Honor Flight

A month or so ago I was contacted by Betty who works with Ocean State Job Lots as a publicist (hope I got that right).  They were looking for a WW2 Jeep to sit in the lobby of the BWI Hilton.  The occasion? Dinner for a massive Honor Flight of WW2 veterans.

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I was more than happy to bring my Jeep down for the veterans. Honor Flight is an organization flying WW2 veterans at no charge from all over the United States to see their memorial in DC.  Read more about them here: Honor Flight  This is an amazing organization doing something to say thanks to the men and women who saved the world in WW2.

My friend Butch Maisel brought items from his museum to share with the veterans.Image

The first veteran who came in on a wheelchair looked at his guardian (the volunteers who assist each veteran) and said, “see, I knew I left my Jeep here!” My friend, Ed Embry, speaks with him below.Image

The next fellow in lit up and kept saying,” A Jeep! A Jeep!” There were so many veterans and they were delightful to speak with.  Many wanted to sit in the Jeep.  The fellow below was extremely intent on sitting in the Willys MB. Ed finally was able to help him in the passenger seat.  Quite honestly we would have done anything to get him in it as he wanted to sit in the Jeep so much.Image

I had my toolbox open on the fender of the Jeep and turned around at one point to hear a man exclaim,” I have this at home.” I ended up speaking with Mr. Sennett for quite a while as we sorted through the tools and shared stories of working on Jeeps and how we used certain tools.  He worked on assembling Jeeps in Europe.  I have never had the chance to chat with a WW2 mechanic and do not know how to describe the experience of sharing knowledge, tricks and stories.  Mr. Sennett is someone I could spend hours talking to, heck, so many of these men and women are.

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Job Lots, Honor Flight, and all others involved go all out for the veterans.  There was even a trio of singers from the USO who performed beautifully.Image

Honor Flight hung a banner for the veterans and guardians to sign.Image

Towards the end of the evening I saw a veteran in his wheelchair by the banner. He waved me over and said, “thank you, you really made our day.” I thought he was speaking of the entire Honor Flight.  But a few minutes later I found him by the Jeep. He pointed at it and repeated his thanks again.

And all I can say and think is thank you. Thanks to Honor Flight for doing this for the greatest men and women I have known. Thanks for allowing us to share in this experience and bring to life so many memories.

And to our veterans…..Image

Thank you….. for everything.

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Veteran’s jeep up for adoption (1945 Willys MB SOLD)


In 2012 I posted about rebuilding WW2 veteran Joe Tedesco’s Jeep: The Meaning of Memorial Day  Joe sadly passed away last winter. He was a 4th Infantry Division veteran.  A man who survived Operation Tiger, D-Day, and the push across Europe.  He drove a half track with quad fifty anti-aircraft guns mounted on it.Image

In 2011 Joe rolled his jeep and we rebuilt it for him. It is back in the shop now as we tweak final issues from the accident. We replaced the transmission, clutch, pressure plate, pilot bushing and ring gear on the flywheel.  Brakes have been thoroughly addressed and I am further touching up bodywork.Image

The Jeep is a 1945 Willys Mb with a 1941 tub.  The Jeep is named “Kilroy” and Joe kept license plates with that name on the Jeep. The hood numbers are Joe’s id numbers from WW2.

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The good: overhauled transmission, new AJP radiator, new clutch and pressure plate, new ring gear on flywheel, rebuilt starter, solid and peppy engine, rust free frame and body, nice 1941 Willys script tub (yes I know the Jeep is a 1945).

The bad: roof is incorrect but serviceable, wiring all works but is a home-made harness, a couple nicks here in there in older body filler (see photos below)

The great: This was the much loved pet of a WW2 veteran and we hope it will go on to another good home.

Photos of our accident repair work are here: Restoration of Kilroy More photos are below:

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Horn works and is actuated by a button under the dash, it has been this way since I first met Kilroy.

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The photo below shows one detail issue, the internal braces for toolbox latches were bent in the rollover so toolboxes do not latch.

