A WWII portrait series records Army truckers who carried critical supplies across Iran


In the summer of 1941, Nazi Germany reneged on its non-aggression pact with the USSR and initiated an invasion of the Soviet Union.

Without a military toehold in western Europe, the Allies recognized the need to make the Eastern Front as bloody and costly for the Germans as possible — which meant keeping the Soviet forces well-supplied.

In August, Britain and the USSR invaded Iran, overthrowing Reza Shah Pahlavi and installing his son as leader. In addition to providing a rallying point for thousands of Polish refugees, the occupation secured a critical supply route which became known as the Persian Corridor.

Under the Lend-Lease policy, more than 4 million tons of supplies, from canned food to warplanes, were carried by rail and truck from ports on the Persian Gulf through Iran to Soviet Azerbaijan.

In 1943, Office of War Information photographer Nick Parrino rode along with a convoy of U.S. Army truckers on their northward trek through windswept deserts and snowbound mountain passes.

During a pause in the journey, Parrino captured a series of portraits of the drivers posing in the mud-splattered cabs of their Studebakers.