Trumbull – Friends, Roamers and Countrymen (1) – A Family Christmas in 1945 – September 10, 1944

Alfred Duryee Guion - summer, 1946

Trumbull, Conn., September 10, 1944

Friends, Roamers and Countrymen:

Lending me your ears won’t help much – – what I need is a new nose – – one with a sneezeless attachment. However my eyes are still functioning in spite of my advanced age – – sufficient at least to read the interesting letters you boys contribute to the weekly Guion letter exchange.

This week Dave climbs up into first place along with the other top-notch ace correspondents, which now makes it unanimous – – probably inheriting your letter writing ability, according to Aunt Betty, from your father, who of course is too modest to admit the truth of any such statement.

But before I get into the Quotables Dept., let me briefly say that everyone was so anxious to see me make the 60th milestone that they anticipated it by a day and celebrated the gruesome occasion today in the traditional Guion manner, candles, cake and everything. Following my usual custom, I passed out a few little items myself, with the accompanying “apology”, but of course, such were not to be compared in any measurable degree with the thoughtful and generous remembrances which came my way. Indeed, the only circumstance which would have made the occasion a perfect one was your absence in person. Biss, Zeke and the two youngsters, along with Jean and Aunt Betty, lent color to the festivities and material evidences of goodwill such as a shirt, necktie, pajamas, after-shaving lotion, book, box of candy and Aunt Betty’s traditional greeting card with its green accompaniment kind of took the edge off the idea of advancing years.

Today’s paper announces the fact that Col. Chas. A. Lindbergh and wife will this month become residents of Fairfield, Conn., having rented a house there. Nothing new to report regarding the post office affairs here. Things temporarily are going along the same as ever. Even if and when they move from Kurtz’s, I don’t anticipate that any of the box numbers will be changed from present holders and that P. O. Box 7 will still indicate the portals through which news of the world is received here.

Now to get to the part you have been waiting for. Dave’s four-page single-space masterpiece is too long, or perhaps I’d better say I still lack sufficient energy to quote it in full, but I shall pull out juicy portions here and there in which you may sink your mental teeth.

“Well, here I am back in Camp Crowder again after a three – weeks sojourn with all of the Missouri rocks, chiggers and ticks that I promised you I would meet up with. It’s good to get back to Camp, but it will be so much “gooder” to get out of here entirely. I’ve spent six months in this place and I’m getting pretty tired of it all. But alas, there are no shipping orders for any of us. I’ll let you know what goes on as soon as I find out. Applying for OCS at this late date would mean nothing but a commission in the Army of occupation or possibly combat duty in the South Pacific. Either of these outlooks would be all right if I were planning to stay in the Army as originally intended; but with the possibility of having my own letter shop, and in later years, my own advertising company all set, established, etc., Why should I waste valuable years in the Army? Well, here it is September 3rd. According to the radios the war is still going on over in Europe. In fact from reports about all that’s going on anywhere is the war. At least that’s all anybody seems to be talking about. I mention this because some time ago, in an optimistic mood, I made the statement that it looked like the war would be over by August 15th, but that date has come and gone and still the Germans are fighting (sort of). Now I won’t make any estimates as to when it will be over. Who cares when it will be over? It is so damn close to the finish now that all I do is sit and think about what a good feeling it is and I don’t bother wondering about any specific date. But I still say that we all should be home by Christmas of ’45. At least that’s what I’m planning on. My brothers can think what they want but I’m looking forward to a Christmas dinner in a little less than 16 months at our “big white home in the East”, with the smell of Evergreen permeating the house, a fire in the fireplace, maybe with the added discomfort of having it fill the dining room with smoke, a tree decorated either in the music room or the living room, Butch and Marty (and maybe more of a new Guion generation), to pull down the tree after they have gotten tired of holding their eager eyes wide open with the joy and wonder of that most important day of the year. I’m looking forward to being there with ALL my brothers and my sisters (all three of them, and more if the case should be) and maybe even all my cousins, uncles and aunts – – but come now, maybe along about now I’m asking for too much. Anyway let’s hope for a complete Christmas in 1945. It will be the first in many years if we’re all their together.

