Trumbull – Dear Network Stations (4) – News From Jean in Brazil – September 16, 1945

This is another portion of a 4-page letter from Grandpa, informing the rest of the family about the lives of Dick and Jean.

Jean Mortensen Guion - Christmas, 1947

        Jean (Mortensen) Guion

And Jean, who is probably the American belle of Brazil, writes: “Did you think we had forgotten all about you? We haven’t, honestly. Just that we’ve been so busy fixing up our house and keeping up with all the social obligations that I haven’t had a chance to write. We are quite popular, you know! We spent quite a lot of time out at the base —  it’s more of a necessity than a desire. We haven’t a refrigerator yet so we can’t keep food for any length of time. Once in a while though, we get a few cans of vegetables and a can of meat and come home for dinner. It is a little hard cooking, tho, because we have only a small gasoline stove, but it’s fun. Dick usually goes to the base at 7 and I get a ride in at 11. This gives me a chance to do a few of the necessary things around the house. I spend every afternoon sitting at Dick’s desk knitting or talking to some of the Brazilians. They’re trying just about as hard as Dick is to teach me Portuguese. I’m afraid I’m a hopeless case but I’m trying anyway. All the Brazilians I’ve met so far seem to be very nice — they go out of their way to do things for us. Being here with Dick is almost as good as civilian life. I see him practically all day during the week. He gets off at 4:30 and doesn’t have to report back until eight the next morning. Sunday is his day off. It’s really wonderful. We’ve been out almost every night — most of the time we stay at the base and see the movies or go to N.C.O. club where they have an outdoor dance floor. It is wonderful dancing under the stars. I’ve learned the Samba and the March. They’re lots of fun. The Polish couple that Dick mentioned in one of his letters lives a block away from us so we see quite a lot of them. They both speak English so it’s a lot more enjoyable for me being with them. One night we visited a Brazilian family. The man spoke English but his wife didn’t, so we sat and smiled at each other all evening. This same man took us to the Club last night — quite an affair. The Brazilian General and the American Consul were there. There were five

Page 4    9/16/45

American officers but Dick was the only enlisted man who was invited — that made him feel pretty good. Tomorrow night the enlisted men are giving a Labor Day dance at one of the Brazilian Clubs, where there is a beautiful tile swimming pool. There will be a swimming meet during the dance — it should be fun. I’ll probably be the only American girl there because the only other wives who are here are officers wives and that’s only two. I’m sort of getting used to being the only American. I felt uncomfortable at first with everyone staring at me. They still stare but I don’t mind it so much. The people in Portaleza are pretty poor and about 40% or more of them are illiterate. They can’t even sign their names. The school problem here is really bad. They have to pay for both grammar and high school. Most families can’t afford it so the children just don’t go. Three-quarters of the people are suffering from mal-nutrition. Before I got here I was under the impression that the cost of living was very low but it isn’t. Food, clothing and everything else is very high. Most of the people don’t even wear shoes and if they do, they’re just a scuff made of cheap leather or wood with a piece of material over the toes to hold it on. I get the creeps every time I go downtown and see the conditions that exist here. The Government does nothing at all for the poor people –if they can’t get work that pays them enough to live, they die in the streets. Out where we live tho, all the rich people have homes. It’s really a very pretty section. Our house isn’t one of the finest but it’s quite nice. We’re going to try to get some pictures of it soon and when we do, will send some to you. The weather is ideal –there’s always a strong breeze from the water. We live about a mile from the beach. Received your weekly letter the other day. Now I know how much that letter means to the boys. It made me feel a little closer to home. Dick gave me a beautiful Ronson cigarette lighter the day I got here. It has my monogram on it –JMG — pretty snazzy. Love to all. Jean.

Tomorrow I will end the week wit Grandpa’s final comments to his sons, scattered around the world..

