An M1 Comes Home

It’s not every day that you hear about a rifle lost on a French battlefield coming back, through the family of the soldier who carried it, to an American museum. But it’s happening with a World War II M1 Garand rifle like the one in the picture — one that was carried by a young American paratrooper in the D-Day invasion.

M1 Springfield NM - RIA

Martin Teahan was a tough kid from the Bronx, so it’s probably fitting that the story was told through Bronx descendants and in the Bronx Times. And Teahan was one American kid among many whose grit and excellence forever united the American Airborne and the nation of France in the context of martial enterprise, so perhaps it’s fitting that a French Colonel and an American General got involved.

Bronx native Jimmy Farrell is awaiting the return of an M-1 rifle that belonged to his uncle Martin Teahan who served in World War II as part of the 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR).

Teahan, an Irish-American, was killed on June 6, 1944 in Picauville, Normandy after he had been scouting a position.

After his capture, a German soldier killed him.

Farrell, 60, said Colonel Patrick Collet, a French Army Paratrooper commander, contacted his sister Liv Teahan on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, to let them know the uncle’s rifle was recovered.

“It was the luck of the Irish,” Farrell said with a laugh.

Collet, while visitng a French farmer, had noticed that a rifle the farmer had was engraved with the name “Martin Teahan”.

He then made an effort to contact the family.

Farrell, who served in the U.S. Army from 1974-1977, said that in June he and his wife Monica visited the colonel in Normandy and got a chance to hold the rifle.

The Farrells and GEN Mark Milley and his wife at Teahan's grave in Normandy.

The Farrells and GEN Mark Milley and his wife at Teahan’s grave in Normandy.

“I felt the cold metal of the weapon on my fingertips, and envisioned my uncle, bravely marching forward through enemy territory,” said Farrell.

Afterwards, Farrell said he and his wife got a chance to visit Teahan’s grave site where they met U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley.

Farrell, now a resident of East Brunswick, NJ, said his uncle’s south Bronx roots played an important part in Teahan’s toughness.

Teahan, like many in his day, cheated his way into the paratroopers. He joined underage with a forged parental signature.

Farrell intends to donate the rifle for display at the 82nd Airborne Museum or at the Pentagon. It’s a good story; go Read The Whole Thing™.

23 thoughts on “An M1 Comes Home

  1. SPEMack

    A very fitting display piece. Did you see the news where the final remains of the F-16 jock who got killed north of Baghdad were repatriated today?

    1. Hognose Post author

      Was just discussing that with the Blogbro and OTR (who’s visiting for a couple of days) tonight. It looks like a Sunni chief somehow got the remaining remains (some remains had already been recovered and interred in two separate ceremonies) and delivered them. We hope the man was suitably rewarded (even if he, or one of his guys, had something to do with holding his remains all this long, which is probably the case).

      Interesting facts: the then SECDEF and SECAF told the family in 2012 that no DOD assets would waste any more time looking, because the President had declared the war over and pulled out. The family shamed them into faking the loyalty down that they didn’t actually have.

      1. SPEMack

        I was down in Southwest Baghdad when that happened. I remember thinking that given about 10 guys from the Scout Platoon we could go find him.

        1. Hognose Post author

          As could my guys… given patience and what we called the “tea ceremony” with lots of polite sheikhs. It’s amazing how much their attitudes changed if you listed to their grievances and asked what they wanted. Indeed, JPRC or someone may have been working the sheikhs under the radar to get these five kids the remaining parts of their Dad back.

          1. SPEMack

            The best civil affairs chick I ever knew was perpetually in a hijab.

            Sidenote: it always amaze when I read tales of true SF daring do how much fact was encapsulated in the fiction that was “The Green Berets”

          2. Hognose Post author

            “The Green Berets” was mostly a collection of war stories as told to Robin Moore, who had access because he was RFKs college roommate or buddy. Many of the book’s characters were renamed real people. (Kornie, for instance).

  2. JasonC

    Of course he intends to donate the rifle. The NJ DOJ already has agents sitting on his house hoping he’ll try to bring it home so they can put the bracelets on him.

  3. LSWCHP

    “After his capture a German soldier killed him”.

    So his death was a war crime rather than being KIA? It would be good to know more of that, and an awful fate if true.

    1. Hognose Post author

      There are some circumstances in which a captor can kill a captive without it being a war crime, for instance, insurrection in a prison camp or an escape attempt.

      But war crime is the way to bet.

  4. LSWCHP

    The news story has him killed on D-Day, but the date on his grave marker appears to read June 23 1944.

    Further evidence, if any is necessary, that you should never trust what you read in the MSM.

  5. Aesop

    The salient point in all this is that a random French farmer was sitting on a battle-ready M1 Garand, probably completely without any official sanction, for 70 years. One can but wonder what other pieces he and a few million of his fellows have squirreled away thereabouts, “because they can”.

    Multiple that times all of France, and goodly portions of the neighbor countries, and you have a recipe for a rather sporty go-around when the 21st century Muslim Follies kick off in western Europe in earnest, as they’re all but likely to do, any day now.

    1. James

      Wondered about that…maybe he had it de-milled and therefore legal? Certainly more to the story.

  6. Keith

    The problem with that thought is the Cosmos/Tranzis/Progressives will make a strong effort to confiscate all those arms and unlike W W II there will be no outside power trying to infiltrate new ones.

    1. Aesop

      They’ve been trying that for decades, and yet Farmer Pierre still had Teahan’s Garand, and there’s not a whiff of any consequences to him.

      That suggests inescapably that the confiscatory model is vastly underperforming by unimaginable orders
      of magnitude, and makes Greek banking, Italian rail transport, and German culinary endeavors comparative marvels of success.

      1. KenWats

        I had a great Pork shoulder when I visited Germany, certainly better than any English food I’ve ever eaten.

        1. Aesop

          In heaven, the police are British, the lovers are Italian, the chefs are French, the engineers are German, and the bankers are Swiss.
          In hell, the police are German, the lovers are Swiss, the chefs are British, the engineers are French, and the bankers are Italian.

          1. Cattus Borealis

            I thought in hell the Police were from Brussels, the lovers were from Brussels, the chefs are from Brussels, the engineers are from Brussels and the bankers are from Brussels.

          2. Aesop

            No, Cattus. That’s in the EU, not in actual Hell.
            But the two are easily confused, and frequently mistaken for each other.
            And next, they’re all getting merkeled.

      2. John M.

        I’m not sure Farmer Pierre’s government has declared war on him in quite the way that Obama and Hillary’s crowd want to with us.

        In any event, TPTB are fine if you keep Grandpa’s Garand on the wall, as long as you are fine with them sending you up the river for it whenever somebody decides they don’t like the content of your website, or they think they’d make a better owner of your homestead than you, or you got a little mouthy at the traffic stop last week.

        Gun owners who think that widespread failure to comply with CT’s and NY’s new registration laws is some sort of victory for our team are seriously missing the point of those laws. TPTB will just reel the noncompliant in slowly over decades and count on changing mores meaning that your grandkids would all rather inherit your final bowel movement than inherit that illegal assault sniper Garand you kept on the wall like a right-wing lunatic.

        -John M.

        1. Aesop

          The revolution will come as a great shock to those types.
          ;)

          You can change the legal codes, but you can’t change human DNA, or the patterns of history.

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