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The James Paris Collection


Stinger Gunner USMC
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Stinger Gunner USMC

Since I have been primarily idle on the forum for quite some time I feel that a reintroduction may be in order for those who do not know me or are not familiar with my collection.

 

I am a U.S. Marine veteran and a collector of military uniforms and artifacts since 1989 when I was 5 years old. The focus of my collection is uniforms of the Second World War, more specifically, I have significant interests in WWII USMC items as well as Pacific Theatre in general, but my collection does represent all theatres of the war. I have sub-collections of Pre-war USMC and USN officer and USMC and USN valor uniforms. My tertiary interests include sweetheart items and pillow cases as well as photo groupings. Of course, as any militaria collector knows, green, OD and Camoflague things tend to follow us home and there are plenty of items within my collection that don't quite fit in with the collection but are there anyways.

 

My collection is housed in a climate controled room behind my house and is about 240 sq ft. I hold a degree in American History and museum studies and preservation and research are of the utmost importance to me. I am a firm believer that an object is valueless and that the history behind it is what matters. It is with that philosophy that I collect and enjoy the countless hours of research that goes into each item in my collection.

 

I have remarked many times on the forum that items should be shared with their background stories, as that is what needs to be preserved for future generations, as much, if not more than the object itself. As I post my collection for the forum to view and enjoy I will try my best to share whatever history I can about the individuals who wore the uniforms- who fought, bled and in some cases gave their lives defending our Nation.

 

As a final note before I share some overall views of my humble "museum", my son, William who is 7 years old, is a new collector, primarily interested in Vietnam, as his grandfather spent two tours with the Seabees at the Rock Pile and at LZ Sally. I will post some of the uniforms from his small collection from time to time, noting that they are his.

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Stinger Gunner USMC

Begining with a few overall views of my collection to give you an idea of what my interests are. If anybody spots something that they would like to see and/or learn about please feel free to let me know. The uniform in the display case with burial flag above is that of my Grandfather, Sergeant First Class Elmer J. Schommer, who served from 1940-1962 in the Navy from 1940-41 and reenlisting just after Pearl Harbor, joining the Army and serivng as a 37mm Anti-tank gunner with D Co. 1st BN 381st Infantry of the 96th Division in the Philippines and at Okinawa.

 

I have had the distinct pleasure of visiting both battlefields, and tracing the path of the 381st across the Southern half of Okinawa during the year that I was stationed there.

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Stinger Gunner USMC

Becides the 20 mannequins and coat forms that I rotate my uniforms on, my collections has 30 linear feet of hanging storage with a cedar clad wall

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Stinger Gunner USMC

The upper racks hold my US Navy collection as well as my larger clothing gropuings, post WWII items and my own uniforms, while half of the lower rack is my WWII US Army uniform collection and the other half holds my beloved USMC uniforms. The white display case is my WWII Naval aviation display and includes 2 Avenger Pilots who received the Navy Cross on the same day. I will post more on their exploits in the near future

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Stinger Gunner USMC

The 4 Vietnam uniforms on display in the middle of the room are from:

Sp-4 James G Helton from C Co. 46th Combat Engineers (my step-father)

Master Sergeant Charles Owens, who served is final days in the Marine Corps with 3rd Tank Bn. in Vietnam. Owens' claim to fame is that he was reportedly the youngest Marine to enlist during WWII at age 14. He was wounded at Peleliu while fighting with the 7th Marines and twice more during Korea still with 7th Marines at the Hook.

Equipment Operator 3/c Jim Picotti served in the Quang Tri provence with NCMB 7 from 1967-69

Lcpl Dale Kagebein was wounded in action on 8 May 1968 while serving in combat operations with M/3/3. He was evacuated to Okinawa where he was offered to return home. He opted to return to Vietnam where he was killed while serving with K/3/5 on 21 Jan 1969 in Quang Nam provance less than a month after returning.

