In 1927, when William H.T. Swisher joined the Marines, he had no idea where his decision was going to take him but he was in for quite an adventure. He served the United States for nearly 18 years and six periods of enlistment. During World War II, he was a combat photographer who participated in actions on Guam and Okinawa, and in the postwar occupation of China. In China, his photographic unit found a new mascot — a young cat who they named Combat.
In this photo, Sergeant Swisher is to the right of Combat. Even though the men had serious business in China, they clearly enjoyed getting silly with Combat, and he was much loved in the photographic unit.
As you can see, Combat knew his way around a camera and he had good taste in liquor. Like many tabby cats, he had cute black paws.
While he was in the Marine Corps, Sgt. Swisher was a still photographer, process cameraman and photo clerk. He also could run and repair a projector. In 1944, he earned a Bronze Star medal in Guam. During all his years of service, he managed to avoid being wounded, so it is both sad and ironic that he was killed in a civilian plane crash in 1946.
This Veterans Day, I honor, Sgt. Swisher, Combat and all the other humans and creatures who served their countries.
Many, many thanks to the Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections, who have so generously made these photographs available under a Creative Commons license!
Cathy Keisha says
Whoa! Nice story! I wonder if Grampa had a pet while he was overseas. He was a radio engineer meaning he fixed the radios on the planes and stuff.
LESLEY CASTLE says
To all our little furry guardian angels <3
Rachel GORlin says
Great story — love the photos!
great story! Thank you for sharing
What a beautiful and original way to honour all the Veterans. Here in the UK we call it Rememberance Day, as we should never forget all those who fought for us.
Have a lovely weekend =^..^=
Beautiful post Sparkle. Love those pictures.
Oh my Bast, Sparkle, that has to be the best Veterans’ Day post EVAH! I’m glad I didn’t miss it.
Athena M says
Thank you for posting this great story!
Fraidy Cats says
what a wonderful Veteran’s Day post, Sparkle! God bless those that serve and we remember those that gave their lives for our freedom.
Pip, Smidgen, Minnie, Hollie
We love this post Sparkle! Thanks for sharing Combat’s story!
the Cat Street Boyz says
We salute you for a wonderful post Sparkle……our flag is flying proudly today=^Y^=
The Kitties of Purring Pines says
Great Veterans Day post! Thank you!
The Island Cats says
What a great Veterans Day post, Sparkle!!
Teri and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz says
Very touching and personal…brings home what it means to have fought for our country, and still have a ‘heart’…
We love this post, Sparkle. We, too, salute our Veterans today, and every day.
Pricilla - Famous SpokesGoat says
That is a great story. Thanks Sparkle
How very excellent! I love it. We remember and honor and hope that some day no one else will have to serve
Little One says
What a wonderful story.
What a wonderful tribute to Sgt Swisher and Combat. Thanks yous for finding all the information about them and sharing it with us!
It is important that we remember.
Spitty the Kitty says
Aw, what a great story and wonderful pictures too! XOXO to all vets today!
Oliver, Ruby and Rose says
What a great story! We’re sorry Scott’s been too busy to help us visit!
Cathy Keisha says
Very nice post. So much for the rumor that men are dog people that don’t like cats.
That was such a wonderful story Sparkle! Thanks to all veterans everywhere. We love you each and every day!
Fuzzy Tales says
That is a truly fabulous post. Sparkle, thank you.
We, too, are honouring All Beings who have served and who currently serve. Purrs to all.
That is one terrific post Sparkle. You are just amazing how you find things. That is so great to see a kitty cat making those marines smile. I bet Combat brought a lot of happiness to those soldiers. Thanks for this wonderful story.
Milo and Alfie says
A beautiful remembrance post. We will never forget all the men and animals who gave their lives. xx
This is a great post, Sparkle. Thank you!
Max the Quilt Cat says
Great post, Sparkle…. Perfect for Veteran’s Day.
Hannah and Lucy says
Sparkle you have done the veterans a wonderful post today.
Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx