Dedicated volunteers have resurrected a World War II installation that’s being repurposed with history — and festive occasions — in mind

By Pam George | Photograph by Kevin Fleming
From the August 2017 issue

feature-fortmiles Holding Down the Fort - Delaware Beach LifeDedicated volunteers have resurrected a World War II installation that’s being repurposed with history — and festive occasions — in mind

There are few things that make Gary Wray and Pat Bragdon as happy as a World War II-era Army gun, no matter how rusted and worn it is. On a sunny day in Cape Henlopen State Park, the men stand like proud papas next to a formidable-looking 90 mm anti-aircraft gun, which is sitting on a blue tarp, nose pointing toward a tree line.

“It’s an M2,” notes Wray, a retired Cape Henlopen School District administrator. “That means model two.” The standard U.S. anti-aircraft and anti-tank gun in 1943, an M2 was present at Fort Miles, the Army base that once occupied the park grounds.

At its peak, Fort Miles — one of the country’s largest coastal defense installations — sprawled over 5,000 acres and required a team of 2,500 military personnel and civilians to operate.

For Wray and Bragdon, the newly acquired big gun is yet another feather in the cap of the Fort Miles Historical Association, which was founded in 2003 to bring the old buildings and gun emplacements back to their former glory. In 14 years, the FMHA’s cap has accumulated a lot of feathers.

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