2016 Honor a veteran
On Saturday, November 12, 2016 — the day after Veterans Day — the Lobo Wing of the CAF met at the LWRF in Moriarty, NM to “Honor A Veteran”.
One display that received a lot of attention was the restored Willys Jeep (courtesy of CAF Colonel Chuck Swanberg) parked in front of our hangar.
This article provided by Chuck Swanberg (minor editing by The Bear).
About this particular Jeep:
This Jeep was rescued from the Colorado woods in 1999 and required several years to restore. It is not completely original in that reproduction and re-purposed civilian parts were required to complete the restoration. It is equipped and marked like the one my dad drove onto Omaha Beach on June 7th 1944. It is marked for 392nd Signal Corps, 9th Air Force. My dad went across France with Patton’s 3rd Army, stringing communications wire, building airfields and radar stations.
About Jeeps in general:
American Bantam created the first Jeep to satisfy an Army requirement for a lightweight scout vehicle. Bantam built approximately 2700 of them to government specifications called “Blitz Buggies”. Subsequently American Bantam spent the remainder of the war building trailers.
Willys-Overland Motors produced the Willys MA (model A) which was improved into the MB (model B) and was essentially the standard WW II Jeep. Ford was also given a contract and made additional improvements. The Ford vehicle was called the GPW. “G” for government contract; “P” was a Ford designation for 80 inch wheelbase and “W” for the Willys design.
Pilot models from Willys were called “Quad” while those from Ford were called “Pygmy”. Willys produced 363,000 Jeeps and Ford produced another 280,000. Approximately 51,000 Jeeps were exported to the U.S.S.R. under the Lend-Lease program. Roughly 13,000 amphibious jeeps were built by Ford under the name GPA (nicknamed “Seep” for Sea Jeep). Most of the GPAs were sent to the U.S.S.R. under the Lend-Lease program.
The term “Jeep” was in use as a generic term for several prewar utility / general purpose (GP) vehicles, including a militarized Minneapolis-Moline tractor. The most likely etymology of the word “jeep” came from the 1930’s cartoon / comic strip Popeye. Eugene the jeep was a small character in that series who could go anywhere.
Postwar Jeeps were designated CJ for civilian Jeep. Jeep production continued until the 1970’s in various forms until they evolved into entirely different vehicles.
Photos courtesy of The Bear…
Front view of the Jeep
Rear view showing typical jerry can and spare mounting
M1 rifle in scabbard (on the left), WW II era helmet on the passenger seat
Detailed view of the M1 and scabbard
An eager volunteer
CAF Col. Chuck Swanberg briefing the trigger happy student
Photos courtesy of Chuck Swanberg…