The ASOM Displays Major General James Gavin’s Rifle in D-Day Exhibit
Like many of the artifacts on display at the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum (ASOM), this M1 carbine rifle has seen its fair share of history. Affectionately known as the “Jumping General,” or “Slim Jim” by his men, Major General James M. Gavin jumped with this rifle during World War II.
If you’re not familiar with Gavin’s impressive military history, he commanded the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment during WWII, including the airborne assaults into Sicily and Italy, until Normandy. During the assault into Sicily, Deputy Commanding General of the 82d Airborne Division, BG Charles L. Keerans, Jr., was lost and never seen again. Due to this, Gavin became the Deputy Commanding General for the Normandy invasion. Just prior to the airborne assault into Holland, Operation MARKET GARDEN, Gavin was also given command of the 82d, when Major General Matthew Ridgway was given command of the newly formed XVIII Airborne Corps.
The M1 carbine rifle was used for combat airborne assaults due to its lightness compared to other small arms weapons. Once on the ground, and moving forward, General Gavin used the full size .30-06 M1 Garand rifle, as seen in the picture below. This rifle version had better shooting distance, accuracy and stopping power on the battlefield than the carbine.
You can see Major General Gavin’s M1 carbine rifle for yourself by visiting the “D-Day: Freedom From Above Exhibit”, currently on display at the ASOM until June 18, 2022. This exhibit uses HistoPad, an augmented reality technology in combination with artifacts that once belonged to WWII veterans to provide an immersive experience for visitors.
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