“Defense Day” Saturday Brings History To Life At Fort Miles


An M18 tank destroyer will be on display Saturday at Fort Miles, and the surrender of a German submarine at the end of World War II will be re-enacted. Encampments, music and other attractions are all part of “Defense Day” at Fort Miles at Cape Henlopen State Park.

“A lot of Delawareans did serve in World War II. We represent artillery, airborne – anybody who has ever been on the post, we hopefully will have something that will represent them,” Dr. Don Hattier of Harbor Defenses, Delaware Living History Association, said on WGMD News.

Defense Day takes place Saturday April 23rd between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Here are more details:

In addition to fee-based self-guided tours of the entire museum with knowledgeable docents on hand, you may also see the one-of-a-kind, fee free, USS Arizona “Oil Still Bleeds” exhibit inside Battery 519.

Delaware Defense Day – Schedule of Events and Event Information

  • 9:00 AM: (Pre-Event) Flag Raising Ceremony – Historical Area
  • 10:00 AM: Fort Miles Museum (inside Battery 519) opens for self-guided tours ($5 per person by CASH  or CHECK only). Those wishing to see only the USS Arizona “Oil Still Bleeds” exhibit may view it fee-free.
  • 10:30 AM: Off the Hook Restaurant Group opens the Mess Hall for food and beverage purchases
  • 11:00 AM: 3-inch black powder Artillery Firing Demonstration
  • 1:00 PM: Small Arms Demonstration
  • 2:00 PM: Artillery Firing Demonstration
  • 3:15 PM: Rehoboth Beach Concert Band (Orientation Building)
  • 4:00 PM: Event and Concert End

More to SEE and DO:

  • Talk with World War II Re-enactors and see their vehicles and equipment. A  M-18 Hellcat tank destroyer will be onsite for the first time!
  • Attend a free lecture inside Battery 519 describing the events leading up to the 1945 surrender of a German U-Boat at Fort Miles (time to be determined)
  • Relax and enjoy the World War II Tunes (Orientation Building; 10 am – 3 pm)
  • Talk with knowledgeable Fort Miles Historical Association docents and learn about exciting future plans for Fort Miles, membership options and volunteer opportunities
  • Visit the Museum Gift Shop inside Battery 519 (open 10 am – 4 pm)
  • Visit the Museum Art Gallery and participate in a silent art auction (10 am – 2 pm); see handmade models of WWII ships and aircraft, as well as a German U-Boat
  • See the works of Howard Schroeder, painted while he was stationed at Fort Miles (Howard Schroeder Gallery inside Battery 519; open 12 – 2 pm)
  • Meet representatives from Delaware Emergency Management, Delaware Police Museum and Air Mobility Command Museum (Historical Area)

Parking and Transportation:
Upon paying the fee to enter Cape Henlopen State Park, follow the entrance road to the left and turn left. Signs will direct you to the Main Beach parking area. Once parked, hop on a shuttle bus to be transported to the Historical Area. Handicap parking is available. Upon entering the Park, follow the entrance road to to the left and turn right at the t-intersection. Signage will direct you from there.

A tribute is also planned in honor of the late Gary Wray, who was one of the founders and a longtime president of the Fort Miles Historical Association.

“He was smart enough to see to it that other people bought into his dream, so even though he himself is no longer here a lot of people have the same dream now because he planted that seed,” Hattier said.