Trumbull – The Traveling Clan – Aug, 1943

Blog Timeline - 1941-1943

We continue the story of the Traveling Guions in 1943. Both Dan and Dick are apparently overseas, Lad is coming home on furlough and Grandpa’s sister, Elsie, has come up from New York to celebrate her birthday.

Trumbull Conn.

August 22, 1943

Dear Travelers all:

There is something that tells me that now two of the Guion clan “have sailed the ocean blue”, and while no evidence has yet reached us that they arrived on foreign shores, the absence of all word from Dick and Dan over so long a period seems to tell its own story, as for us back here —

A life on the ocean wave,

A home on the rolling deep,

Where the scattered waters rave

And the winds their revels keep.

Like an eagle caged, I pine

On this dull, unchanging shore.

Oh, give me the flashing brine,

The spray and the tempests roar.

I suppose it’s not permissible for the folks back home to know just where Uncle Sam has ordered you boys to be stationed, whether in Sylvia’s native land, or Woolard’s birthplace or the land of Kathryn Wharton’s ancestors, but where ever it be, I hope you arrived safely without excitement more than enough to make the journey interesting.

This seems to be the travelingest family! A letter from Lad, and a right welcome one to, reveals that his furlough has at last been verified and unless something unforeseen occurs, he starts on Friday, September 3rd  and comes by train, arriving four days or so later. He has to be back on September 17th, which doesn’t give him a chance to get fed up too much on home routine. He gives some interesting routine that fills his days, and how he does fling time about. Why, years mean absolutely nothing to him. Imagine being on duty since 1730! You’d think the generals like Washington or Grant or Pershing would see that a fellow got a better break than that. It positively makes me feel old to think of a son of mine serving that long at a stretch. Oh, well, if things keep up at their present pace, the war will be over before so very long (I’m still holding out to my original guess that 1943 will see the end of the European struggle), and by that time maybe the Japs will have seen the wisdom of sneaking away from other places besides Kiska.

Marian Irwin - 1942

Marian Irwin – 1942

Thanks Lad, for the picture of Marian. Too bad she can’t get a furlough too and pay a visit to Connecticut.

And Dave, too, is fixin’ to do some land traveling. He had a brainstorm the other day and for the past week has been busy with plans on dolling up the old Waverley electric, putting in a motorcycle motor, locating, if possible, some old model T tires, etc. Privately, I have my doubts but Harry Burr and Arnold (Gibson) think it is possible to make it run. Anyway it will keep him out of mischief and enlarge his knowledge of mechanics. He plans to travel with it to Westport when it is in running condition and call on James Melton who has an exact replica, if pictures published in the Sunday papers are to be believed.

It’s almost 3 weeks since any word has come from traveler Ced. Maybe he’s miffed because for the last several weeks letters have been addressed to him as Dangerous Dan McGraw Guion, Fearless Fosdick Guion, Little Orphan Ceddie, Invisible Scarlet O’Neil Guion, etc., which may give Alaskan postal authorities just an inkling of what we think of him back home. Of course, again, I may have him completely baffled and nonplussed at his failure to think of any names quite so clever to get back at me with, but shucks, Ced, don’t let that stop you.

And now dear children, I have quite a pleasant surprise for you. As you know, August 22nd  is Elsie’s birthday (Incidentally Ced, I never have any trouble remembering your PO Box number on this account). She is making a personal appearance. It gives me great pleasure to introduce …..MISS GUION.

Thank you, thank you, Maestro Guion and howdy Lad, Dan, Ced and Dick. To make this an extra special occasion for myself, I came up Friday night and caught the 10:30 bus. No, I’m not celebrating my birthday anymore! But my brother did in his usual, expansive style.

My home life remains the same as usual – going back and forth to the Shop. I suppose I’m doing my bit by staying on the job, but I’d feel better if the commodities we deal in and were vital to the war effort. I’d feel better if I was riveting something or working on airplanes with the possibility of being sent overseas to do something there or preparing to work overseas in the postwar period. I hate to think of the war coming and going without my having put my finger into the war itself somewhere or somehow.

I’m still at the Tudor and trying to get along on less and less – what with increasing taxes and the increasing cost of food. Restaurant food is so high and the quality so correspondingly low that we try to eat home as much as possible but the heat of summer makes it impossible to keep perishable things without ice. A young woman comes to us every day and helps us until about 7:30 P.M. she comes at 5:00 P.M., after her daytime job in an architect’s office. On Sunday she goes to New Jersey and on Monday brings us nice ripe tomatoes, string beans, squash, etc. Not all at once, of course. But we enjoy the fresh vegetables. It’s a rare treat.

Just now Aunt Betty and I and Smoky took a walk up to the ol’ swimmin’ hole. It looks deserted – weeds are overgrown all around, there’s not too much water running on account of little rain lately, and it looks forgotten. Smoky barked a cow out of her afternoon nap, splashed in the water several times and was the only one to show real activity.

Well, here’s wishing you and you and you and you the best of good fortune in the days ahead. I wish I were on the seas going places. So long,

Elsie

Jean has been spending the last few days at Fairfield Beach with Barbara and some other girls. I think the cottage is owned by Helen Berger. Anyway, she is one of the party. Jean lives in hourly anticipation of hearing from Dick. I had definite instructions to call her anytime of the day or night if word should come from her M.P. (Married partner), but to date this has not been necessary.

Things go on here in the regular routine. Everything, both inside and outside the house, remains about the same. Meantime, Ced, the little blue boats in your room continue to sail on their interminable journeys to unnamed ports, awaiting the day when you will, to the haven of Trumbull from distant Alaska appear, and plop will go the anchor for a bit of shore leave. Until that time, keeping the beacon light burning bright will be the job of your old lighthouse keeper (and cook),

DAD

I won’t make you wait. We’ll stay right here in August and September, 1943, until Lad had come and gone on his furlough. Come back tomorrow for more of this special time in Trumbull.

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