Surprise ceremony held to honor former tank commander

Korean War Veteran, U.S. Marine tank commander Sid Kirshner, 84, right, stands in front of a Korean War ear tank, as Steve Chambers, President of the U.S. Marine Corps Tankers Association honors Kirshner for his service at a military vehicle storage yard in Newhall to on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Unbeknownst to former U.S. Marine tank commander Cpl. Sid Kirshner as he drove up to a military storage yard in Newhall, he was about to be surprised with a small ceremony in his honor on Saturday.

Organized by his friends and his son, the 84-year-old-veteran, who served in Korea from 1953-1954, was greeted at the gate of the military storage yard, located on the corner of SIerra Highway and Newhall Avenue, by the Marine Corps League Color Guard and a small group of his family and close friends.

Veteran, U.S. Marine tank commander Sid Kirshner, 84, admires an M-47 tank like the one he served in during the Korean War. He was surprised by dozens of family and friends to honor him for his service at a military vehicle storage yard in Newhall on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

As he walked into the gated area, Kirshner saw Steve Chambers, president of the U.S. Marine Corps Tankers Association, who held an event to recognize Kirshner’s service. Behind Chambers was an M-47 tank, which resembled the one Kirshner served in during the Korean War.

“We were going to see my grandson, and I was completely blindsided with this event,” said Kirshner.

Surrounded by vintage military Jeeps and tanks, Korean War Veteran, U.S. Marine tank commander, Kishner received the honor – which was meant to recognize his service during the Korean War – from Chambers, and then thanked all those who surprised him.

Marine Corps League Color Guard post the colors as Korean War veteran, U.S. Marine tank commander Sid Kirshner, 84, second from left, and his son Shawn, right, say the pledge of allegiance after Kirshner was surprised by family and friends at a military vehicle storage yard in Newhall to honor Kirshner for his service on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“Today was about honoring my dad’s service,” said Sid’s son Shawn Kirshner. “And we thought it would be great to do it front of the tank.”

Shawn said the commendation was an honorary designation and recognized him as a member of the Marine Tankers Association. He added that holding the ceremony in front of the tank was made possible after he reached out to Paul Veluzat, a family friend who happened to own both the yard and the tank.

“Even if we didn’t know them, anytime we can honor a veteran … it’s a great thing to open the gates and do something like this,” said Veluzat. “You saw it in his own eyes, and just seeing his hand shake to come back and look at that tank and run his hand down the fender its exciting. To honor a man like Sid is an awesome thing.”

Surrounded by vintage military Jeeps and tanks, Korean War Veteran, U.S. Marine tank commander Sid Kirshner, 84, reacts to family and friends who surprised him at a military vehicle storage yard in Newhall to honor him for his service on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

The tanks are on display the Newhall lot almost year round, Veluzat said, and are only taken off the set when they’re rented out to the entertainment industry.

After the ceremony, the party honoring Sid then relocated to Melody Motion Picture Ranch, for lunch and a tour of the various sets around the park.

Advertisement