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At Ease: 1943

At Ease: 1943

1943. " 'At Ease.' Two soldiers in a bomb storage facility at Camp Pendleton, Calif., admiring portrait of a young woman. Pinup of Susan Hayward hangs nearby." Dye destruction print made in 2002 from Frank S. Errigo's original 4x5 Kodachrome. Exhibited in "American Treasures of the Library of Congress." View full size.

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Hoppe's No. 9 Solvent

Getting ready to buy some this week for my new H&K VP9 9mm pistol. Was on active duty from 1970-1981 and weapons cleaner was second in my memory only to the smell of expended brass on the firing ranges during recruit training. In the barracks though, the stench of Brasso and burning boot polish reigned as king most of the time!

Cover Art

Could be a cover for The Saturday Evening Post by Norman Rockwell.

Yellow Ordnance

Prior to, and into the early days of WW2, yellow was also used to indicate high explosive content, all the way down to hand grenades and mortar shells. However, it was found that yellow was a lousy color from a camouflage standpoint, so at some point in the summer of 1942 the paint color for HE ordnance was changed to OD green with yellow markings.

On a different subject, there are [were] two Camp Pendletons during the war, the most famous being the USMC base in California which is still in operation to this day. The other was a National Guard camp on the Virginia coast, which was used for coastal artillery training. Since both of the soldiers in the photo are, well, SOLDIERS [as opposed to Marines], I wonder if the photo was taken at the camp in Virginia instead?


That they'd be using commercial, as opposed to government issued, bore cleaner.

[Just because something is a brand-name product doesn't mean it can't be "government-issued." - Dave]


Nice rack.

Living Color

How unusual to see WWII-era photos in "living color." After all, those of us who grew up in the 1950s (when the war still loomed large in conversation and in Hollywood) were sure that WWII took place in black and white.

[We have hundreds more. -Dave]]

Coast Artillery

Fascinating. The "bombs" in this 1943 photo are marked with stencils unique to Coast Artillery seacoast weapons. By rotating the photo I could make out "1400-LBS" (weight) and "14 S.C.G." for "14-inch caliber sea coast gun." Yellow paint indicated armor piercing projectiles.

Turns out the military actually converted many Coast Artillery projectiles to aerial bombs by affixing fins and attachment points for hanging in bomb bays. Perhaps that's what's going on in this photo, since there were no Coast Artillery guns at Camp Pendleton.

BTW, we're restoring a Coast Artillery battery near San Francisco and your photo confirms we definitely got the color correct on our replica projectiles. See below.


Hoppe's No. 9 is still one of the most popular bore cleaners around. Been around for over 100 years. Tried some of the newer ones, always come back to this one.

Every summer, as a kid growing up overseas in the 50s, we would go to the market and buy surplus canteens, knapsacks (as we called them), ammo belts, helmet liners, helmets, etc. Same gear as shown here. Only thing we couldn't get was the M1. Would have liked one of them way back when also.

Don't ever do what he's doing

Because you can never get the smell of Hoppe's #9 out of a mattress. Ask me how I know!

Taking a Break

I see the Marine has paused while cleaning his M1 Garand to do a little stargazing. Always liked the aroma of Hoppe's No. 9 bore cleaner.

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