Army Life – Potential Overseas Plans For Lad – July, 1944

ALFRED P. GUION

BOX 491

POMONA, CALIFORNIA

July 1, 1944

Dear Dad – –

The letter with the news of Dick’s promotion, Dave’s return and Dan’s remain arrived Friday. It was very interesting and we enjoyed it very much. At the same time we got a letter from the Williams in Venezuela. Things have changed there quite a bit apparently, but the oil business is still going strong. Almost all of the fellows have gotten married, so I’m not the only one. But some of them have children, so they are ahead of me in that respect.

It seems that “D” Day for me is getting closer. Sometime this month the 142nd is being transferred to some camp in the East, but when, or where I don’t know. It looks as though I will have to go by train, so Marian may drive east in the Buick if there is any cause for it and if she can get someone to go with her. If she does, I’m hoping she can go on to Trumbull with some of my stuff for you to store. We will know more about the move later.

Right now the 3019th is doing some work in Camp Haan which is similar to that we did at Pomona before I left for my furlough. It appears that we did such a good job at Haan before we went out to the desert that the Colonel at Haan called us back from the desert and we spent only one week out there instead of two. For that I am very thankful and we did get a chance to see Death Valley. It was rather an uneventful trip and we had very little trouble. We were to return from Death Valley to the desert, and instead we returned to Haan and began work immediately. We have until July 6th to finish the work there. After that I don’t know what we will do.

We have been having a rather hot spell here. In fact the day before yesterday it was 115° in the shade. Out on the desert we didn’t mind the heat because it was so dry but it is a little more moist here and it is quite warm for Marian. Lots warmer than in South Pasadena.

Well, Dad, I have to get some gasoline before supper so I better get going, and I’ll mail this at the same time.

I’ve not been able to think of any appropriate reasoning yet for “Between The Acts” but give me time; I’ll come through yet. Love to all, from US

Hello, everyone –

Maybe we will be seeing you again very soon.

Marian

Tomorrow I’ll be posting another letter from Grandpa to his five sons, on Thursday, a letter from Rusty to Ced and a card from Arnold and on Friday, a letter from Marian to Grandpa.

Judy Guion

You Ain’t Got A Thing, If You Ain’t Got That Swing !

The Big Band Era

By: gpcox

http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

“You ain’t got a thing, if you ain’t got that Swing!”

Swing was a verb that musicians used long before press agents turned it into a noun or adjective to describe both an attitude toward music and a special way of performing it.  “Swing” suggests rhythm and a regular propulsive oscillation, a form of jazz that is still influencing music today.  There are many instruments reinforcing the others, then other times, playing against each other and a solo instrument playing against a background.  The jazz form traveled north out of New Orleans in the 1890’s and slammed into the Chicago scene in the 1920’s.

Vincent Lopez

Vincent Lopez

The beginnings can be traced back to Fletcher Henderson in New York and Bernie Moten in Kansas City.  Fletcher and his brother Horace created the pattern for swing arrangements and was the first to train a big band to play jazz.  “Sweet” bands, like Guy Lombardo, Vincent Lopez and Wayne King had ample audiences. (Lombardo’s band was still playing under the direction of his son-in-law out on Long Island and I was priviledged to see twice.  My grandmother had dated Lopez years ago.  Smitty, my father, took me to the Hotel Taft in Manhattan and had me tell the conductor that I was her grandchild.  Lopez sat me on stage while the band played a song for me.)

In Denver 1935, things didn’t go so well.  Even Goodman’s band was not well received, despite featuring trumpeter Bunny

Gene Krupa

Gene Krupa

Beregan, drummer Gene Krupa and pianist Jess Stacy.  When the tour hit Los Angeles, the Palomar Ballroom did not respond until Goodman let the musicians go wild with the Henderson arrangements – the crowd exploded.  Jazz turned into swing and the press described it as a new form of music and Benny as the King of Swing.  Bands sprung up everywhere.  Bob Crosby’s “Bob-Cats” as well as Artie Shaw and Woody Herman wowed the crowds by 1939, including Igor Stravinsky.

In the late 1930’s, people tried to ease their depression by dancing and ballrooms became the rage, so for a large room – one needs a large band.  Ellington’s and Basie’s were two of the largest and Ella Fitzgerald’s voice resounded over the crowds with her upbeat skat singing.

A “big band” usually had 10 musicians or more.  Jazz, which was mostly for listening, developed slowly into the swing music for dancing.  Louis Armstrong started in the ’20s to help this transition along.  Count Basie’s band stressed improvisation and his “One O’Clock Jump” sold over a million copies; for the era – this was unheard of.

Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman

The best thing at the time for a teenager was to see a Big Band in person.  In New York, it was a status symbol to be present at the Paramount [opened in 1926] seeing the Benny Goodman band strike out with “Let’s Dance.”  Lines formed to get in and school rooms would be half empty for the priviledge.  N.Y. and Chicago weren’t the only places to go.  Lakeside Park in Dayton, Ohio saw Herbie Kaye, featuring Dorothy Lamour and Phil Harris had his singer, Leah Ray.  Jimmy Dorsey brought Helen O’Connell and Alvino Rey had his electric guitar; the first amplified instrument for many.

