Downtown Needles, CA: Working to preserve the Santa Fe Park cannon.


Downtown Needles, CA: Working to preserve the Santa Fe Park cannon.

Preserving a memorial to the Veterans of World War 1; work has begun to preserve a cannon that’s on display in front of Santa Fe Park in Downtown Needles, California.




At 7:00am PT on Wednesday, March 16th, 2016, 3 volunteers from our community; Samuel G. Johnson III, Retired Staff Sergeant with the United States Air Force; Mr. George DeLeon, Commander for V.F.W. Post 404 in Mohave Valley, Arizona; and ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez, all met at Santa Fe Park to work on preserving the cannon.



The 3 volunteers worked on Phase 1 of the project; cleaning and varnishing the wheels of the cannon, then next will be Phase 2; repaint the cannon, then Phase 3 will be painting the fence around the cannon ending the 3 phase project.

Samuel G. Johnson III has been planning this 3 phase project for weeks, and when he heard about the plan, Mr. George DeLeon jumped onboard.

“I’m glad to be help. Sam did the history of the cannon, and our job is to keep the cannon maintained. Kudos to Sam,” said Mr. George DeLeon.

** Video from ZachNews on YouTube: **

After completing Phase 1 of the project, ZachNews spoke to both Samuel G. Johnson III and Mr. George DeLeon about the project and what’s next in the preserving the cannon.

In the last few days, ZachNews has obtain more information regarding the cannon at Santa Fe Park.

According to Gordon A. Blaker, a volunteer at the United States Army Artillery Museum in Oklahoma, the cannon at Santa Fe Park is a Gordon U.S. 4.7-Inch Gun, Model of 1906. This was the heavy field gun of U.S. Field Artillery at the beginning of World War 1. The M1906 used two spring cylinders plus a hydraulic cylinder to absorb the recoil and to return the tube to the in-battery position. This dual recoil system assisted by wheel brakes and the spade at the end of the trail kept the gun stable, requiring only minor adjustments for the succeeding round. Only 60 guns were available when America entered the war in 1917, far fewer than required to support the massive expansion of the United States Army. A total of only 48 arrived in France during the war, making it the only American designed gun to be used by the United States Field Artillery in World War 1. Ammunition was the primary problem with the use of the M1906 in the war, because the Allies did not use the same ammunition. This meant that every round had to be shipped across the Atlantic. An additional 320 carriages and 149 guns were manufactured by the end of the war. The 4.7-in. Gun was used as a long range counter-battery and anti-balloon gun in World War 1. This gun was made at Rock Island Arsenal in 1918. The trail handspikes were used for traversing the gun left -right.

** More Cannon Details: **

– Caliber: 4.7 in. 119.4 mm

– Weight: 8,069 lb. 3,660 kg

– Range: 11,000 yds. 10,060 m

– Shell Weight: 45 lb. 20.4 kg

– Muzzle Velocity: 1,700 ft/sec. 518 m/sec.

– Elevation: 0 to + 15 degrees 0 to + 267 mils

– Traverse: 7.8 degrees 140 mils

– Rate of Fire: 2-4 rpm

ZachNews has also learned that the cannon was officially dedicated in November 1935; 81 years ago.

Gordon A. Blaker said that the old cannon is in very good shape even well being out in the elements, credited to the climate we live in.

Samuel G. Johnson III tells ZachNews that there are no living veterans from the Great War (World War 1) and the memories of them are slowly dying with our elderly generations. This is a memorial for our Veterans of World War 1, and it doesn’t reflect our community appreciation for our veterans. It just needs some well needed attention.

If anybody would like to help, please contact St. Vincent de Paul of Needles, California at: 1 (760) 326-4420.

ZachNews was happy to be there to help to preserve our history and give thanks to all of our brave men and women veterans who served in our Armed Forces.

Thanks to Samuel G. Johnson III, Mr. George DeLeon, and to all of our men and women who are currently serving and were serving in our Armed Forces for all of their hard work and sacrifices they give for our lives, our country, and our freedoms.

** Stay tuned to ZachNews for more news updates with more information regarding this news story. **

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