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Old Faithful, The WW II Jeep With a Purple Heart

As you probably know, Jeeps find their origin during World War 2 as the military transportation choice of the US Army. originally designed and produced by the Willys-Overland Company those original Jeeps are what have evolved into the Jeep Wranglers of today.

But Jeep also has a unique honour, one Jeep in particular, as the first vehicle to be honoured with a medal for its US military service, this is the story of Old Faithful.

Old Faithful’s Military Service

Old Faithful was a Jeep that was used in the pacific campaign, specifically serving as the transportation for high ranking officers. It’s believed to have been the transport for at least 4 generals during its 18 months of service starting on August 7th 1942.

It was a part of the Guadalcanal Campaign, and is said to have been the first American Vehicle to touch down on the shore; it was during this period that the Jeep earned its name, being famous for its Reliability, the soldiers named the Jeep Old Faithful. On October 13, 1942 during a Japanese shelling of the island, Old Faithful was wounded with 2 shrapnel holes in it’s windshield, for which it was awarded The Purple Heart by its occupants.

If you don’t know, The Purple Heart is awarded to soldiers who are injured or killed in the line of duty. It’s generally reserved for real people but the occupants of the car were so impressed with it’s service that they felt it deserved the honour, the first vehicle in the US Military to receive a medal for its service.

After the shelling and it’s medal, the Jeep stayed in active service, all the way through to also serve in the Bougainville Campaign before being retired on December 22nd 1943 With over 11,000 miles recorded.

Post Military Life

After being retired, Old Faithful was sent back to the US where it was used for the remainder of the war by the US Army Bond Tours. Bonds, if you don’t know, are basically loans to the army made by civilians, and they’re generally sought after by big tours appealing to patriotism. If you’ve ever watched the first Captain America movie, you get the idea.

We know from old Newspapers that Old Faithful at least made an appearance at the 1944 San Diego War Bond Tour.

After the Jeep’s time on tour it eventually made its home on display at the Marine Corps museum in Quantico. In 2016 for their 75th anniversary, Jeep released a small advertisement honouring Old Faithful. Apparently the old Jeep still runs to this day, continuing to live up to its name even now.

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