Playing in a dance band was one way a student in college during the ’30s could help finance their education; MI0001955447some continued afterwards.  The Blue Devils of Duke U. had Les Brown, an undergraduate to lead them. (Better known to many as Dean Martin’s house band on TV.)  The Univ. of North Carolina produced Hal Kemp and later on, Kay Keyer’s student band.  The music of Alton Glen Miller, out of Clarinda, Iowa, is still considered today as the anthem of this musical age, had put himself through two years at Columbia Univ. by playing in a student band.  Though he never took a musical course, he later studied with Prof. Joseph Schillinger and “Moonlight Serenade” was born out of an arrangement exercise.  When Ben Pollack hired him in 1925, the shy star and the ‘Miller Sound’ were born.

Whether listening to the radio broadcast from the Grand Terrace Cafe in Chicago, the “society” bands at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto or Mark Hopkins in San Fransico, the swing fad became more popular than rock is today.  Saturday nights supplied listeners with “Your Hit Parade” reviewing the top ten smashes of the week, such as: “String of Pearls,” “Begin the Bequin,” and “Green Eyes.”  Spike Jones had the kids moving to the beat and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” shook the rafters.  The music and the bands entered the movie business and the jukebox became the best sound system when concerts weren’t available.

Jimmy Dorsey

Jimmy Dorsey

The Big Band Era basically ran from 1935 to 1946 (according to historians) and is a major part of cultural history in many countries.  But, Shep Fields and his ‘Rippling Rhythm’ played the famous Roseland Ballroom in 1931 and Grosssinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel in ’33.  By 1941, he removed the brass section, making it an all-reed group as ‘Fields and His New Music’, featuring Ken Curtis.  Curtis was better known as one of the ‘Sons of the Pioneers,’ replacing Sinatra in the Dorsey band and for playing Festus Hagen on TV’s “Gunsmoke.”

Coming out of the ’30’s, the name Harry Haag James can not be avoided.  Even as Warner Bros. made the movie “Young Man With a Horn,” based on the life of Bex Beiderbecke, James played the trumpet solos while Kirk Douglas mimed on the screen.  The hot trumpeter became the most imaginative and sought after musician in

Artie Shaw

Artie Shaw

modern history, but Lawrence Welk thought he was too loud for his band when James tried-out.  By writing a novelty number called “Peckin'” he started a new dance craze.  With WWII, his sentimental phase started and “You Made Me Love You” became his first hit record.  The ever-famous closing song for so many bands, “Goodnight Sweetheart” was written by the British bandleader Ray Noble, and ironically, so was the tune “Cherokee” recorded by Count Basie and Charlie Barnett.

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday

The female vocalists with the bands were called “canaries”, but unknown to many, there quite a few all-girl bands during this era as well.  A prime example was ‘The International Sweethearts of Rhythm.’  They emerged out of the south with such popularity that they toured Europe after completing the U.S. route.  Bandleader Peggy Gilbert continued playing into 1995 at the age of 90.  Prairie View College in Texas started all-girl bands to make up for the shortage of men during the war years.  The military, with the USO, featured female swing band tours to entertain the troops.  The ‘Sharon Rogers All-Girl Band’ went to the Philippines, Korea and Japan.

In 1941, Stan Kenton came along, but so did WWII and a strike called in 1942 by the American Federation of Musicians.  Les Brown suddenly became more popular with his creamy but lively style.  Ballads emerged with lyrics and solo singers; music as a whole was moving on.  In 1946, within just a few weeks, eight of the greatest swing bands broke up; Goodman and Dorsey included.  A progressive hard-edged version of jazz took over with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in the lead.

No one truly ever recorded the greatest arrangements of the age because the old microphones could not transmit sound with the complete amplitude and fidelity.  Modern engineers have been able to rediscover some of the sounds that went into the mikes and transmitted on the master discs, but not onto the vinyl records for distribution.

Who were your favorites or your family’s record collection hidden back in the closet?

Resources: “An Introduction to the Swing Era” and “The Swing Era” by Time-Life Records; All that Jazz.history; “When Swing Was King” by John R. Tumpak; “Swing Shift” by Sherrie Tucker; Wikipedia.

In a letter from Lad to Grandpa, dated June 14, 1943, he writes:    “Last night, Art, Marian and a girl friend of Art’s and myself went to Hollywood and spent all evening dancing to Woody Herman at the Palladium. Woody is one of the Swing Band leaders that I don’t like particularly, but he does have a good orchestra and plays some sweet music now and then. Marian is not a jitterbugger and neither am I, but she is a very good dancer and we get along very well dancing to almost any type of music, so we had a perfect time.”

For the rest of this week, I’ll be posting letters surrounding Christmas, 1943. Lad was sent to Texarkana on December 21st, so he and Marian had an early Christmas ans she’s not feeling the Christmas spirit very much. They have been married for a little over a month and had only found a place to live 12 days earlier, after bunking in the car or at friend’s homes. Not much to be thrilled about, although she tries to keep her spirits up.

Judy Guion

You Ain’t Got A Thing, If You Ain’t Got That Swing !

The Big Band Era

By: gpcox

http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

“You ain’t got a thing, if you ain’t got that Swing!”

Swing was a verb that musicians used long before press agents turned it into a noun or adjective to describe both an attitude toward music and a special way of performing it.  “Swing” suggests rhythm and a regular propulsive oscillation, a form of jazz that is still influencing music today.  There are many instruments reinforcing the others, then other times, playing against each other and a solo instrument playing against a background.  The jazz form traveled north out of New Orleans in the 1890’s and slammed into the Chicago scene in the 1920’s.

