Early in the summer 0f 2011 a friend texted me photos of a very nice WW2 Jeep at a carshow. I fell in love with it because the owner was a WW2 veteran, and the Jeep was marked for his unit, plus he had “Kilroy” on the license plate. How cool is that? Shortly after receiving the photos I had an email from the veteran’s daughter, Maria. The veteran, Joe, of the 4th Infantry Division, wanted some electrical and other minor repairs made to the Jeep. I set up a date and soon headed out to pick up the Willys MB.
Joe, his daughter, Maria, and her husband, Harvey are amongst my favorite people. Maria and Harvey have set up little old man heaven for Joe at their beautiful waterfront property. Joe has a shooting range, and a game room set up with all of his sporting and wartime memorablia. I have really enjoyed sitting with all three of them, reading Joe’s stories and listening to Harvey’s tales while smoking Lucky Strikes (bad, bad!! Don’t do what I do!!)
When we delivered the repaired Jeep to Joe my friend Butch came along in his 4th Infantry uniform. Butch’s father was an officer in the 4th at D-Day. I will never forget Butch climbing out of the Jeep, walking up to Joe, and saying the unit slogan,” Steadfast and Loyal!” The look on Joe’s face was priceless.
At the end of the summer I received an email from Maria that said her father was okay, but could I look at the photos and see if we could fix the Jeep. Joe apparently was trying to show his nephew the slight wobble in the front end when they went into a culvert and flipped the Jeep. Joe has an angel on his shoulder for sure (or the Jeep god was watching over him) because he was only bruised when he was thrown from the Jeep, his nephew sustained a couple broken ribs. The Jeep received a crushed hood, fender, radiator, windshield, and the main frame was bent.
Below are photos of delivering the Jeep to Joe the first time, and of our dismantling the Jeep recently. The Jeep is a 1945 Willys with a 1941 tub. Our aim is to have it back on the road for Memorial Day. Joe has been through a few rounds of chemo as of late, so please send some positive prayers or thoughts his way. We do not have a whole lot of these men and women left, and it is a true honor to be working for a member of the Greatest Generation.