Monique Kroon female mechanic

Volunteer rolls up her sleeves at Wright Museum

The all-volunteer staff of mechanics at the Wright Museum maintain a livery of World War II-era jeeps, half-tracks, and tanks with the only female, Monique Kroon, standing out as an expert.

Most recently, Kroon and her father, Joe Benini, spent some time working on a later model Sherman tank, which she described as “a serious challenge.”

Father and daughter in Sherman tank
Monique Kroon with her father Joe Benini

“These tanks have a glycol reservoir that worked in part to diffuse shrapnel and protect the tank,” she said. “They are really tricky.”

She has also been helping to maintain a Stewart tank, which are smaller and carried a four-man crew.

“Considering I can barely fit in the driver’s seat, these things were a tight squeeze for the guys who operated them,” Kroon said. “Many of the tanks in the collection were poorly maintained before we got them.”

What little instructions that remain with the tanks are generally illegible, too.

“We figure it out,” she added with a laugh.

In commenting on the fact she is the only woman on the crew, Kroon said her size is an advantage when working on tanks and other military machines.

“These things were made dense in order to withstand fire and extreme punishment,” she said. “The engines are tightly built, but I can get my hands into places the men simply cannot.”

As for how she became involved in mechanics, she said she got her start as a child watching her father work on cars.

“I followed him out to work on the car, asked relentless questions, and learned all I could from him at a young age,” she said. “I have been working on or around engines most of my life.”

On the particular challenges of being a woman and tank mechanic, Kroon acknowledged some people raise an eyebrow and others are skeptical.

”I win them over with skill and knowledge,” she said. “I know what I am doing and people see that.”

Offering demonstrations and driving tanks and other military equipment for the Wright Museum, Kroon is currently hard at work with “a complicated carburetor rebuild for a Stewart tank.”

To meet Kroon, or possibly become a volunteer mechanic at the Wright Museum, call (603) 569-1212. To learn more about the museum, visit

Unique to traditional WWII museums, the Wright Museum features more than 14,000 items in its collection that are representative of both the home front and battle field.

The Wright Museum is open daily through October 31 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Saturday, and noon to 4:00 PM Sundays.