Vincent Lopez
Vincent Lopez

The beginnings can be traced back to Fletcher Henderson in New York and Bernie Moten in Kansas City.  Fletcher and his brother Horace created the pattern for swing arrangements and was the first to train a big band to play jazz.  “Sweet” bands, like Guy Lombardo, Vincent Lopez and Wayne King had ample audiences. (Lombardo’s band was still playing under the direction of his son-in-law out on Long Island and I was priviledged to see twice.  My grandmother had dated Lopez years ago.  Smitty, my father, took me to the Hotel Taft in Manhattan and had me tell the conductor that I was her grandchild.  Lopez sat me on stage while the band played a song for me.)

In Denver 1935, things didn’t go so well.  Even Goodman’s band was not well received, despite featuring trumpeter Bunny

Gene Krupa
Gene Krupa

Beregan, drummer Gene Krupa and pianist Jess Stacy.  When the tour hit Los Angeles, the Palomar Ballroom did not respond until Goodman let the musicians go wild with the Henderson arrangements – the crowd exploded.  Jazz turned into swing and the press described it as a new form of music and Benny as the King of Swing.  Bands sprung up everywhere.  Bob Crosby’s “Bob-Cats” as well as Artie Shaw and Woody Herman wowed the crowds by 1939, including Igor Stravinsky.

In the late 1930’s, people tried to ease their depression by dancing and ballrooms became the rage, so for a large room – one needs a large band.  Ellington’s and Basie’s were two of the largest and Ella Fitzgerald’s voice resounded over the crowds with her upbeat skat singing.

A “big band” usually had 10 musicians or more.  Jazz, which was mostly for listening, developed slowly into the swing music for dancing.  Louis Armstrong started in the ’20s to help this transition along.  Count Basie’s band stressed improvisation and his “One O’Clock Jump” sold over a million copies; for the era – this was unheard of.

Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman

The best thing at the time for a teenager was to see a Big Band in person.  In New York, it was a status symbol to be present at the Paramount [opened in 1926] seeing the Benny Goodman band strike out with “Let’s Dance.”  Lines formed to get in and school rooms would be half empty for the priviledge.  N.Y. and Chicago weren’t the only places to go.  Lakeside Park in Dayton, Ohio saw Herbie Kaye, featuring Dorothy Lamour and Phil Harris had his singer, Leah Ray.  Jimmy Dorsey brought Helen O’Connell and Alvino Rey had his electric guitar; the first amplified instrument for many.

Playing in a dance band was one way a student in college during the ’30s could help finance their education; MI0001955447some continued afterwards.  The Blue Devils of Duke U. had Les Brown, an undergraduate to lead them. (Better known to many as Dean Martin’s house band on TV.)  The Univ. of North Carolina produced Hal Kemp and later on, Kay Keyer’s student band.  The music of Alton Glen Miller, out of Clarinda, Iowa, is still considered today as the anthem of this musical age, had put himself through two years at Columbia Univ. by playing in a student band.  Though he never took a musical course, he later studied with Prof. Joseph Schillinger and “Moonlight Serenade” was born out of an arrangement exercise.  When Ben Pollack hired him in 1925, the shy star and the ‘Miller Sound’ were born.

Whether listening to the radio broadcast from the Grand Terrace Cafe in Chicago, the “society” bands at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto or Mark Hopkins in San Fransico, the swing fad became more popular than rock is today.  Saturday nights supplied listeners with “Your Hit Parade” reviewing the top ten smashes of the week, such as: “String of Pearls,” “Begin the Bequin,” and “Green Eyes.”  Spike Jones had the kids moving to the beat and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” shook the rafters.  The music and the bands entered the movie business and the jukebox became the best sound system when concerts weren’t available.

Jimmy Dorsey
Jimmy Dorsey

The Big Band Era basically ran from 1935 to 1946 (according to historians) and is a major part of cultural history in many countries.  But, Shep Fields and his ‘Rippling Rhythm’ played the famous Roseland Ballroom in 1931 and Grosssinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel in ’33.  By 1941, he removed the brass section, making it an all-reed group as ‘Fields and His New Music’, featuring Ken Curtis.  Curtis was better known as one of the ‘Sons of the Pioneers,’ replacing Sinatra in the Dorsey band and for playing Festus Hagen on TV’s “Gunsmoke.”

Coming out of the ’30’s, the name Harry Haag James can not be avoided.  Even as Warner Bros. made the movie “Young Man With a Horn,” based on the life of Bex Beiderbecke, James played the trumpet solos while Kirk Douglas mimed on the screen.  The hot trumpeter became the most imaginative and sought after musician in

Artie Shaw
Artie Shaw

modern history, but Lawrence Welk thought he was too loud for his band when James tried-out.  By writing a novelty number called “Peckin'” he started a new dance craze.  With WWII, his sentimental phase started and “You Made Me Love You” became his first hit record.  The ever-famous closing song for so many bands, “Goodnight Sweetheart” was written by the British bandleader Ray Noble, and ironically, so was the tune “Cherokee” recorded by Count Basie and Charlie Barnett.

Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday

The female vocalists with the bands were called “canaries”, but unknown to many, there quite a few all-girl bands during this era as well.  A prime example was ‘The International Sweethearts of Rhythm.’  They emerged out of the south with such popularity that they toured Europe after completing the U.S. route.  Bandleader Peggy Gilbert continued playing into 1995 at the age of 90.  Prairie View College in Texas started all-girl bands to make up for the shortage of men during the war years.  The military, with the USO, featured female swing band tours to entertain the troops.  The ‘Sharon Rogers All-Girl Band’ went to the Philippines, Korea and Japan.

In 1941, Stan Kenton came along, but so did WWII and a strike called in 1942 by the American Federation of Musicians.  Les Brown suddenly became more popular with his creamy but lively style.  Ballads emerged with lyrics and solo singers; music as a whole was moving on.  In 1946, within just a few weeks, eight of the greatest swing bands broke up; Goodman and Dorsey included.  A progressive hard-edged version of jazz took over with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in the lead.

No one truly ever recorded the greatest arrangements of the age because the old microphones could not transmit sound with the complete amplitude and fidelity.  Modern engineers have been able to rediscover some of the sounds that went into the mikes and transmitted on the master discs, but not onto the vinyl records for distribution.

Who were your favorites or your family’s record collection hidden back in the closet?

Resources: “An Introduction to the Swing Era” and “The Swing Era” by Time-Life Records; All that Jazz.history; “When Swing Was King” by John R. Tumpak; “Swing Shift” by Sherrie Tucker; Wikipedia.

In a letter from Lad to Grandpa, dated June 14, 1943, he writes:    “Last night, Art, Marian and a girl friend of Art’s and myself went to Hollywood and spent all evening dancing to Woody Herman at the Palladium. Woody is one of the Swing Band leaders that I don’t like particularly, but he does have a good orchestra and plays some sweet music now and then. Marian is not a jitterbugger and neither am I, but she is a very good dancer and we get along very well dancing to almost any type of music, so we had a perfect time.”

For the rest of this week, I’ll be posting letters surrounding Christmas, 1943. Lad was sent to Texarkana on December 21st, so he and Marian had an early Christmas ans she’s not feeling the Christmas spirit very much. They have been married for a little over a month and had only found a place to live 12 days earlier, after bunking in the car or at friend’s homes. Not much to be thrilled about, although she tries to keep her spirits up.

Judy Guion

Women of World War II by gpcox

Women of WWII

By: gpcox http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

I want to apologize to gpcox because there are five pictures in this post and for some reason, they will not transfer when I post the article. I’ve tried it several ways and they just won’t come through.

 As WWII unfolded around the globe, women were also affected.  Some found themselves pressed into jobs and duties they would never have previously considered.  Hitler derided Americans as degenerate for putting the women to work, but nearly 350,000 American females alone served in uniform voluntarily.  A transformation of half the population, never seen before, that began evolving in the early ‘40’s and continues today.

For the WASPs, 1,830 female pilots volunteered for Avenger Field outside Sweetwater, Texas alone and it was the only co-ed air base in the U.S.  These women would ferry aircraft coming off the assembly lines from the factories to the base.  They acted as test pilots; assessing the performance of the planes.  The WASPs were flight instructors and would shuttle officers around to the posts where they were needed.  For artillery practice, they would tow the target.  During their service, 38 of these brave women died.

  A wonderful story was given to me by my longtime friend, Carol Schlaepfer, about Pearl Brummett Judd, a WASP pilot she met in California.  Pearl was a test pilot flying the Stearman, PT-17; North American AT-6; Vultee BT-13; Cessna UC-78 and AT-17.  In an interview, she said, “The B-29 was a little touchy.  The engines caught on fire.”  Pearl Judd and her fellow WASP sisters (or their survivors) finally received a Congressional Gold Medal for their services in March 2010.  25,000 women in all applied for the WASPs; in Pearl’s class of 114 women, only 49 graduated.  The symbol for the WASPS, shown below, uses the image of Pearl Judd.  They did not receive veteran status until 1977 and did not have the right to have a flag on their coffin until 2000.

WACs, (Women’s Army Corps), the nurses were on active duty around the world.  But, the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service of the Navy); the SPARS (U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve) and Women’s Marines were prohibited by law from serving outside the U. S.  At Cherry Point Marine Air Station in North Carolina, 80% of the control tower operations were done by the female Marines.  Nearly all the SPARS and WAVES officers were college graduates and worked in finance, chemical warfare or aerological engineering.  Some were assigned to install radar on the warships.

WWII enabled women to be involved in top-secret operations for the first time.  These women dealt with LORAN stations, night-fighter training and watched the screens for unusual “blips.”  They took in messages from the British “Enigma” intelligence about German activity.  The OSS hired women as agents, as we discussed on my post at:                                                                   http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/allied-spies-saboteurs/

The first WACS to arrive in the Pacific were sent to Australia, 2 ½ years after Pearl Harbor, in May 1944.  In Port Moresby, New Guinea they served within barbed wire compounds (any dates with the men had be pre-approved)  As the forces moved from island to island, the WACS followed after the area was secured from the enemy.  Yet, despite these precautions, 68 service women were captured as POWs in the Philippines and 565 WACS in the Pacific Theater alone won combat decorations for bravery under fire and meritous service.  Nurses were in Normandy on D-Day+4.  In the Army Nurse Corps, 16 were killed as a result of enemy fire.  A Red Cross woman was also killed during an attack on the 95th Evacuation Hospital.  Also in the ETO, when their plane was forced to crash land behind enemy lines, Lt. Agnes Mangerich and 13 other nurses, male technicians and the pilot marched for 62 days before reaching safety.

