Vintage Jeep collects signatures of veterans - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Vintage Jeep collects signatures of veterans

© Retired Brigadier General Jeff Hammond stops to sign Saucier's Jeep. © Retired Brigadier General Jeff Hammond stops to sign Saucier's Jeep.

You may see it motoring around Hattiesburg like any other car, but it's quite a bit nicer to look at if happen to get stuck behind it in a traffic jam.

It is a vintage Jeep that has been turned into a mobile memorial - tattooed with the autographs of veterans.  Owner Michael Saucier has collected dozens of signatures on the vehicle and says most of them happen when veterans see the Jeep and then approach him asking if they can sign it. Saucier says some sign for themselves, and then for friends that didn't make it home.

There are quite a few names of fallen Pine Belt heroes, and one very special one sticks out: The John Hancock of Harvel Harris - one of the country's last surviving Buffalo Soldiers, an all-black Army regiment.

"I was at McDonald's in Petal one day and an old black man came walking out of McDonald's and I was standing by my Jeep," says Saucier. "He walked up and he put his hands on the hood of my Jeep and he started walking along here, and he stopped and he looked at me and he said 'Are these veterans?' And I said 'Yes sir they are.' He said well can I put my name on there and I said 'Yes sir you can', and he said 'I'm an ex-Buffalo Soldier.' And I said 'No sir, there's no such thing as an ex Buffalo Soldier."

Harris died just one month after signing the Jeep in 2011. Among Saucier's approximately one hundred signatures include the Pine Belt's first female soldier killed in action, Saucier's brother who was killed in the Vietnam War and Anthony MaGee - the most recent Hattiesburg hero to die in battle.

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