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Gentle Readers (2) – News From Jean in Brazil – August 20, 1945

jean-on-lawn-1945

Jean (Mortensen) Guion (Mrs. Richard)

However a letter from Jean reveals that she was practically on her way when the peace news came through. Maybe this would be a great time to quote her letter:

“Surprise, I’m here. Arrived at one (noon) on the 16th.  Dick didn’t know I was due that day so he didn’t meet me. They had quite a job locating him but when his assistant found him and told him I was here all he could say was, “Are you kidding?” He was quite worried because the officer here told him that all the wives orders had been canceled because of the end of the war. He was sure I wouldn’t be able to come. I wasn’t supposed to leave Miami until Thursday, but when I checked in to

page 2   8/20/45

the Army hotel Tuesday morning, they started rushing me through briefing classes and my last typhoid shot. They told me late in the afternoon that I would be leaving about 6:30 that night. We were out at the airport at seven when the news of the Jap surrender was announced. We took off at eight in a C-47–the same one they flew Gen. Mark Clark back to the US in. We were very lucky to get such a nice one, as most of the planes were just plain transport ships with bucket seats and very uncomfortable. There were seven girls, one child and myself, +5 crew members. Our first stop was Puerto Rico, 2:30 A.M. Wednesday. They gave us breakfast and we sat around in the post lounge waiting for a minor repair to be made until 4:30 A.M. We flew until noon when we stopped at British Guiana. There we were treated like Queens–met us in the staff cars, took us to a restroom to get cleaned up, then to the officer’s mess hall for lunch and from there to a cottage where we took showers and slept until 6 PM, then dinner, after which two officers took us to the officers club for a highball. We took off at eight P. M. Our next stop was at Belem, Brazil, at four A.M. Thursday. After breakfast we took off again, arriving at Natal at 10:45 A.M. Everyone but me and the crew got off—I was the only passenger back to Forteleza.

rpg-dick-in-uniform-without-mustache-1945

Richard Peabody Guion

Dick couldn’t get the house he wanted but he got a cute place in a very nice section, about the same size as the other place, four rooms, bath and a separate servants home on the side. So, we have a garden. Dick is having the yard all fixed up. The man starts work at seven A. M. And works until about 4:34 P.M. for $.50 a day. Can you imagine working in the hot sun for that? I can’t either. It is spring here now. I don’t know what the temperature is but it’s just comfortable and there is always a strong breeze. Dick looks wonderful. He says he’s lost some weight the past week, though, worrying about me and trying to get the house cleaned up. He even bought a table cover for our dining room table.”

Dick adds a  P. S. “I want to thank you for having taken such good care of Jean, Dad. I’m happier now than I have been since I was drafted. I don’t mean to insinuate that I was happy they drafted me. She’s the difference between existing and living. My love to all. Dick”.

So we see that maybe if Jean had been a few hours later in getting started, orders might have come through for cancellation. Incidentally, this might cause Lad to revise his opinion that allowing the wives to go down probably means Dick will be there for some time yet. Would like to know what the prospects are as they look to you down there, Dick. Do take some snapshots of the house and send them home as we are all eager to see what the Guion Brazilian home looks like.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the rest of this letter.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Network Stations (3) – Life in Brazil – September, 1945

This is the final portion of a 4-page letter from Grandpa, informing the rest of the family about the lives of Dave, Dan and Dick and Jean.

 

And Jean, who is probably the American belle of Brazil, writes: “Did you think we had forgotten all about you? We haven’t, honestly. Just that we’ve been so busy fixing up our house and keeping up with all the social obligations that I haven’t had a chance to write. We are quite popular, you know! We spent quite a lot of time out at the base —  it’s more of a necessity than a desire. We haven’t a refrigerator yet so we can’t keep food for any length of time. Once in a while though, we get a few cans of vegetables and a can of meat and come home for dinner. It is a little hard cooking, tho, because we have only a small gasoline stove, but it’s fun. Dick usually goes to the base at 7 and I get a ride in at 11. This gives me a chance to do a few of the necessary things around the house. I spend every afternoon sitting at Dick’s desk knitting or talking to some of the Brazilians. They’re trying just about as hard as Dick is to teach me Portuguese. I’m afraid I’m a hopeless case but I’m trying anyway. All the Brazilians I’ve met so far seem to be very nice — they go out of their way to do things for us. Being here with Dick is almost as good as civilian life. I see him practically all day during the week. He gets off at 4:30 and doesn’t have to report back until eight the next morning. Sunday is his day off. It’s really wonderful. We’ve been out almost every night — most of the time we stay at the base and see the movies or go to N.C.O. club where they have an outdoor dance floor. It is wonderful dancing under the stars. I’ve learned the Samba and the March. They’re lots of fun. The Polish couple that Dick mentioned in one of his letters lives a block away from us so we see quite a lot of them. They both speak English so it’s a lot more enjoyable for me being with them. One night we visited a Brazilian family. The man spoke English but his wife didn’t, so we sat and smiled at each other all evening. This same man took us to the Club last night — quite an affair. The Brazilian General and the American Consul were there. There were five

