The 111th’s Inventor: Lt. Kent and the M2 Carbine

Posted: March 25, 2014 in Men of the 111th Ordnance Company
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Among the many photos we’ve received over the past several months, there was one of Lt. Frederick Kent demonstrating a rifle to a young woman. We puzzled over this photo for quite a while, until we finally pieced together the story behind it.

Lt. Fred Kent demonstrates his design for a carbine rifle to Red Cross girl, Heerlen, Holland            Lt Kent and M1

Lt. Kent was the platoon leader for the small arms repair platoon of the 111th. Art Brooks, the unit’s former commanding officer, told us in January that Fred had developed a device to turn the M1 Carbine rifle into an automatic weapon. A little more research led us to the Army caption (shown above) for the photo. The young woman was an actress, probably touring with the USO, by the name of Betty Brewer.

Lt. Kent had demonstrated his innovation to General Bradley sometime in 1944. Evidently impressed, General Bradley sent Kent to England to help get the system perfected. Kent’s device became the basis for the new M2 Carbine, which was first used extensively in the Korean War.

Art Brooks recalled that Fred was awarded a Legion of Merit for his efforts; he even remembers attending the ceremony. We checked with the Army Awards Division at Fort Knox, KY, and these great folks were able to find a copy of Headquarters, European Theater of Operations, General Order 10, dated February 4, 1945, that awarded Lt. Kent the Legion of Merit, an honor usually bestowed on much higher-ranking officers. Fred Kent was originally from New Jersey and died in Florida in 1995.

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Comments
  1. jraisler@tampabay.rr.com says:

    HI !!!! ALMOST FORGOT ABOUT LT. KENT…HE WASN’T WITH US LONG, ONCE HE GOT STARTED WITH THE CARBINE MODIFICATION HE WAS SHIPPED TO ENGLAND…HE WAS A SMART YOUNG MAN, A LIKEABLE SORT…. THANKS FOR THE UPDATE…..JOHN R.

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