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Army paints tank pink, but not for the reason you might think

Posted at 6:31 AM, Oct 22, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-22 06:31:17-04

By Larry Shaughnessy

CNN Pentagon Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) — October is when America’s favorite color seems to be pink.

NFL football players don pink cleats and hang pink towels from their belts.

The wives of both major presidential candidates risk a fashion police citation by wearing the same shade of pink to the second debate. And the president himself is seen wearing a pink rubber bracelet.

Everywhere there are pink ribbons. In almost every case, this temporary change of hues is in recognition of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, when public service organizations unite to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services.

But when the Army recently sent out pictures of a pink tank at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, saving woman from the disease was not the goal.

Fort Sill is one of the places where soldiers go to learn how to fire artillery at targets. When you are shooting a gun that fires a round the size of a cured ham, you don’t shoot at paper targets, you shoot at three-dimensional targets.

The people who run the target range at Fort Sill recently changed the targets, removing what’s left of old jeeps and humvees and moving in new ones, including an M60 tank painted a very vibrant shade of pink.

The M60 Patton tank was the workhorse of the U.S. Army’s armored divisions in Vietnam until the deployment of the M1 Abrams, the tank currently in use today.

Fort Sill obtained two old M60s from Fort Knox, the home of the Army’s tank training, for the target range.

When they arrived, one tank was painted pink, the other purple.

According to a news release from Army, the paint colors where used in previous training to help new soldiers know which tank to aim at.

At Fort Sill, where the tanks will be targeted by high-explosive artillery rounds, it won’t matter what color they are. In a few months, there won’t be much left to see. 

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