A fascinating story of WAVE, Margaret Hain, can be found at fellow blogger, Don Moore’s site:

http://donmooreswartails.com/2013/08/23/margaret-hain/

 

American women did more than join the military…..

Alice Newcomer graduated George Washington University in 1943 and immediately began working in the Lend-Lease Program.  The 400-500 people employed there easily dealt with billions of dollars in war materiel, but when it came to how much should be shipped in civilian supplies, she said no one quite knew where to draw the line.  Hilda O’Brien, fresh out of Columbia Univ. Graduate School, started her career in the Justice Dept.  Kay Halle, a radio broadcaster, worked for the OSS in Morale Operations and became known as Mata Halle.  (Many of these operations still remain secret.)  Sally Knox was an editor for what was a part of the Army Air Force.  She was in Detroit and then Wright Field near Dayton, Ohio. (Which later became Patterson Air Force Base)  She helped to prepare military publications.

Coralee Redmond of Tacoma, Washington had a husband, 9 children and several brothers who worked for the war effort or served in the military.  She and one daughter worked in the shipyards while her other daughter went to work for Boeing in Seattle.  [No one could doubt her contributions.]  On 29 April 1943, the National Labor Board issued a report to give equal pay for women working in war industries.  To see the actual report, a fellow blogger has posted it:

http://todayinlaborhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/april-29-1943-2/

  In Canada, besides having their own Canadian Women’s Army Corps, the women showed their national pride, not only by entering the masculine sphere of work to release the men to serve in the military, but by using their domestic talents in volunteer work.  The War Services Fund was supported in this way.  Their civic and community pride provided various forms of aid to the war effort.

In New Zealand, the women of WWII were also doing their part.  The Women’s War Service Auxiliary worked in the Transport Division, firefighting, canteen work, camouflage netting, ambulance work and even had an orchard and gardening section.  Their WAAF (Women’s Aux Air Force) had cipher officers, pilots, mechanics and meteorologists.  Noeline and Daphne Petrie, after joining the WAAF, were stationed at Woodbourne and Fiji.  And, we cannot forget the nurses.  Our fellow blogger, Gallivanta at: http://silkandthreads.wordpress.com gave me the link for this information and for books that are available: http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/heritage/warandconflicts/worldwar2/servicewomen/

 Australian women as early as 1939 were trained in jobs to free the men to enlist.  The Women’s Emergency Signaling Corps were based in Sydney.  The Woman’s Flying Club were not pilots, but trained to be mechanics and the Women’s Transport Corps passed rigorous driving tests for truck driving and ambulances.

In Britain there was a definite industrial segregation of men and women in industry, but as the war continued to rage, the barriers lessened out of necessity.  They began transporting coal on the inland waterways, joining the Fire Service and Auxiliary Police Corps.  They began to be “drafted” into the Women’s Royal Naval Service (“WRENS”), Auxiliary Air Force and Air Transport.  The women of Britain played a vital role in all phases of the war including the French underground, Special Operations and anti-aircraft units.

Finland had the organization, Lotta Svard, where the women voluntarily took part in auxiliary work of the armed forces to help the men fighting on the front.  At home, they were nurses and air raid signalers.  The Lotta Svard was one of the largest voluntary groups of WWII; although they never fired guns which was a rule of their group.

The Soviet Union utilized women pretty much from the start of the war and they were NOT auxiliary.  Approximately 800,000 served in front line units.  They were part of the antiaircraft units as well, firing the guns and acting as snipers.  Klavdiya Kalugina was their youngest female sniper starting her military service at age 17.

An interesting story about Irena Sendler in war-torn Warsaw, go to fellow blogger’s page at:

http://abigaleblood.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/a-triumph-and-tragedy-for-womens-history/

Judy and I would appreciate hearing any and all stories you have.  Let’s hear from every country out there!!

Resources: University of Fraser Valley; ww2 database; “Greatest Generation” by Tom Brokaw; “Americans Remember the Home Front” by Roy Hoopes; ctch.binghampton.edu; Wikipedia; publicworks.qld.go; Australia.gov

Guest Post – Rationing Gone Wild by gpcox

Rationing Gone Wild

 

By: GPCox

  http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

Blog - Rationing - Shate my car - 8.114.2013

The Second World War was fought on two fronts and as we’ve seen in previous posts, the home front rarely received the credit it deserved for its efforts.  The generation that endured the Great Depression, worked long, hard hours and were often forced to use the barter system to survive now, for the war effort, had shortages for most everything.  If you can name it – there was probably a ration book for it and a black market to get it; if you dared.  The children also pitched in by giving, what money they could earn, back into the family.

Rationing started just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor and sugar was the first product to be rationed when sales ended 27 April 1942 and commercial manufacturers received a ration of about 70% of their normal consumption and ice cream producers switched to making sherbet.  Then coffee was put on ration allotments 29 November 1942, with nine other items being added to the list by the end of the year.  Almost one year later, about 21 others were on the list, such as: firewood, coal, stoves, bicycles, footwear, nylons and processed foods like canned milk.  As a toothpaste tube was made of metal back then, people had to hand in the old one in order to receive the replacement.  There were 5,500 local ration boards to issue the books and stamps and these were doled out according to the size of a household, and whether or not they owned a restaurant or were a merchant.

