Original U.S. WWII 501st PIR Joe McGinley M1942 Paratrooper Jump Uniform with Letter and DVD

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available.

T/4 Joseph Daniel McGinley was assigned to the 101st Airborne, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company F during World War Two. This Model 1942 Paratrooper Jump Jacket and Pants belonged to Joe and was purchased directly from his family. Included in the purchase is a signed letter from his grand niece as well as a DVD documentary that his nephew Guy Anhorn produced and directed. The documentary is titled A PARATROOPER'S STORY.

The Times Herald calls the documentary A PARATROOPER'S STORY,   "a superb, well-researched 90-minute tribute to the veterans." This 5-Part independent project follows the real-life stories of five Philadelphia teenagers who left home to join the famous 101st Airborne Division during WWII. In their own voices, Joe McGinley and his battle buddies, now aging troopers, describe their personal war, one place and one incident at a time, in the largest conflict in human history. In humble narratives they recount jump training at Fort Benning; brief romances in England and a dangerous night jump into Normandy. The lone survivor of a C-47 Dakota tells how his "lucky $20 bill" was signed by 18 troopers and the crew before taking off to an unknown fate. Their second combat jump into Holland preceded 72 days along Hell's Highway behind German lines. These troopers returned home with Purple Hearts and traumatic memories that still resonate as if they happened yesterday. Family members describe a trooper's teenage years before their world was turned upside down after December 7th 1941. The story ends in the small town of Bastogne, Belgium, soon to become a household word after the Christmas of 1944. Lives of a young Belgian boy and a young paratrooper not much older, are forever changed and reunited with a Prayer Card from a bombed church. A year in the making, this independent documentary uses interviews, vintage wartime Philadelphia home movies, personal photo collections, captured German and US archive war film. The band of brothers were not the only ones with an epic struggle. These veterans of America's famous Parachute Infantry Regiments share their most vivid memories for the first and probably last time. Directed and edited by independent filmmaker and Vietnam Veteran Guy Anhorn, the project features original music, A Paratroopers Theme by Zak Rosa and My Brothers & Me by Chris Winward.>.

Below are Diary Notes by Clair Hess and an essay about 2nd Bn 501st PIR at Bizory by Mark Stephenson. This version along with photos can be found at this link.

