Huge Army truck promotes city’s World War II victory anniversary commemoration
CRESTVIEW — Spread out on the floor, organizers thought a 9 x 4-foot banner promoting the community’s World War II Victory 75th Anniversary Commemoration was plenty big.
But as they hung it up on a recent afternoon, they found a “deuce-and-a-half” troop carrier can redefine “big.” The truck, parked on The Green in front of the Community Center and the library, dwarfed both the banner and volunteers Pam and Joe Coffield, who helped mount it.
“It was not easy climbing up there (into the truck bed) to hold the banner and the screws so Joe could attach it to the boards,” Pam Coffield said.
The massive, six-wheeled vehicle is loaned to the city by Jay's Guns and Accessories to help promote the Aug. 28 and 29 commemoration and took its temporary place among the flutter of campaign signs that appear at the Commerce Drive “T” when elections roll around.
Allied commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower said most of his senior officers agreed the 2 1⁄2-ton cargo truck, of which more than 650,000 were made during World War II alone (surpassing the number of Jeeps manufactured) was “one of the six most vital” U.S. vehicles that helped win the war.
Though not actually a World War II vehicle, the deuce-and-a-half displayed near the Crestview Public Library and the Community Center had changed little since the rugged trucks hauled troops and equipment around the European and the Pacific campaigns.
The one on display is an M35 medium duty truck from the Vietnam War-era. That style truck was first produced in 1950 with production continuing into the 1980s.
Residents who attend the World War II Victory Commemoration will have an opportunity to see an actual World War II deuce-and-a-half truck — called “the workhorse of the Army” — exhibited by the Grunt Historical Museum, which will also display equipment from the war.