Trumbull, Conn., May 10, 1942
Lad is in the Army.
At least that is what he announced after coming back from a trip to New York in which he applied successively, but unsuccessfully, for enlistment in the Naval Reserves, the Marines and the Coast Guard, failing in each to meet eyesight minimum requirements, so Wednesday he is off for Shelton to see what happens. While naturally I am sorry for Lad’s sake that he did not get into the branch of the service he felt would interest him most, as I think the whole thing over, I believe I would rather have it the way it is. Speaking from the viewpoint of a parent, whose uppermost thought these days is the welfare of his sons, it would seem as though the Army is the best bet. I reach this conclusion along the following line of thought. As the basic premise, this country is all out to win the war. We must put into the effort everything we have – – both men and materials. However, at the present time, the outstanding need, and are foremost contribution, is, and for some time must be, not so much men as materials – – planes, ships, guns, tanks, ammunition for all the allies, and secondarily, men to use such proportion of these war materials as we reserve for ourselves. But of all the manpower fighting on the side of the allies, I should surmise that the U.S., proportionately, would expect to have the least number of men engaged in actual fighting. The main objectives for victory in order of their importance seem to me to be destruction (1) of Hitler’s army, (2) the Jap Navy, (3) the Jap Army. To accomplish the first would seem primarily the job of the Russians, aided by the British flyers, Navy and perhaps later their Army. No. 2 seems to be our meat, the brunt of losses falling on our naval and flying forces. No. 3 just naturally falls to the lot of the Chinese. If and when invasion of the continent is decided upon, and in Australia, Africa and China, our Army will undoubtedly have a part, but on account of geographical location, shortage of shipping and less shortage of manpower among our allies near the scene of conflict, than of materials, it seems as though the demands on our army would be far less than that of our other services, such as naval and flying personnel, with consequently similar losses. That is the way things look today, and unless the character of the war changes considerably (and I suppose we must expect surprising changes with a world at war), I would expect our losses in manpower to be in the following order: Navy, flying service (both Army and Navy) and Army ground forces. Theoretically, then, the best chance of survival would seem to be with those in the U.S. Army. You can understand, therefore, why the selfish part of me is glad to have my boys serving in the Army, rather than in the Navy or flying forces.
Did you boys listen to Churchill’s inspiring talk this afternoon? As an orator I think he has our own chief executive beaten to a frazzle.
Tomorrow, the rest of this letter. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be posting Special Pictures. The story of Lad’s entrance in to Uncle Sam’s Army should be told, altogether, in one week. I’ll do that the next time we visit 1942.
Next week, I’ll be posting letters written at the very end of 1944. Some posts might be a bit long but I want to finish the year in one week.