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Paired Up. The Weapons of Capt. Rolfness

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    Posted: Oct 14 2022 at 9:24pm
Paired Up
The Weapons of Captain Stanley C. Rolfness

Stanley C. Rolfness was born February 5, 1913, in the silver mining town of Burke, Idaho.  Today Burke is a ghost town, having reached its peak population of 1400 in 1910.  The decline of Burke resulted in the Rolfness family moving to Portland, Oregon, where Stanley grew up.  He graduated high school in 1931 from Benson Polytechnic High School (the largest high school in Oregon). According to his family, he was selected All-State halfback in football and vice president of his class his senior year. As well as lettering in football, he also lettered in soccer.

After graduation, he received a full football scholarship to Oregon State College. 1931 was the darkest year of the great depression in the United States. Rolfness was the first and only member of his family of 3 boys and 1 girl, to go to college. He started majoring in chemical engineering but later changed to a food technology major.

Rolfness was on the 1933 OSC team that was well known as “The Iron Men” because of its feat of breaking the great 25-game winning streak of Southern California with a 0-0 tie.

In 1934, he lost his scholarship due to an injury incurred during a car accident, so he had to drop out of college. But later, he continued his education and graduated in 1937 with a Bachelor of Science degree and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve. He was assigned to the 91st infantry division, U.S. Army Reserve.

On December 12, 1937, he married Mary Maxine Allen, also a graduate of OSC.  Rolfness stayed in school and received his master's degree in food technology in 1939. In 1940, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. 

When Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, Rolfness was working in Chicago, Illinois for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) writing pamphlets on food processing. His employers at the USDA decided that because of his education and his expertise in food handling and processing, Rolfness’ civilian job had been classified as essential to the government and he would not be released for military service.

Stanley Rolfness considered this for a while, then resigned his job with the USDA, and moved back to Oregon where he joined up with the 91st Infantry Division in March of 1942 at Camp White, Medford, Oregon.  He became the commanding officer of an infantry company. By August 1942, the division was at full strength and was training hard.

In January 1943, Rolfness received orders to report to the Presidio, San Francisco, California for transportation to Australia. Since his unit, the 91st Division, was ready for deployment, he felt he was probably going to be part of the advance party. Not to be.

In late March 1943, the 91st Division was sent to Italy. Rolfness was attached to General MacArthur's staff (Special Section) now headquartered in Brisbane, Australia. His primary job was to visit and instruct all of Australia's and New Zealand's canneries that were providing food for the allied armies. He was to determine why they were having problems with food poisoning.  He also taught them how to make SPAM. He did this for all of 1943 and the first four months of 1944. At this time, he was assigned to the 41st Infantry Division Quartermaster Corps. Also in early 1943, Rolfness was promoted to Captain.

Then in May of 1944, he was sent to Camp 'H' in Papua New Guinea and helped establish a major supply base. In September 1944, he was sent to Biak Island, a small island located near the Northern coast of New Guinea, to help set up a major supply base to support General MacArthur's invasion of the Philippines.

Rolfness was initially an XO of a supply battalion and then later a CO of the same unit until the end of hostilities in August 1945.

Stanley Rolfness’ two older brothers were senior Navy enlisted personnel by the end of WWII. Both brothers had completed tours on the USS Arizona battleship just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Rolfness' two brothers-in-law served in Germany in 1944 and 1945. One was an ROTC 1st Lieutenant, and the other a Sergeant. All survived the War.

After the war, Stanley C. Rolfness again worked for the USDA.
He died December 29, 1995, and is buried in Umatilla County, Oregon.

In 1943, while stationed in Brisbane, Australia, Rolfness was issued a Remington Rand 1911A1 45 ACP and an Underwood M1 Carbine. Then, later in that same year, he was issued a Remington Model 11, 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun.

In 2015, I purchased the Underwood carbine from Stanley A. Rolfness, Jr., son of Capt. Rolfness and himself a retired Army Major.  The seller provided his father’s military and education information. He mentioned he had earlier sold his father’s Remington Rand 1911A1 to another buyer in my home state.
Thinking I could maybe obtain the pistol also, I asked for the buyer’s contact information.  When I phoned the buyer of the pistol, I was told he had already sold the gun and the owner was not interested in parting with his new purchase.