Victory Gardens became popular and were encouraged by the government.  From windowsills and small backyards to acreage were developed to supplement the rationed food.  Freezers were new and expensive; refrigerators were scarce and required a two-page application for their purchase.  Therefore, women learned how to can what extra they grew, set up roadside stands and used dry ice; whenever it was available to protect the surplus supply.

The first non-food item rationed was rubber since the Japanese had captured the Dutch East Indies’ plantations where the U.S. had received 90% of its product.  FDR called the nation to recycle old tires, raincoats, garden hoses, bathing caps, etc.  The OPA started the “Idle Tire Purchase Plan” that could refuse mileage rations to anyone owning passenger tires that were not in use.  The government had tried a voluntary gas rationing, but this was unsuccessful, so you had to prove to a local board that you owned no more than five tires.

As a result of the gasoline rationing, the Indy 500 was cancelled as well as sightseeing tours.  In some areas, violations were prevalent; therefore night courts began to spring up to handle the amount of offenders.  The first session was opened on the evening of 26 May 1943 at the Pittsburgh Fulton Building.

The maximum “Victory Speed” was 35 mph for the nation and carpools were encouraged.  Even Daffy Duck cartoons urged drivers to “Keep it under 40!”  By the end of ’42, half of the U.S. automobiles were issued “A” stickers as non-essential vehicles and only allotted 4 gallons per week.  The green “B” stickers were those deemed essential to the war effort in some way and could receive up to 8 gallons a week.  The red “C” was for doctors, ministers, postal employees and railroad workers.  The “T”, obviously for truckers, had an unlimited supply of gasoline and the rare “X” sticker went to members of Congress and other chosen VIPs.  These were affixed to the windshield so that the reverse side could be seen by the occupants.

Windshield gasoline ration stickers

Windshield gasoline ration stickers

A woman who had worked for one of the rationing boards in New York kept a scrapbook and in it was a list – the “11 Commandments of Rationing”:

1-      Don’t try to buy rationed goods with loose stamps.

2-      Don’t lend your ration book to a friend.

3-      Don’t swap ration coupons.

4-      Don’t give your unused stamps to your dealer.

5-      Don’t try to buy rationed goods without coupons.

6-      Don’t try to use ration stamps after they expire.

7-      Don’t try to use a ration book that doesn’t belong to you or that should have been returned to the board.

8-      Don’t use a ration book that is a duplicate of one you already own in your own name.

9-      Don’t pay over top legal prices.

10-  Don’t let any dealer make you buy something you don’t want to get or do not need.

11-  Don’t use your gasoline rations for anything except the purpose for which they were intended.

I believe this helps to explain what strict regulations were imposed and why the black markets begin to emerge.

After reading countless first-hand accounts of the WWII era, I found one underlying current in most every story – a sense of personal responsibility.  A character trait such as this does not show up in the statistics for a country.  The stamina, perseverance and self-discipline of that generation have nearly all been lost.  Personal independence and patriotism were normal and honesty was the rule – not the exception.  A hand shake could close a major business deal.  Logic and common sense were aspired for every choice they made – survival of country and family depended upon it.  Ordinary people became heroes in their own right with pride and dedication.

I did not acquire enough information on the rationing that transpired in countries outside the U.S., but a fellow blogger has data on the state of affairs in England at – http://jackiedinnis.wordpress.com  Judy and I would enjoy hearing from everyone out there, whether you have a story on rationing or not; we’re a community here and it only gets better when you join in.

Blog - Rationing - canned goods - 8.14.2013

Resources:  The US Home Front during WWII.com; The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw; Wikipedia; Library of Congress; Let the Good Times Roll, by Paul D. Casolorph; Americans Remember the Home Front, by Roy Hoopes

I’d always known about rationing but I never realized that so many products were on the list and the regulations were so strict. Did you? gpcox, again, has done a great job researching the subject and I know I learned quite a bit. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

I think that the next to last paragraph says it all – the home front and civilians around the world made incredible sacrifices for this “War to end all wars”.

To get a larger perspective on life in the US during the 40’s, please check out other Guest Posts from gpcox. You can find them by clicking on the category – Guest Posts and Re-Blogs. Definitely entertaining and informational……

Tomorrow, we’ll continue with letters flying back and forth between California and Trumbull as the BIG day approaches.

Judy Guion

Guest Post – The Role of Sports: WWII – gpcox

This month, gpcox  shares the role sports played during World War II in entertaining those left at home. Sports was a diversion from the everyday reports of how the war was progressing in the various fronts around the world.

The Role of Sports: WWII

By: gpcox http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com

Chesterfield ad

Chesterfield ad

The movies and newsreels of WWII provided information and diversion for many at the home front, but none could provide the escape and release of stress for the civilian as much as sports.

South Florida maintained a carnival atmosphere with the Hialeah Race Track and West Flagler Kennel Club, which took in $100,000 nightly – just to prove my point.  And, somehow, travel restrictions did not deter the action at Miami’s Tropical Park.  Horse racing went on, despite the war, in every country.  All in all, racing boomed as the 68th running of the Kentucky Derby went off with 100,000 in the crowd.  Unfortunately, this was the same day that 68 men had been taken by the Japanese at Bataan; they were all members of D Company, 192d Tank Battalion, out of Kentucky.

