Monday, May 30, 2011

A Press Photo For Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day everyone. I hope that again as yesterday that you are not only enjoying the day off from work, but are able to take the time to remember the sacrifices by the members of our armed services who are no longer with us today. Remember what they have given us.

And while I know that this is not a Memorial Day photo, it dates from April 6, 1942 on an Army Day parade in Chicago. Army Day was part of annual celebrations that marked the contributions by each of the armed service branches until they were rolled into one Armed Forces Day that also takes place in May. The jeeps obviously took their honored place in amongst the armored personnel carriers, M37 power wagons and heavy trucks.

For more press photos you can click here. Look for more next week from and please consider a donation via our Paypal link. Enjoy the long weekend!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Two WW2 Press Photos On Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day was instituted after the Civil War as a means of recognizing the efforts and sacrifices of our fallen servicemen and women. So on this Memorial Day weekend we have two press photos that date from the Second World War as a means of remembrance of the men and machines from the greatest generation.

The drawing on the left is and interesting artist’s rendition of GIs using a creative seating arrangement on the MB used by the press. The two German POWs in 1944 couldn’t have had the most comfortable seats in the house but the versatile jeep proved again to be a useful battlefield tool. Though I do still wonder what happened to the windshield.

The photo on the right is from Attu Island, the furthermost island in the Alaskan Aleutian chain of islands and site of the only battle of WW2 that took place on territory incorporated into the United States. The photo as the caption states reminds GIs that Attu was closer to Tokyo than San Francisco and fancifully I’d imagine that this was their last chance for entertainment. You can click here to be taken to the full album of press release photos.

On this Memorial Day weekend I hope that you have it off from work and remember to take a moment to reflect upon the fallen men and women from the earliest conflicts to the modern day. Stop back in tomorrow for another special Memorial Day update.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The LIFE Magazine Photo Archive

Ever since I found the wealth of images hosted by Google of the treasure trove of photos produced by LIFE magazine photographers over the years, I’ve wanted to post them here. Today I’ve begun to do just that. There is a large number of vintage photos that were produced by LIFE photojournalists featuring the jeep, everything from the jeep caravan shown here in this first installment to prototype photos to the thousands of WW2 photos of the jeep in the field to early civilian photos.

I’m grouping them according to photographer along with any info that I can find on the event as well as a short bio of the photographer.

While I had found many of the photos previous to these from various forum postings (many from, I had not seen this particular lot before I found it courtesy Off Road Wes Kibble is a heck of a nice guy and has a knack for digging up the most impressive bunch of images from the off roading world. Wes, in turn had found these images from eWillys is an extensive listing of jeep classifieds, history, writeups, projects and tidbits that you just won’t find anywhere else! Dave Eilers, the webmaster over at eWillys must be one of the hardest working guys out there.

Stay tuned as I plan on really plumping up this section of the website soon! Click here to be taken to the photo archive. Thanks again to Dave and Wes for the sharp eyes in finding these photos!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The 2011 Calendar- May

The month of May brings us many things, spring and warmer temperatures, renewed dreams and hopes of restoring and driving our jeeps and of course, Memorial Day. Memorial Day began after the Civil War as a means of remembering and honoring our fallen war heros. It was first officially recognized in 1873, though no one knows where it was first begun. It was probably celebrated in many places simultaneously as a natural human need to grieve our war dead.

So in honor of Memorial Day, the May page for the 2011 calendar has three images of GIs utilizing the venerable MB in the field.

The MB was a natural for the Pacific campaign and in the tropical environment mud and the harsh environment was a daily fact of life. While the jeep was up for any sort of obstacle, mud could sometimes momentarily slow it down as the photo below shows.

But not even a river crossing could stop the jeep for long as it was designed to be able to ford a river. The above photo from an original transparency shows an MB fording a river crossing by means of wrapping it in tarpaulin and creating enough buoyancy that it could actually float. A bit more info on the technique can be found here from the website 42FordGPW.

You can still buy the 2011 calendar from our online store hosted by Zazzle, where you can find a large selection of jeep history related gifts.

You can view the rest of the calendar pages here and the full-sized individual images here.

