Veterans Day was founded to commemorate the end of WWI, falling on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the war. I have many family and friends who have served in the military, and I think it’s important that we should take a moment on this day to reflect on the sacrifices made by all those who have served, and continue to serve in our armed forces. For the past couple of years, I’ve shot a series of images to mark the occasion, and I’m sharing some here with you. Last year was dedicated to the men and women who served during WWII, this year I wanted to say “thanks” to American veterans of every conflict our country has engaged. Please take a moment to look through them, and give some thought to their sacrifices, and what they have given to our great nation. If you see a veteran today, say “thanks”. If you would like to further support out troops, please consider giving a donation to groups like the Wounded Warrior Project.
Each image is accompanied by a historical note.
First to Fight
The United States Marine Corps fulfills a vital role in national security as an amphibious, expeditionary, air-ground combined arms task force, capable of forcible entry from the air, land and sea. There are about 203,000 Marines on active duty.
Dress Uniform Cap, 1968
Standard cap worn with the U.S. Army dress uniform during the Viet Nam war. This one belonged to my father.
Compass, M2 Engineering
The M2 compass is one of the few pieces of equipment from WWII still being used by our armed forces. Originally patented in 1894, the M2 compass is known as a “Pocket Transit” in its civilian form. It can perform many functions, and was used by artillery crews, engineers, surveyors, and also for general land navigation.
AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter
The AH-64 Apache is one of the most feared weapons platforms on the battlefield. Its weapons loadout can be easily adapted to fill many different roles. They currently provide close air support to U.S. ground forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here you can see power controls for the FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared thermal night vision), Radar, IR Jammer, etc.
U.S. Rifle Caliber .30, M1903
Widely known as the “1903 Springfield” after the armory where they were first manufactured, the ’03 was standard issue during WWI. It was the first rifle to chamber the .30-06 cartridge, which would eventually become the most popular big game hunting round in the United States. Based on the 1898 Mauser rifle, the ’03 Springfield was a robust, accurate, full power rifle that served through WWII, and was popular with competition shooters between wars because it was so accurate. This example is a relatively rare one made by Remington at the start of WWII, before they began production of the simplified model 1903A3.
Good conduct medal, bearing the inscription “Efficiency, Honor, Fidelity”.
Smith & Wesson M1917, .45 ACP
When the United States when to war in 1917, there was a severe shortage of Colt 1911 .45 automatics in the Army. Both Colt and Smith & Wesson were contracted to build revolvers that could chamber the standard .45 automatic cartridge that was already in use, but because it was designed for use in automatic handguns, ammunition had to be used in “half moon” clips in the cylinder. The M1917 revolver was popular with the troops it was issued to. Strong, reliable, and powerful, the big Smith & Wesson served it’s owners well.
M7 Bayonet and Scabbard
The M7 bayonet entered service in 1964 for use with the then-new M16 rifle. It’s officially been replaced by the M9 multi-purpose knife, but they are still in service today.
It was common during past wars to bring captured enemy equipment home from the battlefield. Regulations today are much more stringent. During WWII, handguns belonging to German officers were considered a real prize, with the “Luger” being the most prized of all. Here you can see one, with a certificate from the ETO Headquarters proving ownership of the soldier who recovered it.
Give thanks to all the veterans of our wars who have given their best, and given their all. Save your greatest thanks to those who gave everything they ever had, and everything they ever will have, in defense of our country.
Dedicated to the memory of PFC Kristofor Stonesifer, 75th Ranger Regiment