The war did not stop the golfers either as the tournaments and professional tours continued.  Sam Snead, fresh back from the Navy, played in the 1944 tourney; he came in second to Byron Nelson. (gpcox met Snead at the ‘Sail Inn’ in Delray Beach, FL when he would drop in for lunch after a game with friends.)

In boxing, Joe Louis started the idea of holding a sports event for the war effort.  He announced in 1942 that his profits from the bout against Buddy Blair would go to the Naval Relief fund.  The gate was $200,000 and Louis finished off his opponent in 2 minutes and 56 seconds.  Louis was drafted three days later.

Not to be outdone, a profitable pro-football contest was held between the National League All-Stars and the

Growing up during World War II

Growing up during World War II

Chicago Bears and these profits also went to the Naval Relief Fund.  The National Football League was forced to reduce to a 42 game season in 1943 due to all the draftees, but Coach George Halas brought home two championship titles for the Bears, 1940 & 1942; while Curly Lambeau’s Green Bay Packers won it in 1944.

As during most of WWII, 1943 in New Zealand had no Rugby International matches played, but the West Coast did retain the Northern Union Cup.  England and Australia were unable to hold their tennis championships, such as Wimbledon, for the extent of the war.

In 1942, the Rose Bowl was moved to Duke Stadium in North Carolina to avoid having large crowds converge anywhere on the west coast.  Dallas, Texas had 38,000 for the Cotton Bowl that year and 35,505 amassed in Miami for the Orange Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs 46 – Horned Frogs 40.  The annual Army-Navy game brought 66,000 to Baltimore’s Municipal Stadium in 1944, when Coach “Doc” Blanchard led the Army, not only to victory, but a perfect season.

Professional baseball was as hot as ever when 37,815 fans watched the American League Browns, in Sportsman Park, beat the New York Yankees for the pennant 1 October 1944.  This made the World Series an all-St. Louis affair against the Cardinals.  Truman was there watching as the Cardinals won their fifth world crown.  The Yankees won it in 1943 against the Cardinals.

As most people are aware, the baseball racial barrier was not broken until 1947 when Jackie Robinson walked out on the field, so during WWII there were two Negro leagues.  (As they were called back in the day.)  Out of Hometown, Pennsylvania, “Josh” Gibson and Walter Johnson dominated the games.  In the Washington Griffith Stadium, he had the long-ball hitter record of 563 feet, (Babe Ruth’s record was 550’) and a .541 batting average in 1943.

Rockford Peaches - 1944

Rockford Peaches – 1944

And, we cannot close this section of baseball without mentioning the AAGPBL – the All-American Professional Baseball League, also known as the “lipstick league.”  They were the “Girls of Summer” depicted in the newspapers as “Queens of Swat” and “Belles of the Ball Game.”  They referred to each other by nicknames like: ‘Jeep,’ ‘Flash,’ ‘Pepper’ and ‘Moe.”  The league premiered in 1943 and

Dorothy Kamenshak

Dorothy Kamenshak

would last for 12 years.  There were 545 female athletes that made up the ten teams and their popularity would eventually draw a million fans.  These women have been honored by the movie, “A League of Their Own” in 1992 and finally received tribute in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame in 1988.

Young adults (the word “teenager” was not really used back then), used sporting events as a gathering spot for camaraderie among friends and also to help fill the void of adult male influence that was prevalent in so many homes.  In the “Corn Belt,” basketball ranked as the number one sport, but there was also tennis, golf, a tumbling club, fencing and even Ping-Pong clubs.  High school games were even broadcasted on the radio.  The girls would join a Booster Club to be their school’s cheering squad and wearing their boyfriend’s sports jacket was a major status symbol.

Early 1940's - Risen (TX) Football

Early 1940’s – Risen (TX) Football

Not all sports were organized.  Boys played stick ball in the city streets and in the suburbs, a basketball hoop attached to a garage door attracted neighbors.  Church picnics and block parties always included a multitude of games and sports to occupy the younger set.  Communities were kept closely knit that way, like Kerry Corner, the Irish working-class neighborhood not far from Harvard yard.  They organized their own baseball and basketball games.  John “Lefty” Caulfield formed a baseball scholarship program before he enlisted in the Navy because it had done so much for him.  Those that returned from the war became part of the ROMEO Club, (Retired Old Men Eating Out), to maintain those childhood friendships.

Capt. Glen Miller preparing for performance at 1943 Yale Bowl

Capt. Glen Miller preparing for performance at 1943 Yale Bowl

Harry James, better known as a big band leader for the ‘Swing Era’ was also a one-time Detroit Tigers prospect.  He organized his own band into a team, complete with uniforms.  Louise Tobin, singer with many of the big bands, said, “The boys were hired first because they could play baseball; second for their instruments.”  Fellow musicians said you had to have a .300 average to get an audition with Harry.  The band’s manager added, “They carried more equipment for baseball than music…  Another bus on the road would probably be a band and we’d stop and play a game.”  Mr. James gave his all for baseball as captain, pitcher and the heaviest hitter.

For the home front, living during a world war was an experience no one of today’s generation has experienced.  Judy and I have attempted to portray both the hardships they lived through and some of the activities that helped them to endure and be molded into the “Greatest Generation.”  I’m certain I have missed at least a million or so stories out there that are related to the sports of the 40’s, so let’s hear some!!

A great big thank you to gpcox for the research needed to put together this post. I hope you enjoyed it and we’ll have another contribution next month.

