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Old Faithful, Honorable Purple Heart Winner

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images Jeeping, Old News Articles, videos

Thanks to Keith for the tip about Old Faithful.

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According to this page, the Associated Press captured this photo of “Old Faithful” on the island of Bougainville in 1944.

Recently, Jeep shot a commercial highlighting a little known fact that a jeep named “Old Faithful” was awarded an honorable Purple Heart for its service in Guadalcanal and Bougainville during WWII (not to be confused with a jeep that was named “Purple Heart“). The jeep was later put on display at the Marine Corps Museum, but, according to an article in Adweek, it disappeared and its whereabouts remain unknown.

The September/October 1944 Army Ordinance reported on Old Faithful:

Old Faithful was a Willys built jeep that served four Marine generals through the Guadalcanal campaign and the Bougainville invasion. Old Faithful was officially awarded the Purple Heart for “wounds”–two shrapnel holes in its windshield received during the Jap battleship shelling of Guadalcanal on October 13, 1942.

Old Faithful, the first American vehicle ever to be so decorated, was retired from active service by official Marine Corps order on December 22, 1943. Faithful to the last, this jeep’s motor, which has never been overhauled, purrs as smoothly today as it did on the historic day of August 7, 1942, when it first rolled onto Guadalcanal’s famous Lunga Beach. During its duty in the Pacific area,

Old Faithful served as official car for many distinguished leaders, including the late Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, Adms. Chester Nimitz and William F. Halsey, Vice Adms. A.W. Fitch, and J.S. McCain, Marine Corps Commandant Lieut. Gen. Thomas Holcomb, his successor Lieut, Gen A.A. Vandegrift, and many others. In 1944, Old Faithful, after a long journey, arrived in heaven and now reposes in the Marine Corps Museum at the Marine Corps Air Station Quantico, Va.

Also in 1944, the Marine Corps Chevron included this photo and article on “Old Faithful”:

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WAR RELIC’ “Old Faithful,” retired after 18 monthsservice in the South Pacific as a command oar, was displayed in San Diego’s War Bond drive. It is being inspected by Majs. Granville Mitchell (left) and Douglas J. Preacher.

Battle-Worn Jeep Back In U. S. On Bond Tour

Old Faithful,” first Marine jeep to be landed on Guadalcanal and among the first on Bougainville, was exhibited at the Plaza War Bond center in downtown San Diego this week in connection with the Filipino Day program.

The jeep was retired on Bougainville recently after having traveled more than 11,000 miles of jungle terrain as a command car. During its 18 months’ service “Old Faithful” served four Marine generals as well as carrying every ranking Marine officer and visiting official on the two battle-torn islands.

Previously, the jeep had been awarded a “Purple Heart” for holes in its windshield, received when a Jap battleship shelled Guadalcanal. It is on its way toward becoming a museum piece at the Marine Corps Museum, Quantico.

 

 

 

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