WWII Era Is Alive for Collector
Stan Wolcott said he opposed the Vietnam War and showed his feelings by participating in peace demonstrations in San Francisco in 1971.
So you might wonder why the assistant city attorney of Irvine takes part in re-creations of World War II battles as often as eight times a year.
Wolcott also has a vast collection of military uniforms and equipment from that era.
“There was a marked distinction with that war, as compared with the Vietnam War,” said Wolcott, 45, who through Jan. 17 is exhibiting some of his collection in Irvine City Hall. “This country has a lot of nostalgia and good feeling about World War II.”
Although he opposed the Vietnam War, “I would have gone if I was called,” said the UC Berkeley and University of Northern Colorado graduate.
In fact, he was destined to enter the Air Force Academy.
“I passed everything except the eye test and got washed out,” said the the son of a World War II B-24 bomber pilot.
As an Air Force brat, Wolcott gained a lifelong interest in things military.
The World War II re-creations in various parts of California, similar to the monthly re-creations of the Civil War at Ft. Tejon State Historic Park, are sponsored by the California Historical Group as an educational program.
“The group is attempting to present in its re-enactments the same authenticity of certain battles that took place in the real war,” said Wolcott, who is married and the father of two sons. “We go so far as to live in pup tents during the battles.”
There are other reasons.
“These people want to leave this part of the 20th Century and relive a period of time before they were born,” said Wolcott, whose play soldier unit is the 82nd Airborne Division.
In one battle, Wolcott played Gen. George S. Patton. To do so, he shaved his mustache to faithfully portray the cleanshaven general.
Wolcott has collected 899 items, including firearms. His collection includes complete uniforms, with such items as belts, backpacks, knives, helmets and shoes.
“For some reason, the camouflage uniforms issued to the soldiers and Marines are popular and carry some mystique,” Wolcott said.
He also has a smaller collection foreign uniforms, including some worn by soldiers under German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel in North Africa.
The uniforms are among his other collections of comic books, stamps, coins, baseball cards, model airplanes and books. “It seems I’ve been a collector all my life,” Wolcott said.