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Pilot II AM-104 - History

Pilot II AM-104 - History


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Pilot II
(AM-104: dp. 890; 1. 221'2"; b. 32'; dr. 10'9"; s. 18 k.; cpl.
105; a. 1 3", 2 40mm.; cl. Auk).

The second Pilot (AM-104) was laid down by the Pennsylvania Shipyards Ine., Beaumont, Tex., 27 October 1941; launched 5 July 1942; sponsored by Miss Jaequeline Perry and commissioned 3 February 1943, Lt. Comdr. S. W. Wetmore, USNR, in command.

After sea trials, Pilot sailed 10 February via New Orleans and Key West for Norfolk arriving 1 March. After training at the Naval Mine Warfare School, Yorktown, Va. and in the Chesapeake, Pilot sailed 1 April with Task Group 68.2, made rendezvous with a convoy and the next day, set course for Port Royal Bay, Bermuda, arriving on the 4th. On 14 April Pilot screened another convoy headed to French Moroceo arriving Casablanea 29 April

Piiot stood out a6ain the same day en route to Admiralty Harbor, Gibraltar where she arrived the next day. On 3 May she sailed for Bermuda and on 6 May made two attacks on possible submarines. She arrived Norfolk 20 May.

On 12 June Pilot stood out from New York with Task

Force 61 en route to the Mediterranean. When a French naval tanker of the convoy was torpedoed 22 June and sank stern first, Pilot rescued 111 survivors. The following day she transferred the passengers to Merrimac.

Pilot arrived off Casablanca harbor 3 July. On the 5th, she got underway for Gibraltar to fuel, and the following day departed, escorting a convoy toward the United States, arriving Norfolk 24 July.

On 5 August, Pilot stood out enroute to the Mediterranean again. She arrived at Casablanca, French Moroceo 23 August and Mers-el-Kebir, Algeria 29 August where several more vessels joined her convoy. She sailed again on 1 September for Salerno, Italy. On 8 September Pilot was detached from escort duty and assigned mine sweeping duties with 7 other minesweepers, sweeping a channel off the Salerno beachhead.

After the beachhead had been established, Pilot patrolled the area. On 18 September her alert gunners shot down a Messersehmitt 109 plane

Pilot continued escort and training duties in the Mediterranean until she sailed up the northwest ecast of Italy 21 January 1944, with 5 other 'deet type minesweepers conducting sweep operations under cover of darkness. On 25 January when a mine sank YMS-30, Pilot picked up several survivors and 4 bodies while other ships also recovered members of the crew. On 26 January when a British LST, carrying the 83rd U S. Army Chemienl Battalion, sank, Pilot again rescued survivors.

On 29 January Pilot swept a new fire support area, despite fire from the beach. On 3 February, Pilot sailed for Bizerte, Tunisia escorting Biscayne. She returned to Palermo on the 17th and sailed on for Naples the same day. The next day Pilot received orders to rendezvous with SS Samuel Ashe and escort her to Anzio, Italy in company with YMS-55. Unfortunately Samuel Ashe collided with Pilot and one man was killed. Later, Pilot was towed into port at Naples for repairs. She sailed 7 March for Palermo, Sicily, and, on 14 April, joined homebound convoy GUS 36 and arrived Norfolk 2 May.

After repairs and training at Little Creek, Va., until September, Pilot served for the remainder of the year as a mine sweeping school ship.

Pilot set course for the Panama Canal 20 June 1945, and proceeded via San Pedro, Calif. to Pearl Harbor. On 3 September Pilot got underway via Eniwetok, Saipan, and Okinawa, to Sasebo, Kyushu, Japan arriving on the 17th. On 26 October she set out en route to Kokuzan To, Japan escorting paM-26. On the next day she was detached from escort duties to sweep an area at Me Shima until arriving at Kiirun, Formosa 25 November. She set out again on the 27th for Takso, Formosa to sweep more mines. On 21 December Pilot sailed for Shanghai, China.

In January 1946 Pilot returned to the United States and was placed out of commission in reserve 15 January 1947. On 5 March 1952 she recommissioned for service on the west coast. She decommissioned and reentered the Reserve Fleet in October 1954. She was redesignated MSF-104 on 7 Feb~ wary 1955.

Pilot received three battle stars for World War II service.


Women in WWII Took on These Dangerous Military Jobs

Women served on both sides of World War II, in official military roles that came closer to combat than ever before. The Soviet Union, in particular, mobilized its women: Upward of 800,000 would enlist in the Red Army during the war, with more than half of these serving in front-line units. British forces included many women alongside men in vital anti-aircraft units. And Nazi Germany followed suit later in the conflict, when its flagging fortunes required the nation’s full mobilization.

Of the four major powers in the conflict, only the United States resisted sending any women into combat. Still, thousands of American women did join the military in various capacities during World War II, upending generations of traditional gender roles and longstanding assumptions about female capability and courage.


Contents

Pre-war tests and conceptualization Edit

Advances in early-20th century technology resulted in widespread mechanisation of the military during World War I. The United States Army deployed thousands of motor vehicles in that war, including some 12,800 Dodges, [21] and thousands of four-wheel drive trucks: Jeffery / Nash Quads, and trucks from the Four Wheel Drive Auto Company (FWD). General John Pershing viewed horses and mules as acceptable for the previous three U.S. wars, but in the new century, his cavalry forces had to move quicker, with more range and more personnel. [22]

Immediately after World War I, the use of motor vehicles in that war was considered only a prelude to much greater application in future armed conflicts. As early as 1919, the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps recommended the acquisition of a new kind of military vehicle, ".. of light weight and compact size, with a low silhouette and high ground clearance, and possess the ability to carry weapons and men over all sorts of rough terrain." [23] The U.S. Army started looking for a small vehicle suited for reconnaissance and messaging, while at the same time searching for a light cross-country weapons carrier. [24]

At the same time, there was a drive for standardization. By the end of World War I, U.S. forces overseas had a total of 216 makes and models of motor vehicles to operate, both foreign and domestic, and no good supply system to keep them running. [18]

Various light motor vehicles were tested — at first motorcycles with and without sidecars, and some modified Ford Model Ts. [25] [26] In the early 1930s, the U.S. Army experimented with a bantam weight "midget truck" for scouts and raiders. A 1,050 lb (480 kg), low-slung mini-car with a pick-up body, provided by American Austin, [27] was shown in a 1933 article in Popular Mechanics magazine. [28] One of the pictures showed that the vehicle was light enough to be man-handled — four soldiers could lift it from the ground entirely.

After 1935, when the U.S. Congress declared World War I vehicles obsolete, procurement for "remotorization of the Army" gained more traction. [29] In 1937 Marmon-Herrington presented five 4x4 Fords, and American Bantam (previously American Austin) once again contributed — delivering three Austin derived roadsters in 1938. [30] [20]

Meanwhile, in Asia and the Pacific, Japan had already invaded Manchuria in 1931, and was warring with China from 1937. Its Imperial Army used a small, three-man crew, four-wheel drive car for reconnaissance and troop movements, the Kurogane Type 95, introduced in 1936.

