Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dad and World War II

This Memorial Day Eglantine and I are going to spend some time at the Veteran's Cemetery where Mom and Dad are buried. Dad's service in WWII qualified our parents to be buried there. Below is some information about Dad's WWII service. I found the information on the cassette tape I discovered and transcribed last winter.

"Dad: Then I got drafted into the Army.

Becky: Which thrilled you, I’m sure.

Dad: Which thrilled me. So then I went to…

Becky: How old were you then?

Dad: I was 26. Well, 1942. I was 26. June 5, 1942, I was inducted into the Army and went to Salt Lake. Wound up in the Chief of Staff’s Office there at the headquarters of the 9th Service Command. I was there for about six months, and then I was transferred over to the IBM unit in the Headquarters of Fort Douglas. Then I met your mother and we were married in ’43. I was there 26 months in Salt Lake before I...

Becky: That’s two years. Over two years.

Dad: Over two years. Then after I met her.. See, I went in as limited service because of my eyes. Then they decided that you were either in or out. And they re-evaluated everybody and decided that I was good enough I could go overseas. So then I was transferred to this 50th Mobile Machine Records Unit as the head of the coding section.

Becky: Seems like you never tried very hard. But it seems like you always made it to the top anyway.

Dad: So..I was a T-5 at that time. That’s the same as a Corporal. Then when I was ..when we made that up..and then just before we were shipped out, I was promoted to a T-4. Then since we were being assigned to the Air Force, who didn’t recognize a technician…Then they made me a buck Sergeant. Well at T-4 is the same thing as a Sergeant. You have the three bars, you know. The three Vs. It was a four underneath. [something about a fourth]

Dad: But anyway, then I was sent overseas to… Well, we went down through California, through Camp Stoneman. We were there. We took our overseas training at Ft. Douglas [something about the unit – kids noise interfered]. Then we had a couple a weeks of further training at Camp Stoneman. Then we got on a...this boat, the U.S.S. Republic which had been a former German ship captured in the harbor during WWI. Confiscated by the United States and was made into a luxury liner during the period between the two wars. Then it was turned back into a troop ship for WWII.

Becky: Boy, it must have been on the old side.

Dad: It was a big old ship, German made ship. But it was a good ship. It was 1080 ft. long. It was longer than a football field.

Becky: Boy, that’s hard to imagine. Did you get sea sick?

Dad: First day out of San Francisco I got sea sick on those ground swells. Everybody on the ship was sea sick. I felt nauseous, but I never did throw my cookies. And the next day I was alright. I had no further problems with seasickness all the time that I was on board. We went unescorted on this big, old, slow boat. We went down south of the ..took the great circle route way to the south and came up through..

Dad: I never heard it called anything but the circle route down way south and came into Finch Haven, New Guinea. We were 21 days without the sight of land. We got off the…Well, they unloaded a lot of mail and stuff at Finch Haven, New Guinea but we weren’t allowed off. Then it was five days..we were several days there and then a couple of days on up We were on board a total of 31 days before we got off the boat up at Hollandia, New Guinea. We were put into a reception center there. We stayed there over night and the next day. Then we went out with the Headquarters of the 13th Air Force which is where we were sent to join.

Becky: Did you ever wonder about getting attacked? Did that worry you much?

Dad: Well, no, it didn’t worry too much. We were at the headquarters, weren’t right upon the front lines. Then we went to, since our equipment was delayed, come on other boats, you know from the ones that we were on. Why, then we came, we were sent, and we flew C-46s without parachutes, unescorted in the war zone from Hollandia, New Guinea down to Laie [pronounced Lay].

Becky: That’s in Hawaii?

Dad: No, Laiea, New Guinea. Actually, Nadzab[sp?]which is about 30 miles Laie, but it was the closest airstrip to Laiea. Then they met us with trucks. They took us from there down to Laiea with the Headquarters of the 5th Air Force. We worked with them on their equipment.

Becky: With computers? Is that what you were doing?

Dad: IBM equipment: computers, personnel accounting by punch cards.

Becky: What were you doing? Keeping track of who was where?

Dad: Yeah. We kept track of the force, of the men in every unit in the Headquarters of the 13th Air Force, by unit.

Becky: Wow. That sounds like an overwhelming job.