In 2021, I sold an early Inland M1 Carbine to a collector in a face-to-face meeting.  He made the statement that while he liked carbines, his true passion was the 1911.   When we compared notes, it became apparent he was the first purchaser of the Remington Rand from Roffness’ son.  He even had a letter from the vet’s son that mentioned selling me the Underwood.  He provided me with the receipt from Rolfness showing the serial number of the Remington Rand.

He also gave me the name and address of the person who bought the pistol from him.  When I tried to contact the second buyer, I found he had passed away.  As a last-ditch effort, I posted the serial number of the Remington Rand on a couple of related forums.  A sharp CMP friend found the pistol on Pre98.  It had been sold in 2017 and the photos were still up on the website.  I phoned Pre98 and explained I was looking for that particular pistol.  At first, they were skeptical but I convinced them I had the carbine, serial number of the Remington Rand, and the provenance.  I asked them to contact the buyer to see if he was still the current owner and, if so, would he sell the 1911A1.  The response was he wouldn’t sell but would trade for the same gun in like condition.  After several weeks, I decided the task of finding another Remington Rand that would be accepted by someone I had not even communicated with would be difficult.  I made a last cash offer through Pre98, and the owner accepted my offer.  Pre98 supposedly sweetened the deal by selling him another desirable firearm as part of the transaction.

Underwood 1359814

Underwood Elliot Fisher’s first serial number block began at 1350000. Underwood 1359814 was one of the first 9000 UEF manufactured.

This early Underwood has a Type 1 stock (I-cut, high wood) and is marked in the sling well with an RMC, F, T, and smoking bomb. There is no acceptance stamp on the right side of the stock.

The M1 Carbine has the characteristic Underwood light park, which shows up in striking contrast to the blued Underwood flat bolt.

The trigger housing is Type 2, with a rear bevel only, and with the spring-loaded trigger house pin.  According to CC NL #127, Type 2 trigger housings began to replace Type 1 (double bevel) at approximately 1360000.

Uncommon Type 1 dogleg hammer

The hammer and other trigger components are nicely blued.

The sear has been ground and etched with “.U.” as reported on the Carbine Collectors Club Forum This apparently was an alteration by the manufacturer.

The 11-42 Underwood barrel has the long-legged, large P Underwood proof.

The S-marked Type 1 rear sight has a U-stamped leaf.

Remington Rand 1007294

Remington Rand (serial number 1007294) is a somewhat hard-to-find 1911A1 variation, due to some changes initiated by the manufacturer in early and mid-1943.  The pistol has “Du-Lite” bluing finish applied over a sand-blasted surface.  Remington Rand’s switch from Du-Lite to parkerizing took place in August 1943.

The slide has Type 2 markings characterized by the 1-3/8” length of the stamp, the abbreviation of “New York”, and the addition of “U.S.A.”
According to Collector’s Guide to Colt .45 Service Pistols Models 1911 and 1911 A1, 3rd Edition, by Charles W. Clawson, Type 2 slides were used on serial numbers from approximately 935000 intermittently through 1016000. 

The serial number on the receiver is preceded by “NO” (all uppercase).  This is a change from the earlier “No” before the serial number.  Implementation of the “NO” variation coincides with a change in Remington Rand’s manufacturing operations to reduce the number of rejections.
Clawson also states, “Remington Rand pistols numbered from about 955000 to about 1016000 will be found with either the old or new serial number prefix.”

The left side of the receiver bears a “P” proof and the inspector’s mark of FJA (Col. Frank J. Atwood.)

The main spring housing is the early checkered variation.

Another proof mark is on top of the slide, forward of the rear sight.

And on the High Standard barrel.

Other inspector's markings.

Feed ramp in the white

The Carbine Collectors Club Copyright© 2022

This article and/or its images are the property of the author and or the Carbine Collectors Club. They're not to be distributed or for commercial use without prior written permission (Title 17, Chapter 5, Section 501(a) U.S. Code)

Edited by New2brass - Oct 15 2022 at 8:42am
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GotSnlB28 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GotSnlB28 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 15 2022 at 9:31am
Great article, well done Glen!
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carbinekid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbinekid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 15 2022 at 10:27am
Excellent. Well put together write up. It’s the best part of this hobby in my opinion when we can preserve not only these great guns, but also the individual stories of the veterans that used them. Well done!
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Bigheavy31 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bigheavy31 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 15 2022 at 1:45pm
Very well researched, and great detective work getting the two guns back together.
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jangle View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jangle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 16 2022 at 10:32am
Great article, and happy for you, that you were able to put these items back together!
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