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This is a photo of Marine Maj. General Lemuel Shepherd, CG of the 6th Marine Division on Okinawa June 1945. At first I thought it was an invasion bag on the .45, now I'm not sure but what it's wax paper. General Shepherd went on to become the 20th Commandant of the Marine Corps.
My guess....it's a US&S.


 

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Obviously he wasn't in an area where he thought he might need it.
 

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dsk said:
Obviously he wasn't in an area where he thought he might need it.

What two star ever is? :biglaugh:

Condoms over a barrel...cool.

Kraft paper or plastic wrap or whatever it is over the entire weapon...not.

BTW, he doesn't look like he had to wade to shore. Guess he didn't want to get any salty spray on it.

He should have left it at home if he was that concerned about it.
 

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Invasion Bag

The invasion bag mentioned by Joel was made for the express purpose of keeping salt water out of your .45. Salt water tends to rust metal almost immediately and few had the leisure time to stop and clean their .45 before going on ashore.
The instructions that were printed on the bag have long ago bled into each other, but the fold lines are still visible. The bag has a stiff piece of plastic which helps in rolling the folds up before snapping the whole thing down.

 

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After seeing the photos of the invasion bag I thought at first the pistol must be in one of those, but then I noticed that the lanyard ring is poking out, and I don't think it would have come through the plastic, so I think wax paper, or oiled paper, is a good bet.
 

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Klingon-

Sometimes, a general does go in harm's way. The airborne generals who jumped with their divisions in WW II, Ridgeway and Gavin, sure looked as if they expected possible trouble. In addition to their firearms, Gavin had a Randall knife.

The best testimony I've seen along this line was in a book by a young cavalry officer, Lt. Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, who later made his mark in politics. (Primer Minister in WW II and later, Knight of the Garter.)

Churchill was serving in one of the frontier wars along the Afghan border in 1897. The Afghans and the Pathan tribesmen in NW British India (now Pakistan) were always at war to some degree, and the Malakand Field Force had been sent to quell a bad outbreak.

Churchill related how Maj-Gen. Sir Bindon Blood was at a peace conference when one of the wild tribesmen came at him with a Khyber knife. The general drew his revolver (type not stated) and dropped the man about two feet from him. Churchill said that until then, he and many other junior officers had thought that a general's sidearm was mainly for show.

Sir Bindon, a descendent of the famous Dr. Peter Blood once played by Errol Flynn in a movie, was very familiar with the Indian tribes and sensed that the man he shot might be dangerous, so he was ready when he had to draw.

Incidentally, Churchill did not yet have his famous Mauser 7.63mm then, being armed with a .455 Wilkinson-Webley, Model of 1892. His guns were discussed in two articles some years ago in, "Man at Arms". I have no idea what became of them following the UK handgun ban in 1997. Prior to that, they had remained in the family.

1911 Forum members will want to know that Sir Winston owned two Colt .45 automatics. One was a civilian Government Model bought when he returned to the army and went to France in WWI following his removal as First Sea Lord after the disaster at Gallipoli in 1915, when he carelessly supported the ANZAC invasion there that fared so badly against the Turks. It was definitly a .45, not the British govt. purchased .455 Eley caliber variant.

A Commander .45 was presented to the former Prime Minister by Colt's in 1951. Churchill was known to have test fired it, so he didn't regard it as just a gift. He wore the M-1911 under his coat often in WW II, and the outline is easily seen beneath his white suit in a famous photo taken of him visiting North Africa. (?) (May have been at Yalta.)

Oh: How did I forget Julius Caesar, who was often in the thick of battle, leading his legions in Gaul? He even won the Grass Crown, awarded to Romans who saved their injured and held ground against the enemy. It was their Medal of Honor, in a sense.

Texas Star
 

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He also served at Okinawa and three stars

The American land campaign was controlled by the Tenth Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. The army had two corps under its command, III Amphibious Corps, consisting of 1st and 6th Marine Divisions, with 2nd Marine Division as an afloat reserve, and XXIV Corps, consisting of the 7th, 27th, 77th and 96th Infantry Divisions. At the very end of the campaign, Buckner was killed by ricocheting shell fragments, becoming one of the most senior US casualties in the entire war.
 

