World War II: Army

This exhibit features artifacts from the Army Branch of the United States Military. The artifacts are housed in the Veterans Memorial Hall of the Hutchings Museum in Lehi, Utah.


The Louisville Times Newspaper (1941-12-08) by The Louisville TimesHutchings Museum Institute

"Date of Infamy"

December 7th, 1941 truly is a day that will live in infamy. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States joined the war that was raging in Europe. For the next four years, the American people would sacrifice their money, time, belongings, husbands, brothers, and sons for the war effort. 

Photograph (1) (circa 1942) by Archive MaterialHutchings Museum Institute

United States soldiers throughout the world and on the Western Front were distributed the same materials and supplies for their time in the armed forces. This picture was taken on the Western Front in Italy. These soldiers would have owned items like the ones that are following. 

Haversack (1936) by Archive MaterialHutchings Museum Institute

Personal Items

Each soldier would have an individual haversack that would carry their personal items. This is a M1939 haversack. 

Grooming Kit (circa 1942) by Archive MaterialHutchings Museum Institute

A grooming kit would house hygiene supplies for each soldier. They were usually equipped with a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, mirror, and shaving cream. 

Each soldier would also be given an individual mess kit with utensils. The lever would fold out to reveal two separate pans.

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This canteen is covered by a khaki covering that allows it to be held on to the soldier's belt. When you take off the khaki covering, there is a detachable cup that can be removed from the bottom. That cup would then be used for coffee in the morning. The entire canteen can hold one quart of liquid.

Camping or backpacking stoves today are minuscule compared to what World War II soldiers would carry around. One would fill the reservoir with gasoline through a funnel, and pressurize it through a pump. A dial on the side controls gas flow. The top folds out to hold a pot or canteen cup over the burner. When finished, the stove can collapse into itself. 

First Aid

This kit would have belonged to a medic. It could attach to the belt and belonged to a Van Wagoner of Lehi, Utah. It contains field dressings. 

This is another type of first aid kit. This kit also contains field dressings still packaged in their original boxes.

Gun (1) (circa 1942) by Archive MaterialHutchings Museum Institute

Combat Materials

The M1 Garand Riffle was the standard gun carried by infantry soldiers during World War II. A clip fed into it at the top. The ring next to the trigger could be pulled to tear everything out and clean the gun.

Gun (2) (circa 1942) by Archive MaterialHutchings Museum Institute

This is the M1 Carbine Riffle. It was carried only by officers during World War II.

Ammo pouches are hung on the belt to carry extra magazines of ammo. This pouch carries two 45 caliber pistol magazines. 

Ammo Canister Ammo Canister (circa 1942) by Archive MaterialHutchings Museum Institute

Ammo Box

Also called ammunition canisters, these boxes are used for safe transportation and storage of ammunition. They are usually labeled with the caliber and quantity of ammunition.

Brodie Steel Helmet Brodie Steel Helmet (circa 1942) by Archive MaterialHutchings Museum Institute

The Brodie Steel Helmet was first introduced in Britain and thus are sometimes nicknamed the British Brodie Helmet. Eventually, they were adopted by America and used throughout World War I and the beginning of World War II in 1941.

M1 Steel Helmet M1 Steel Helmet (circa 1942) by Archive MaterialHutchings Museum Institute

The M1 Steel Helmet replaced the Brodie Steel Helmet in the middle of World War II. 

Multi-Use Flashlight

The bottom of this multi-use flashlight can be unscrewed to reveal red and green colored lenses. These lenses can be placed on the flashlight and used at night to read maps or placed on the top of aiming sticks. The flashlight would illuminate the aiming sticks so mortars could be fired in the dark.

EE-8-B Field Telephone EE-8-B Field Telephone (circa 1942) by Archive MaterialHutchings Museum Institute

Field Telephone

Using laid cables, soldiers would connect one telephone to another or connect to a switchboard to reach different units. In combat, the Battalion Command Post would use these telephones to reach other companies. With the phone down, one would crank it up, press a button to get the attention of the other line, and then lift the telephone. Then they would move a switch, speak, and let go to allow the other line to reply. Some soldiers found that if they whistled at a specific pitch, they could make the other end ring.

Wearable Items

M1939 Canvas Leggings were worn over the boots and pants to keep dirt and sediment out of the boots and socks. They were used during both World Wars.

Airborne paratroopers would wear this magnetic compass on a wristwatch band. 

15th Infantry Regiment DI Unit Pin 15th Infantry Regiment DI Unit Pin (circa 1942) by Archive MaterialHutchings Museum Institute

15th Infantry Regiment DI Unit Pin

These pins are commonly called Unit Crests, but are formally called Distinctive Unit Crests. Each unit has a unique crest that are represented on pins like these. They are worn on the dress uniform of enlisted soldiers--one on each shoulder loop. 

Aerial Gunner Aviation Badge

This badge was issued to the aerial gunners of World War II who served on aircraft like the B-17 and B-29. It features the symbol of a winged bullet that represents the hazardous duties of the gunners. 

Distinguished Flying Cross

This cross is awarded for "Heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight." It is the oldest aviation award for the military. 

Patches like these were worn on the left sleeve of combat and dress uniform of soldiers in the United States Military. This patch signifies the rank of Sargent First Class in the United States Army.

Photograph (2) (circa 1942) by Archive MaterialHutchings Museum Institute

The man in this photograph is wearing the Sargent First Class Patch that was shown previously. 

Credits: Story

Aerial Gunner Aviation Badge:

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