John Wayne

Canteen Owned by John Wayne –used in “The Green Berets”

This olive green covered metal Canteen was purchased at the October 6-7, 2011, Heritage Auction of “The Personal Property of John Wayne.” Imprinted under the top of this G.P. Ammo Bag is “Morrow & Douglas / 1944” and, under the lower strip, “U.S.,” indicating it was manufactured for the U.S. Army during World War II. The Vietnam War motion picture “The Green Berets” (1968) was the only John Wayne movie for which the U.S. Army provided accoutrements. In addition to supplies and equipment, the U.S. Army even supplied Wayne with actual weapons for use during the filming. John Wayne starred and also directed “The Green Berets.” His son Michael was the producer and son Patrick was one of the stars. The canteen (including covering) is approximately 8.25” x 5.5”. Fine condition.

John Wayne had written to President Lyndon B. Johnson about making a film based on Robin Moore’s book, “The Green Berets.” LBJ’s assistant Bill Moyers wrote back that the President “was interested in the project and that it sounded like an interesting and exciting venture,” telling Wayne to contact the Department of Defense. According to the Internet Movie Firearms Database (, “Wayne’s film received substantial support from the Department of Defense, who lent accurate equipment and weaponry for the production.” Former Johnson assistant Jack Valenti had become head of the Motion Picture Association of America and, even though there were violent war scenes, the MPAA granted “The Green Berets” a “G” (General Audiences) rating.

“The Green Berets” was filmed at Fort Benning, Georgia. John Maffre in “The Washington Post” wrote on October 15, 1967, that “The Pentagon has smiled on the production with full logistic support ...” Joan Barthel, in the December 24, 1967, edition of “The New York Times,” wrote that “U.S. Army men and equipment have been made available for ‘The Green Berets’…” She quotes Capt. August Schomburg, Jr., Fort Benning project officer for the movie, “The Army provides certain things that are not readily available.” Maffre reported that “Once they were shooting scenes with a huge C-130 transport plane when the Air Force snatched it back for a training mission…” Mervyn LeRoy, an advisor/director on the set whose many credits included directing “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo,” added, “You wouldn’t get these planes and these choppers and these soldiers and everything around here unless they wanted this picture made” – real soldiers at Fort Benning, training to go to Vietnam, used their own leave time to work as extras. Others were detailed to the movie set in place of their actual duties with some on administrative leave, such as, according to Barthel, “a platoon of Hawaiians brought down from Fort Devens, Mass. … Permission to film at Benning was granted, after the Pentagon okayed it, by the present commander of the post, Maj. Gen. John M. Wright, and his predecessor, Lieut. Gen. Robert E. York. Lieut. Col. William Byrns, the Hollywood-based Army adviser who went overseas with Wayne to scout sites before settling on Benning, where sections of the terrain resemble Vietnam’s, recalled the generals’ reasoning. ‘They felt that the movie would be very good for the military and for the country at this time.’” Green Beret Maj. Jerold R. Dodds was a Special Forces Advisor on the set.

More than 700 costumes, scripts, awards, and memorabilia from the estate of John Wayne brought more than $5.38 million during a two-day auction held at the Hyatt Century Plaza in Los Angeles, October 6-7, 2011. Hosted by Heritage Auctions, in conjunction with John Wayne Enterprises, “a beret from ‘The Green Berets’ … worn as Wayne portrayed ‘Colonel Mike Kirby’ in the film that he starred in and directed” sold for an astounding $179,250. Also, from “The Green Berets,” a pair of camouflage fatigues worn by John Wayne sold for $13,145.

Accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity from John Wayne Enterprises, Ethan Wayne, President, and a Heritage Auctions lot tag “The Personal Property of John Wayne / October 6, 2011,” bearing a facsimile signature “John Wayne.”

Item: 54648

Price: $4,500.00
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John Wayne
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