Dad, I guess you’ve been reading stories on what a varied supply the Army PX carries for its soldiers. One thing the Army seems to have slipped up on our jacks for automobiles. Maybe you should write to your friend Franklin. Ask him to have some sent to PX 8 in Camp Crowder. Tell him it’s very urgent because you don’t know how long your son might remain in above mentioned camp. Of course you could have him arrange some deal with the officials so that it could be sent directly to you, but you know Franklin and his boys – – they’d much rather make it complicated. After all, if it took some time to get to you, you might not have any use for it when it does arrive and then you could put it out in the backyard and let it rust. That way, you could do your part in this war like a lot of other executives who are helping to win the war by letting a lot of valuable things rot in their “backyards” – – My, aren’t I bitter today?

And lastly about my mention of “virgin blood”. Don’t tell me you have any shady ideas about your youngest son, who has had such a sheltered life, having been brought up by a good and wise father – – and we mustn’t forget to mention all the other sons who stuck their fingers in the pie to help to bring up this last of the present generation of Guions. Lad, although he tried to help me with various things and explained very interestingly many things (one of which was a four hour discourse on oil well digging) nevertheless told me more than once – – and I can vividly remember the time and inflections of his voice: “Don’t do that, David.” Then there was Dan. He tried SO hard to get little Davey to go swimming, spending many hours with me up at Ye Olde Swimming Hole – – he who tried to get me outdoors to get some tan on my back – – also to try to get me to play tennis (in this last attempt he succeeded a little anyway). One other thing, he also spent a summer yelling “Hefalump” at me – – our own secret code word meaning “You look like hell – – straighten out your shoulders”. Then there was Ced, who insisted that I stop palling around with the boys who were my friends. Ced, who very quietly made me feel like less than nothing when he found out I had been “borrowing” from his collection of pennies. This, by the way, is something that up till now, as far as I know, has been a secret between Ced, Dick and myself. I hope, Dad, that you and all the rest don’t think too harshly of me. I learned my lesson OH SO WELL from Ced – – although I don’t remember now just how he cured me. Then there was Bissie. The most vivid thing in my mind as to her part in bringing me up was the day I was raising a little hell around the house while she was trying to clean it up. “Do you want me to spank you?” (I still hear her say it now when I’m home, to her too cute little Muchachos). Anyway, my answer, seeing as how she was a girl and couldn’t run as fast as I, was “Yes”. They’re off! I tore out of that old house of ours and around to the lawn over by the screened porch, where, as I remember, fear and exhaustion overcame me and I went down immediately so that she would feel sorry for me and not spank me. But alas, I didn’t know enough about human nature, I guess, for there, out on my own front lawn, in sight of the street, my own sister BEAT me. Oh, the shame of it all! Of course, I may have had it coming to me. Then there was Dick. I could write 20 pages on the way Dick helped to bring me up by hardening me up to the mean people of this world. The idea was a good one – – but I didn’t like his system of teaching. I guess he believed in the “experience is the best teacher” theory. Anyway, he led a happy teenage life teasing the pants off of his kid brother. Come to think of it, we should mention here my good cousin Donald Stanley, who, when with Dick, really did a bang up job of making both Gwyneth and me enjoy their visits. Thinking back on it now – – it was probably the best part of my life – – so far – – but at the time I didn’t think I did anything from the time Dick and Don got together, but cry because they were picking on me. Of course the prize experience was the night that has been so often mentioned in later years, when we were all out on the screened porch raising a little too much commotion for the older set, until finally we were threatened to be split up if we made any more noise. Of course, my version of the story is a little different, and basically it is the same, we all agree that I kicked out the window on the stairs, and we all agree that I took a good tanning from my riled father. But one thing I can say. No one remembers quite so vividly that spanking (my last one, by the way), as I do. Unless, as the old saying goes: “This is going to hurt you more than it does me, son”. Anyway, Dad, if it did hurt you, you didn’t cry like I did. Golly, when I started off I didn’t know I was going to write anything like this. There are no hard feelings left now, of course, and it’s a lot of fun thinking back to those terrible days when nobody liked me and the whole world was against me. Poor Dave. Damn, I’m still but a kid, I guess, but I’d like to live over again all those days that I thought at the time were so terrible. Oh, tell Bissie I grew a mustache while I was out in the field. I’ve still got it. I’m going to try to get some snaps taken of it today and then shave it off. I don’t like it. One of the boys told me it looked “sexy” and I guess that’s about the best description of it.

