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"Concern Yourself With What Is Right"


Subdeacon Joe

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From 5 years ago: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20110808%2FNEWS%2F108080320&cid=sitesearch

 

 

 

Posted Aug. 8, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Updated Sep 23, 2011 at 8:51 AM


The story begins when Berry, a retired Navy warrant officer who also served in the Marine Corps, decided this summer to fulfill a lifelong dream of owning one of the historic handguns."I knew if I found him and it was his gun, I couldn't keep it," said George Berry, 71, who knew little about the history of the gun when he purchased it from an auction house in Pennsylvania.The gun and owner were reunited after a history buff in Medford, who bought the old handgun in an online auction last month, tracked down the retired Marine whose name is engraved on it.A historic Colt .45-caliber, semi-automatic pistol stolen more than 30 years ago from a Medal of Honor recipient in South Carolina has been returned to its rightful owner.

"Faint 'USMC' stamped on right side of slide, partial 'United States Property' wording is visible," it continued. "The name 'John J. McGinty USMC' stamped on left side of slide. Very good."In particular, lot No. 78 caught his eye: "Colt 1911 A1 semi-automatic pistol. Cal. 45. 5" bbl. SN 0103889. Reblued finish on all metal, plain walnut Colt grips, after-market rear sight, no magazine," the description read.Early in July, he began searching the Internet and discovered that Alderfer Auction, a well-known auction firm in Hatfield, Pa., would be offering three of the Colt .45s in a July 12 auction."I've always wanted to own a Colt Model 1911 .45 automatic — always wanted one," he says. "John Wayne had one in every World War II movie I've ever seen him in."

Still, the gun was manufactured in 1914, making it an early model. And there was the USMC stamp he coveted.He had no idea that McGinty was a war hero, let alone a recipient of the nation's highest military medal for valor."And it had somebody's name engraved on the left side of the slide," he observed.Berry was hesitant because it had been "reblued" and no longer had its original sights or grips, all factors decreasing its value.

"The value of the gun just went up five-fold — that was my first thought, anyway," Berry recalled.Curious about who this McGinty fellow was, he began an Internet search. Up popped numerous articles on a John J. McGinty, a retired marine who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his courage in South Vietnam in 1966.Berry paid less than $1,000 for the pistol. The two other Model 1911 Colt .45s in the auction went for roughly $4,000 and $6,000 each, he noted."I decided to buy it in spite of the knocks against it," Berry said. "It was the only one I knew of with 'USMC' stamped on it."

The retired Navy warrant officer called the retired Marine Corps officer and asked him if it was his pistol.However, Berry did not yet know whether it was the same McGinty associated with his newly acquired pistol. He used the Internet to track down McGinty, 71, in Beaufort, S.C. McGinty had retired from the corps as a captain in October 1976."His medal citation actually mentions the pistol," Berry observed, referring to the fact the wounded McGinty used it to kill five enemy soldiers attacking his position.As he read more about McGinty and his story, he knew he had to locate him to see if he was the same man who once owned the gun. He also wanted to find out how he parted with the pistol, and whether the former Marine wanted it back.

"I told him I didn't want any money, that I had just wanted a Model 1911," Berry said.Berry sent the pistol to Beaufort. After receiving it, McGinty called and wanted to pay Berry for all his expenses.That's when McGinty informed him the pistol had been stolen in 1978 when it was on display along with his uniform and sword. It was the very same pistol McGinty had used in Vietnam to repulse that final assault."He said, 'Do you mean 0103889?' " Berry recalled, noting McGinty had just recited the gun's serial number.


With his signature, McGinty, who could not be reached for comment by the Mail Tribune, added "Semper fi.""Can't thank you enough for your kindness," read a July 24 note accompanying the weapon. "I have enclosed some cards and a (Medal of Honor) challenge coin. The John W. Finn card was printed on the occasion of his 100th birthday. John passed away last year. Thank you again, George."Turns out that McGinty had a completely original Colt 1911 manufactured in 1918 that had been owned by John Finn, a longtime friend. Out of gratitude for having received his pistol back, he sent the Finn pistol to Medford for Berry to pick up last week.

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What a great story....Thanks ....Jim

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That's heart warming. Thanks

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So he had a USMC issued 45 with his name engraved on it. I am guessing that is was given to him and his name engraved after his MOH citation. Or was it personal property that he had engraved?

 

 

From the story:

 

"That's when McGinty informed him the pistol had been stolen in 1978 when it was on display along with his uniform and sword. It was the very same pistol McGinty had used in Vietnam to repulse that final assault."

 

I would guess he had his name put on it after the citation. It was also stamped with United States Property. Maybe he was allowed to buy it, or it was gifted to him.

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Just guessing. I have one (Ithaca frame) that is stamped United States Property. ))) I imagine many people do.

 

 

Yeah, I've seen 'em in gun shops, and in the hands of people at the range. But for it to have been the one he used in the action which earned him is MoH would mean Something Special Happened.

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From the story:

"That's when McGinty informed him the pistol had been stolen in 1978 when it was on display along with his uniform and sword. It was the very same pistol McGinty had used in Vietnam to repulse that final assault."

I would guess he had his name put on it after the citation. It was also stamped with United States Property. Maybe he was allowed to buy it, or it was gifted to him.[/size]

Would have been a gift. You were not allowed to buy firearms from the service during Vietnam.
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