By Jack Hackley
The worst job in a light weapons Infantry Company is to be a B.A.R. man. The best job is to be a jeep driver. In my Army career I had both.
The Browning Automatic Rifle weighed 22 pounds, not counting the ammo carried around your waist. In combat there was a B.A.R. man on each end of an Infantry Squadron. Since they had the most fire power, their life span was also the shortest.
The best job in an Infantry Company was the motor pool. Each Company had four Jeeps and a deuce-and-a-half (2½-ton truck). Our company commander wouldn’t let anyone be in the motor pool except farm boys. And to be the company commander’s driver, you were assured to making the rank of corporal, which I finally did before coming home.
I will never understand why the Army quit using the Jeep here in the States and exchanged it for the Hummer. Whoever designed the Jeep should have received a medal. It was absolutely the perfect vehicle for use in the military. It weighed less than 2,000 pounds. During WW II, they only cost the Army $750. The one I drove during Korea cost $1,800. They never broke down or wore out, and they would go virtually anywhere.
In contrast, the Hummer cost over $100,000, and has had to be redesigned a half a dozen times. The military currently owns 178,000 of them.
When I was overseas, I had my best buddy from my hometown, Gary Reagan, in a Jeep with me. It was late at night and the only lights we could use were the black-out lights, which put out a faint glow and could not be seen from the air. We were going across an open field in low gear going pretty slow when I realized I had run over something with my right wheels. I asked Reagan “What was that?” And he said, “I don’t know. Back up.” I backed up and ran over the same object again.
We got out, and lo and behold, it was an old boy squirming in a sleeping bag that was zipped up. He wasn’t hurt at all. Had that been a Hummer, it would have been all she wrote.
Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or jack...@aol.com. Visit www.jackremembers.com