Page 4    9/16/45

American officers but Dick was the only enlisted man who was invited — that made him feel pretty good. Tomorrow night the enlisted men are giving a Labor Day dance at one of the Brazilian Clubs, where there is a beautiful tile swimming pool. There will be a swimming meet during the dance — it should be fun. I’ll probably be the only American girl there because the only other wives who are here are officers wives and that’s only two. I’m sort of getting used to being the only American. I felt uncomfortable at first with everyone staring at me. They still stare but I don’t mind it so much. The people in Portaleza are pretty poor and about 40% or more of them are illiterate. They can’t even sign their names. The school problem here is really bad. They have to pay for both grammar and high school. Most families can’t afford it so the children just don’t go. Three-quarters of the people are suffering from mal-nutrition. Before I got here I was under the impression that the cost of living was very low but it isn’t. Food, clothing and everything else is very high. Most of the people don’t even wear shoes and if they do, they’re just a scuff made of cheap leather or wood with a piece of material over the toes to hold it on. I get the creeps every time I go downtown and see the conditions that exist here. The Government does nothing at all for the poor people –if they can’t get work that pays them enough to live, they die in the streets. Out where we live tho, all the rich people have homes. It’s really a very pretty section. Our house isn’t one of the finest but it’s quite nice. We’re going to try to get some pictures of it soon and when we do, will send some to you. The weather is ideal –there’s always a strong breeze from the water. We live about a mile from the beach. Received your weekly letter the other day. Now I know how much that letter means to the boys. It made me feel a little closer to home. Dick gave me a beautiful Ronson cigarette lighter the day I got here. It has my monogram on it –JMG — pretty snazzy. Love to all. Jean.

Now for a few asides, comments, remarks, criticisms, insults or what have you. Dave, your letter cleared up a number of points I have been wondering about. The comments I would make to most of the things are obvious. I’m thinking the way people back home here are kicking up a fuss with Congress in the Army that you will be home long before Christmas, 1946. Dan, Airmail from your and might also cut down the 16 day transit time for regular mail. Last week I got off to you and adapter made to Lad’s specifications of aluminum by the Singer Mfg. So. Through  Zeke’s courtesy. I tried to send it by air mail but P.O. said no. I also sent a box with a couple of cans of meat for the Rabets, a few items for the Senechals and a couple of items for Paulette. More clothing items will be sent this week. All on the list have either been purchased or ordered, excepting the watch and wool. I am also greatly elated about the grandchild news. I am hoping it can be born here in little old Trumbull, but as you say, we’ll just have to wait for developments. Jean, enclosed is Paulette’s letter to you, with translation by Dan. Your check was mailed last week. The Washington phone calls totaled $4.85, if you must know. Thanks for the ration books.

Next week, along with new quotes (I hope), I will probably have an account of the APG’s trek through upper N.E. and N.Y. Coming up, one birthday for Dave. Hope he gets that raise, or better yet, an H.D., along with that phantom camera I have not yet been able to find for him. Dan, the latest, according to a Paris radio report, is that Adolph Hitler is hiding out in Bridgeport, Conn. I haven’t had any orders recently from a man named Schickelgruber so I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the rumor. I’m sneezing off now until next week.

DAD

Tomorrow and Sunday, I’ll post more of the autobiography of Mary E. Wilson, as she and Archie move to Trumbull and expand their family again.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1941. The war is getting closer and all the boys are concerned about their draft status.

Judy Guion 

Trumbull – Thrilling News – Sept., 1943

Blog Timeline - 1941-1943

This week I’ll be posting letters from 1943 and what is going on with the four boys who are scattered around the world. Lad is in California, training mechanics for the Army, Dan is in England, he’s a surveyor and we never really know what he did, Ced is in Alaska repairing airplanes for the Military and learning how to fly, and Dick is in Brazil, acting as a liaison between the military and the Brazilians, as well as serving as an MP.

Trumbull Conn.

