Man discovers pieces of military history in yard

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RIB MOUNTAIN, Wis. (WSAW) - Helping a neighbor clear brush, Merle Farkas wasn’t sure what to think when he came across two tank-like objects hidden by nature. When he looked closer, he realized he had a unique discovery on his hands.

Merle Farkas discovered two empty Napalm tanks in his neighbor's yard 12/8/19 (WSAW photo)

“I thought it was part of a pontoon boat,” said Farkas, who resides in Rib Mountain. “Then I saw the Bomb Fire Mark 77 Mod 4. I knew then and there they weren’t just for a pontoon boat.”

Farkas had “ungrounded,” has he refers to it, two empty Bomb Fire Mark 77 Mod 4 tanks. He couldn’t believe it.

“All the neighbors around here, they’re just in awe,” said Farkas. “This is in our backyard.”

Farkas’ first instinct was to look on Google to see if it was legal for him to be in possession of the two tanks. After not finding an answer, he reached out to the Marathon County Sheriff’s office, who dispatched a deputy. The deputy told Farkas that he was able to hold onto the tanks as long as they weren’t full.

One question answered, Farkas and his neighborhood still have another they would like to find answer to.

“Where’d it come from?” questioned Farkas. “Obviously, I don’t think they were used, but was it a surplus?"

Ben Clark, an archivist with the Marathon County Historical Society, thinks that is probably the best bet.

“It could have been from a surplus store or something like that,” said Clark. “Typically, the local National Guard would go to Camp Douglas or someplace like that in order to do their training, and typically that wouldn’t include dropping (bombs) in the north woods.”

Regardless, Clark did admit that it’s not something that people come across every day.

“This would be the first time that I’ve encountered this in my job,” said Clark. “A rare instance to be sure.”

“I think in anybody’s neighborhood, you find two of these, it’ll get anybody’s attention,” said Farkas. “I never thought in a million years to come across something like that.”

Farkas says he isn’t sure what he will do with his new-found pieces of history, but he hopes to find more information about where they came from.