Reminiscences, Dave, are very appropriate for one’s birthday, and I’m sure all your big brothers will enjoy reading it as much as I have. And speaking of birthdays, won’t you please write us soon after you get this as convenient and give me a list of the things you would like to have to commemorate the day which falls on the last Saturday of this month. Do a good bang up job now, there’s a good fellow.

Tomorrow and Friday I will post the rest of this letter and a Birthday Poem written by Grandpa which was included in this letter.

Judy Guion

 

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Trumbull – Dear Halloween Pranksters (1) – News From Ced – October 31, 1943

 

The boys almost made 100% this week with three out of four writing home, a banner week for Grandpa. With his usual thoroughness, Grandpa reports what each letter contained, making sure that everyone is well informed.

Alfred Duryee Guion - (Grandpa) - in the Alcove where he typed his letters

Alfred Duryee Guion – (Grandpa) – in the Alcove where he typed his letters

Trumbull, Conn.

October 31, 1943

Dear Halloween pranksters:

This is one time, Dick, I won’t have to get you out of the clink for hurling stones through windows at Pinebrook (Country Club in Trumbull, where Dick had many “adventures” with his friends). Ah, those were the happy days! Dave tells me some of the boys started to pay a visit to Boggild’s,  but according to rumor, they had paid one of the town cop’s a little something extra to be on hand. Anyway, as soon as they approached, all the lights flashed on in the house, and the boys beat a strategic retreat. That is all the seasonal excitement I have to report.

                    Dave Guion

The Trumbull Rangers, of which Dave is President, and who incidentally are doing quite an elaborate job of fixing up, as a clubroom, the space I gave them in the barn, have been playing the surrounding teams in football matches lately. Today was their big game of the season – in Yale-Harvard or Army-Navy tradition – with Black Rock. The Rangers lost 18 to 0.

George Laufer is reported to be in England somewhere near London and is trying to get in touch with Dan through the Red Cross. London papers please copy.

If Dick had come through with the letter home last week it would have made the score 100%. It might be interesting, especially as Trumbull news is pretty well covered by the above few paragraphs, to dip into these various letters, constituting myself as sort of a distributing news center.

                                Ced Guion

Taking them in order of their arrival, lets tune in on Anchorage first. Ced reports there have been several frosts but no real freeze ups yet (Oct. 17). He got some good Kodachrome shots at Chickaloon the previous Sunday, including some of the Indians there. The old chief was dressed in hobo-like attire and sported a pair of dilapidated glasses which were held on one side in the conventional manner but on the other with a piece of string looped over his ear. To cooperate in the picture taking, he turned up his collar, adjusted his frayed coat, struck a distinguished pose, hardly befitting his attire and beaming expectantly, said “One like this too, maybe?”

Ced’s Buick is undergoing a thorough engine job which has kept him pretty busy. He is still living with George and hopes to continue there until early in December, when apparently, he loads up his dogsled and starts mushing for Trumbull.

                Carl Wayne

Should (at this point Carl came in for a visit and two hours have passed in conversation about his job in the Merchant Marine.) He expects to start next week on this trip but is hoping that he will be home before Ced leaves again for Alaska. He asked me the following questions which I was unable to answer, and which others will be asking. When does Ced start and how long a leave of absence can he obtain, and when is he starting back? How will he come, from Alaska by plane to Seattle, thence by train, and make the return trip the same way? By the way, what is the fare by plane from Anchorage to Seattle for ordinary people? (I suppose you get a”trade discount” being in the business.)

How exciting it is to think that it will only be a month more before Ced starts. Carl is so anxious to see him, and Mrs. Ives, too. Then there are the Wardens and Jean who have heard so much about him but have never met him, and Arnold and many others, some of whom are scattered all over the globe, to say nothing of “the family”. Should any of you desire to write to Ced, his address is P.O.  Box 822, Anchorage.

 

Tomorrow, the rest of this letter.

On Saturday, more of Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela., when the Venezuelan Government gets involved .