Development start – Bantam Reconnaissance Car Edit

In the early 1930s, the Infantry Board at Fort Benning became interested in the British Army's use of the tiny Austin 7 car in a reconnaissance role, and they obtained a car from the American Austin company in Pennsylvania which built them under license. By 1938 American Austin had gone bankrupt and reorganized as American Bantam. They had loaned 3 cars to the Pennsylvania National Guard for trials during summer maneuvers. Bantam officials met with chiefs of Infantry and Cavalry and suggested a contract to further develop a military version of their car. A subcommittee of army officers and civilian engineers was tasked with creating detailed specifications for the proposed vehicles. One of the first things they did was to visit the Bantam factory and look at their existing compact cars. By the end of June 1940 specifications had been drawn up [34]

By now the war was underway in Europe, so the Army's need was urgent and demanding. Bids were to be received by 22 July, a span of just eleven days. Manufacturers were given 49 days to submit their first prototype and 75 days for completion of 70 test vehicles. The Army's Ordnance Technical Committee specifications were equally stringent: the vehicle would be four-wheel drive, have a crew of three on a wheelbase of no more than 75 in (191 cm), later upped to 80 in (203 cm), and track no more than 47 in (119 cm). The diminutive dimensions were similar in size and weight to Bantam's compact truck and roadster models. [36] It was to feature a fold-down windshield, carry a 660 lb (299 kg) payload, and be powered by an engine capable of 85 lb⋅ft (115 N⋅m) of torque. The most daunting demand, however, was an empty weight of no more than 1,300 lb (590 kg).

Initially, only American Bantam and Willys-Overland entered the competition. Ford joined later. [37] Although Willys was the low bidder, Willys was penalized for requesting more time, and Bantam received the contract, as the only company committing to deliver a pilot model in 49 days and production examples in 75 .

Bantam's chief engineer, Harold Crist, who had previously worked on the first Duesenberg, and been an engineer at Stutz Motor Company of Indianapolis for 18 years, [36] [13] drafted freelance Detroit designer Karl Probst to collaborate. Probst turned down Bantam initially, but agreed to work without pay after an Army request and began work on 17 July 1940. [38]

Probst laid out full design drawings for the Bantam prototype, known as the Bantam Reconnaissance Car, or BRC, in just two days, and worked up a cost estimate the next day. Bantam's bid was submitted, complete with blueprints, on 22 July. [39] Bantam was struggling after bankruptcy trying to sell very small cars licensed from the British Austin Motor Company. But their design was able to leverage commercial off-the-shelf components as much as possible. Bantam adapted body stampings from its car line: the hood, cowl, dash, and curvy front fenders. As the Bantam engines only made 22 hp [40] the engine was chosen to be a 112 cu in (1.8 l) Continental four-cylinder engine making 45 horsepower and 86 lb⋅ft (117 N⋅m) of torque. [41] Custom four-wheel drive train components including the transfer case to send power to front and back axles were provided by Spicer which continues to make Jeep axles as Dana Incorporated. The axles were modified from units from the Studebaker Champion to four-wheel drive, the transmission was from Warner Gear. [42]

Using off-the-shelf automotive parts where possible had partly enabled drawing up the blueprints quickly. By working backward, Probst and Bantam's draftsmen converted what Crist and a few others had put together into drawings. [13] The hand-built prototype was then completed in Butler, Pennsylvania, [43] and driven to the Army vehicle test center at Camp Holabird, Maryland. It was delivered on 23 September 1940. The vehicle met all the Army's criteria except engine torque. The Bantam pilot (later also dubbed the "Blitz Buggy" or "Old Number One") presented Army officials with the first of what eventually evolved into the World War II U.S. military jeep.

Enter Willys and Ford – pre-production jeeps Edit

As Bantam did not have the production capacity or financial resources to deliver on the scale needed by the War Department, the other two bidders, Ford and Willys, were encouraged to complete their own pilot models for testing. The contract for the new reconnaissance car was to be determined by trials. As testing of the Bantam prototype took place from 27 September to 16 October, Ford and Willys technical representatives present at Holabird were given ample opportunity to study the vehicle's performance. In order to expedite production, the War Department forwarded the Bantam blueprints to Ford and Willys, claiming the government owned the design. Bantam did not dispute this move due to its precarious finances.

By November 1940, Ford and Willys each submitted prototypes to compete with the Bantam in the Army's trials. The pilot models, the Willys "Quad" and the Ford "Pygmy", were similar and were joined in testing by Bantam's entry, now evolved into a Mark II called the "BRC 60" . [nb 7] [nb 8]
By then the U.S. armed forces were in such haste, and allies like Britain, France, and Russia were urging to acquire these new "Blitz-Buggies", [nb 9] that all three cars were declared acceptable and orders for 1,500 units per company were given for field testing and export. At this time it was acknowledged the original weight limit (which even Bantam could not meet) was unrealistic, and it was raised to 2,160 lb (980 kg).

For pre-production runs, each vehicle received revisions and a new name. Bantam's became the "BRC 40". Production began on 31 March 1941, with a total of 2,605 built up to 6 December — the number ordered was raised because Britain and Russia already wanted more of them supplied under the Lend-Lease program. [45] [46] [35]

The BRC 40 was the lightest and most nimble of the three pre-standardized models, and the Army lauded its good suspension, brakes, and high fuel economy. However, as the company could not meet the Army's demand for 75 Jeeps a day, production contracts were also awarded to Willys and Ford. [15]

After reducing the Quad's weight by 240 lb (109 kg), through many painstaking detail changes, Willys renamed their vehicle "MA", for "Military" model "A". Some 1,555 MAs were built, most of which went to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease. Only 27 units are still known to exist. [35]

Ford's pre-production model went into production as the "GP", with "G" indicating a "Government" contract, and "P" chosen by Ford to designate a car with a wheelbase of 80 in (203 cm). [nb 10] With about 4,458 units built, the Ford GP became not only the most numerous of the pre-standardized jeeps [35] — it was also the first jeep fielded in some numbers to U.S. Army units. The Ford's overall design and quality of construction had advantages over the Bantam and Willys models, but the GP's engine, an adaptation of the Model N tractor engine, was underpowered and insufficiently reliable. Fifty units were built with four-wheel steering, of which four have survived. [35]

Eventually, virtually all of the Bantam- and Willys-built jeeps were provided to Britain and Russia, as well as most of the Ford GPs, leaving under 1,000 GPs for the home troops. [45]

Full production – Willys MB and Ford GPW Edit

By July 1941, the War Department desired to standardize and decided to select a single manufacturer to supply them with the next order for 16,000 vehicles. Willys won the contract mostly due to its much more powerful 60 HP engine (the "Go Devil"), which soldiers raved about, and its lower cost and silhouette. The design features in the Bantam and Ford entries which represented an improvement over Willys's design were then incorporated into the Willys car, moving it from an "A" designation to "B", thus the "MB" nomenclature. Most notable was a flat wide hood, adapted from Ford GP.