September 19, 1943

Dear Away-from-Homers:

Well, the back porch steps have undergone a major operation and are recovering nicely. In fact they are almost out of danger although there is always a chance of the trouble recurring, which will call for an entire new deal, if you don’t mind mixing metaphors a bit. That and some putty and nails on the cellar door and an attempt to solder the perker on the coffee pot so Jean can have for daily stimulant (she having smashed her little individual drip outfit) about sums up the news this week that comes under the heading of “thrillers”. You wouldn’t be interested in the fact that a rat ate some of my knackerbrod, or we almost ran out of toilet paper or Aunt Betty now knows how many spoonfuls of brown sugar to put on canned beans, so I won’t bother to mention them.

Dave  Guion

Dave Guion

The household has been a bit livelier this weekend, however, and in fact it seemed almost like old times when you were all home and lots of young people made merry, for Jean’s friend, Audrey Switzgabel, has been a welcome guest and she and Dave have been conducting a friendly feud with the rapid exchanges of repartee that hasn’t permitted a dull moment.

Lad - 1943

Lad – 1943

I haven’t heard whether Lad is back safely in camp but not having read of any further train wrecks, I assume he behaved himself while taking Horace Greeley’s advice. An old ad flashes across memories screen:

Go West! Go West! The old man said,

He should have been more specific.

                        He should have said, “You’ll travel best

           If you go by the southern Pacific.”

Dan, I’m waiting for an answer to my letter before sending your shoes as there is a rule in the post office that they will not accept packages for soldiers abroad unless the request for them has been O.K.’d by a superior officer.

Dan Guion

Dan Guion

Gee, Ced, I didn’t know you’d get so sore at the names I have been using in directing letters to you, that

you would refuse to write anymore. It’s all in fun and anyway, I never called you a big palooka, so there.

Dan is the family’s best threatener.  C’mon, Dan, give over entertaining one of those English lassies long enough to write that long exciting account of your adventures.

And Dick, you long-legged Benedict, I see you’re back in the ranks of the T-5’s, like your brother Daniel.

Dick Guion

Dick Guion

It’s about time he took an upward step. Dave got out the projector last night and entertained Audrey by showing some of Dan’s and Dick’s colored slides. Dan says the bulb on the movie projector is shot. I wonder if there’s a priority on that too. We shall certainly have to get that fixed up in time to entertain little Siwash Ced when he pays

Ced Guion

Ced Guion

us his Christmas visit. It will seem pretty much like the Santa Claus myth coming true when he drops in from Alaska, pack or no pack. And with this happy thought, let us close tonight’s chapter, to be mentally tucked into your several beds with a good night kiss from your

DADDY

Tomorrow, we’ll have the special treat of a Guest Post by gpcox, writer of pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com, exploring the role Hollywood played during WWII.

Then we’ll return to 1943 and what is happening to all the boys.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – “Anticipation” – Aug, 1943

Blog Timeline - 1941-1943

It looks like Lad will make it home in time to celebrate his father’s birthday… what a special birthday present that will be.

Trumbull Conn.

September 5, 1943

Dear Dan, Ced and Dick,

There is a reason for my omitting Lad. Yesterday the Western Union delivered a night letter reading:

“Leaving Friday 18:30. Arriving Tuesday, it says here.”

No sir, you won’t catch Lad making any wild statements as to when he will arrive, a boy after my own heart incidentally. And if he doesn’t arrive at the expected time, you may take it out on the officials that make up the railroad timetables, not Lad. Just the same, there is going to be one large block of disappointment if a tall Sgt. fails to materialize the day after tomorrow. Everything is measured against that day. Jean has been busy getting the downstairs cleaned and put to rights and following her example, both Aunt Betty and yours truly turned to and lent a helping hand. The living room already shows marked improvement and the other rooms are also responding to her dust cloth. The place is cleaner that it has been for a long time.

Jane, up to the present time, has received three letters from Dick who apparently is somewhere in South America, probably Brazil. He has promised to write me also, to which event I am naturally looking forward with great expectation. No further word from Dan, but I am hopeful another letter is on its way.

