South Pacific Jeep Carries US Army History

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FOREST PARK (KTVI) – Whether you recognize them from time served in the military or television shows and movies, chances are you've seen a Willy's jeep. But it's more than just a set piece for the Muny's production of South Pacific. It's a reminder just how big this stage really is.

“This is a 1941 first year Willy's jeep.  Came out just prior to the second world war.  A general purpose vehicle that's what it was,” says Tom Doherty, the man who donated the jeep to the Muny’s production of South Pacific. Doherty’s familiarity with this four cylinder four wheel drive dates back to his time he served in the Korean War.

“I was in the back of this (jeep) and incoming rounds are coming in and (my comrade) put it in four wheel drive and up into the rice patty we went. We saved the day and saved our lives.  That's why I have a strong affinity for a jeep,” Doherty says.

Muny audiences have been entertained this week seeing this World War Two warhorse make it's way onto the stage. And the show will go on for Doherty and his jeep even after the sun sets on South Pacific's run at the Muny this week. “I gotta live a long time,” Doherty says.  “I'll be buried in this jeep cause it is so much fun.”