34. U.S. Smith & Wesson Model 39 General Officers Pistol Of Captain Wade C Wells, U.S. Navy

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serial #68829, 9 mm, 4" barrel with a bright excellent bore. The metal surfaces of this rare naval contract pistol retain 98 to near 99% original blue and anodized finishes, there being some very light sharp edge wear on the slide. The checkered walnut grips with silver Smith & Wesson medallions rate about excellent showing only some extremely light wear. Wade Cantrell Wells of Etowah, Tennessee attended the Georgia Institute of Technology where he was part of the NJROTC program and was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve in May 1937. In 1939 he began his active Naval Reserve career and had attained the rank of Captain by July 1, 1957. In 1939 he was aboard the USS Helena at Pearl Harbor as Division Officer and Turret Control in the Naval Reserve, commissioned into the regular Navy in January 1942. In April he was aboard the USS Cleveland as Main Battery Officer until August 1943, he was then Gunnery Officer aboard the USS Vincennes and Radar Officer and Combat Information Center Officer for Task Force 38 and 58, until July 1945 when he became Executive Officer aboard the USS Franklin. Post-war he was an associate professor in the NROTC program at Tulane and the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1947 he returned to sea aboard the USS Swenson as XO and in 1950 was the Personnel Officer and War Plans Officer on the staff of the Commander, Eastern Sea Frontier. He was Commanding Officer aboard the USS Stribling until January 1951 when he was named Commanding Officer of the USS Tingey. He then had various assignments in the office of the Secretary of Defense, State Department and Department of Defense and in 1955 was on the staff of the Commander, Western Mediterranean in Algiers, NATO area staff. In the mid-late 50s he was Group Commander, San Diego Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet and was Commanding Officer on the USS Pollux. In February 1962 he was the Chief of Staff for the Commander of Amphibious Group Two, then Chief of Staff for the Commander of the Amphibious Training Force Pacific. In June 1965 he was assigned to the Naval Defense Force Eastern Pacific as Operations Officer, detached in 1966 and was Commander of the River Assault Flotilla One (Vietnam), headquartered at the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, California. Decorations include the Bronze Star, the Naval Commendation Medal, Naval Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Medal with 11 stars, the American Theater Medal, Philippines Presidential Unit Citation, China Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with three stars, Korean Presidential Citation, Philippines Liberation Medal with two stars and the World War II Medal. In Vietnam he worked closely with Col. William Fulton of the U.S. Army, both men being instrumental in forming the Army and Navy mobile Riverine Force TF-117 into a formidable brown water assault force, many of the early boat crew members and ships personnel served under the Commodore in the years 1966-7. In true Naval fashion, Commodore Wade C Wells was buried at sea as per his request upon his demise in 2010. The included factory letter shows shipment in September 1966 to the Pacific Naval amphibious base, Coronado, San Diego California. It confirms it was a U.S. Navy contract gun and was shipped with 200 other such arms. The Commodore's shoulder holster is included as well as the original box serial numbered to the gun with two spare magazines (three total), papers and the cleaning rod with brush. There is a nice Department of the Navy COMRIVFLOT 1 folder included from the Public Affairs Office, Commander River Assault Flotilla One and River Support Squadron Seven. Inside we find an official Navy photo of the commander himself, official Naval biography of the commander, a short narrative of the Mobile Riverine Force and base and specifications of the various "brown water navy" vessels. Additionally there are nine glossy black and white official U.S. Navy photos of various brown water naval vessels as well, all dated 1967 on their rear. A U.S. Navy Form 306, "Equipage Stock Card and Custody Record" is included listing the pistol by serial number "(Commodores Weapon)/Pistol 9mm, Model 39 Smith & Wesson, Ser. No. 68829", issue date is February 15 of 1967 and is signed by the Commodore himself. There is a selection of newspaper and magazine articles included as well as two Riverine Assault Force sew-on patches. It should be noted that Commodore Wells' Victory Model revolver is offered at lot 774 in this sale. A very rare opportunity to own a United States Naval Contract Smith & Wesson Model 39, issued to this important and long-serving U.S. Naval officer. (37644-7) {MODERN} [Kevin Williams Collection] (2500/4000) SOLD FOR $6,037.50

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