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Sgt Art said:
The American land campaign was controlled by the Tenth Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. The army had two corps under its command, III Amphibious Corps, consisting of 1st and 6th Marine Divisions, with 2nd Marine Division as an afloat reserve, and XXIV Corps, consisting of the 7th, 27th, 77th and 96th Infantry Divisions. At the very end of the campaign, Buckner was killed by ricocheting shell fragments, becoming one of the most senior US casualties in the entire war.

Buckner was killed on Okinawa, struck by shrapnel while engaged in the act of inspecting his troops.

Not exactly a glorious death, but I suppose it is an appropriate death for one of his rank.
 

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Texas Star said:
Sometimes, a general does go in harm's way.

The best testimony I've seen along this line was in a book by a young cavalry officer, Lt. Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, who later made his mark in politics. (Primer Minister in WW II and later, Knight of the Garter.)

Churchill related how Maj-Gen. Sir Bindon Blood was at a peace conference when one of the wild tribesmen came at him with a Khyber knife. The general drew his revolver (type not stated) and dropped the man about two feet from him. Churchill said that until then, he and many other junior officers had thought that a general's sidearm was mainly for show.
There is a distinct difference between deliberately going into harm's way and finding yourself in harm's way.

I humbly suggest the incident at the peace talks was the latter. I doubt the good General expected to draw his weapon that morning. The same with General Buckner.
 

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A much simpler explaination

The Battle for Okinawa was executed in four phases:

Phase 1 (April 1-4, 1945) : Advance to the eastern coast

Phase 2 (April 5-18, 1945): Clearing northern end of the island

Phase 3 (April 10 - June 21, 1945): Occupation of the outlying islands

Phase 4 (April 6 - June 21, 1945) Sweeping to clear the remaining elements of Japanese Army that where dug in around the island.

Why the weapon is protected instead of battle ready likely depends on when in June the photo was taken. Regardless of the exact date, it was at the tail end of the campaign. MG Shepard certainly wasn't wading ashore under fire at that point. Heck, he may have been getting ready to leave the island when that photo was snapped. :)
 

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Texas Star said:
The airborne generals who jumped with their divisions in WW II, Ridgeway and Gavin, sure looked as if they expected possible trouble. In addition to their firearms, Gavin had a Randall knife.

I will concede that the situation is different with Ridgeway and Gavin in that they did deliberately go into harm's way by actually jumping with their men.

However, I think many of these battlefield appearances were made solely to add to their fruit salad.

I don’t want to denigrate his service to this country, so don't take this the wrong way, but Ridgeway received the DSC for “exposing himself continuously to fire” during the Normandy jump.

Ridgeway and nearly every other swinging d*** that jumped at Normandy were exposed to continuous fire…did they all get the DSC? Somehow, I think not.
 

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I think you'll find most of them "paid their dues" at an earlier age. Patton was involved in shoot outs in both the Punitive expedition into Mexico and WWI for example and Puller's exploits are the stuff of legends. However, then you get types like Eisenhower who had almost no (none?) combat experience, but he was a good administrator and diplomat holding together a number of diverse personalities. The current Chairman of the JCOS, General Pace was a platoon commander with a rifle company of 2nd Bn 5th Marines in Viet Nam. We could go back and forth on this. Most senior grade officers have "body guards" (spear bearers) that follow them around wherever they go. More specifically, from all I've read and heard, there really weren't any safe places on the island campaigns in the South Pacific during WWII and whether a person was killed by schrapnel (far more casualties were inflicted by exploding schrapnel than gunshot) or a Japanese round between the running lights is moot. Dead is dead.
 

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Sgt Art said:
I think you'll find most of them "paid their dues" at an earlier age.
I do not dispute this. I think it would be appropriate to pay some dues before being promoted to such positions of responsibility. But what that has to do with the General being in a location where he might need quick access to his well-wrapped 1911 is beyond me.

One thing is for sure, if Major General Sir Bindon Blood had his revolver wrapped up like that when one of the wild tribesmen came at him with a Khyber knife, Winston's story would likely have a different ending.


Sgt Art said:
More specifically, from all I've read and heard, there really weren't any safe places on the island campaigns in the South Pacific during WWII . . . .
As was pointed out previously, I guess it all depends on the timing of the photo op in question. From the photo which prompted this thread, I can't tell the status of the fighting. Maybe he is waiting for his launch to return him to the ship.


Sgt Art said:
Dead is dead.
Not sure what this observation has to do with this particular thread, but you are quite correct.
 
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