Top Pentagon Officials Launch Investigation Of Army's Loan of Two Tanks to John Wayne

An official at the Pentagon said yesterday that angry higher-ups are investigating the decision by the local command of the Army Reserves to use two armored personnel carries to wheel John Wayne through Harvard Square one week ago.

Maj. Louis Thompson, in the office of the Secretary of the Army, said that the publicity and recruits attracted by parading the vehicles did not justify their use in promotion of a "civilian film."

The carriers brought Wayne from a reception at the Lampoon Castle to the Harvard Square Theater last Tuesday for the premier of his picture "McQ."

Thompson said that high-level dissatisfaction with the action was purely an "internal matter" and that he did not know what disciplinary measures would be carried out.

Boston-based reserve officers said that they had been ordered not to speak to outside about the matter.


The military equipment came from the 187th Infantry Brigade of the 94th Army Reserve Command, at Fort Devens in Ayer.

Officers at the Reserve Command said yesterday that Gen. Sumner Z. Kaplan had agreed to the Lampoon request for the escort strictly for publicity reasons. Kaplan could not be reached for comment.

"The exposure that we got was worth an awful lot of money," Warrant Officer Michael D. Faiella of the 187th Infantry Brigade said yesterday.

The event was reported on two national television networks and in the national press.

Drive a Tank Today

One officer in the reserves, who wished to remain anonymous, said, "They [the Pentagon] got nervous when national coverage came out. We really weren't promoting the movie; we were just letting the young kids know that we do have tanks and they can drive them if they join."

Thompson said that the Army is "accountable for how the people's tax dollars are spent," and that the use of 50 gallons of fuel to power the carriers could not be justified.

The reserves officer, however, explained, "If we don't exercise the equipment, it deteriorates. The seals shrivel up and when you start it up after seven months, the oil squirts out."

Kurt B. Anderson '76, an editor of the Lampoon, said yesterday that the Lampoon had asked for the vehicles, "but it's not our affair anymore."