Tune in next week and we’ll have more of the best of the rarely seen photos, ads, brochures, illustrations and history of the mighty jeep!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

An Update And A Tribute To Master Sgt. Coons

I had always loved this intriguing photo. It’s the sort that carries just enough information that you can come up with a background story in your head, but it still lies just outside the boundaries of what you’d like to know. I first wrote about this photo here last year and wanted to know who this huge man was and what he did at Fort Riley in particular with those prototype Willys MAs he stood next to.

Well, as of earlier this week I found out a bit more. Out of the blue I received this email:

“ Hello sir,

The "brute" you see in the picture standing in front of the jeep is my father, Verl Glen Coons. He went on to win golden gloves championships, was the reigning heavyweight champ of Ft. Riley, and was a great man. Here is a video of my father's life through three wars and three purple hearts.

I loved the picture thank you so much for it and please change my dad's last name to Coons when you can.


Jerry Coons”

I was flabbergasted and wrote back the same day:

“Jerry, hello there! I cannot tell you how glad that I am that you wrote me! Incredible! This is what I always hope for when I post a photo of a GI with their jeep. I love to be able to put these stories together with what was previously an anonymous photo...

I'd like to post an update regarding this email and your dad. Is there anything else that you would like to add? And how did you happen to find my website and the photo? I'm just curious. When was your dad at Ft. Riley for that photo?...

Last but not least, can you give me your address because I'd like to mail you a copy of the photo. I think that its the least I can do. Thank you again for contacting me. As I said this is the reason why I started this website in the first place! Thanks for the nice surprise!


Brendan T. Burke”

In my excitement I had forgotten to ask Jerry if he knew if his dad had anything to do with the early testing of the prototypes and I emailed him again. The next day he emailed me again and had this to add:

“Hello Brendan,

My sister had that video professionally made of all of our family mementos. My dad was a combat engineer, He was a excellent mechanic but I don’t think he had anything to do with testing the jeeps that I know of. He did manage to get one after the war though and that is what I learned to drive on :) I loved it can still remember jumping it in the pasture and one time forgetting to latch the windshield and having it bounce up and shatter in my face, lol. I used to take it through the pond as deep as I could go and when I went too deep pull it out with the tractor, lol. It was bulletproof and I would love to own one now.

I am not sure how many years my dad was at Fort Riley so I can’t help you with the date of that picture. He was the Heavyweight champion of Ft. Riley in 1939, I have a picture of him from that and it is in the video you watched. He was also a golden gloves boxer in several states. He won tons of medals including 3 purple hearts and won several commendations for engineering feats, and was commendated several times for mechanic innovations on vehicles including jeeps.

My dad was in the 53RD ARMORED ENGINEER BATTALION in WWII. He received the key to Osaka, Japan for a engineering feat on a bridge there. Here is a link to his unit :

I could feel your excitement in your email and I want to thank you for the quick response : ) I am a computer expert and have a high resolution printer with which I printed out the picture so I don’t need one sent but thank you very much for the offer. My sister has many other pictures of my dad in different scenarios overseas posing by jeeps and deuce and a halfs, I will contact her and send them to you if you would like.

I want to thank you again for your website, and you asked me how I found your site, I was just searching for info on my dad and it came up in a google search. Have a great day and would love to talk to you again if you like,


Jerry Coons”

So we have this great story to go along with the man in the photo at Fort Riley. This really is why I started this website, to archive and store the personal stories behind the jeep for anyone to access. I have to thank Jerry again for sharing his dad’s story with me and just as importantly we owe men like Master Sergeant Verl Glen Coons a huge thank you for their dedication, their sacrifices and their work towards what we have today. Its too often that we take the fruits of their labors for granted. And so I’d like to offer and huge thank you again! Be sure to check out Jerry’s video of his dad. It’s really very touching. When we get more photos of Sergeant Coons I plan on starting an album dedicated to his photos. You can always click here to view the album of other prototype photos.

Tune in next week for more great jeep history. There is alot more where this came from. Remember, please contact me if you have any further info about any of the men and women spotted on this site or if you have any photos and/or stories that you’d like to share of the men and women who with the jeep helped make the world a better place!