The jeep, once it entered mass production, introduced several new automotive technologies. Having four-wheel drive for the first time introduced the need for a transfer case, and the use of constant-velocity joints on the driven front wheels and axle, to a regular production car-sized vehicle. [47]

By October 1941, it became clear that Willys-Overland could not keep up with production demand, and Ford was contracted to build jeeps as well, using Willys blueprints, drawings, specifications, and patents, including the Willys engine. [48] The Ford car was then designated "GPW", with the "W" referring to the "Willys" licensed design and engine. During World War II, Willys produced 363,000 Jeeps and Ford some 280,000. Some 50,000 were exported to the U.S.S.R. under the Lend-Lease program. [8] For Bantam, jeep production stopped, Bantam received no further orders from the U.S. government and instead made two-wheel jeep trailers. This continued until the company was taken over in 1956. [49]

Ford built jeeps with functionally interchangeable parts and components, in part facilitated by using components from common sources: frames from Midland Steel, wheels from Kelsey-Hayes, and axles and transfer-cases from Spicer. [48] However, there were many minor differences the most well known: the Ford chassis had an inverted U-shaped front cross member instead of a tubular bar, and a Ford script letter "F" was stamped onto many small parts. Many body detail differences remained for as long as January 1944, when a composite body, fabricated by American Central, was adopted by both Ford and Willys. It integrated features of both designs. [35] Through the chaotic circumstances of war, sometimes peculiar deviations from regular mass-production came off the assembly line, that are now prized by collectors. For instance: the earliest Ford GPWs had a Willys design frame, and in late-1943, some GPWs came with an unmodified Willys body and in 1945 Willys produced some MBs with a deep mud exhaust system, vacuum windshield wipers, and a Jeep CJ-style parking brake. [50]

On 7 April 1942, U.S. patent 2278450 for the WW II jeep, titled "Military vehicle body" was awarded to the U.S. Army, which had applied for it, listing Colonel Byron Q. Jones as the inventor on the patent, though he had performed no work on the design of the vehicle. [51] Filed on 8 October 1941, stating in the application that "The invention described herein, if patented, may be manufactured and used by or for the Government for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalty thereon", [52] the patent relates to a "small car vehicle body having convertible features whereby it is rendered particularly desirable for military purposes" and describes the purpose of the vehicle as being to create the automobile equivalent of a Swiss Army knife:

"One of the principal objects of the invention is to provide a convertible small car body so arranged that a single vehicle may be interchangeably used as a cargo truck, personnel carrier, emergency ambulance, field beds, radio car, trench mortar unit, mobile anti-aircraft machine gun unit, or for other purposes." [52]

The Ford GPA, the amphibious jeep Edit

A further roughly 13,000 amphibious jeeps were built by Ford under the name GPA (nicknamed "Seep" for "Sea Jeep"). Inspired by the larger DUKW, the vehicle was produced too quickly and proved to be too heavy, too unwieldy, and with insufficient freeboard. In spite of participating successfully in the Sicily landings in July 1943, most GPAs were routed to the U.S.S.R. under the Lend-Lease program. The Soviets were sufficiently pleased with its ability to cross rivers to develop their own version of it after the war, the GAZ-46 MAV.

Accessories and equipment fittings Edit

Contrary to the larger Dodge WC series, the Willys and Ford jeeps were all the same from factory, and specialization happened only through standardized accessories, field kits, and local modifications. Frequently made additions to the standard jeeps were to fit weaponry, communications equipment, medical gear, wire cutters, or rudimentary armor.

Jeep trailer Edit

Radio gear Edit

The jeep's primary command and reconnaissance roles of course necessitated fitting many kinds of tactical communication equipment. The first standard production fitting was for the SCR-193 radio, placed on either side in the rear of a jeep, on top of the rear wheel well. For proper reception, this included radio interference suppression shielding, so indicated by a suffix 'S' on the jeep's hood registration number. In 1943/1944, the Army shifted to FM radios, and new fittings were developed for those. At least fourteen Signal Corps Radio set fittings were standardized, including for the SCR-187, SCR-284, SCR-499, SCR-506, SCR-508, SCR-510, SCR-522, SCR-528, SCR-542, SCR-608, SCR-610, SCR-619, SCR-628, SCR-694, SCR-808, SCR-828, and VRC-l. [53]

Gun mounts Edit

Aside from actual fielding intentions, the jeep was widely used for various weapons mounts trials during World War II, simply because the jeep was a handy platform to test all kinds of ring mounts, multiple gun mounts, as well as different weapons. The widespread adoption of the jeep in other armies also meant many different armaments. The most rigorous efforts were by the British. Perhaps the most well-known are the jeeps modified by the SAS for the 1942 desert raids in Egypt. These had several armaments, commonly using twin Vickers K machine guns on the passenger side. These also served as a pattern for the later British airborne jeeps, armed with single Vickers K guns.

Field kits Edit

Many field kits originated as locally made modifications and additions, for which standard kits were later produced by both the U.S. and Britain. Frequently used examples were rear baggage racks, ambulance litters and frames to transport lying wounded on jeeps, and wire cutters. Soldiers frequently ran into (literally) wires — either inadvertently, inconveniently strung communication wires, or deliberately placed by the enemy, to injure or kill motorcycle and vehicle personnel. The typical countermeasure was to mount a tall vertical steel bar to the front bumper, that would either cut offending strings, or deflect them over the heads of the jeep crew. This was first used in Tunisia, 1943, but became frequent in Italy (1943–1945), and especially necessary in France (1944). [54]

More specific kits were created to enhance off-roading and mechanical capabilities, dealing with extreme climates, and technical support applications, like laying communication cables, or a field arc welder kit. [55]

Off-road enhancements Edit

Arctic weather measures Edit

Willys developed a winterization kit for very cold climates. This included a cold-starting stove, crankcase ventilator, primer, hood insulation blanket, radiator blanket, a body enclosure kit, defroster/de-icer, and snow chains. These kits were however frequently unavailable, so units took their own measures in the field, particularly improvising various body enclosures, to protect the crew from extreme weather. In addition, two companies fabricated snow-plows for the jeep. Geldhill Road Machinery Company made the 7T1NE plow, an angled single blade, while the JV5.5E was a V-shape design. The Wausau Iron Works built two similar designs, designated as the J and JB snowplows. Neither of these seem to have been commonly issued in combat. Photos of snowplows in use in the European theater mostly show improvised plows, likely adaptations of snowplows locally found at hand. [54]

Further development of the jeep Edit

Although no other light jeeps were taken into production, it was not for lack of trying. Both key military men, who had been championing the development of military vehicle concepts they had formulated for years – sometimes already since World War One – had led to conclusions about the logic of military mechanization, as well as automakers large and small, who now saw that in wartime, all of a sudden there were budgets available to work with. Of course, this was primarily true for the firms involved so far.

Lightweight jeeps Edit

Most of the competitors' models were more similar to standard jeeps, just lighter and smaller. Willys managed to reduce the weight on their 'MB-L' (MB Lightweight) to some 1,570 lb (710 kg) in 1943 and Army engineers were impressed by the Chevrolet and its advanced features: a single center spar frame, and an integrated gearbox and transfer case. [59] Kaiser created six 1,300–1,400-pound (590–640 kg) prototypes with a 42hp engine, but including some unfavorable design trade-offs.

Willys eventually produced even more radical designs. The Willys WAC (Willys Air Cooled) had three seats, built around a centrally mounted 24hp Harley Davidson engine, weighed only 1,050 lb (480 kg), but was noisy and not user-friendly. Still, it showed promise, and was further developed, eventually resulting in the Willys JBC, or 'Jungle Burden Carrier'. By early 1945 this had turned into a mere 561 lb (254 kg) motorized wheeled load-carrying platform, with a single seat, that preceded the 1950s Willys M274 'Mechanical Mule'. [59]

In Britain, Nuffield Mechanizations and Aero cut down a Willys MB in length and width, and stripped it for minimum weight, to serve airborne forces. The Airborne Forces Development Centre in Wiltshire oversaw an entire modification program for jeeps in airborne units, involving many modifications to reduce both weight and or size, including to wedge them into Horsa gliders, for operation Market Garden.

