After the sneak attack of Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941, my father-in-law, Robert Tomasevich, (standing on left) joined the Unites States Coast Guard. For nearly six months he was stationed at the Nawiliwili Lighthouse on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Bob told me once, “I drove that jeep all over that island. It went everywhere! During wartime blackout conditions, the headlights were fitted with slotted covers to deflect their beams downward to the ground.”
Bob later became a signalman for the USS Cavalier during the invasions and landings of Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian, Leyte Gulf, Luzon, and Manila. Bob is lucky to have survived World War II. He is an eyewitness to some of its major battles in the South Pacific. He is a veteran of the Greatest Generation and today is living well in a small town in California.
OG Bob King
It would really mean a lot to my family and me if you would honor the memory of my grandfather, Bob King. We lost him a couple of years ago at the age of 93. He was a real honest to goodness war hero, winning a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and three Purple Hearts. He always told me that his Jeep saved his ass more times than he could count.
This picture was taken in Brittany, France in August, 1944. Captain Bob King was in the 6th Armored Division, 86th Mechanized Recon. He called his Jeep “Peep” because he used it to take a peep at the enemy. He could have used a halftrack, recon armored car, light tank or even a motorcycle, but usually he used his Jeep with a custom .30 caliber mounted to the cowl.
My kids called him “The Original Bob King.”
This is my grandfather, Emerson Mays, sitting proudly in his Jeep in WWII. He passed in 1978, but he would be proud to know his grandkids would have the same fondness and passion about Jeeps and for serving our great country.
I found a photo of my dad in front of his (well, the Air Force’s) Jeep when he was stationed in Korea in 1954. His other service included WWII as a B-17 ball turret gunner and in the ’60s as a crew member of a U.S. Air Force Lockheed VC-140 JetStar; he shuttled officials in and out of Washington, D.C. from Bolling AFB and Andrews AFB as part the Presidential Unit there. He’s close to 90 now and would get a kick out of seeing this in print.
Van Buren, ME
Got an old dusty memento of Jeep culture from the past, snapshots of Granny and Grandpa picnicking in the shade of their CJ-2A, or a relative in uniform with their trusty gas-horse? Scan ’em and send ’em to Sideways, Vintage Edition, firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be proud to share ’em.