On Sunday, more about Marian’s Ancestors.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (35) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – The Helen (2)

At this point Grandpa’s “Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion” has ended  and the rest of this story will be the memories of the children as they were growing up.

CED: We had some friends named Burnham who lived sort of kitty corner to us on Larchmont Drive (in Mount Vernon, New York).  They had a cottage on Fishers Island.  We started out to go see the Burnham’s.  It took about an hour or so to get there.  When we got there, Dad talked to Rufus Burnham.  Dad was very interested in sailboats and asked Rufus if there was anyone on the island who could help us with this boat.  Rufus said, “Yeah, he lives just around the corner.”  We got him to come over and look at the boat.  It was light enough so that we could pull it up and turn it over.  He stood there, puffing on his pipe and looking at the hull of the boat — finally he said, “You came from the Connecticut shore in this?”

DICK: We spent a couple of summers on Fisher’s Island in Long Island Sound with the Burnham’s.

DAVE: I have a Log Book someplace that I should give to you, Judy.  It’s the trip, a couple of trips maybe, with the boat that Dad named the Helen.  Now, most boats seemed to enjoy themselves lying on top of the water.  Helen seemed to enjoy it most when she was on the bottom, on solid land, even though she was covered by water.  My father would get some more phone calls, “Come down and bail out your boat” or “Come down and somehow raise it up”.  It was forever sinking.  It was probably something like the infamous African Queen, probably not nearly as big but to me it was big.  It was kind of rounded like a tug boat.  It had an engine but it was not a steam engine like the African Queen but had some kind of engine in the back.  It was kind of fun for the older boys.  I don’t know what happened to the Helen but my guess is that if you drained the Housatonic River, you would probably find her.

CED: We kept the boat tied at a place (on the Housatonic River) and one day the owner called and said, “This is Mr. French.  Your boat sunk.”  It must have happened about six times.  We would go over there, drag it up on shore and dump it out.  Dad got tired of this after a while.

Arnold Gibson’s father, stepfather actually, was an old seagoing man.  I guess he had been in the Navy.  He had a Sea Scout troop and Dad said, “You know this boat is getting beyond us.  Why don’t we give it to the Sea Scouts and maybe they can get some fun out of it.”  He gave it to them and I don’t know what they did with it.

 

Tomorrow, I will begin posting what I can read of the Log Book. This should be interesting since I have not read it.

Judy Guion

Honoring All Servicemen and Women – Especially My Dad and Uncles – 1942-1946

This post first appeared on my Blog February 12, 2013. It was part of a series of Guest Posts written by gpcox  concerning areas of interest during the War. 

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I’m pleased to present this Guest Post from gpcox addressing how the Technical and Ground Forces all worked together to create success in their endeavors, which ultimately won the war. Without cooperation between all seven departments, nothing could have been accomplished.

As readers of my blog, pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com are aware, my father, Everett “Smitty” Smith was a sharpshooter trained as a paratrooper and gliderman with the 11th Airborne Division in WWII, this put him in the Ground Force.  But, neither he nor the rest of the soldiers would have gotten very far without the Technical services as each department of the Army worked to support the other.  Should one fail in the chain, a devastating domino effect might hinder or stop the rest.

The Technical Services of the Army Service Force during WWII was comprised of seven departments: The Corps of Engineers, The Signal Corps, Ordnance Dept., Quartermaster Corps, Chemical Corps, Medical Corps and as of 1942 the Transportation Corps.  These operated either behind the scenes or in unison with the 91 divisions of Ground Forces that were designated as: infantry, armored mountain, cavalry and airborne.  In this article I hope to explain how the Guion brothers you have come to know on this site aided soldiers like my father.

Alfred (Lad) Guion in California

Alfred (Lad) Guion was a sergeant, Chief of Section, with the Ordnance Department.  He was an instructor in California and Texas and then on assignment in France.  The technicians, both automotive mechanics and small arms experts worked diligently to solve the problems which had not been foreseen in Aberdeen or Flora.  Equipment was fiercely battered and the need for repairs was imperative; supply problems alone kept these men busy.  Ernie Pyle once wrote, “This is not a war of ammunition, tanks, guns and trucks alone.  It is a war of replenishing spare parts to keep them in combat…”  The smallest nut or bolt missing could keep a G.I. from accomplishing his task.  In the Third Army alone, maintenance crews put back into action more guns and vehicles than were lost by four entire armies in one month.  According to Lt. Gen. Levin Campbell, Jr., “Collectively they [Ordnance Crews] turned out a mechanical and technical superiority for American troops which no other Army in the history of the world has ever equaled.”  Therefore, as you can see, I have not exaggerated my praise of their contributions.

