Willie Gillis & Norman Rockwell.

Discussion in 'US Units' started by Josh&Historyland, Dec 12, 2014.

  1. I was looking at Norman Rockwell's wonderful illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post. The ones that focused to the fictional US soldier Willie Gillis.
    While I was looking I was impressed by the level of detail Rockwell had gone into to tell his story. So I wondered if there was any indication from the pictures, as to which unit the fictional Gillis was supposed to have served in, or was he just meant to represent all soldiers.

    So far I have deducted that he is possibly a rifleman in the infantry, who served in Africa & Europe & became a sergeant (First/Staff?). If anyone else wants to take a crack at it please do, it's quite fun.


    This is a post about the man Rockwell based Gillis on.
    Personally I think his illustrations are marvellous.

    Slipdigit likes this.
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    In the "college" photo, there is a unit patch under the master sergeant stripes. It appears to be an Army Service Forces (supply) patch. Perhaps that is what he did, although I find it a stretch that he went from being a buck private in mid 1942 to a master sergeant in 1945-46, so maybe those stripes (and unit patch) are not his? It is possible I guess. The subject of my book went from a buck private in early 1943 to a staff sergeant in early 1945.

    The ribbons hanging from the insignia appear to be (top to bottom) the European-African- Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon with several campaign stars, Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal and Bronze Star Medal (I think).
    CL1 likes this.
  3. Nice going slipdigit, I thought the "college" picture would reveal the most but I have no knowledge of US insignia.

    If I was Rockwell... And believe me I wish I had an ounce of his talent! I wouldn't hang stripes and a unit badge there unless it was to point to his service branch, since he was a sort of visual storyteller it wouldn't make sense to have Gillis hang misleading suevenirs there.

    There is one more Gillis image of him travelling in a convoy, this didn't make the cover of the post though.


    What did the ASF do? I assume take care of supplies.

    Slipdigit likes this.
  4. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    You're welcome.

    Think of the Army Service Force as you would the Royal Logistic Corps.

    I like Rockwell a great deal. The paintings are so full of detail.

    There are a couple of paintings of Gillis in a Class A uniform. None of them show a branch of of service insignia, which would be on the lapel of his service jacket. There are also no marksmanship or other qualification badges on his left breast pocket, which leaves a bit of mystery.

    Post this query over at WW2F.com. There are some pretty good fart smellers, I mean smart fellers, there than might can provide more insight.
  5. :) That sounds like a good idea. How does WW2F differ from this forum? I only ask because I'm not a member and I don't know how often I'd use their site if it's pretty much like this one.

  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Hello Josh

    WW2Talk More British/Commonwealth (but not restricted to just that)
    WW2F More American (but not restricted to just that)

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