Re: GN Boxcar

John Barry


I have to agree with you and Brian on the fellow in khakis.  The MP armband is a dead giveaway.  Joint Army-Navy or Army-CG patrols were often used in WWII.  It helped defuse things when busting up brawls as the joint groups weren't seen as taking sides the way a strictly SP or MP detail could be by brawlers from the opposite service.  There's also documentation that joint teams were used on passenger trains during the war.  

John Barry
ATSF North Bay Lines 
Golden Gates & Fast Freights 
Lovettsville, VA


On Sunday, April 18, 2021, 04:45:59 PM EDT, Garth Groff and Sally Sanford <mallardlodge1000@...> wrote:

Brian and Paul,

Since the photo was found at the bottom of a Coast Guard file cabinet, I tend to agree with Brian. Also consider that the Coast Guard was heavily involved in both port safety and port security during WWII.

Both officers and enlisted men wore the same uniforms as the Navy, except for insignia and sometimes the "Donald Duck" hat for junior enlisteds (but also the Navy "Dixie Cup", you see in the photo). All I can really tell you about the SP facing the camera is that he is a second class, though his specialty is unclear. Chief Petty Officers and officers usually wore Navy khakis.

Now that I have your attention, I will share a story about legendary Coast Guard Captain Higby (later promoted to Admiral upon his retirement). He was, IIRC, head of port security in Long Beach/Los Angeles during WWII. Higby could be a terror. Once he was inspecting a bridge with one of his subordinates who was responsible for that structure. Sitting right on the bridge was a box clearly marked as dynamite. Higby pointed out the box with great indignation, then drew his .45 and put a bullet right through the box. His subordinate officer almost fainted. The box was, of course, empty and had been placed there by Captain Higby just to make a point. 

I knew Admiral Higby slightly. He used to wander around the District Office in Long Beach in his very senior years (like 85 or something). He often used the restroom outside my office to change into swimming trunks and a bathrobe before going down to the shore for a dip. He was quite a character.

Now let's get back to boxcars.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff  🦆

On Sun, Apr 18, 2021 at 12:20 PM Paul Koehler <koehlers@...> wrote:



Look again, I believe that’s two Coast Guard SP’s and a Coast Guard Officer.


Paul; C. Koehler


From: <> On Behalf Of BRIAN PAUL EHNI
Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2021 6:45 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] GN Boxcar


And Army MP (Military Police) and two Navy SPs (Shore Police) by the look of it.




Brian Ehni



From: <> on behalf of Garth Groff and Sally Sanford <mallardlodge1000@...>
Reply-To: <>
Date: Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 6:43 AM
To: realSTMFC <>
Subject: [RealSTMFC] GN Boxcar




While scanning my prints I came upon this interesting photo of a GN boxcar. I found the faded original in a file when I was assigned to the Coast Guard District 11 headquarters in Long Beach. I presume that these are Coast Guardsmen, the photo is from the Los Angeles harbor area, and was taken during WWII.


Yours Aye,



Garth Groff  🦆

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