Jeep Related Heroes and History

It's the stuff of legend: the U.S. Army requested a vehicle - and drove off in a hero. The Willys MB, its spirit forged by the fire of combat and honed in the heat of battle, seared its way into the hearts of warriors fighting for freedom. Fierce emotional bonds often developed between a soldier and his Jeep. The faithful Jeep earned a place in every GI's heart, in every area of combat, in every conceivable role. As General Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "America could not have won World War II without it."

A collection of stories related to Soldiers and Veterans and their Jeeps from WWII to modern day. If you have any that you would like to see posted here please send us an .
Storming Normandy in a WWII Jeep

There are jeeps aplenty: ambulance jeeps, radio jeeps, yellow airfield jeeps, glider-born jeeps draped in camouflage netting and fitted with .50-caliber machine guns, steel-plated attack jeeps, gull-gray U.S. Navy jeeps, and amphibious jeeps that look like fishing skiffs on wheels.

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Cape York in a Willys

I've just driven a World War II Jeep for the first time and I'm hooked! Our original plan was to borrow a mate's Jeep to shoot a TV commercial at Chili Beach on Cape York but a last minute hiccup meant the loan Jeep was no longer available. Several frantic phone calls and a few hours scouring the web turned up a 1942 Jeep for sale in Rockhampton. The call was made and the deal was struck with the plan of picking it up en route to Cairns (from Brisbane). A quick test drive around the block and up a rocky hill on a nearby new estate and the nimble little Jeep had won our hearts.

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Ron's Canadian Jeep

This Jeep was rusting away in a field when Ron bought it. Ron though he had found the perfect Jeep to fix up just enough for something he could beat on in the bush. Well, it wasn't long into to repair work when Ron discovered the original WWII serial numbers and soon realized he had something very special and plans changed...

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The Elegant Jeep

The U.S. Army vaguely envisioned something bigger than a motorcycle, smaller than a truck, and undaunted by the most difficult terrain. What it got, sometimes described as a "sardine tin on wheels," became perhaps the most recognized automotive silhouette in the world and made "four-wheel drive" a household term. In the crucible of World War II, the Jeep's possibilities quickly eclipsed its capabilities. Its versatility was more than matched by the imagination of the G.I.s who used it. The humble became the heroic.

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On the Beaches of Normandy

Veteran Willingham made it through D-Day unscathed, but on 2nd August he was hit by a mortar during "a ding-dong battle with Jerry." His chest, arms and face were all badly burnt and the shock left him temporarily blind. "I was strapped onto a stretcher and carried away on the roof of a Jeep," he continues. "Another chap and I were laying side-by-side, attached to a special framework." The Jeep carried him to a field station and he was eventually airlifted back to England onboard a Dakota.

Had it not been for the Jeep's off-road capability, Willingham would almost certainly not have survived. It is almost impossible to calculate how many lives the Jeep helped to save throughout the war, but it must have been considerable. While the D-Day commemorations have understandably concentrated on the human dramas, the role of the machines must not be forgotten.

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From Normandy to Bastogne

One of Bob Burdick's greatest regrets is that he never served in the U.S. military. But rebuilding a World War II-era Jeep and driving it from Normandy to Bastogne came as close as he could get. "It was the trip of a lifetime," said Burdick, whose passion for military history became the foundation for spring's road trip. It also was a tribute to fellow Civil War buff, Richard Tonelli, whose father Rudolph drove a Jeep through France, Belgium and into Luxembourg as part of General George Patton's 3rd Army in 1944-1945. He spent a week in Normandy, where he helped lower the U.S. flag at the military cemetery at the end of one day.

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Tears in their Eyes

Bob Sokol bought a Jeep for $150, had an old military Jeep manual and obtained some advice from the Penn York Military vehicle Collectors Club. He then took on a labour of love, bringing back to life the rusted relic of a trusty war horse that served the U.S. military for more than a generation. Sokol says that Veterans just love the Jeep: Many have tears in their eyes as they recount stories of their time in a Jeep.

