Grayling visitors urged to stop in Pineview Military Surplus and Museum to take in some military history
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
People in the community for vacations or those from the Grayling area looking to take a staycation are urged to check out a new museum highlighting military artifacts and memorabilia.
Pineview Military Surplus and Museum officially opened at its new location at 604 Norway St. in Grayling on December 14. The business operated in the Frederic area for nearly five decades.
Robert Klatt assumed ownership of Pineview Military Surplus and Museum from his parents, Chris and Dan Klatt.
The museum was put together and opened in time for the summer tourist season.
Instead of organizing the museum chronologically year by year and conflict by conflict, the displays and cases are set in a topical manner so each case has a different theme.
The museum features items the business has collected over the years as well as items that family and friends of veterans have donated or traded for merchandise carried in the store.
“It helps quite a bit because it helps us grow in that regard and it gives me a chance to be a steward of something very important and to tell another piece of the story,” Klatt said.
One case is devoted to the service of Charles Richard Malott, of Kalkaska, who served in Special Forces during the Vietnam War from 1962 to 1966.
Malott was assigned to an intelligence gathering unit to identify North Vietnamese soldiers and equipment coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which was the major supply route for enemy forces. They called in air strikes, avoided capture, and Malott saved a whole platoon while they were under attack.
Later, Malott helped guide Panama railroad security cargo cars supplying weapons to rebels fighting Communists, who were working for Central Intelligence Agency.
“He was a really amazing guy,” Klatt said.
Klatt was working with a young man gathering miniature ribbons and medals for Malott. Klatt was fortunate enough to visit with Malott before he passed on March 30 of this year.
Malott donated his medals, ribbons, valor awards, and certificates of commendation to the museum.
“I feel very, very honored that we can share his story with people that are coming in to enjoy the museum,” Klatt said. “That’s my biggest push is to be able to create a way for interaction and dialogue about the things that are in the museum rather than having things that are just on display.”
One display features items from Camp Grayling to detail the significance of the military base to the community.
One item in the display is a big picture from the World War I era.
“It’s a big panorama of the camp with all the tents pitched in 1917,” Klatt said.
Klatt is working with Sgt. First Class Jeremie A. Mead, the community relations specialist for Camp Grayling, to bring in rotating display of items to showcase from the base.
One case features honor, valor, and sacrifice from battles from the Civil War up to current military battles.
Another includes items tied to the homefront such as ration cards for rubber, gasoline, sugar and meat, stamps, and propaganda pieces.
A display includes the tools of war with non-munition items soldiers would use such as smoke grenades, a World War II flare gun, maps, and Soviet word recognition cards.
Two cases are devoted to artillery and tank rounds casing, including one made with wood to train soldiers during the World War II era when there was shortage of metal on the homefront because metal was diverted to making weapons and military equipment.
A display features items from the days in the life of a soldier facing trials and tribulations such as self-care items, song books, currency, a bacon ration container, magazines, and a sewing kit.
A display contains edged weapons ranging from the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War.
There is a display case including history books and military manuals and one devoted to mines, booby traps, trip wire explosives, and fuses.
A display includes projectiles that fly though the air such mortar rounds, bullets, and flechettes, pointed steel projectiles that were shot out of artillery rounds or missiles as anti-personnel weapons.
“It would basically go off and shoot all these flechettes kind of like a shotgun blast,” Klatt said.
A case displays gas masks, and gear worn in case a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack occurred.
A case features field gear packs and pouches, ammunition belts and canteens, while another includes helmets and head gear that will be rotating display.
“Every few months I’m going to have something fresh,” Klatt said.
A television screen, housed in an ammunition box, shows military training films. A case called the faces of war features portraits from the Civil War all the way up to the modern era. Museum visitors and store customers will be able to submit photos of veterans that will be on a moving display screen.
Larger items, such as bazooka, shells, a dragon anti-tank missile system, a field desk, and a MG-34 German machine gun, are kept between the display cases.
A parachute, used by a pilot form a plane that went down on a training mission out west, hangs from the ceiling in the museum area.
A target kite, designed by Paul Garber, to mimic diving and moving attack planes during the World War II era, is also displayed from the ceiling of the museum.
Veterans or families considering getting rid of military memorabilia are urged to consider the museum to help tell the stories from throughout the world.
“We are gladly and honored to take in donations simply because it helps us tell more of that story of the U.S. military and other military from around the world,” Klatt said. “If we can rescue anything from going into the dumpster, I’m a happy guy.”