Daniel Beck Guion (Dan)

 

Army Map Service

Daniel Guion was a Field Surveyor and as such would be required to record field data, prepare sketches, determine angles for targets and/or develop accurate maps.  Without these men, the soldiers would be unable to acquaint themselves with the terrain the enemy was in and ammunition would be wasted while attempting to target enemy fortifications.  Engineers used the surveyor’s knowledge to construct roads and airfields.  Although photogrammetry was being used for aerial maps, accuracy still required points on the ground and creating grids.

Richard (Dick) Guion was a linguist and acted as a liaison with Brazil.  Many are unaware of that country’s involvement, but Dick’s fluency in Portuguese and Spanish was very useful to the U.S. government.  Brazil originally dealt with both the Axis and Allied powers, but declared war against the Axis on 22 August 1942.  The United States built air bases to support aerial runs over North Africa as well as the China-Burma-India Theater.  The Brazilians also sent 25,000 men to fight fascism under the command of the Fifth Army and their air force flew American P-47 Thunderbolts.  One of the main reasons that Brazil entered the war was the diplomatic actions of the American liaisons.  The country was an important strategic point for the Allies and was considered “The Springboard for Victory” for the fighting troops in North Africa.  This was one more service working behind the scenes and whose efforts saved countless lives.

 

Radioman - WWII

Dave Guion was in the Signal Corps and very adept in Morse Code, radar and trained as a radioman.  His primary mission would be to provide communication for the scattered elements of an operation and headquarters.  To keep everyone coordinated as to the on-going events as they unfolded.  There would be equipment with a command company, field operations and headquarters.  Whether it was a stationary complex or mobile radio, each unit found contact essential.  The maintenance of this equipment was their responsibility.  When you read in my blog of smoke and wig-wag signals, it was these men indicating the proper target for a jump or bomb; whatever was needed.  By 1942, signal communications had expanded into large networks of telephone, teletype, radio and messenger services that produced results 24/7 wherever the battles raged or lines formed.  They dug holes, laid wire, planted poles and repaired damaged areas of wire.  It would not have fared well for the fighting units to be without these men.

Cedric (Ced) Duryee Guion

 

Airplane Mechanic - WWII

Cedric Guion was an airplane mechanic in Alaska.  As a bush pilot, he was capable of locating downed planes and bringing them in for repairs.  As of 22 May 1942, Intelligence knew Japan was about to attack Midway and the Aleutian Islands.  Within ten days, Kiska and Attu were occupied by the enemy.  Ced’s position was crucial.  The air war increasingly grew well into 1943.  After consistent air and naval bombardment, the U.S. and Canadian troops finally found the Aleutians deserted by Japan.  Although he remained a civilian employee, he operated on a military airfield.  His technical expertise kept the American pilots in the air which was their essential mission.

There was also the Medical Corps, the 221st operated with the 11th Airborne Division and other positions of the technical branch, but perhaps we will discussed them at a future date.  For right now, I sincerely hope you enjoy both this blog  and mine.  Thank you for taking the time to read.

References and photos:

U.S. Army, “The Pacific War” by John Davison, National WWII Museum, HyperWar Federal Records, fold3.com and numerous Technical Service Associations

I am continually surprised by the detail and research that gpcox does before posting on pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com and guest posting on my blog. Please leave a comment and let us know what you think of this post and previous posts by gpcox.

Tomorrow, I will begin posting another week of the early childhood memories of Grandma and Grandpa Guion’s children in a series I call “The Beginning”. 

Judy Guion

The Brginning (33) – Childhood Memories of Trumbull – Memories From Dave, Biss and Lad

At this point Grandpa’s “Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion” has ended  and the rest of this story will be the memories of the children as they were growing up.

