(Editors Note: Milton J. Long, the author of this story has passed away since this article was originally published by U.S. Legacies in March of 2005. While we are sorry to discover that he passed away years ago, we are pleased that his legacy will live on and are republishing this story in his honor and memory.)
In 1989, while asleep, Milton J. Long, LTC AUS RET, received this message from his guardian angel. "You have wished for a WWII jeep, and this would be fulfilled. You must restore it and show it. You are to tell the story of its use in WWII, and show it in parades and events." The angel also advised that he would receive financial help with the project.
What Long didn't know was that the jeep was in South Carolina. The angel told him that a way would be worked out to get him and the jeep together.
On September 18, 1989, Charleston, S.C. was hit by Hurricane Hugo, about that same time Milton's daughter Sharon was in the process of getting married to Dave Popa.
Dave worked for Hilty Company selling construction products. Hugo created a big demand for Hilty products and Dave was transferred to Charleston, S.C. After the building boom died down, Dave was transferred to Greenville, S.C. only a few miles from the location of the jeep.
Christmas 1992 found the Longs in Greenville, and the local paper had an ad which said "WWII Jeep for Sale." A trip to Piedmont, S.C. confirmed that it was a WWII jeep, but it was in bad condition. It was also priced beyond reach.
Milton took photos of the jeep and sent them to an outfit for an estimate. This information was sent to the jeeps' owner, and over the winter, Long worked on a deal which included items the owner might be interested in. Long began a letter campaign to try and convince the owner to give up the jeep.
April 1, 1993, just two weeks before Long was to leave for Ohio, he received word that the owner would accept his offer and he could pick up the jeep on his way to Ohio.
In the meantime, Long's daughter had separated from her husband and requested that Milton stop in Greenville on his way home and pick up her belongings. She knew nothing about the jeep deal.
So once the jeep was in Milton's hands, his daughter's relationship with Dave Popa ended, and the work to restore the jeep started, the angel had kept her word. In addition, Long's son, Gregory, helped share the restoration costs, as the angel had promised.
You must ask yourself, did the angel know about Hurricane Hugo? Did the angel know Milton's daughter would marry and move to South Carolina? Did the angel know that Long had received the jeep? And did the angel know that his daughter was no longer in South Carolina?
Maybe you know the answer, but Long got his WWII Jeep. But how? Over 3000 hours of work saw the jeep on the road again, in 1994.
"Do You Believe in Guardian Angels?"
The story of how Milt Long (standing) got his WWII Army Jeep, believe it or not.
Originally published by U.S. Legacies: March 2005
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