Antitank jeeps Edit

Late in the war, in 1945, the first large-caliber recoilless rifles became available, and the first jeep-mounted tests were performed, but they only came to fruition after World War II. One rare exception was Operation Varsity, for which two 75-mm. recoilless rifles were issued to the 17th U.S. Airborne Division, that could be mounted on their jeeps, proving useful in anti-tank fights. [60]

Rocket jeeps Edit

The jeep being too light to mount substantial guns, it was more suited later in the war, as a platform for rocket artillery, that didn't have the enormous recoil as conventional tube artillery. The California Institute of Technology developed two different 4.5in jeep-based rocket launcher systems for the U.S. Navy. Several other initiatives all used 4.5in rockets and tubes. Testing was also done by both U.S. Army and Marine Corps, but none of the jeep-mounted rocket launchers were built in any significant number, because it was more efficient to use larger trucks that could carry more rockets. The Soviet Red Army deployed twelve units fitted with 12-rail M8, 82mm rocket launchers in the bed of a jeep, from December 1944 in the Carpathian Mountains. [61]

Stretched and uprated jeeps Edit

Tracked jeeps Edit

Several tracked jeep prototypes were built, because of such a need in Alaska and Canada. After America had entered the war, a Japanese attack on the Aleutians made the Alaskan military base there suddenly a zone of great military importance. The snow-rich circumstances created a need for tracked, jeep-like, all-purpose vehicles, and the Canadian Bombardier company created the T29 jeep half-track out of one of the existing 6−6 Willys MT chassis. Due to Willys' workload, International Harvester helped assemble a further five T29E1 prototypes. Under the steering front wheels, skis could also be mounted. [68] An Aberdeen test report critiqued that the T-29E1 was difficult to steer, as the tracks could not be controlled independently, and that prolonged use caused excessive track component wear. The only known surviving half-track WWII jeep is named Willys T28 'Penguin'. Further (fully) tracked "jeeps" were also armored, and developed for, and by Canada — see section 'Armored jeeps'.

Armored jeeps Edit

Many jeeps received added armor in the field, especially in Europe in 1944–1945. Frequently, a rear slanting armor plate was added in front of the grille, and replacing the windshield, as well as the sides, in place of where doors would be. The upper, biggest part was typically made of a single, large, 5/16th inch steel plate, folded in three, with two different sight openings in the front.

Since reconnaissance was one of the jeep's primary purposes, there was a demand for some armor from the start of production. Starting April 1942, the second T14 GMC 6x6 Willys MT-Tug chassis was converted to the T24 Scout Car. Though performing well in trials, the T24 was abandoned in the autumn in favor of the M8 & M20 Light Armored Car. Concurrently, the Ordnance Corps was pushed to work on a lightly armored reconnaissance design, based on the standard Willys 4x4 jeep. Different armor configurations were tested on the T25 through T25E3 prototypes respectively. For all 4x4 armored jeeps, the significant weight increase reduced their payload, and adversely affected their mobility.

Canada went another step beyond, and created two small series of light, tracked, armed, armored vehicles using largely Jeep automotive components. In late 1942, the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND)’s Directorate of Vehicles and Artillery (DVA) began work at No.1 Proving Ground in Ottawa on a small tracked vehicle successively named: 'Bantam Armoured Tracked Vehicle', the 'Light Recce Tank', and finally: the 'Tracked Jeep', or Willys TJ. Main roles included: intercommunication (running messages over contested ground), armored reconnaissance, and engaging unarmored enemy troops in airborne and combined operations. [69] Willys and Marmon-Herrington were contracted for five more prototypes, Willys for power train components, and M.H. for hulls and running gear. The Tracked Jeep showed excellent cross-country performance over all terrain types, especially soft mud. Its up-hill mobility was deemed superior to all other light tracked utility vehicles, while its amphibious capability was adequate, despite its low freeboard. [69] There were however serious shortcomings with the running-gear and tracks. Work to fix this delayed testing until late 1944, and British insights demanded such fundamental changes, that a mk.2 version was developed, of which another six units were fabricated, and not ready until after the war had ended. The problems with tracks and running gear were still not sorted out, and development halted. America had observed the Canadian effort, but saw no advantages, compared to the M29 'Weasel' Tracked Cargo Carrier.

Flying jeep Edit

The most extreme concept tried was to turn the jeep into a rotor kite (or gyrokite), similar to an autogyro – the Hafner Rotabuggy (officially Malcolm Rotaplane). Designed by Raoul Hafner in 1942, and sponsored by the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment (AFEE), after their Rotachute enjoyed some success, a passive rotor assembly was added over the jeep cabin, along with a lightweight tail, for stabilization. This jeep could be towed into the air by a transport or bomber tug. The Rotabuggy would then be towed to the drop zone as a rotary-wing glider. It took until autumn 1944 to achieve a decent test flight, and other military gliders, particularly the Waco Hadrian and Airspeed Horsa) made the Rotabuggy superfluous. Incidentally, it was first named the "Blitz Buggy", but that was soon dropped for "Rotabuggy".

Eugene the Jeep and prior usage of "jeep" Edit

According to some sources, the word "jeep" was used as early as World War I, both as U.S. Army slang for new, uninitiated recruits or other new personnel who still had to prove their mettle. It was also used by mechanics, to refer to any new prototypes or untested vehicles. [3] [72] Later, in mid-March 1936, a character called Eugene the Jeep was created in E. C. Segar's Popeye cartoons. [5] Eugene the Jeep was Popeye's "jungle pet" and was small, able to walk through walls and move between dimensions, and could go anywhere and solve seemingly impossible problems. [73] [74] The Eugene cartoon character brought new meaning to the Jeep name, diverging from the initial, somewhat pejorative meaning of the term, instead changing the slang to mean a capable person or thing. [75]

By 1940–1942, soldiers generally used "jeep" for half-ton or three-quarter-ton Dodge Command Reconnaissance cars, with the three-quarter-ton Command Cars sometimes called "beeps" (for "big Jeeps"), while the quarter-ton cars were called "peeps", "son of jeep", "baby jeep", or "quads" or "bantams". [3] [77] [78] A seven page article in Popular Science (Oct 1941) headlined introducing the quarter-ton as "Leaping Lena" – also one of the nicknames of the ubiquitous, same length Ford Model T – and further called it a buggy, or just a bug. [47] Originally, "peep" seemed a fitting name, because the quarter-ton was considered primarily a reconnaissance (peeping) car. [78]

Whether "jeep" was derived from "GP" Edit

One of the most frequently given explanations is that the designation "GP" was slurred into the word "Jeep", in the same way that the contemporary HMMWV (for "High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle") has become known as the 'Humvee' — either from the initial Ford model "GP" – or from the military 'G.P.', for "General Purpose" (vehicle).

Although prior existence of the term "jeep" dismisses this as an etymology in the strict sense, it may well have contributed to the marriage of the term with the WWII quarter-ton truck.

