Original Published in French by Airsoft Addict Magazine; Translated to English by ANME Staff
Sometime before I left for Uncle Sam’s country to cover the famous Shot Show, which is held every year in the city of vice, one of my dear friends asked me this very embarrassing question: “Say, you regularly go to Las Vegas have you heard about The ANME EXPO?”
I answered “No.” (When someone points out your shortcomings, it’s always embarrassing.) That day, I learned that the Army Navy Military Expo (ANME) was held three days before the Shot Show. Planning the ANME before the Shot Show was devilishly well thought out and very intelligent because it uses the popularity of the Shot Show to attract exhibitors and attendees to practically the same place, but taking care so that the two events do not overlap so that visitors can do both shows without having to choose between them.
This show is dedicated exclusively to dealers in the world of military surplus. Even though true military surplus in France has been dead and buried for a long time, tradition persists in the USA. At the expo, I met David Castlegrant, the U.S. organizer of the show, who welcomed me warmly under massive ceilings of a huge number of rooms, including three opulent rooms of the very prestigious lobby of Caesar’s Palace. (Yes, yes, the same place where a well-known lover of an older Quebecois performs.) AMNE boasts visitors from many nations and is profitable for exhibitors. Of course, we are very far from the maddening figures of the Shot Show which takes place a few steps away, but it is still very interesting and the adventure only will continue s to grow. It is by doing the trick with this sexagenarian full of vigor who speaks of his living room with delight and a passion that is read in his eyes, that I was very surprised to meet Patrick Métrot, a French exhibitor. Imagine my surprise, to find from 11,000 kilometers away a military surplus tricolor, the opportunity was too beautiful, and so the dialogue begins:
After having conversed a long time with this quarrelman joker with round glasses, I begin to stroll in the alleys still quite surprised with the meeting. To find one’s way in the midst of so much war material that has already served is a particularly rewarding adventure. To think that some of the objects exhibited before me have allowed for some to shape the recent history of our world has something fascinating, a museum but also dynamic. As I walked along the paths full of images of war and battles (victorious of course), I stopped in front of a small booth which offered a particularly difficult commodity to find in our beautiful country. From the rations of combat of the US army, there are complete boxes that cram behind Ken who welcomes me with a big smile. After a long discussion, I better understand the rarity of US combat rations in Europe. Apart from the fact that in a zone close to France, only in Germany, the US troops are massed in a significant way, the problem still comes from the European health regulations which prohibit US beef (because they are disinfected directly with water and chlorine), which nips in the bud any interest for a merchant to import. But Ken wants to reassure that he has a plan that he has been considering for some time. He thinks importing beef of Spanish origin to the US and able to integrate it in his menus, which would automatically raise the customs barriers and him Mountain of crates of rations of combat US, the dream.
Would this allow us to send a few crates? The future will tell us if he was right. A little further is a very interesting conversation with a sergeant of the US Marines. It is there to inform the participants of the fair about the opportunities offered by the “body” and possibly to forge new partnerships, what a beautiful country where the army remains in contact with the population from which it is born and participates in its active life. A little further on, Tim sells replicas of American Civil War clothes (a moment of dear history at the heart of the Americans). Its specialty is to provide thousands of men and women with the closest possible outfits that they will use for a day, a week or a full month for the reconstruction of a battle, a historical fact, they are called reenactors. The phenomenon takes on considerable importance in the USA and is beginning to reach Europe. After a journey rich in teachings in the short and great war history of the American nation, one can only feel moved to hold between his fingers a leather holster stamped with the letters US, intended to carry one Colt 1911 on the belt. For me, it was more than a show, it was a journey back in time.
For more information about the show, follow this link: anmexpo. If you wish to know what is inside the cellars of the Military Tranche, it is here: www.latrancheemilitaire.com (specialized site in surplus of any kind) or www.ltmoutdoor.com (site specialized in outdoor accessories)