    Daniel (Dan), David (Dave), Alfred (Lad), Richard (Dick), Cedric (Ced)                     and Elizabeth (Biss) on the porch in Trumbull, CT

DAVE: Did any of my siblings mention that we used to grow a little bit of mint across the front of the barn?  My Dad really liked rhubarb and we grew a rhubarb patch.

BISS: At one point, my brothers … evidently someone had cut down some rhubarb and when Dad got home, he was angry.  He asked, “Who did this?” and they all said, “Biss did it.”  I didn’t, but I got spanked for it anyway.

In grammar school, I was taking tap dancing lessons and Dad would always forget to give me the money.  I would have to go in and wake him up before I went to school.  He would say, “The money is in my pants pocket.”  And I would open his wallet and there would be all this money, so instead of taking one dollar, I would take two.  I guess this went on for about three weeks.  One morning Dad said, “Sister, do you take any more money out of my wallet than the dollar?”  I said, “Oh no, not me.”  Then I realized that he knew right down to the penny, how much he had, so I stopped taking it.  I am sure he knew that I was taking it.

A train went through town.  There were freight trains that would stop and deliver stuff to Kurtz’s Store.  Then there was the Toonerville Trolley, which was a passenger train that went once in the morning to Bridgeport (Connecticut) and came back once in the evening.  Dad used to take the train to work and then come back on it.

When we played, we would have water fights.  We would also climb up on the roof and then we’d jump off the edge to get down, which I did.  I would go to bed and then climb out the window and go meet the guys.

One day, Lad had a pump and he put it over a soda bottle, to pump air into the soda bottle to see what would happen.  Naturally, the thing exploded and it cut his artery.  Of course Biss had been playing doctor or nurse or something and had taken all the gauze and stuff so there was nothing around for the emergency, so I was in trouble again.  I can remember the blood spurting out, you know, through the thing and they wanted to bandage it to keep the blood in a little bit, but there weren’t any bandages left.

LAD: We didn’t have much in the way of toys, as I recall.  Earlier, when we had the animals, we had to go scare the chickens off their nests and get the eggs.  Bill Parks got the milk for us, although I did try milking once, to see what it was like.  He also slaughtered the pigs.  I don’t remember what we did with them – we probably had some of the meat.  Whether Dad sold it or gave it away or whatever happened, I don’t remember.  We didn’t have the animals for long.  Dad and Mom were not farmers; they were both city people, although we did have a garden in Larchmont and in Trumbull.  Dad took care of it and then the kids did it, that didn’t last very long, I guess.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue the description of the area around San Jose written by John Jackson Lewis.

On Sunday, the first part of a two-part tribute to My Ancestors, Lad and Marian Guion.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons of a H.F. father (1) – Chiggers and Ticks – August 20th, 1944

 

Trumbull, Conn.. August 29th, 1944

Dear Sons of H.F. father:

As you may have guessed, the H.F. stands for hey–feverish, and the date stands for the opening of the sneeze season. I wonder if they grow ragweed in Alaska, Normandie, Southern California or Brazil. I suspect they do in Missouri, along with the chiggers, etc., that Dave so feelingly  mentions in his letters.

Elsie May Guion, summer, 1946

Today has been Elsie’s birthday week. Visits to three different beaches, two movies, a picnic, and auto ride and a couple of restaurant meals marked the occasion. The high spot for our honored guest seems to have been sleeping out on the screened porch, lulled to sleep each night with the cricket chorus, punctuated now it again by Smoky’s challenge to neighbor dog’s nocturnal visits. But it is all over now as we boosted her on the train, bag and baggage, at the New Haven station this afternoon, accompanied by several hundred service men.

The mail review department reports a letter from Don Sirene which says his outfit has everything packed, ready to start on a three weeks bivouac “so we can develop calluses on the right places”, and with Jean (nee) Hughes and Jane (nee) Mantle in mind, he comments: “Won’t be long before the wailing of new taxpayers echoes all over the town as their mothers try to get more ’flags’ on the clothesline than the girl next door. The town will look like the Jap Navy flying all its distress signals.”

Dorothy (Peabody) writes: “Helen (nee Peabody) and Ted (Human) are still staying with me, Anne (Peabody Stanley)  and Gwyneth are back at 10 Perry St., after a sojourn in Vermont during which Gwyneth graduated from high school, and I am still with the same newspaper outfit. Gwyneth has started her first job and seems very happy about it. She is working with the Russian division of the Badger Co. here in New York City.