The latter 'GP'-based explanation (from the term "general purpose"), though this does appear in the TM9-803 Manual (page 10), [1] and the car is designated a "GP" in the TM9-2800 Manual — these were published in late 1943 and early 1944, and their influence on the jeep's name is dubious. One reason being: the jeep wasn't the only of the Quartermaster Corps' "general purpose" vehicles – so if this was the source, people would have nicknamed others "geeps" or "jeeps" as well, [86] as they did before.
More influential perhaps, was the 1943 short propaganda / documentary film The Autobiography of a 'Jeep', by the U.S. Office of War Information, in which the jeep itself literally propagates this origin story of its nickname. [87]

Willys-Overland's positions and promotion Edit

Joe Frazer, Willys-Overland President from 1939 to 1944, claimed to have coined the word jeep by slurring the initials G.P., [81] possibly related to Willys-Overland's 1946 copyright claim to the Jeep name. However, the company handling Willys' public relations in 1944 wrote that the jeep name probably came from the fact that the vehicle made quite an impression on soldiers at the time, so much so that they informally named it after the go-anywhere Eugene the Jeep. [85]

In early 1941, when the test cars went by names like BRC / "Blitz-Buggy", Ford Pygmy and such, Willys-Overland staged a press event in Washington, D.C., a publicity stunt and Senate photo opportunity demonstrating the car's off-road capability by driving it up and down the U.S. Capitol steps. Irving "Red" Hausmann, a test driver on the Willys development team who had accompanied the car for its testing at Camp Holabird, had heard soldiers there referring to it as a jeep. He was enlisted to go to the event and give a demonstration ride to a group of dignitaries, including Katherine Hillyer, a reporter for the Washington Daily News. When asked what it was, Hausmann said "it's a Jeep". Hausmann preferred "Jeep", to distinguish the Willys rig from the other funny-named quarter-tons at Camp Holabird. [77] Hillyer's syndicated article appeared in the newspaper on 20 February 1941, with a photo showing a jeep going up the Capitol steps and a caption including the term "jeep". This is believed to be the most likely origin of the term being fixed in public awareness. Even though Hausmann did not create or invent the word "Jeep", he likely contributed to its mainstream media usage indicating the quarter-ton vehicle.

Convergence from mixed origins and media coverage Edit

It is plausible that the origin was mixed and converged on "jeep" from multiple directions. Ford Motor Company pushed its Ford GP hard, to get the military contract, putting the term "GP" into use. Military officers and G.I.s involved in the procurement and testing of the car may have called it jeep from the WWI slang. Civilian contractors, engineers, and testers may have related it to Popeye's "Eugene the Jeep" character. People may have heard the same name from different directions, and as one person heard it from another, put their own understanding and explanation on it. [89] Overwhelming presence of the nickname 'jeep' in the public's opinion was probably the deciding factor. [75]

From 1941 on, a "constant flow of press and film publicity", [18] as well as Willys advertising as of 1942, proclaiming it had created and perfected the jeep, cemented the name "Jeep" in the civilian public's mind, [78] [17] even when "peep" was still used at many army camps, [18] and President Roosevelt spoke of the vital role the "peep" had to play in defending the shores of Fort Story, Virginia (04-1942).

One other particularly influential article may have been the January 1942 full review of the military's new wonder buggy in Scientific American, reprinted as "Meet the Jeep" in Reader's Digest, the best-selling consumer magazine of the day. [90] Author Jo Chamberlin was duly impressed by the "midget combat car" and wrote:

Our Army's youngest, smallest toughest baby has a dozen pet names such as jeep, peep, blitz-buggy, leaping Lena, panzer-killer. The names are all affectionate, for the jeep has made good. Only a year old, it stole the show in Louisiana. Now the Army plans to have 75,000 of them.

In a prescient footnote, Chamberlin wrote: "Some army men call the bantam a "peep", reserving "jeep" for the larger command car in which the brass hats ride. However, the term 'jeep' (born of GP, an auto manufacturing classification) is used by newspapers and most soldiers, and apparently will stick'". [91] [92]

Willys made its first 25,000 MB Jeeps with a welded flat iron "slat" radiator grille. It was Ford who first designed and implemented the now familiar and distinctive stamped, vertical-slot steel grille into its Jeep vehicles, which was lighter, used fewer resources, and was less costly to produce. [93] Along with many other design features innovated by Ford, this was adopted by Willys and implemented into the standard World War II Jeep by April 1942.

In order to be able to get their grille design trademarked, Willys gave their post-war jeeps a seven slot grille instead of the original Ford nine-slot design. [93] This applies both to Willys' "Civilian Jeeps", as well as the M38 and M38A1 military models. Through a series of corporate takeovers and mergers, AM General Corporation ended up with the rights to use the seven-slot grille as well, which they in turn extended to Chrysler when it acquired American Motors Corporation, then the manufacturer of Jeep, in 1987.

Ford design, stamped steel, nine-slot grille on a 1945 Willys MB

Seven-slot grille on the CJ-2A, Willys' first civilian Jeep

Due to Willys' trademark, Ford had to use a different design on their M151 U.S. jeep, opting for horizontal slots.

Through corporate history, the Humvee manufacturer AM General also had rights to fit the seven-slot grille.

The jeep inspired other manufacturers to copy the design — pictured a 1st generation Suzuki Jimny.

Within the U.S military, jeeps were used by every branch. In the U.S. Army, an average of 145 units were assigned to each infantry regiment. [95] Around the world, jeeps took part in every theater of war overseas — in Africa and the Pacific Theater, the Western Allied invasion of Europe in 1944, as well as the Eastern Front. Jeeps became so ubiquitous in the European battle theater that some German troops believed that each American soldier was issued their own jeep. [96] [nb 18]

In the North Africa deserts, the jeep's abilities so far surpassed those of British vehicles that it wasn't unusual for jeeps to rescue a three-ton truck stuck in the sand. In combat, the British would use their jeeps in groups of up to fifty or sixty to raid Rommel's lines by surprise, exploiting the jeep's low silhouette able to remain unseen, hide behind dunes, and surprise the enemy. [99]

Jeeps served as indefatigable pack horses for troop transport and towing supply trailers, carrying water, fuel, and ammo, and pulling through the most difficult terrain. They performed nimble scout and reconnaissance duty, were frequent ambulances for the wounded, and did hearse service. They also doubled as mobile field command headquarters or weapons platforms – either with mounted machine guns or pulling small artillery pieces into "unreachable" areas over inhospitable terrain. [13] The Jeep's flat hood was used as a commander's map table, a chaplain's field altar, the G.I.s' poker table, or even for field surgery. Some of them had a wire cutter as protection against taut-wire traps. Fitted with flanged steel wheels, they could pull railroad cars. [11] [12] [13]

Despite some shortcomings, the jeep was generally well-liked, seen as versatile, maneuverable, dependable, and almost indestructible. [12] The seats were found uncomfortable, sometimes caused the so-called "Jeep riders' disease" and cramped in the rear, but many soldiers enjoyed driving the nimble jeep, appreciating its powerful engine and with its light weight, low-cut body sides, bucket seats and manual floor-shifter, it was as close to a sportscar as most GIs had ever driven. [11] Enzo Ferrari famously called the Jeep "America's only real sports car." [96] Nazi generals admired the jeep more than any other U.S. materiel, and it was the vehicle the German soldiers most liked to capture for use. [100]

In the cauldron of war, the jeeps served every purpose imaginable: as a power plant, light source, improvised stove for field rations, or a hot water source for shaving. Hitched-up with the proper tools, it would plow snow, or dig long furrows for laying heavy electrical cable along jungle airfields – laid by another jeep following it. [13] Battle-hardened warriors learned to weld a roof-top height vertical cutter-bar to the front of their jeeps, to cut any trip wires tied across roads or trails by the Germans, placed to snap the necks of unsuspecting jeepers. [11] Pulitzer Prize–winning war journalist Ernie Pyle wrote: "It does everything. It goes everywhere. It's as faithful as a dog, as strong as a mule and as agile as a goat. It constantly carries twice what it was designed for, and still keeps on going." [6]

Anglo-Dutch troops used World War II jeeps in Batavia, Indonesia (1947).