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The shot below shows the front of the passenger side fender, the main brace in this fender is bent slightly down.

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The shot below is of a chip in the body filler.  I use very little filler in my restoration work but this body has some thicker layers. I sanded alot down when we reworked the body after the accident but there are still a couple spots here and there.

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This body and frame have no rust or rust holes.  So Kilroy is very solid, more so than when the veteran first purchased the Jeep. Whomever restored this Jeep originally took some shortcuts which we have eliminated and corrected.

Kilroy just drove over 2 hours this past weekend and did quite well.  At road speeds up to 55 mph there were no wobbles and the brakes are great.

The family seeks $14,000 or best offer for Kilroy.

Reasonable offers will be entertained, unreasonable ones laughed at 🙂 (naaaah, we are not that evil) the vehicle is sold as is, where is, with no guarantees suggested or implied.  email me at merlin@hansonmechanical.com if you are interested.  -Merlin

Convoy 2013 as recorded by Sergeant Hanson

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0500: Awaken to Leftenant Randall happily announcing that it is time to wake up….. I lie in sleeping bag and contemplate killing him.

0530: I climb out of sleeping bad and find coffee. CWACs (Canadian Womens Army Corps) are wonderful, they give us coffee.

0530 to 0630: We decide which team will ride in which Jeep, and then change our minds many many times.  On the plus side the nice CWAC women gave us breakfast bags to take on our mission.

0645: Three jeeps leave encampment for rally point.  Captain Hunter,  CWAC nurse Gutarra, and Trooper Tata ride with me.

setting out

setting out

0700: At rally point.. chat with Yanks, receive ammunition, stand around….hurry up and wait.

0730(ish): We embark on our mission.  The Yank in front of us falls farther and farther behind the convoy.  We mutter a lot.Image

0745: Captain Hunter regales us with tales of his deployment in Africa.

0800: Captain Hunter offers me a cigar. Excitement ensues until we realize we cannot light the damn things in an open vehicle with the windshield down. Sadness then ensues.  We curse the slow Yank some more.

0820: Ambushed!! Happily the Jerries decide to play with the Yanks up front.  Trooper Tata settles in to guard our front right wheel.  None of us die and we get a chance to light our cigars.

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0840: More country roads. Enjoy the scenary.

0900: Arrive near town of Nouveau Oxford.  Yanks and Commonwealth form up and armored vehicles move in to support. ImageImageImage

0905: Jeeps await signals of road clear to move forward.

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0912: Begin moving forward as Captain Hunter signals bridge cleared.  Follow slowly and move forward on signals over bridge and down an alley.

0920: Begin moving up main road.  Trooper Tata has captured two Jerries. Corproal Connolly seems to be dead. A Yank friend is hit and a Yank officer and I run into the road and pull him out for medical attention. Lt. Manweiler attends to the wounded American.Image

1000: We are at the center of Nouveau Oxford.  Jerries ceased playing with us and surrender.  I find one Jerry playing dead and absolve him of his death. We chat a bit before he is herded with other prisoners. He was 81 years old and veteran of the last war.  The Jerries are truly pulling every man they can to the front. The townspeople are celebrating their liberation.

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We had a great time on the convoy from Eisenhower farm in Gettysburg to New Oxford PA. Thanks to Bob Buker and his crew for organising another wonderful event!!

Welcome center Jeepster

I saw this Jeepster a few weeks ago driving south on 95.  Coming North a couple weeks ago I made a point of stopping at the Pennsylvania welcome center to see it and take some shots.

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I liked how this Jeep was displayed with items representing a wide variety of what Pennsylvania has to offer.Image

Of course I think my favorite thing on the whole Jeepster was the bumper sticker that read,” Scrapple.. The other grey meat” I love Scrapple!!Image

Jeepsters were made from 1948 to 1951. Despite my father’s dislike of their styling I have always rather liked them. I would be happy to take this one on a roadtrip.