Dave, after a fiery first paragraph calling me down for calling him down for letting two weeks go by without a letter, and pointing out the example set by his brothers, who don’t write for months at a time, or “at least one of them – with all apologies to Jean”, finally admits that it does at least show that I miss his letters. He further adds: By the time you get this letter I probably will have helped two or three chiggers or ticks (or both) to go on living. I understand that they like good virgin northern blood (I don’t know where he gets that virgin business) – blood that hasn’t yet felt the bite of other chiggers. But I’ve got them fooled because I’m already in the league. The other night we went on a hike and I supplied about five chiggers with their livelihood for a couple of more days. We leave for CPX early tomorrow morning and stay in the field for three weeks. We’ll live in tents or out in the open with a mattress of Missouri rocks. Then we’ll hike the 13 miles into camp and immediately go through the infiltration course. This is where you crawl on your stomach for 100 yards (which is a long way, if you don’t think so, try it sometime) loaded down with nothing but a full field pack, gas mask and a carbine. Of course you could get the full benefit of all this if you didn’t have a live machine gun fire going over your head and landmines going off beside you every few seconds. It’s really loads of fun.

The second half of this letter will be posted tomorrow.

On Saturday, John Jackson continues his description of the terrain surrounding San Jose.

On Sunday, the final installment of the life of My Ancestor, Alfred Peabody Guion, my father, and his life with Marian (Irwin) Guion.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sheiks (3) – News From Dave – August 13, 1944

This is the next section of a letter written by Grandpa to the boys away from home.

From Dave:

Next Saturday – – the 12th – – we will all move from this company over to some company in the 34th Battalion. And then on Monday we will go out to the field for our final phase of training. CPX (command post exercises) is a sort of small scale maneuvers. The boys in cook school go out there and cook for us. Signal center clerks run signal centers. Radio boys completing their course run radios. Field linemen set out and maintain their wires. Poll linemen do likewise. The same is true for the teletype operators, motor mechanics, chauffeurs, truck drivers, engineers and anyone else I might not have mentioned. This final phase of training is three weeks long – – three weeks of Missouri woods, ticks, chiggers, rattlers and various other species that don’t hold too much interest in my mind, but I think it will be fun and anything would be better than school. You see, after I got back here from my furlough, although I still liked signal center clerk, I felt as though I knew all that they had to teach me in school (conceited) and I still feel that this last four weeks has been a waste of time. After CPX – – who knows? All I can do is to make a few wild guesses which would be based upon nothing but the Army’s ceaseless rumors – – which are more prevalent than ever before right now. The most likely thing that will happen is that they ship us out of here to a port of embarkation (maybe Reynolds in Pennsylvania, but more likely Beal in California) where we will be prepared to get on a boat and “see the world through the carbine gun sites”. If this is the case I may get a delay–en-route, and I may not – – who can tell? The other night I was on guard duty when a sergeant came out of his barracks with another man and called me over to him. He told me he had seen this man come into his barracks and pick up the sergeants pants. We questioned the fellow and he told us that he had moved into the company that morning and as he wasn’t thinking, due to the fact that he had had a few drinks in Neecho — he got in the wrong barracks. His story was very impressive and the Sgt. told me to let him go. The culprit left and I once again started walking my post. On an impulse, as I passed the barracks where the accused claimed to actually live, I decided to take a peek in to see if he were in bed. I went in to see and much to my dismay found that he wasn’t in there. I went back and told the Sgt. about it and then when I got to the guardhouse I told the Corporal of the Guard about it. The next day I found out that he was a crook and doing pretty well in the business throughout the whole post. For the offense which I committed (not turning him in) they could have court-martialed me – – not a pretty thought. As yet the culprit has not been located again.”

This sort of thing seems to be rather prevalent in this man’s Army. When I visited Lad in Aberdeen they had just had an incident of the same sort; and both Lad and Dick have lost valuable personal belongings. They should have a Sherlock Holmes detachment connected with each battalion.

Tomorrow, the final portion of this letter.

Judy Guion