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Museum Gives Third-Graders VIP Treatment for Donating Machine Gun

March 26, 1992

WYCKOFF, N.J. (AP) _ A military museum gave two third-graders the VIP treatment for donating a 1912 Navy machine gun they pulled from a pond earlier this month.

The students were made honorary members of the Intrepid Sea-Air Space Museum’s underwater exploration team Wednesday and will be identified on a plaque when the gun is displayed at the New York museum.

The nearly 5-foot-long weapon is a Hotchkiss machine gun, among the first machine guns made, said Jerry Roberts, a member of the museum’s dive team.

Chris Siegel and Jon Tilli found the gun March 5 in a pond in this northeastern New Jersey town. Jon’s mother, Linda Tilli, gave it to police and it eventually wound up in the hands of museum officials for preservation.

The relic, issued by the Navy, will soak in electrolyte solution for eight weeks to remove rust before it goes on display at the museum, which is inside an aircraft carrier docked on the West Side of Manhattan.

How the gun ended up in the pond is a mystery. It had been in the water between two and five years.

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