Old Eskimo Ced came through with another interesting letter. He has been kept pretty busy these last few weeks because of the fishing season rush. He has been forced to

Cedric (Ced) Duryee Guion

Cedric (Ced) Duryee Guion

surrender his interest in the airplane, receiving back what he invested in it, however. The plane has been taken over by one of the members on account of a foolish squabble among two of the others. He is facing the problem again of finding living quarters as George is renting his house. Rusty (Heurlin) and has just sold two pictures to Walter Stohl. (And that reminds me, Ced, I saw Sylvia Stohl in Howland’s yesterday and she asked about you and Lad and Dan). Ced’s draft status remains the same, but as he is always been deferred hereto for on occupational grounds, he is hopeful it may continue. For Dan’s and Dick’s information, Dick Schaller is married to a widow with two children and is back in Anchorage living with Ed and Mary Glennon. He is going to send for his family as soon as he can locate a place for them here Leonard Is the father of a six-month-old daughter. Many folks in town frequently asked about you two. Chuck and Florence are expecting next month and have bought a lot with a swell of you at the west end of Fifth Avenue.

Zeke, Elizabeth and the kids were over to dinner today, and what with getting meals, cleaning house, etc., I wasn’t able to tackle this letter until quite a bit after my regular time for so doing. As usual the hay fever doesn’t make me feel any to chipper. It seems to be worse at night, for some strange reason, as you would think that less pollen would be stirring around then during the day.

This is has been so poor during August that I shall have to forgo any salary for that month. I hope my boss appreciates that I am working for nothing. September has started out better, so here’s hoping. Even this can’t dampen my spirits, hay fever included, in the light of lads homecoming, with the still further hope in the background of says expectation of a home visit in December. Can you imagine my state of mind when Dan and Dick also can set a definite date for crashing the gate guarding our driveway?

Until then, here’s the best of good luck to you all,

from your DAD.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting Grandpa’s letter after Lad has left to return to California. I’m sure he fells about the same way any parent would feel after having a child home on furlough – even for just a few days. It must have been quite a letdown.

On Saturday, we’ll have another Tribute to Arla and them return to Venezuela and Lad’s life in South America along with what everyone else is doing in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

Random Memories of Alfred Peabody Guion (6 of 6)

 Alfred Duryee Guion    m. Arla Mary Peabody

  1884 – 1964                         1895 – 1933

Alfred Peabody   Daniel Beck   Cedric Durye    Elizabeth Westlin    Richard Peabody  David Peabody

1914 – 2003       1915 – 1997     1917 – 2008         1919 – 2003             1920 – 2000           1925 – 2005

While I was growing up, I knew a little of the history of my father and his brothers during their 20’s and 30’s, but, typical of that generation, they didn’t talk about it. I knew that my father had worked in Venezuela, I also knew that Ced had worked in Alaska as a bush pilot for quite a few years. I had entertained the idea of recording their childhood memories for years but it wasn’t until Dan’s death that I realized I had better get started. That summer I recorded the memories of Elizabeth (Biss) and recorded everyone else over the next few years. This is the last installment of Alfred Peabody, known as Lad to family and friends and my father. Every once in a while, I’ll post the random memories of one of the children. Enjoy this look back in years through my father’s eyes.

Alfred Peabody Guion - (Lad) at a camp in Venezuela

Alfred Peabody Guion – (Lad) at a camp in Venezuela

After working in Venezuela for 2 1/2 years, the company required that I take two months off and go to a temperate climate. They didn’t care where, just that I had to be out of the tropical climate. So I went home. Just before I ship landed in New York City, an announcement came over the PA system that some government employees would be coming on board. When they arrived, they asked everyone for their passport. The told me that I wouldn’t get my passport back.

I went to Trumbull and shortly thereafter, got my conscription notice, classifying me 1-A. I received a notice to report for duty in May. Two days later I got a letter from the Navy saying they had lowered their eyesight requirements and I was now eligible. I tried to talk the Army out of it, but was unsuccessful. So I went into the Army.

Dan and I were both in France in 1945. I had been corresponding with Dan and I knew he was going to be married on a particular day in mid-summer. I talked my Capt. into a three-day pass but it was limited to Paris. That was as far as I should go. So I went to Paris and checked into the hotel. I left my duffel bag there and put a little sack in my pocket with my toothbrush and that’s about it I guess, maybe a call, to. I decided to try to get to Calais, where Dan was to be married.

