlife Park combo and Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition offers veterans to receive $4 off admission to Titanic The Artifact Exhibition or $10 off Titanic’s First Class Dinner Gala.
  3. Food and Drink offerings are abundant with a few (at least to me) surprises. Krispy Kreme is giving a doughnut and coffee to active or past military service personnel; Texas Roadhouse is buying lunch; Fogo de Chao has a nice discount (Military Veterans and Active Duty Personnel are can dine Nov. 11 –13 to receive 50% off their meal and up to three guests will also receive 10% off) and  IKEA gives an up to $9.99 value meal with ID. World of Beer is treating vets to a brewski, and loads of restaurants have free meals (often off of a special menu). Wawa has free coffee for military members and their families, too and Gigi’s Cupcakes Orlando will give veterans and active military a regular cupcake (while their kids can get minis). A quick search of “free meal on Veteran’s Day” will steer vets to a laundry list of American eateries honoring American heroes. Here’s a link and here’s anotherr with many other options.
  4. Wedding Gowns are free thanks to Alfred Angelo on Veteran’s Day only (at Alfred Angelo Signature Stores exclusively where an appointment to the store is made for Wednesday November 11, 2015). Brides Across America is also helping military brides-to-be. Check their website for details.
  5. Various Retailers and products also want to show their appreciation by giving discounts from 5% to 20% and some are even offering freebies including Great Clips who want to give vets a haircut when their friend receives one and, believe it or not, love is in the air by even long-time-rivals Coke and Pepsi who are signing a truce for a 30-second spot.

To service men and women both past and present, I (and these companies) salute YOU! Know of other great offers for Veterans Day? Feel free to share in the comments below.