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#94 Artifacts Bring Big History to Pond Plaza

Jeff Dobbin 200 Things about Norwich, Fun Facts & Stats

Pond Plaza, located alongside Sabine Field, is home to three artifacts that pay homage to the branches of the military in which our students and alumni serve: An M4 Sherman tank for the Army, an aircraft carrier anchor for the Navy and Marine Corps, and a P-40 Warhawk propeller for the Air Force. Each of these artifacts holds a special place in Norwich history and myth.

The first to arrive on campus was the tank, known as Sabine Sally. President Harmon, former commander of the 2nd Armored Division, decided to obtain a decommissioned tank for the university to display as a memorial to the alumni who served in World War II. Originally called the Norwich Memorial Tank, it was dedicated during the 1958 commencement festivities. Medal of Honor recipient James Burt, Class of 1939, gave the dedication address. Sally underwent complete refurbishment that was completed in 2013, including welding the hatches shut for safety reasons.

The Navy-Marine Corps memorial anchor that sits beside Sabine Sally came to us in 1990. It is sometimes referred to as “Dewey’s Anchor,” and rumors swirl that it came from Admiral Dewey’s flagship, the USS Olympia. This is not the case. It belonged to a World War II aircraft carrier, and the university obtained it in 1990 from the National Museum of the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C. The Olympia is currently a museum ship maintained at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. Two of her three original anchors remain with her at the museum, while the third has been lost.

The propeller that represents Norwich’s Air Force students and alumni came to campus much more recently, in 2008, from the Fargo Air Museum in North Dakota. It came from a Curtis P-40 Warhawk that flew with the Flying Tigers, a volunteer unit that saw combat in China during World War II. A group of AFROTC cadets worked to bring the memorial to campus, including securing a donated granite base from the Rock of Ages quarry in Barre, Vt.

Pond Plaza, where these monuments reside, was dedicated to the memory of Erasmus Arlington “Arlie” Pond, Class of 1892, in April 2015.

Over the years, Sabine Sally has been at the center of some exciting, though largely unproven, pieces of Norwich mythology. We’ve heard that it was rammed into the Adams Carillon Tower; that it was carried to the Upper Parade Ground by a group of rooks on a spirit mission; that a rook would automatically be recognized if they managed to move it; and perhaps most famously, that it was once driven down to the Northfield town jail to liberate a cadet. Please contact the Norwich University Archives if you can provide any evidence or firsthand recollections of these events!