Willys-Overland filed to trademark the "Jeep" name in 1943. [101] From 1945 onwards, Willys marketed its four-wheel drive vehicle to the public with its CJ (Civilian Jeep) versions, making these the world's first mass-produced 4WD civilian cars. Even before actual civilian purpose jeeps had been created, the 3 Jan 1944 issue of Life magazine featured a story titled: 'U.S. Civilians Buy Their First Jeeps'. A mayor from Kansas had bought a Ford GP in Chicago in 1943, and it performed invaluable work on his 2,000 acre farm. [102]

Already in 1942 industrial designer Brooks Stevens came up with an idea on how to make a civilian car called Victory Car on the Jeep chassis. [103] It never went into production, but Willys liked the idea and gave Brook Stevens notable design jobs, including the 1946 Willys Jeep Station Wagon, 1947 Willys Jeep Truck, and 1948 Jeepster, as well as the 1963–1993 Jeep Wagoneer. [104]

In 1948, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission agreed with American Bantam that the idea of creating the Jeep was originated and developed by the American Bantam in collaboration with the U.S. Army as well as Ford and Spicer. [105] The commission forbade Willys from claiming, directly or by implication, that it had created or designed the Jeep, and allowed it only to claim that it contributed to the development of the vehicle. [72] [15] The trademark lawsuit initiated and won by Bantam was a hollow victory: American Bantam went bankrupt by 1950 and Willys was granted the "Jeep" trademark the same year. [105] [106]

The first CJs were essentially the same as the MB, except for such alterations as vacuum-powered windshield wipers, a tailgate (and therefore a side-mounted spare tire), and civilian lighting. Also, the civilian jeeps had amenities like naugahyde seats, chrome trim, and were available in a variety of colors. Mechanically, a heftier T-90 transmission replaced the Willys MB's T84 in order to appeal to the originally considered rural buyer demographic.

In Britain, Rover were also inspired to build their own, very jeep-like vehicle. Their first testing prototype was actually built on the chassis of a war-surplus jeep, on the Welsh farm of then Rover chief engineer Maurice Wilks and by his older brother, managing director Spencer Wilks. Production of their "Land Rover" started after its presentation model was well-received at the first post-war Amsterdam International Auto show or 'AutoRAI' in 1948. [13]

Willys-Overland and its successors, Willys Motors and Kaiser Jeep continued to supply the U.S. military, as well as many allied nations with military jeeps through the late 1960s. In 1950, the first post-war military jeep, the M38 (or MC), was launched, based on the 1949 CJ‑3A. In 1953, it was quickly followed by the M38A1 (or MD), featuring an all-new "round-fendered" body in order to clear the also new, taller, Willys Hurricane engine. This jeep was later developed into the civilian CJ-5 launched in 1955. Similarly, its ambulance version, the M170 (or MDA), featuring a 20-inch wheelbase stretch, was later turned into the civilian CJ-6 .

Before the CJ-5, Willys offered the public a cheaper alternative with the taller F-head, overhead-valve engine, in the form of the 1953 CJ-3B , simply using a CJ-3A body with a taller hood. This was quickly turned into the M606 jeep (mostly used for export, through 1968) by equipping it with the available heavy-duty options such as larger tires and springs, and by adding black-out lighting, olive drab paint, and a trailer hitch. After 1968, M606A2 and -A3 versions of the CJ-5 were created in a similar way for friendly foreign governments. [nb 19]

In 1976, after more than two decades, Jeep complemented the CJ-5 with a new CJ model, the CJ-7 . Though still a direct evolution of the round-fendered CJ‑5, it had a 10 in (25 cm) longer wheelbase. And, for the first time, a CJ had doors, as well as an available hardtop. Since then, new evolutions were derived from the CJ-7 – from 1987 onwards as Jeep "Wranglers". Nevertheless, these are considered direct descendants of the WWII jeep. [107] The 2018 Wranglers still have a separate, open-topped body and ladder-frame, solid live axles front and rear, with part-time four-wheel drive, and high and low gearing. The compact body retains the Jeep grille and profile, and can even still be driven with the doors off and the windshield folded forward.

Licenses to produce jeeps, especially for CJ-3Bs, were issued to manufacturers in many different countries, starting almost straight after WWII, with the Willys MB pattern. Some firms, like Mahindra and Mahindra Limited in India, continue to produce them in some form or another to this day. Chinkara Motors of India produces the Jeepster, [108] with FRP body. The Jeepster can be delivered a diesel engine or the 1.8L Isuzu petrol. [109]

In France, the army used Hotchkiss M201 jeeps – essentially licensed Willys MBs, and in the former Yugoslavia, the arms manufacturer Zastava rebooted their car building branch, making 162 Willys jeeps. In Japan, Mitsubishi's first jeeps were versions of the CJ-3B , and in 1950 Toyota Motors was given an order by U.S. forces to build a vehicle to Jeep specifications, resulting in Toyota's BJ and FJ series of utility vehicles, slightly bigger and more powerful jeep-type vehicles. [13] After the CJ-3B, several countries also built the Willys MD / M38A1 under license. For instance, the Dutch built some 8,000 "NEKAF" jeeps, which remained in service for some 40 years. In Israel, AIL continues building military derivatives of Jeep Wrangler models for the Israeli Security Forces, ongoing since 1991. Their current AIL Storm III models are based on Africa Automotive Distribution Services Limited (AADS) of Gibraltar's Jeep J8 model.

The compact military jeep continued to be used in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In Korea, it was mostly deployed in the form of the MB, as well as the M38 and M38A1 (introduced in 1952 and 1953), its direct descendants. In Vietnam, the most used jeep was the then newly designed Ford M151, which featured such state-of-the-art technologies as a unibody construction and all-around independent suspension with coil-springs. The M151 jeep remained in U.S. military service into the 1990s, and many other countries still use small, jeep-like vehicles in their militaries.

Apart from the mainstream of — by today's standards — relatively small jeeps, an even smaller vehicle was developed for the U.S. Marine Corps, suitable for helicopter airlifting and manhandling, the M422 "Mighty Mite". [ check quotation syntax ] Eventually, the U.S. military decided on a fundamentally different concept, choosing a much larger vehicle that not only took over the role of the jeep, but also replaced all its other light wheeled vehicles: the HMMWV ("Humvee"). [nb 20]

In 1991, the Willys-Overland Jeep MB was designated an International Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. [14]


Woman who was a pioneering World War II pilot celebrates 100th birthday

LEWISVILLE, Texas -- A World War II pilot, a ship builder and now Martha Cowan is a centenarian.

There was a surprise birthday party Wednesday, March 24, for an exceptional woman who has lived a life breaking down gender barriers.

Her head barely visible over the dashboard, Cowan may be little, but this was her big day.

She arrived for her parade and birthday party at the Lewisville Estates Assisted Living Center.

When asked how it feels to be 100, Cowan responded, "Feels the same way as being less than 100 but I've had a wonderful life and I've had a lot of wonderful experiences."

Experiences that include being one of the few female pilots to fly for the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.

When asked, "What it was like to be a pilot, a female pilot back in those days of World War II?," Cowan responded, "Scary."

Cowan's husband was also an Army pilot.