During the rest of the week, we’ll be posting letters from January, 1940, when Lad is in Venezuela and the otther children are still at home.

Next Saturday, another Tribute to Arla and on Sunday, the next installment of Mary E. Wilson’s Autobiography when she actually arrives at Ellis Island.Why don’t you share this link with a friend or two who may enjoy reliving the 40’s or learning about them for the first time. It was a different world.

Judy Guion

Guest Post – gpcox – Hooray for Hollywood…

gpcox has done a fantastic job of research for this Guest Post. I learned quite a bit about their participation and personal sacrifice. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Hollywood was aware of the threat of war long before Pearl Harbor.  The show biz paper “Variety” called the films

Abbott and Costello

Abbott and Costello

‘preparedness pix’ and by the end of 1940, there were 36 titles concerning the subject: “I Married a Nazi,” “Sergeant York” and “British Intelligence” were among them.  Non-Japanese oriental actors or Caucasians were hired to play the roles of Japanese villains, such as Peter Lorre as ‘Mr. Moto.’  War movies came out in the theatres as though popping off an assembly line.  Greer Garson seemed to save the entire British Army from Dunkirk in “Mrs. Minivier.”  Abbott and Costello continued their comedy routines in such films as “Keep’em Flying” and “Buck Privates.”  The home front craved to be entertained and listened to the comedy skits performed on radio, where the message was often ‘loose lips sink ships’.

The OWI had objections as to the content of some films, such as the youthful character ‘Andy Hardy’ that seemed oblivious that a war was being fought at all and the famous “Casablanca” that provided no message of purpose or example of U.S. patriotism.  Archibald MacLeish said that the theaters were “escapist and delusive.”  The OWI had no problem with radio programs such as “Amos & Andy” and “Fibber McGee and Molly,” both of which not only entertained the public, but got the war time messages out – loud and clear.  Singers were popping up not just in the radio shows.  Now the sweep of juke boxes was found in diners, taverns, barber shops and even gas stations.

 Shirley Temple serving the G.I.s

Shirley Temple serving the G.I.s

But, the actors and behind-the-scenes crews did far more for the war effort than the movies and radio shows.  The charismatic Clark Gable headed the Actor’s Committee for Stage, Screen & Radio and immediately began organizing tour groups to provide benefit performances for the Red Cross, Navy Relief Fund and many more.  Carole Lombard, actress and Gable’s wife, was killed during one of these tours and Dorothy Lamour (of the “Road to…” movies fame) finished her schedule of 10,000 miles to different defense plants and shipyards.  After recovering from a horrific bout of depression, Gable joined the Air Force.

The Hollywood Canteen was started by John Garfield and he made Bette Davis the President of the organization.

Hollywood Canteen

Hollywood Canteen

Hollywood Canteen

Hollywood Canteen

The actress converted a livery stable into the social center of Hollywood with the aid of studio workmen.  Hedy Lamarr, when asked to help out in the kitchen, replied that she couldn’t cook.  Davis put her to work washing dishes and Lamarr ended up meeting her future husband at the canteen.  Wikipedia lists 300 celebrities that contributed to the canteen’s success.

A movie was made in 1944 simply called, “Hollywood Canteen,” and was filled with a cast that played themselves.  To name only a few that appeared: Andrew Sisters, Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Sydney Greenstreet, Alan Hale, and Peter Lorre.

Glen Miller

Glen Miller

With all that Hollywood was doing for the war effort, General Lewis Hersey provided draft deferments, but many enlisted anyway.  Jimmy Stewart gained ten pounds so that he would pass the physical.  I have greatly shortened the list from www.jodavidsmeyer.com to give everyone an idea of their service.

Don Adams  (“Get Smart”) – USMC Guadalcanal

James Arness (“Gunsmoke”) –  U.S. Army – wounded at Anzio, Bronze Star & Purple Heart

James Arness

James Arness

Ernest Borgnine  (“McHale’s Navy”) – U.S. Navy, 12 years, joined before WWII

Mel Brooks  (Director, Producer, Actor) – U.S. Army, Battle of the Bulge

Julia Child  (Chef) – OSS service in Ceylon and China

Charles Durning (TV, movies & stage) – U.S. Army, Omaha Beach D-Day, 3 Purple Hearts & Silver Star

Glen Ford (movie star) – U.S. Navy Captain, remained in reserves after the war, retired after Vietnam

Lee Marvin (movie star) – USMC, Saipan

Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly (Dancer, movies & stage) – U.S. Naval Air Service

Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson (“Tonight Show”) – U.S. Navy Ensign

Ed McMahon (“Tonight Show”) – USMC captain, Corsair fighter pilot, also served in Korean War

Ed McMahon

Ed McMahon

Bea Arthur  (“Maude,” “Golden Girls”) – USMC SSgt.

Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur

During WWII, the Greatest Generation proved that all needed to work together, and the same goes today.  Judy and I want every story put down for posterity, so let us know your stories…

RESOURCES:  “Let the Good Times Roll” by Paul D. Casolorph; “Americans Remember the Home Front” by Roy Hoopes; Wikipedia; Hollywood Canteen.net, Internet Movie Database; otrcat.com; tumbler; midatlanticnostalgia convention.com

Do you have any memories of war movies or stories about entertainment during the War? Share them in your comments.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back in 1943 with news from Grandpa and the boys.

Judy Guion