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Sideways Readers’ Vehicles

Posted in Features on October 3, 2015
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Photographers: Readers

Finding Historic Inspiration

Sean Emery sent this pic and told us, "In 1967, my dad Cedric Emery was a new doctor in the Navy. He was deployed to Afghanistan to act as a Medical Officer for the U.S. Public Health Service. He assisted the Peace Corp, where he met his future wife, my mom Norma. During his two-year stay, he would travel all over the country, helping wherever he was needed. These travels were often on very treacherous roads and bridges—if they had a bridge. Good thing they had a CJ-5! I'm now interested in building up a CJ just like the one here."

Honor Jeep

Jackson Goundrill sent in his Honor Jeep, which he and his children restored and use to attend parades and benefit rides in order to bring awareness to those who serve and have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. "The concept started with an idea to honor my uncle James J. Archambeault, who was killed in action in the final weeks of World War II," said Jackson.

Fire Department Jeep

Zach Isenhower told us a great story about Walt Isenhower. Check it: "This photo was taken in Harper, Kansas, in the early '50s where Walt returned to his career in the fire service after a stint in the Navy during World War II, a career he stayed in for 56 years despite the loss of his left hand in 1952. This Jeep was a proof-of-concept vehicle he built to convince county officials to invest in equipment made specifically for rural fire protection. At that time, it was not uncommon for municipalities to bar use of fire apparatus outside city limits because dirt roads could become a quagmire for heavy water- and equipment-laden trucks. Such rules created sky-high insurance rates for rural residents, not to mention real risks in life and property damage. Even where cities permitted their equipment off-pavement, poorly suited trucks and water availability made efforts ineffective but specialized equipment was seen as prohibitively expensive.

"Although Harper kept the Jeep for years, it was never much of a fire truck. What it did achieve was to prove that off-road equipment could be built cheaply using readily available surplus vehicles. The Jeep kicked off a fleet expansion that soon saw capable grassfire rigs (converted 4x4 pickups) supported by water tankers (often converted deuce-and-a-halfs). Fire loss in Harper County when Walt became chief in 1951 totaled $26,000. By 1959, that figure dropped to $5,000 under his watch, much of it due to his emphasis on off-road–capable fire equipment. He repeated the whole process again in the '90s after moving to a new department in Andover, a growing, but (then) mostly rural, community near Wichita and was still designing fire apparatus that could trace their lineage back to this Jeep until his retirement."

Army Grandpop

This is SFC Harley F. Goble, Kyle Goble's grandfather. He believes the pic was taken during his grandfather's 180th Infantry Army service in the Korean War. He also served in World War II.

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