Follow Me jeeps were jeeps that were used at airfields
to help control ground traffic of airplanes at an air base.
Follow Me jeeps used close to the front remained the normal olive drab paint color, but at bases farther to the rear, the jeeps became brightly colored.
The jeep in the picture is a solid bright yellow in color. The 3rd color scheme, after OD and solid yellow, was a yellow and black checkerboard pattern.
The reason for the bright colors was so the jeep would be seen by the pilots of the aircraft. The flight line was always a dangerous place to be and with fog, poor visibility from a confined cockpit, night time flights, and/or returning tired and potentially in a shot up plane after a long and arduous mission the risk of a plane vs flight line vehicle accident dramatically increased. The jeeps were used to lead the planes to their designated hanger or revetment. Often a plane would land at a base they had never been to before, so the crew did not know their way around the runways and taxiways. This is where the Follow Me jeep took over leading the planes through the maze of runways. Large "FOLLOW ME" signs were sometimes mounted on the back of the MB/GPW jeep with braces. These jeeps would pull up in front of a plane after it landed and guide the plane down the taxiway to the location it was to be parked.
Of note in this picture is the chemical reactive paint between the hoods black star and it's "surround" or circle. This was a special paint manufactured for the Chemical Warfare Department and was applied in specific areas to provide a visible warning in case of an attack by the enemy using "chemical weapons" such as mustard gas or other blistering agents. The color of the paint would change drastically - usually to a dark brown - when it came in contact with fumes from a chemical weapon.
Another rare item on this jeep is the Chemical Warfare Dept. 1 1/2 quart Decontaminator. It is shown in ONE of it's Several correct mounting positions. The standard factory position was to mount it under the passenger seat on the floor behind the right seat along the riser to the rear floor pan. Screws, washers and nuts plugged the holes until needed. There are several other correct mounting positions. Other mounting locations authorized: on the back slope of Left Fender (as above) or Right Fender; Between Driver's Seat Back & Body; Top of Rear Fender (inside vehicle). There is a manual that details the correct position for mounting a Decontaminator (also know as a Decontamiator Device) and bracket depending on what branch of service the jeep was attached to, and what other equipment existed on the jeep. It contained a liquid that when sprayed (hand pumped) it would neutralize any mustard gas or other chemical blistering agent oils and residue left behind after an attack. Proper procedure was to spray the vehicle down, wait 15 minutes and spray it down again, then allow to dry before moving vehicle.
Also of note as a reminder to novice restorers, is that although there were enough holes for 4 footman loops at the pioneer tools (ax & shovel) strap location, the correct number of footman loops is 3, not 4, the very front set of holes were left without a footman loop. These extra holes were there to be used in case the forward-most shovel footman loop had to be moved forward and closer to the shovel spoon bracket. The reason for sometimes needing to move it forward is because early issue shovels were shorter in length than the standard W.W.II vehicle shovels that were issued. This way it didn't matter what shovel was picked up along the way, the jeep could be made to be able to fit it. These early short shovels have a cast iron handle and are usually seen on slatgrill MB's and Script Ford GPW's.
In addition to Bright Yellow jeeps, there were CHECKERED
Follow Me Jeeps as well. As seen in this photo of a Jeep & Trailer
with the 1326th AAFBU in Lal-Hat, CBI Theater.
BACK TO Jeep History PAGE at
Please don't pirate my pictures or text. Ask my permission.
Copyright © 1998-2011 Brian French. All Rights Reserved