Dad: Well, it was a very particular job. It was…everybody had to have FBI clearance before they were transferred into there.

Becky: The FBI probably never even heard of you.

Dad: Well, I understand there were inquiries made in [town he lived near] by the FBI on me. I didn’t find out ‘til after the war.

Becky: I hope they explained why, so people didn’t think you were getting crooked or something.

Dad: Well, I don’t know. Anyway, that was part of the deal. Anyway, we got over there. We did then the 13th Air Force accounts. We would take the morning reports and we would code them: all new men in and out of every unit every day. We’d code them and it’d go to the typist who would type up IBM cards and punch cards. Then they would run them through a translator which would print on the card what was punched into it. Then, we had to verify everything. And if it was garbled, then we had to check the punch card to see whether it was punched correctly. We could tell by the punches, you know. Because, you see there is 13 punches in a column. No, there’s only 12 punches in a column. A high punch and a 1 was an “A.” See, there was an “x” and an “0”, and a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, in every column. The high punch or the X punch was a high punch and the 1, that was an A. A “B” was a high punch and a 2 and a “C” and so on down.

Becky: Didn’t I hear that your unit got a medal for …

Dad: Well they got a Presidential citation for putting the most accurate report out. They had a special report that went into Washington D.C. that we had to put out. The Captain in charge of our unit…they had some bad reports go out... Along with my other duties as head of the coding section, I had to check every one and O.K. it before they went out to see there weren’t any garbled stuff on it.

Becky: Oh. That sounds tedious.

Dad: Every month, plus the special reports, plus the other work. I kept busy, out of mischief.

The reason a lot of these other units didn’t get it..They had a code for everything. A lot of the units when these report forms came in, they wouldn’t fill out everything if they didn’t know. Instead of putting the code down saying, “unknown,” why they would just leave it blank. When we came in, we filled everything out.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spring Thaw

Against our better judgment, Wilbur and I went camping Friday. We started out in a driving rain, but it was a balmy driving rain. We camped at around 6000 feet and it was even raining, not snowing, there. We stepped a month back in time at that altitude because the leaves were not out and the grass was not as green. After it rained all night, we ventured out the next morning and explored some of the back roads. When we reached 7000 feet or the north side of a hill, we were blocked by snow. With the warm rain, the snow was slushy and water was running in every gully.

When we broke camp and arrived home, it was if we were in another world that was warmer and greener. I usually like to be high in the mountains but not in the spring when I have to retreat from spring into winter.
Wilbur has equipment to start fires that is the envy of all other campers.

Yellow bells are just coming out at 6000 feet.

The camera couldn't do justice to the views.

The creeks were bank full and water was running everywhere.

Right after the snow melts there are these funny loose dirt trails everywhere. They look like creature trails, but we don't really know.

We ran into one drift after another until...the end of the road.

On one road we found a group of three or four old cabins. There is probably a mine nearby.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day Quotes

Motherhood is NOT what was left over after our Father blessed His sons with the privilege of priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment He could give his daughters, a sacred trust that gave woman an unparalled role in helping his children keep their second estate. Motherhood is as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the priesthood itself.
J. Reuben Clark Jr.

If we really want to make a difference, it will happen as we mother those we have borne and those we are willing to bear with.
Sheri Dew

Men and women have complementary, not competing, responsibilities. There is difference, but not inequity...In the woman's part, she is not equal to man; she is superior! She can do that which he can never do; not in all eternity can he do it.
Pres. Boyd K. Packer

The grass isn't greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it.
a guy named Mel from Intermountain Sprinkler

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Hiking Scratch Gravel

Today my friend Eloise and I hiked Scratch Gravel. A couple of years ago a local man published a book of hikes within twenty milers of here. His "hikes" do not necessarily include trailheads established by the National Forest or state. The book frequently uses old roads as routes, advises us to travel cross country, "choose" a route, and directs us to climb up hill tops and travel cross country. The names of many of the gulches and hills are names we never heard before. There are times I suspect the book's author is purposely trying to lower the area's populations by helping hikers get lost.

Today we tried a seven mile route. If we walked one step of the route we were trying to take, I would be surprised. It doesn't matter. We had a great time! We saw our old friends: the phlox were in full bloom and we saw our first Early Townsendia of the season. Max fully approved of our choice of activity.