 

The small display on the wall are the items of my maternal grand father, U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Andrew Marcolini, who served as the Chief Cook at Kodiak US Naval Base with the defense garrison there during WWII. My grandfather returned from the war to spend over 30 years in the Central Illinois coal mines and is still as active of a 92 year old as I have ever seen!

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Great to have you back James, love the collection. One day I need to make a trip to Granite and pay you a visit. I drove through there Sunday on my way to the Cardinals game. Jon

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Stinger Gunner USMC

Lieutenant Burd Sheldon McGinnes enlisted in August, 1942 and served with VMF-113 and 114 as a Radio/Radarman through late 1943 before being selected for Officers Candidates School on the V-12 program at Penn State, attaining the rank of Platoon Sergeant before receiving his commission in Oct, 1944. LT McGinnes made it overseas in July, 1945 and joined 3/9 as an intelligence officer. With the end of hostilities he joined 1/3 and joined the Bonin Occupational Force and served at Chi Chi Jima, where he took part in searching for evidence of war crimes. In March, 1946 he was on duty with the Commander of Naval Activities, Japan in connection with War Crimes Trials. Following that duty he proceeded to Iwo Jima where he participated in the effort to account for our fallen Marines. 1st Lt. McGinnes was processed out in July, 1946 during the mass demobilization and returned to active duty only shortly druing the Korean War, serving at Quantico between 1951 and 1952

 

McGinnes continued his education and served as the Director of graduate studies with Department of Fish and WIldlife for over 25 years. He sadly lost a son, Charles D. McGinnes to friendly fire in vietnam in 1971 while serving with 2nd Bn 501st

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Stinger Gunner USMC

Great to have you back James, love the collection. One day I need to make a trip to Granite and pay you a visit. I drove through there Sunday on my way to the Cardinals game. Jon

Its good to hear from you Jon. Sorry I've been away from the forum. Haven't slowed down collecting any though! I stopped posting my collection a couple years ago mainly because I got tired of seeing 10 page discussions on a disposable piece of field gear with no history, while historically important artifacts where the owner takes the time to tell the history of the veteran and/or object are largely ignored. We'll see how it goes...

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Great collection James I always love to see "simple" uniforms with a great story behind them.

Hopefully you keep updating this as it looks like you have a ton of great uniforms

 

Regards David

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ColdWarRules

Hi!

 

I just got interested in 1st Marine items from Korea, do you happen to have any that you are willing to share? I'd be interested in hearing their stories!

 

-Nick

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teufelhunde.ret

J. How delightful to see this thread and your collection, have enjoyed immensely and continue to watch! Have you worked on the Coyle group? s/f D.

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Stinger Gunner USMC

Hi!

 

I just got interested in 1st Marine items from Korea, do you happen to have any that you are willing to share? I'd be interested in hearing their stories!

 

-Nick

I'll have to get photos of my 1st Marine Division Korean War uniforms for you. While not 1st Marine Division uniform this is still a great uniform with very interesting history none-the-less.

 

Major Robert Stephens began his career as a Private in November, 1940. December 7, 1941 he was at aerial gunnery school with VMSB-231 at Ewa Airfield. He remained with VMSB-231 through the battle of Midway and Guadalcanal, before returning to the states. Stephens finished WWII as a Master Technical Sergeant and was commissioned in late 1951 before going to Korea in June, 1952 with VMF-212 as a Material Officer. His Commendation ribbon is authorized with combat "V" for service in Korea from June, 1952 to February, 1953. Stephens retired in 1962 as a Major with 22 years active duty.

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Stinger Gunner USMC

J. How delightful to see this thread and your collection, have enjoyed immensely and continue to watch! Have you worked on the Coyle group? s/f D.

