Admiral Chester W. Nimitz becomes commander-in-chief of the United States Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) in a ceremony on USS Grayling SS-209 in Pearl Harbor Hawaii on December 31, 1941
Note censor markings in the background of some of the pictures, one of these pictures was the cover picture of the March 6, 1942 issue of LIFE Magazine
LIFE Magazine Archives - Bob Landry Photographer

Infantrymen of the 129th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Division on Bougainville, 16th of March, 1944
What you're looking at is a Sherman T31 Demolition tank. Its turret was armed with a 105MM howitzer, and two 183MM rockets, set on a normal M4A3 chassis.
The role of this tank would have been essentially a bunker buster. It was planned to take part in the D-Day landings in Normandy, giving landing forces the ability to knock out pretty much any hard structure or fortification.
This did not end up coming to fruition, since it was incredibly heavy due to the large size of the guns and weight of the new turret, engineers at the time could not conceptualize a way to make it amphibious. Only two were ever built.

"I've got to give the Navy credit. At least they taught me one useful skill." An enterprising Sailor can make a lot of money with the ship's sewing machine. LIFE Archive photo by Carl Mydans.

A US Army demolition man with the tools of his trade...so to speak...circa 1942.
Over his shoulder he carries a service respirator in its kidney-shaped bag.
This shot affords a good view of the adjustable leather liner inside his M1917A1 helmet.
The M1917A1's webbing chinstrap was carried over to the then new M1 helmet.
(LIFE / Vandivert)

This M1902 3 inch field gun and limber was photographed at Fort Leavenworth. Kansas, in May of 1942.
It is set on a plinth in memory of Brigadier Edmund L. Gruber, a noted artilleyman who was appointed Commandant of the Command and General Staff School and Commanding General of the Seventh Corps Area, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Sadly, Brigadier-General Gruber died suddenly of a heart-attack in May of 1941, age 61.
As a side note, B-G Gruber was the composer of the field artillery's song "The caissons go rolling along", which subsequently became the official song of the US Army (see link below)
(LIFE / Vandivert)

This photo, taken on December 8, 1943, on Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, shows PFC Homer J. Finley, Jr. (U.S. Marine Corps) and his four-legged comrade "Jack", a Belgian Shepherd of the 1st Marine War Dog Platoon. Together, Homer and Jack landed on Bougainville and bravely fought against a relentless enemy. During that short period, they always looked after each other, which created a special bond between them, but Homer was then assigned to other duties, and the two Marines were separated. Jack was later wounded by a Japanese sniper while carrying a vital message, but despite his injury, he pursued his mission and delivered the message. At the end of the war, Homer returned to the United States and was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. One day, Homer was walking through the camp, when suddenly, he saw Jack. As he approached, another Marine told him: "Well don't get too close to him because nobody else can, he's vicious". Homer replied: "If I know Jack, he won't bother me one little bit". As he opened the gate, the Belgian Shepherd jumped into his arms, put his paws on Homer's shoulders and licked his face. Looking back on that reunion, the WWII veteran said: "This kind of tears me up when I think about it. The fact that he remembered me close to two years from the last time I had seen him was really something". Homer passed away on August 20, 2020, at the age of 95.

In front of his B26, Lieutenant Richard H Lightfine, Garden City NY pilot of the 323rd Bomb Group plays with his mascot "Trea" a Great Dane who accompanies them on training missions.

USAAF B-25 Mitchell Bombers with the 310th Bombardment Group / 12 AF operate from a base in Algeria - early 1943
LIFE Magazine Archives - Eliot Elisofon Photographer


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