A small number of M1 Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles will participate in President Donald Trump’s July Fourth celebrations in Washington on Thursday, US defense officials have confirmed to CNN.
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However, they will not parade down Pennsylvania Avenue due to the need to protect roads and bridges.
Trump later confirmed tanks would be present during remarks in the Oval Office.
“I’m going to be here and I’m going to say a few words and we’re going to have planes going overhead, the best fighter jets in the world and other planes too and we’re gonna have some tanks stationed outside,” Trump said while also acknowledging that measures would need to be taken to protect infrastructure.
“You’ve got to be pretty careful with the tanks because the roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks so we have to put them in certain areas but we have the brand new Sherman tanks and we have the brand new Abrams tanks,” Trump added.
While the US continues to operate the M1 Abrams tank the US military has not used World War II-era M4 Sherman tanks since the 1950s.
“We have some incredible equipment, military equipment on display – brand new. And we’re very proud of it,” Trump said.
The event is being referred to as a “Salute to America,” and will feature fireworks and a speech from Trump.
A US defense official said that the current plan is to have a very small number of armored vehicles participate as part of a “static display” at the event on the National Mall. The vehicles will not be moving thereby reducing the chance of damaging local infrastructure. The number of vehicles will be very small with the current plan to have two M1 Abrams tanks, two Bradley fighting vehicles and an armored M88 Recovery Vehicle, along with an “appropriate” number of accompanying personnel.
Multiple US military aircraft will participate in the celebrations as well, according to two defense officials, including the B-2 stealth bomber and F-22 fighter jets.
CNN had also previously reported that the Blue Angels demonstration team, which typically flies F/A-18s, would be present along with F-35 stealth jets and that the VC-25, the aircraft that serves as Air Force One when the President is on board, also will participate.