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W.W.II Tribute-- How and why it influenced the VTR

DressGI1Hello Marx fans here it is, my W.W.II Tribute to my father and the courage he had fighting in the trenches of several battles and campaigns. These included: Normandy, Northern France, Central Europe, Rhineland, and Ardennes. His involvement was from mar 14th 1944 - Nov 17th 1945. One year 8 mos, and 15 days of real life GI Joe and Stony Smith "fun". He never discussed any or very little of his activity. I found all information and materials at my grandmothers after he passed away in April, 1998. Besides dedicating my Encyclopedia to him, also wanted to do this area of the website in memory of him. I still hold hope some day I can get actual images or footages of the 391st Artillary division, with him included. Even group photos's are welcome.

cp105mmNow the Toy slant. In his memory, being I dig action figures, I had custom heads of my father sculpted with GI Joe bodies based on his Enlistment images and "mug" shots. All of these pictures are below, as are many shots of the figures and head sculpts. I like both versions in their own way, you be the judge on which you feel are a better likeness. Let me know what you think! Cast your vote! If you are a sculpter, and think you could capture a better likeness, talk to me. Send me an email!

  • Click on any of the images to see a LARGER picture, and in most cases as more detailed imaged of content!
  • Our main focus in this area of the website is to find out more about The VII Corp and the 3rd Armored division extension953 Field Artillery Battery C,, 391st Field Artillery Battery C, SPEARHEAD and or other groups that my father would have been in contact with. Email first, or feel free to call only if those 2 exact Companies were part of a relatives history or yours. Veterans would be in their high 70's and 80s right now, the clock is ticking to get more history. Call 585-227-9533 to provide details. EMAIL information or questions. I will email back if it pertains to the research. Provide as much detail as possible in the email.
  • The purpose of the material on this page is to also provide the tie with toys. This is a toy site, so here is the tie in. Custom Sculpting mixed with W.W.II memorabilia. This stuff is the real deal. The little details some never new our fathers did in combat. These images will show a great snapshot in time of a common man. a PFC- These were the grunts and backbones of the great battles fought in the ETO campaigns.
  • I may update more to this part of the site, I dont want to get too crazy here. Let me know what you think, or if you have any items pertaining to; The 391st FA BN, 953 FA BN, or Spearhead and it's 3rd Armored involvement with the Battle of the bulge. Being so many were involved with this, I am only looking for specific Attachments around the VII Corp.. .Tom VTR
W.W.II Tribute to the 391st and it's Spearhead Artillery Divisions

Ok lets talk about these pictures. Discharge Papers. These are shown to the left. Feel free to see what WWII Vetrans received. Note the group it shows him in was probably only for the last few months of post war duty. It through me off at first. VMAIL told a great deal, as did books shown below.

Middle Image shows early images taken. probably used for passports or License ID's. These images were also blown-up and a suit was painted on! I will add this image later. This was a cheap way of the army making dress uniform pictures for the soldiers parents.

Right Image shows various ribbons and medals, pertaining to the battles he fought in. The vertical stripes represent the blocks of time served overseas.

Left 2 bottom mages show flags. These were hung on doors or windows of the soldiers homes. They were removed when the soldiers returned from active duty.

Bottom right shows one of his dog tags, as does it show his original spearhead patch. His PFC patch is beside it. The buttons show "US", and the second shows canons crossed for the artillary BN.

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This grouping features various Books and papers. Top left shows books he most likely carried. Included are a bible, book of hymns soldiers sang, book of flags, German Phrase Book, and lastly an actual field manual on 105mm Howitzers like he used (This book was found separate from his actual papers).

Next we have a Map. This is a full map showing the course of the 391st. This was found in one of the books.

Left bottom shows Fort Bragg Field Artillary training manual. Note the howitzer (105mm).

To the right I show for books, 391st combat history, Spearhead, 391st Roster, and a Book on canons. If you think you had a relative in the 391st, drop and email, I can look in the roster! The Combat history book even shows names. My father is listed, This is the closest I have to a biagraphy on his WWII history and involvement. A much different tale than VMAILS he wrote to his mother...

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Now we get to Mail. I found a ton of VMAIL and mail he sent home. How he ever had time to write is beyond me. I wonder sometimes if he wrote 10 at once, and had them staggered in the mail. Many sound the same, no details given. In some cases blackened out. See (4) samples above top from left. Feel free to read the VMAILs but keep in mind: Don was a farmer, grew up quite poor in the depression era From the age of 12 he worked at home on a farm and did odd jobs as a mechanic. I do believe he walked to school up hill both directions. As a child, I always sensed he lived his childhood much like the "Little Rascals". He was a hands on, "piss and vinegar" no nonsense kind of guy. He got his hands dirty before, during and after the war. writing and grammar, was not his priority in life, nor when he wrote these VMAILS. He was a survivor in more ways than one.

Also shown here are Postcards. Above a Spearhead letter and postcard are shown, along with Basic Training, and a 1944 Christmas Card. Speaking of xmas, He must of had a hell of a Christmas in 1944. I bet their was nothing too Merry about it. His History book talks of heavy activity in Belgium, with heavy fighting. Needless to say his Christmas card tells mon everything is swell, no surprise there...He did not like people to worry, or get emotional.

Lastly bottom left. This image shows a German Dress Bayonet. He never talked about it, I barely knew about it. I never seen this til he passed away. There has been gossip by my aunt he was cut with it in a fight, God knows the story here. He took this and many other things to his grave I am sure.




GIPosesOK, now on to some Toy stuff. Dont ask me why, but I always wanted a figure of my fathers likeness. This is the whole tribute thing. I had 2 sculpts made, One by Wes from Classic Plastic, and one by Chris Casteel. To the right I show three variations: The first from left (As they were produced) Chris Casteels, Wes's rough draft, it is about 1/5 scale(bigger than 1/6), and lastly is a close to final Wes Sculpt. These are shown in more detail below.

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To the left is the mug shot shown yet again. Like mentioned above, This image served many functions. I truly believe it was also used for the dress picture shown. Looks to exact to me to be anything different. Anyone else see this? The suit is actual pencil or painting drawn. My guess is The small photo was blown up and colorized and detailed. I of course never could ask my dad about this. I got the passport pictures from my aunt after he passed away. Questions like this you should ask now before it is too late. Collect data, and ask. Even though vetrans may not want to discuss, they may provide yes or no answers to observations like this.

I super-imposed images with some sculpts to the left. You be the judge on the likeness factor. Keep in mind the sculpters only had these images to work from. no more or no less. It is pretty tough to get scale and demension off 2d pictures with limited B&W detail. Anyone have any NICE opinions or ideas? drop me an email! I always wondered what my father would have thought other than "you got rocks in your socks"...Thanks to Chris and Wes for giving it their best shot. I also want to say thanks to Polo Moreno for his service shoes! Visit his APE JOE website to see more!

These figures sit proudly next to my PC in a case. They are a neat personal addition to my action figure collection. Tom -VTR



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