This 1946 CJ-2A came into our family in 1970. Two of our six children had finished high school leaving four more sons at home all entering driving age. At one time, it transported nearly the entire football team home from their practice sessions. The boys learned auto mechanics and responsible vehicle ownership as they progressed through three engines, several brake replacements, two clutches, two front axles and a fire-engine red paint job.
After the boys left home, the Jeep stood idle in a farm shed until 1997 when my WW II battalion had a reunion in Cincinnati and the Jeep came out of retirement to serve as a memory of our 1944-45 experience. Stripped to the chassis with the tub turned up on a couple of saw horses, the Jeep was rebuilt with all original parts – mostly from Kaiser Willys and given a coat of 1945 “shade 33” olive green paint, black-out light and repositioned spare tire to simulate our old MB Jeep, a picture of which served as the model. Unit markings on the bumper identify it as Jeep #3 belonging to the Hq. Battery of the 736th Field Artillery battalion. Third army insignia is on the right side of the wind screen, XX corps insignia is on the left. These and the hood star are magnetic cut-outs which I refer to as its “class A uniform”.
About twenty-five members of the battalion enthusiastically drove the Jeep but it remained for one North Carolinian who was a full time Jeep driver to drive it so smoothly that he might have just parked it overnight. By now, battalion numbers are down to about a dozen and only three made it to the last reunion in 2012. One more time, the Jeep has served us well.
John H. Smith M.D. Private U.S. Army (retired at age 20), 736th Field Artillery
Kaiser Willys Jeep Blog Story – written by John H. Smith
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