Good to hear from you. Yes, I have been doing a lot of research on Coyle. Confirming his awards has been quite the challange. I pulled his entire personnel file from the Archives and spent an entire day making copies. It was the largest I have seen to date with 4 volumes. I have most of his campaign ribbons figured out with the exception of whether or not he was authorized the Dominican Republic Campgian ribbon, as he was in Haiti during the award period for the Dominican Campaign on the staff of the Commander of the Marine Brigaide. While there is no mention of him being in the DR I would expect that he would have traveled there with the Colonel as a member of his staff. The other oddity is that he was recomended for the Navy Cross for combat actions against German Submarines aboard the USS Wyoming by the Commander of the Fleet and was endorced by Sec Nav.. The award was deneid at some point and I find no trace of him receiving a Silver Citation Star or even a letter of commendation as a reduced award. I just find it odd that he would have been flat out denied for the award. I have also seen orders dating from 1942/3 stating that Marines and Sailors previously recomended for a MoH or NC that were denied or who received a Sec Nav letter of Commendation were authorized the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. I find nothing showing that Coyle submitted for the NMCM but if that was in fact the basis for awarding the NMCM early in WWII then Coyle would have qualified for the award.

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Great post, and great collection! I couldn't agree more about you comment pertaining to historically significant items being ignored. Thanks for posting what you have and looking forward to seeing more. Paul

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Stinger Gunner USMC

Chief Gunners Mate Fred A. Fanciullo was a pre-war sailor who served on the Cruiser USS Minneapolis from 1939-1946, taking part in all 17 campaigns that she participated in. Fanciullo was one of only 11 abouard the Minneapolis who received the Navy Commendation for the battle of Surigao Strait on 24 Oct 1944. The Minneapolis was one of the most battle proven ships of the Second World War and fired so many rounds that by mid-way through the Okinawa operation she had to return to Washington to have her gun barrels replaced because that had worn out! On the ribbon bar there are 2 bronze campaign stars flanking 3 silver campaign stars

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ColdWarRules

I'll have to get photos of my 1st Marine Division Korean War uniforms for you. While not 1st Marine Division uniform this is still a great uniform with very interesting history none-the-less.

 

Major Robert Stephens began his career as a Private in November, 1940. December 7, 1941 he was at aerial gunnery school with VMSB-231 at Ewa Airfield. He remained with VMSB-231 through the battle of Midway and Guadalcanal, before returning to the states. Stephens finished WWII as a Master Technical Sergeant and was commissioned in late 1951 before going to Korea in June, 1952 with VMF-212 as a Material Officer. His Commendation ribbon is authorized with combat "V" for service in Korea from June, 1952 to February, 1953. Stephens retired in 1962 as a Major with 22 years active duty.

 

 

Wow so cool! Almost a WWII-Korea-Vietnam vet! Wouldn't he have a star on his national defense medal?

 

-Nick

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Stinger Gunner USMC

Captain Duncan McRae Cocke was from a prominent family from the Williamsberg, VA area. He attended William and Mary College and of the University of Virginia Law School. He was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant in October, 1942 and was an instructor at the Tactical Loading School at Hampton Roads, VA until July, 1944 when he joined the 5th Marine Division. LT Cocke departed Oahu on the USS Cecil (APA-96) and participated in the Assault on Iwo Jima, landing sometime on the 19th.

 

He was promoted to Captain following the Iwo campaign and was awarded a Letter of Commendation for serving as the Assistant division G-4 "for Meritorious performance of his duties as an assistant staff officer with a Marine division throughout the planning, staging, and execution of the assault on IWO JIMA, VOLCANO ISLANDS, from 18 October, 1944 to 27 March 1945.

 

Following WWII Duncan Cocke stayed active in the 5th Marine Division Association and served as the presidnet from 1955-56. He was the an archelocgical assistant at Colonial Williamsburg from 1928-38 and became the Assistant to the Vice President before joining the Marine Corps. Following the war, he returned to Williamsburg and became the Senior VP of Cononial Williamsburg.

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Stinger Gunner USMC

a photograph of Cocke from his personnel file and a close up of his H&H Imperial Captain's bars

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