“Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – Jumper—ARI 411

Jumper—ARI 411

Just a brief history of JUMPER, the Missouri Mule: Jumper’s Army number was ARI 411. He was 2 yrs. old when the Anny bought him, along with hundreds more, from a farmer in Missouri who raised mules. He had a great love for mules. During World War lithe Army needed mules for packing supplies up the mountains. The mountains in Italy are very high, and it is impossible for trucks to haul supplies, but not for the mules.

It was 1942 that ARI 411 first saw action while hauling supplies up the mountains. Two farm boys from the Dakotas trained the mules during their basic training in Texas. They were sent to Italy along with thousands of soldiers. The names of the two who trained Jumper were Alfred and Albert. Both men were wounded and also Jumper at three different times. All three received the Purple Heart and other metals.

When the war ended in 1945, Alfred & Albert, along with their buddies, were sent home on troop ships. They were discharged from the Army. All the mules and thousands of trucks were sold at auctions. The boys paid $10.00 for ARI 411 and bought a good 1 1/2 ton Ford truck. All three went back to their fanns in the Dakotas. Alfred and Albert worked their farms, but the mule did very little; just ate and drank the good beer that Alfred and Albert were famous for.

A few years passed and the Korean War broke out. The Army needed experienced men and mules, so all three were called back into the service. After a brief training they were shipped to Korea. They fought in the high mountains for 2 1/2 years. The mules hauled supplies to the front lines. One day while supplies, the mule ARI 411 stepped on a land mine and his left front leg was blown off. After a few days of rest and medical care they were shipped to Australia for a longer rest. It was on a farm in Australia that they saw so many kangaroos and how good they could jump. The mule watched them carefully and then he tried jumping. He fell down quite a few times. But he would get up and try, try again. In no time he could jump almost as good as the kangaroos. This is where he got the name JUMPER.

The war ended while they were in Australia. Soon then were on a troop ship headed for the United States. After the three were discharged, they went back to their fanns in the Dakotas.

Old Jumper started jumping over everything. Soon Alfred and Albert had him jumping over tractors, cars and much more at State fairs. Jumper became very famous throughout the Mid-West.

I hope to have a book with drawings of all three telling the history of Jumper, Alfred and Albert and many more stories. It will tell how they trained Jumper to jump over 50 ft. Also, they many products Alfred and Albert built and how they raced their old motorcycles at the big State fairs and other places and won race after race. Their big dream was to have Jumper jump over 100 Harleys at the 50th yr. anniversary in Sturgis, So. Dakota during the big rally.

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