By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Hudson – A lifelong interest in the military history of our country and active service within his family provided the foundation for Andy Massa of Hudson to become a firearms collector, historian, and certified firearms instructor, a passion he shares with residents in the area.
At a recent meeting of the Hudson Historical Society, attended by 100 members, he presented “The History of the American Battle Rifle,” covering the strategic evolution of battle rifles used by the American military from 1775 to the modern era. His interactive presentation included specific battles, personalities and related historical trivia.
“My great-grandfather fought in the American Civil War, with the Mass. 13th Regiment, Company B. He was wounded at the second battle of Manassas and received a medical discharge just prior to the Battle of Gettysburg,” said Massa. “My father served in World War II (WWII) with the Army Air Corps, having been drafted at age 40. Both my older brother and I served in the U. S. Navy. He served on the Tin Cans in the North Atlantic. I flew in a Patrol Squadron out of Norfolk and served from Iceland to Guantanamo and many places in between.”
Massa’s first two guns purchases were war fighters – a World War I Springfield and an M1 Garand from WWII. As he started researching types of weapons in general, as well as his own two, he said his passion was ignited.
“I realized immediately that these two rifles were used just about in the middle of America’s war fighting history. I decided to go back to the [American] Revolution and forward to Vietnam to have the complete set of American battle weapons,” he said.
Each of the rifles he displays during his slide presentation is described in its historical setting, noting the politics of the day, technologies, and the players and places of the particular era when the weapon was in service. He has in his public displays 20 firearms used in battles from 1775 to 1995.
“My initial presentations were to various Scout troops around a campfire at the Riverside Gun Club in Hudson,” said Massa. “I am looking forward to appearing before several area groups in the near future.”