She spent 13 years in the military and once had dinner with President Eisenhower.

She later worked as an engineer, building barges on the West Coast and even flight trained with future astronauts.

"We were with the people who were training to fly to the moon so I've been involved in a lot of stages," she said.

Cowan's dance moves tell you all you need to know about her health and how much she appreciated the long overdue attention.

"Thank you all for being here and thank you for what you've given me through the years. I appreciate it, I love you all," she said.


Today in History: Born on June 20

Adam Ferguson, Scottish historian and philosopher (Principals of Moral and Political Science).

Charles Chesnutt, African-American novelist.

Kurt Schwitters, German artist.

Jean Moulin, French Resistance fighter during World War II.

Lillian Hellman, playwright (The Little Foxes, Toys in the Attic).

Errol Flynn, film actor (The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood).

Josephine Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author (Jordanstown, Wildwood).


As a World War II pilot, Jack Koser was kept busy

Jack Koser served as a B-29 pilot with the 6th Bomb Group, 39th Bomb Squadron, 313th Bombardment Wing of the 20th Air Force. During his time with the Army Air Corps, he was based in Tinian, home to a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber. A Superfortress today is just as rare a sight as it was in the 1940s. Koser formed a memorable legacy of his own. He not only piloted a Superfortress but became the only known one to roll the B-29 and survive.

The remarkable feats don’t end there, though. Koser managed to fly back to his base with two of his four engines completely blown. Koser admitted that, of his missions, “Some of them were easy. Some of them were tough.” That mission, in particular, required a lot of careful maneuvering and coordination. “We were flying along and had to drop down to 5,000 feet so that we were at a lower altitude for [a] bailout.”


Skeletal Remains of WWII Nazi Pilot Found by Danish Schoolboy

Prompted by a school assignment, a 14-year old unearthed a crashed plane on his family's farm.

Updated on March 24: The identity of the pilot whose plane was discovered by a Danish school boy was 19-year-old Hans Wunderlich. The remains were examined at the Historical Museum of Northern Jutland by museum curator Torben Sarauw and a team of researchers.

They pieced together his identity by examining bits of his service record found in the rubble. "It was not in one piece, but it was enough to read his name," Sarauw said.

His name was also written on a small calendar book, and initials etched on his watch were the final clue.

Wunderlich's military records showed he was born in Bavaria in 1925. He died unmarried and with no children. German authorities reported that his parents died in 2006, and his only remaining relative, a sister, died around the same time.

A German commission will reclaim Wunderlich's remains and bury him in Germany, but the plane wreckage and his personal belongings will remain in Jutland at the museum.

"We think it's important to keep the findings together," said Sarauw. He noted that the discovery has spurred a renewed interest in World War II history among Danish schoolchildren. He hopes the plane and Wunderlich's belongings will sustain this interest by helping tell the story of the war.

March 9: When 14-year-old Daniel Rom Kristiansen was given a school assignment to do research on World War II, he didn't imagine he would find the skeletal remains of one of its soldiers.

While using a metal detector to search through a field behind his home near Birkelse, Denmark, he stumbled upon the wreckage of a crashed German Messerschmitt fighter plane—with the pilot still in the cockpit.

Klaus Kristiansen, the boy's father, told Danish radio station DR P4 Nordjylland that his grandfather had mentioned seeing a German plane crash into the field behind their farm.

“When my son Daniel was recently given homework about World War II, I jokingly told him to go out and find the plane that is supposed to have crashed out in the field,” the elder Kristiansen told a local paper.

After their metal detectors picked up parts of the plane, the family began excavating, with the help of a trencher. Once they uncovered bits of clothing and bones, they called local police.

Representatives from the German embassy in Denmark and bomb disposal experts soon arrived at the scene to examine the pilot's remains.

The wreckage was sent to the Historical Museum of Northern Jutland, which believes they can soon confirm the man's identity. Torben Sarauw is the curator and head of archaeology at the museum. He told CNN that it is believed the pilot came from a nearby training base in the city of Aalborg.

Along with his suit and hat, the pilot was also found with two Danish coins, food stamps for an on-base canteen, and three unused condoms.

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 plane model that was discovered was one of the most commonly used German fighter planes. Upwards of 33,000 were produced from 1936 until its use came to an end at the close of World War II.

Germany invaded Denmark early in the war, on April 9, 1940, in one of the shortest military operations of WWII. Battles were waged there in the air and on land and sea.

“Luckily my son has something to write about in his assignment now," Kristiansen told local reporters. Daniel was given the day off from school to watch the excavation.


10 things every American should know about the Purple Heart

Posted On August 07, 2020 10:05:13

On Friday, August 7, National Purple Heart Day will be observed. Around the country, states, counties, and cities will pause to recognize the service and sacrifice of their citizens. Observed since 2014, National Purple Heart Day is a time for Americans to pause and remember the bravery, courage and sacrifice of the service members who risk their lives for our freedoms.

Here are some things you need to know about the Purple Heart and how this solemn day is observed throughout the country.

Purple Heart Trail

The Purple Heart Trail was established in 1992 by the Military Order of Purple Hearts. It aims to be a symbolic honorary system of roads, highways and other monuments that give tribute to the service members who have been awarded the Purple Heart medals. Currently, there are designated sections in 45 states as well as in Guam. Additionally, many cities and towns around the country choose to become Purple Heart cities/towns to honor the veterans and service members from the area.

On August 7, gatherings around the country, states, counties and cities will pause in recognition of the sacrifice and service of veterans. Here are more things you need to know about the Purple Heart:

Generally, Major League Baseball teams pay homage to their local Purple Heart recipients during pre-game events and then again during the 7th inning. Because of current conditions, it’s unclear whether or not MLB will continue that tradition.

At local VFWs, American Legions, and other veteran organizations, remembrance meetings will be held for fallen heroes. Special events usually take place to thank active-duty personnel, veterans, and Purple Heart recipients.

The Purple Heart medal is presented to military personnel who have either been wounded in action or killed as a result of enemy action. Since the award was created in 1782, more than 1.8 million Purple Heart medals have been presented.

The Purple Heart has been around for a long, long time.

It’s the oldest military award still presented to service members. The predecessor to the Purple Heart, the Fidelity Medallion, was created in 1780 by the Continental Congress – but it was only awarded to three soldiers that year. Then, two years later, President George Washington created the Badge of Military Merit.

The Badge of Military Merit is considered the first US military decoration and the Purple Heart predecessor.

Washington designed the Badge of Military Merit in the form of a purple heart. He determined that it be given to soldiers who displayed “unusual gallantry in battle,” and “extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way.” Then, the award was primarily forgotten for roughly two hundred years. It wasn’t until the bicentennial of Washington’s birth that Gen. MacArthur made an effort to revive the medal. It was still used to commemorate bravery, but that criteria changed in WWII when it became a way to recognize combat injuries and deaths.

This honor can be awarded to officers and enlisted personnel

The Purple Heart is one of the first awards in military history given to enlisted soldiers, NCOs and officers. Service members of any rank are eligible to receive a Purple Heart.

There is no official record for every Purple Heart medal awarded to American service members.

During the Revolutionary War, there were just 3 Purple Hearts awarded, roughly 320,000 during WWI, and 1 million Purple Hearts presented during WWII. The Korean War awarded 118,600 medals, the Vietnam War 351,000 Purple Hearts, and the Persian Gulf War, which lasted 209 days, awarded 607 Purple Hearts.

