Home » Army Life and Stories » JEAN SHEPHERD army visuals

JEAN SHEPHERD army visuals


Here is more visual material that relates to my SHEP’S ARMY.  In the introduction I say that I have strong feelings that Shep’s “Company K” is probably a reference to William March’s episodic novel published in 1933 titled COMPANY K. Here is the apparently gone-through-the-trenches dust jacket of my used copy, bought after I made the discovery of the probable connection between it and Shep. It’s a fine, powerful book! (Click on image to enlarge the flyleaf text describing the book. Yes, I paid lots more than the original $2.00 cover price.) Note that the text mentions that the book’s chapters follow a chronological path from training, through “active fighting, and back home again.” I only became aware of this particular connection to my own organization of SHEP’S ARMY long after I’d completed and submitted my manuscript. What a delight when I did discover this coincidence!:

company k cover


Many images that I’ve accumulated seem to concern Camp Crowder, the Missouri post where Shepherd received much of his training in Signal Corps activities.

Shepherd frequently disparaged Camp Crowder because of its weather and much else. Mort Walker, creator of the long-running comic strip “Beetle Bailey” spent time there, and because of its poor drainage and resultant pools of water, he dubbed it in the strip “Camp Swampy,” where Beetle spent his time. The green text on the cover of this paperback reprint of strips says “Welcome to Camp Swampy”:

      camp swampy 2

swampy to close

Among those others who, in real life, were stationed at Camp Crowder was actor Dick van Dyke, who, in his sitcom’s first-season episodes, several times alludes to the Camp. As emcee of the entertainment for the troops at Crowder, he meets a singer/dancer played by Mary Tyler Moore, whom, in the sitcom, he will later marry:

dick van dyke


The bizarre and ungainly apparatus in the next photo is an early radar unit, the kind Shepherd occasionally talked about regarding his Camp Murphy, Florida days on the edge of Florida’s Everglades:


In the SHEP’S ARMY  story titled “Lister Bag Attack,” a story also located in Florida, Shepherd describes the strange canvas bag hung outdoors so that soldiers could access its chemical-full, tepid water, should they so desire:

lister bag


In the SHEP’S ARMY  story titled “T. S., Mac,” the letters stand for Tough Sh**.” Shepherd once commented that at least one army unit  actually had small cards printed for soldiers’ use–“T. S.” cards. Here is George Baker’s “Sad Sack” cartoon strip version:


The insignia for just-about-to-be released and honorably discharged soldiers, the “Ruptured Duck,” previously seen on this blog in its brass pin form, could also be worn on the uniform as a cloth patch:

ruptured duck


In the introduction to SHEP’S ARMY I mention cartoonist Bill Mauldin’s darkly grim war-time humor as depicted by his two anti-heroic GIs, Willie and Joe. The opening captioned image of them in Mauldin’s book, UP FRONT, shows them resting (the image here is cropped):

bill mauldin cartoon

“You’ll get over it, Joe. Oncet I wuz gonna write

a book exposin’ the army after th’ war myself.”

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