I didn’t know how far it was, maybe 50 or 60 miles from Paris, North upon the coast. I got a ticket on a train and the train went about five or 6 miles/hour for about 10 or 15

Lad Guion

Lad Guion

minutes, then it stopped. It stood there for a long, long time, then it went little further and it stopped again. I was noticing that cars kept going by so I got off the train and hitchhiked. I beat the train by a day. I didn’t have much trouble hitchhiking. An English soldier came along on a motorbike and asked me where I wanted to go. I told him Calais. He said “That’s not far. I’ll take you up there.” So that’s how I made the last two thirds of the trip to Calais.

I had no trouble finding the house; it was Chiche’s mother and father’s house, he was a pharmacist. It was fairly late in the afternoon when I got there. I stayed the night and the wedding was the next day. As I recall, they were expecting me when I got there. The third day my pass was up but I didn’t hurry to get back. I went back to Paris on the train, and this time, it went pretty fast. I grabbed all of my equipment out of the hospitality hotel and checked out. I took the usual bus to go from Paris to Marseille, but by this time, I was one day over my pass.

When I got back to camp there was nothing there, just damaged grass and fields. Everything was gone! I finally found an officer who was walking around and asked him what had happened. He said that everybody had shipped out, Saturday. I told him my name any he said “Oh, yeah,. They tried to get a hold of you but the Hotel said they couldn’t find you.” So he told me where to go and what to do. I went to the location he told me about and they knew all about me. There was another fellow there, Bob Mark. I was with the3019th and he was with the3020th. He had been left behind to gather all the equipment. I said “That’s what I’m supposed to do.”

So Bob and I got together and found her equipment, we both belonged to the hundred 49th Battalion. We got all the equipment rounded up, got it to the dock and finally were able to get a ship that would take it to Okinawa. I think it took us close to a week to get everything ready and get aboard. We started out but when we were about 200 miles from the Panama Canal, the word on the PA system was that the US had dropped a bomb on Hiroshima. We got the message in the afternoon, and the next morning the ship turned around, went back out to the Atlantic and up the coast to New York.

After I returned to New York I was stationed at Fort Dix. I don’t know how many months, a couple or three months. They didn’t know what to do with me. I went home every weekend and came back on Monday. Finally they said to me “we don’t know what to do with you so you might as well go home and get discharged.” So that’s what finally happened.

During the war Dan was in France. He was a surveyor and was coordinating between England and France, I guess helping to make arrangements.

Ced was working at Elmendorf Airfield when it was taken over by the military. He was employed there so he worked for the government as a mechanic. Later on, he was willing to do it, or was crazy enough to do it, but he would take a tractor and an AT wagon, a little wagon with tracks on it so it stayed on top of the snow, and go out and bring back down planes. Sometimes it would take a number of days before he found the plane and was able to bring it back

Dick I know very little about. He went to Brazil and was able to converse with Portuguese civilians. He spent a couple of years there.

I know nothing about Dave during the war except that he was in the Philippines.

Sometime around 1945, we were going to the Island (on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH) and we stopped at the Heurlin’s house. During the conversation they mentioned that they would like to get rid of the Island. It was just costing them money and they weren’t using it. Dad was interested in it and found out that they owed about $300 in back taxes. Dad paid that and they gave him the deed to the island.

Tomorrow’s post will take us back to 1935 when Lad was working in Venezuela as a trouble-shooter mechanic for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company. Since his job required him to travel to whichever camp was having a problem with a vehicle, he was no longer able to write home every week, but we’ll hear from Grandpa.

For FREE copies of New Inceptions Magazine, an e-magazine, with several articles and stories based on letters and memories of my family, prior to and during World War II, you can click the following links.

Issue 1   Click Here

Issue 2   Click Here

Issue 3   Click Here

Judy Guion

Guest Post – gpcox – Technical and Ground Force Coordination

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 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.

Army Map Service

Army Map Service

Daniel Beck Guion (Dan)

Daniel Beck Guion (Dan)

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) Peabody Guion

Richard (Dick) Peabody Guion

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 tp 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.

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

Radioman - WWII

Radioman – WWII

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.

Airplane Mechanic - WWII

Airplane Mechanic – WWII

Cedric (Ced) Duryee Guion

Cedric (Ced) Duryee Guion

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.

Judy Guion