“We call her Ol’ Smokey — for obvious reasons when you start her up on cold days.”
Barbara Skaggs, ME’85, is referring to her family’s 1942 Dodge WC52, better known as a “weapons carrier” in the military. Years ago the veteran vehicle found a new life with the family.
Skaggs says the vehicle came to them as “a basket case of rusty old parts.” Currently equipped with an Army-issue replacement engine, an original engine will soon be installed. “It’s taken a lot of TLC (and some good old-fashioned reverse engineering and elbow grease), but Ol’ Smokey gets around pretty good these days,” she says.
Her husband and 10-year-old son lovedriving the vehicle to old pot-holed country roads to test out its 4-wheel drive capability. “Ol’ Smokey was used to haul weapons and troops out to the field and can go anywhere,” says Skaggs.
A senior tool design engineer with The Boeing Co., Skaggs and her husband, Kirk, belong to a World War II living history group — The Friends of Willie and Joe — in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. “We’re a bunch of historical collectors who set up displays and participate in events to share our love of history and help remember our military heroes,” she says.
“Wherever we go, we always get a wave and a smile from the people as we pass.”
According to Skaggs, her “big ol’ honkin’ monster truck” has hauled Scouts and adults alike in parades and was a big hit at her son’s school during a Veteran’s Day display.
“Wherever we go, we always get a wave and a smile from the people as we pass,” she says.