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Out of the History Books

In one parade, Wakefield felt uncomfortable because the jeep was too clean. He found a mud puddle and splashed through it for a genuine look. He felt better after that and some veterans got a good chuckle out of it too. When he stopped the jeep, two veterans hopped in back, facing the back and two jumped in the middle facing the windshield without thinking. It was like they had done it a million times, it was right out of the history books.

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The Jeep that took me back to Dads War

The Willys MB jeep was one of the unsung heroes of the conflict. It gave ground and airborne forces a mobility that they didn’t have before and was later hailed as the machine that turned the tide of the second world war. It was light, weighing about a ton, with four-wheel drive, high and low ratios and a host of gadgets that made it invaluable on the battlefield.

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WWII Willys Replica

The rugged Willys jeep has been given a new lease on life by a small factory in Manila in the Philippine Islands that's reproducing the iconic Second World War vehicle for a nostalgic, but growing, international market. Most of the buyers are veterans who have a romance with the jeep, but there were younger collectors entranced by the wartime history of the vehicle.

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Hero Restoration

Lundgrin was only nine when Allied troops landed in Normandy. He lost his uncle in WWII and to honour the fallen hero, Lundgrin has enjoyed his retirement rebuilding a wartime Jeep. The beautifully restored Jeep bears the insignia and markings of B Company, 357th Infantry, the unit his uncle served in. Lundgrin now proudly drives the Jeep in parades and displays in at car shows.

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A Pittance of Time

"On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the store’s PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us."
"When eleven o’clock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the “two minutes of silence” to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect."

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A Soldiers Jeep

This Jeep belonged to a Brian, a Navy Pilot who was a Top Gun Instructor and flew missions in Desert Storm. He lost his life on 9/11. He was a passenger on United 175. Current owner Mark from Massachusetts keeps the old boy going in Brian's memory.

The British SAS (Special Air Service) Jeep.

"Remembering a successful raid on an airfield carried out by the Layforce when closely supported by the L.R.D.G. in Chevrolet trucks mounted with .303 machine guns, Stirling turned his thoughts towards the potential of the jeep for carrying out his deep penetration raids behind enemy lines."

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Jeep raises smile of pride.

"To arrive at the camp in a Willys 1944 Jeep with Military Police embossed just below the windscreen and a huge Union Flag fluttering proudly in the wind was quite something," he said. "Passing the wartime entrance barrier with a speed restriction of 10mph was like emerging from a time capsule."

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Too many Jeeps.

"Arising at dawn, Story wandered over to the Orderly Room tent and was stunned to see one entire side had been pulled down and on it sat a jeep. Clearly visible on the front and rear bumpers were two stars indicating the jeep was assigned to a major-general, and on the back seat of the jeep sat a United States Army helmet with the two stars on the front."

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Tale of and Old Jeep.

"The Jeep remembered proudly the day he was driven through the streets of a liberated Paris, with Old Glory flying triumphantly on his back. He could still hear the cheers and smell the grateful tears and flowers that were dropped on him that day. How happy his young soldiers had been that day, gaping at the Eiffel Tower and stealing kisses from the French girls who followed them everywhere."

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Vintage vehicle makes veteran say 'Jeepers'.

"The Jeep may be the world's most recognizable vehicle, but even that doesn't account for the mutual admiration and respect that evolved between Soldiers and Jeeps; a love affair that began in 1940 and is still going strong today."

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2,400 mile road trip in stock 1948 Jeep to support wounded soldiers.

Will Morgan and Vance Crowder of ran a one-of-a-kind Jeep adventure from Tallahassee, Florida to Arizona in a 1948 Jeep Willys. This two-week adventure concluded with a final ‘1948’ miles along America’s legendary highway, Route 66. What made the trip so special is the fact that the previous owner purchased the Jeep upon his return from his tours of duty during World War II, and he owned the Jeep for over 60 years prior to its sale to Will and Vance.