As soon as Joe McGinley reached the age of 18, he joined the Army in Philadelphia in October of 1943.  It was a tough decision, as he was the oldest boy of a large German-Irish family in North Philadelphia.
After initial processing at Fort Indiantown Gap he boarded a train for basic training at Camp Blanding, near Jacksonville, Florida.
Joe was trained as a radio operator and then volunteered for the airborne.  His first influence to be a paratrooper was being impressed by the “shinny boots.”
During jump training at Fort Benning he learned that one of his instructors was Bob Flynn, also from Philadelphia.  Bob began dating Joe’s sister and they corresponded throughout the war.
After a short leave for Joe’s girlfriend’s prom at Olney High School in Philly, he was shipped over to Southampton, England in July 1944 on the USS George Washington, a former captured WWI German ship that was used by President Wilson.
Joe arrived as a replacement radio operator with F Company, 501 PIR in August 14th 1944, moving into the tents of troopers who never returned from Normandy.
Joe McGinley’s first combat jump was into Holland on September 17th 1944, followed by 72 days on the line before rest and refitting in Mourmelon-le-Grande, France.
On December 16th, the men of Company F were awarded their CIB’s (Combat Infantry Badges) and on the 17th, a few headed off to Paris.  But, on the 18th,  Joe’s lieutenant, Clair Hess (of King of Prussia PA), received an ALERT for “an operation.”   He even noted in his journal that he feared they would probably never return. They knew it was serious when orders came down to release all soldiers from the stockade.
Trucks soon began arriving in the battalion section. Joe gathered up what clothing, equipment and weapons he had.
Trucks, semi's pulling forty-by-eight open-topped trailers typically used to haul cattle, began to line the street.  Many of Joe’s fellow troopers stood with dazed looks on their faces as if they had just gotten out of bed.
The battalion trucks crossed the embarkation point at 1400hrs.
Truck after truck carrying the division turned onto the road with the 501 PIR at the head of the convoy.
They were on the lookout for German paratroopers.
Rumor had it they were operating behind American lines to disrupt rear operations.
With little room to sit most of the men stood. The cold air and breeze forced some to huddle as close to the front wall as they could. Some men joked and discussed what might await them and night quickly fell over them. No one knew where they were going as the convoy wound its way east and then north.
The trucks with “Klondike White”, the code name for the second battalion of the 501st PIR stopped about a kilometer west of the ancient town of Bastogne on the Rue de March. In the distance could be heard artillery.
Lt Hess of Fox Company (left) wrote in his journal:
“Arrived in wooded area outside Bastogne 0300. Moved to town. 1st Battalion meet enemy on edge of town. Shells whiz into town near us. We move to Bizory. Move out into woods. All armored pulling back scared as hell.  We withdraw to Bizory to dig in.  Expect big attack in morning.”
The gray light of dawn had not yet broken the dark of night when the battalion began to move from their assembly area around 0530. The men fell out onto the road in two lines on either side.
The column followed the road into town. The streets were jammed with vehicles and VIII Corps headquarters personnel.
One of these was John Dimino (below right) of Norristown PA, a member of the top secret Machine Records Unit. He became a lifelong friend of chapter member Louis Zotti (bottom of story)also of Norristown PA,   Lou was a Bazooka Team Leader for HQ 1-502nd PIR 101st Airborne.
Shells were still falling in the town and it was clear that everyone they passed were getting out.  As Fox Company passed through the congested streets, civilians peered out from darkened doors and windows watching the frantic activity in the streets.
They, too, did not know how the tide would turn over the coming hours and feared the possibility of the return of the enemy.
Lt Bill Sefton saw a Bastogne civilian hastily whitewashed over an American flag painted on a wall.
Sefton had found Lt. Clair Hess wounded on D-Day and became best of friends for the rest of their lives.
Retreating stragglers from American units were filtering into Bastogne along every road. “Wiped out…Tanks, tanks, tanks,” was all they could report. These men, despondent and some crying did not know from where they came or where they were heading.
General Anthony McAuliffe, acting commander of the Division, had instructed Colonel Julian Ewell, regimental commander of the 501st, to move east where he was to “make contact, attack and clear up the situation.”
Joe McGinley and Fox Company moved past the Eglise St. Pierre, Bastogne’s ancient church that had stood since the fourteenth century.
During the continuous shelling, Pvt Joe McGinley and a few others took cover in the church (right).  
It was filled with deceased local civilians, so they climbed over the pews. Joe found a communion prayer card with the name Jacque Martin, an altar boy.   Joe kept the card for the rest of his life as a good luck charm.  Martin was contacted 65 years later and is still a Bastogne resident.
As Joe and the other troopers left town and got closer to Bizory, the stream of refugees had ceased and now out of the mist more weary and scared soldiers appeared.
These men looked at the troopers with sullen bewilderment and some spoke with scornful contempt, saying, “If you wanna fight Krauts, they’re right over the hill.”
Joe McGinley and Fox Company were stretched along the farm track all the way to the high ground northeast of Bizory over the Mageret/Bizory road.
Fox would hold these positions for the next eleven days.
On December 20th  , all along the line from Bizory to Neffe, the Germans laid down a wall of artillery that some on the receiving end described as the worse they experienced the entire war.
Lt. Hess wrote in his pocket diary:
“Sgt Parks and I made up Molotov cocktails. Everyone dug in. The Jerri’s line up five tanks with infantry in front of woods and lay down big smoke screen. Thought this would be my last day.”
The attack came when the tanks and infantry emerged in front of Fox’s position.
All machine guns in Fox and guns from HQ company, as well as the four tank destroyers opened on the German assault columns simultaneously.
Within moments, all the artillery General McAuliffe could turn towards Bizory struck the attackers with hundreds of rounds. By 1400 hrs the attack was over.
The attack by the 26th Volks Grenadiers was not without losses for Fox.
Hess wrote:
"Lt. Brown was hit making Hess the C.O.; Pvt. Melvin Heitsman was killed; First Lieutenant Charles Warrener was seriously wounded and would die of his wounds on Christmas Eve. Lieutenant Warrener stood up and was hit by shrapnel from a shell that hit ten feet from his hole; Pvt. Lester Randolph was killed and Pfc. Daniel Klores died of his wounds three days later. Several others were wounded but not all returned to duty. "
PVT Joe McGinley escaped injury on this round. By December 21st all of the German assaults on the 501st had been repulsed and the Germans gave up any attempts to take Bastogne from the northeast.
The shortages of food, ammunition, warm clothes and other hardships endured by McGinley, Lt Hess and the men of Fox company through Christmas are too numerous to mention and could be the subject of an entire book.
On January 3rd 1945, Fox Company and the 501st attacked north across open fields and wood patches between the railroad tracks and Bourcy. Joe McGinley recalls the Germans on the other side of the tracks opened up.
Joe and several near him were wounded when an 88 round exploded in their midst.  The trooper next to Joe was killed.  
Joe lost consciousness, was eventually taken back to an aid station and awoke in a hospital in England.

He remained in England until March.  Doctors determined that he should not be sent back to his unit. 

He remained in Europe until March of 1946 assigned to guarding German prisoners and as an officer’s driver.

Learning exactly what had happened to Joe was hampered by his trauma, loss of memory and missing records from the military records fire in 1973.  
The military was however, able to provide partially burned records which showed all his unit assignments and details of his wounds and treatment.
This information was aided by numerous wartime letters, diaries and photographs that he had put away and forgotten.  
Several old troopers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey helped piece together Joe McGinley’s story, especially Retired Colonel Clair Hess, who was a onetime CO of Fox Company during the battle in Bastogne.  
The story of 101st troopers Joe McGinley, Meron Costroff, Clair Hess, Fran Facenda and Lou Zotti was made into a documentary is available here.
On October 8th 2010, Joe McGinley passed. God bless him, our Screaming Eagles and veterans who helped save the world from tyranny.


This Original M1942 Airborne Jump jacket in Olive Drab #3 offered is in excellent condition. The coat consists of four front patch pockets with two button snaps on each, along with a unique dual-zippered knife pocket located on the upper lapel which was designed to contain a switchblade pocketknife, used to cut the parachute rigging if entangled. The top two pockets were also angled inward to make items easier to retrieve with the opposite hand. The left shoulder bears an original 101st Airborne patch along with T/4 Chevrons on each arm. The left shoulder bears an original Allied Airborne patch.

The jacket is marked 38L with the expected wear from service. However, there are no tears or fraying, and it is totally solid, with a great color that has not seen excess fading, as so many have.

Due to the somewhat fragile nature of the uniform, the M1942 pattern was often reinforced with thicker, tougher canvas on the elbows, crotch and knees. However, this example was never reinforced, indicating early issue. The M42 was worn by Paratroops assigned to Airborne units. The M42 was eventually phased out in favor of the M1943 Uniform which was a darker green, OD #7. Despite this, various individuals chose to keep their M42s in order to show their veteran status.

Included are Joe's M1924 jump pants Waist 30" and inseam 32". they are also offered in excellent condition.

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