TexasEscapes.com Texas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1600 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP
HOME
SEARCH SITE
ARCHIVES
RESERVATIONS
Texas Hotels
Hotels
Cars
Air
Cruises
 
  Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"
War surplus was
godsend to folks at home

by Delbert Trew

"Everyone wanted a jeep. This heroic vehicle had appeared in every war movie, newsreel and photo sent home from the war."

Delbert Trew
After my recent column about scrap-iron drives during World War II, I received many letters and e-mails on the subject.

Mario Coleman of Canyon recalled stories of the war surplus equipment appearing on the market after the war ended.

Everyone wanted a jeep. This heroic vehicle had appeared in every war movie, newsreel and photo sent home from the war.

It became a dream vehicle to the public, especially young boys who spent many hours driving an imaginary jeep around the farm in search of the wartime enemies.

The Jeep agency in Perryton had a stack of orders for civilian Jeeps at the end of the war. If I remember correctly, the Jeep was the first 4-wheel drive vehicle to be offered to the public. After years of mud tires and tire chains, we laughed at the black gumbo mud while driving our new Jeep up and down the once-dreaded muddy roads.

Several neighbors in our area bought Army surplus Dodge Power Wagons. It, too, was a 4-wheel-drive vehicle but was heavier and rode like a bronc horse out in the pastures.

A friend and I once chased a coyote in his dad's Power Wagon. It wouldn't go fast enough to catch the coyote and was so rough we couldn't aim our guns. We finally hit a gully, leaving us with bloody noses and skinned knees from the sudden stop. The coyote laughed himself out of sight.

No one knows how many Panhandle irrigation wells once were powered by surplus Cadillac Army tank engines. They were cheap, plentiful and provided plenty of power until something went wrong. Don't repair, just throw it into the scrap heap and install another in its place. They were a blessing when running and a curse when idle.

I learned to weld with a used Army surplus D.C. welder purchased by uncle C.B Trew of Perryton. That old rig served us well for many years, repairing breakdowns while harvesting wheat and plowing stubble after harvest.

I also learned that you better have the right hold on the crank when starting, or you would have a broken or very sore wrist if it kicked backward.

Wives and mothers cringed when husbands and sons went into their favorite Army surplus store. The choice of items was endless if you had the patience to search the storage bins.

I'll bet money that down through the years, I have bought a ton of surplus casters to use at home or at museums. The big problem was finding four casters of the same design and measurements.

The next time you watch a parade, notice the restored war-surplus vehicles purring along like they had just come off the assembly line.

One of the hottest vehicle organizations today is the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, which incidentally has a local Palo Duro Chapter.

These preservationists are constantly on the hunt for rusting hulks sitting in the farm and ranch junk piles of the Panhandle.

Any abandoned vehicle could contain some much-needed parts for restoration. Call Shawn Elliott at (806) 355-1579 if you know of such treasure.


Delbert Trew

"It's All Trew"
- March 14, 2005 column
 
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES
Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South |
West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | MAPS

TEXAS FEATURES
Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII |
History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books | MEXICO
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters |
Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators |
Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Corner Stones | Pitted Dates |
Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | USA

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us
Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE
Website Content Copyright 1998-2007. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: May 8, 2007