The current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been ongoing since 2001, and to date, 12,500 Purple Hearts have been awarded.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart

Those who are awarded a Purple Heart can join MOPH, an organization that was formed in 1932. It’s the only veteran service organization composed of only “combat” veterans. Currently, there are about 45,000 MOPH members. Find out more about the organization here.

Though Purple Heart Day isn’t an officially recognized holiday, it’s still an important one for our military community. In this time of social distancing, it might not be possible to visit military organizations or museums. Instead, use #PurpleHeartDay to post on social media, hold socially-distant events, and take a few moments of silence to remember those who have paid the price for American freedoms.

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HLTH 216 First Aid PHED 1306
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HORT 201 Horticultural Science and Practices AGRI 1315
HORT 201 Horticultural Science and Practices HORT 1301
HORT 201 and HORT 202 Horticultural Science and Practices and Horticultural Science and Practices Laboratory HORT 1401
HORT 201 and HORT 202 Horticultural Science and Practices and Horticultural Science and Practices Laboratory AGRI 1415
HORT 202 Horticultural Science and Practices Laboratory HORT 1101
HORT 202 Horticultural Science and Practices Laboratory AGRI 1115
ISTM 210 Fundamentals of Information Systems BCIS 1305 and BCIS 1405
ITAL 101 Beginning Italian I ITAL 1411
ITAL 102 Beginning Italian II ITAL 1412
ITAL 201 Intermediate Italian I ITAL 2311
ITAL 202 Intermediate Italian II ITAL 2312
JAPN 101 Beginning Japanese I JAPN 1411
JAPN 102 Beginning Japanese II JAPN 1412
JOUR 102 American Mass Media COMM 1307
JOUR 203 Media Writing I COMM 2311
KINE 199 Required Physical Activity PHED 1-hour activity course
KINE 213 Foundations of Kinesiology PHED 1301
KINE 214/HLTH 214 Health and Physical Activity for Children PHED 1331
KINE 215 Fundamentals of Coaching PHED 1321
MATH 102 Algebra MATH 1314
MATH 102 Algebra MATH 1414
MATH 140 Mathematics for Business and Social Sciences MATH 1324
MATH 142 Business Calculus MATH 1325
MATH 150 Functions, Trigonometry and Linear Systems MATH 2412
MATH 151 Engineering Mathematics I MATH 2413
MATH 152 Engineering Mathematics II MATH 2414
MATH 251 Engineering Mathematics III MATH 2315
MATH 253 Engineering Mathematics III MATH 2415
MGMT 209 Principles of Business Regulations and Law BUSI 2301
MMET 105 Engineering Graphics ENGR 1204
MMET 105 Engineering Graphics ENGR 1304
MMET 275 Mechanics for Technologists ENGR 2301
MMET 275 Mechanics for Technologists ENGR 2401
NUTR 202 Fundamentals of Human Nutrition BIOL 1322
NUTR 202 Fundamentals of Human Nutrition HECO 1322
OCNG 251 Oceanography GEOL 1345
OCNG 251 and OCNG 252 Oceanography and Oceanography Laboratory GEOL 1445
OCNG 252 Oceanography Laboratory GEOL 1145
PERF 102 Fundamentals of Music MUSI 1303
PERF 110 Acting I: Fundamentals DRAM 1351
PERF 200 Introduction to World Theatre DRAM 1310
PERF 201 Music and the Human Experience MUSI 1306
PERF 204 Music Theory I MUSI 1311
PERF 205 Music Theory II MUSI 1312
PERF 225 History of Jazz MUSI 1310
PERF 281 History of the Theatre II DRAM 2362
PHIL 111 Contemporary Moral Issues PHIL 2306
PHIL 240 Introduction to Logic PHIL 2303
PHIL 251 Introduction to Philosophy PHIL 1301
PHYS 201 College Physics PHYS 1301 and PHYS 1101
PHYS 201 College Physics PHYS 1401
PHYS 202 College Physics PHYS 1302 and PHYS 1102
PHYS 202 College Physics PHYS 1402
PHYS 206 Newtonian Mechanics for Engineering and Science PHYS 2325
PHYS 206 and PHYS 226 Newtonian Mechanics for Engineering and Science and Physics of Motion Laboratory for the Sciences PHYS 2425
PHYS 207 Electricity and Magnetism for Engineering and Science PHYS 2326
PHYS 207 and PHYS 227 Electricity and Magnetism for Engineering and Science and Electricity and Magnetism Laboratory for the Sciences PHYS 2426
PHYS 226 Physics of Motion Laboratory for the Sciences PHYS 2125
PHYS 227 Electricity and Magnetism Laboratory for the Sciences PHYS 2126
POLS 206 American National Government GOVT 2305
POLS 207 State and Local Government GOVT 2306
PORT 101 Beginning Portuguese I PORT 1411
PORT 102 Beginning Portuguese II PORT 1412
PORT 201 Intermediate Portuguese I PORT 2311
PORT 202 Intermediate Portuguese II PORT 2312
PSYC 107 Introduction to Psychology PSYC 2301
PSYC 225 Lifespan Development PSYC 2314
PSYC 245 Introduction to Psychological Science Methods PSYC 2317
RPTS 201 Foundations of Recreation, Parks and Tourism PHED 1336
RUSS 101 Beginning Russian I RUSS 1411
RUSS 102 Beginning Russian II RUSS 1412
RUSS 201 Intermediate Russian I RUSS 2311
RUSS 202 Intermediate Russian II RUSS 2312
SCSC 105 World Food and Fiber Crops AGRI 1307
SCSC 105 World Food and Fiber Crops AGRI 1407
SOCI 205 Introduction to Sociology SOCI 1301
SPAN 101 Beginning Spanish I SPAN 1411
SPAN 102 Beginning Spanish II SPAN 1412
SPAN 201 Intermediate Spanish I SPAN 2311
SPAN 202 Intermediate Spanish II SPAN 2312
SPAN 203 Intermediate Spanish for Heritage Speakers SPAN 2313
STAT 201 Elementary Statistical Inference MATH 1342
STAT 201 Elementary Statistical Inference MATH 1442
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Woman who was a pioneering World War II pilot celebrates 100th birthday

LEWISVILLE, Texas -- A World War II pilot, a ship builder and now Martha Cowan is a centenarian.

There was a surprise birthday party Wednesday, March 24, for an exceptional woman who has lived a life breaking down gender barriers.

Her head barely visible over the dashboard, Cowan may be little, but this was her big day.

She arrived for her parade and birthday party at the Lewisville Estates Assisted Living Center.

When asked how it feels to be 100, Cowan responded, "Feels the same way as being less than 100 but I've had a wonderful life and I've had a lot of wonderful experiences."

Experiences that include being one of the few female pilots to fly for the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.

When asked, "What it was like to be a pilot, a female pilot back in those days of World War II?," Cowan responded, "Scary."

Cowan's husband was also an Army pilot.

She spent 13 years in the military and once had dinner with President Eisenhower.

She later worked as an engineer, building barges on the West Coast and even flight trained with future astronauts.

"We were with the people who were training to fly to the moon so I've been involved in a lot of stages," she said.

Cowan's dance moves tell you all you need to know about her health and how much she appreciated the long overdue attention.

"Thank you all for being here and thank you for what you've given me through the years. I appreciate it, I love you all," she said.


Watch the video: Why Soviet Pilots Called It The Booze Carrier: The Tupolev Tu-22 Story (May 2022).