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.

14 PHOTOS
Army truckers in Iran during WWII
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Army truckers in Iran during WWII
Private First Class Romeo K. Bisson of Rochester, Vermont, a trucker with 16 years experience in civilian life.

(Photo vis Library of Congress)

The convoy passes an Iranian man and his livestock on the way through a mountain pass.

(Photo vis Library of Congress)

Private Zeno W. Muhl of Baltimore, Maryland. He owns his own dump truck in civilian life.

(Photo vis Library of Congress)

Corporal Oliver R. Wechsler of Anderson, Indiana, a mechanic in civilian life.

(Photo vis Library of Congress)

Private James C. Boone of Ardmore, Oklahoma, a trucker in civilian life.

(Photo vis Library of Congress)

An unnamed driver.

(Photo vis Library of Congress)

Private First Class Raymond E. Waller of Dayton, Ohio, a trucker in civilian life.

(Photo vis Library of Congress)

Private Charles Nasholts of Auburn, New York, a mechanic in civilian life.

(Photo vis Library of Congress)

Private E.G. Richards of Sterling, Illinois, a hotel clerk in civilian life.

(Photo vis Library of Congress)

Private First Class Leonard L. Sweeney of Winooski, Vermont, a mechanic in civilian life.

(Photo vis Library of Congress)

Private First Class Willie J. Wicker of Prestonsburg, Kentucky, a truck driver in civilian life.

(Photo vis Library of Congress)

An unnamed driver and his copilot.

(Photo vis Library of Congress)
(Photo vis Library of Congress)
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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.

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