Army Life – Hello Everyone at Home – Birthday Gifts For Lad – February, 1944

 

Lad ad Marian Guion

Tuesday

Hello! Everyone at Home –

Here we are “deep in the heart of Texas”, and altho’ it isn’t a place that we would choose to build our own home, at least it isn’t too bad. I know that it is quite disconcerting to Lad, but I’ve taught school for three years in a place in California that is exactly like this, so I know what to expect. And as long as it is possible, I intend to stay with Lad, no matter where he is sent.

For the time being we are staying at a fairly nice Auto Court – The Blue Streak! (Room and bath, if you please!) And have our application in at the Federal Housing Tract which is near. We could move in right away, if we had furniture, or wanted to buy it, but we don’t want to get anything right now, so we have to wait until they can furnish some more of the houses.

We are about 5 miles from Camp, and except when he has a night hike or C.2. (?) scheduled, Lad can get home practically every night. Just so that I will have something to do during the day, I am going to try to get some kind of a job. Exactly what, I don’t know, but am going to see about it in a few days.

Lad’s training is really strenuous, and what with the wet, rainy weather we have been having, is none too pleasant. He doesn’t complain however and I’m so glad to be here that the water could be a foot deep outside and I wouldn’t even notice. It rains in California, too – the Chamber of Commerce, notwithstanding!

We don’t know what our mailing address will be, so for the time being continue to send those very interesting letters of yours to Lad’s address at Camp.

I forgot to warn you, Dad, that I was sending some of Lad’s things home – they are things that can just be stored until he gets there to sort them out.

We think your suggestion about a picture is an excellent one – in fact, we had it in mind to do as soon as we were settled – so we will send one to you as soon as we can.

 

Needless to say, I’m extremely glad Marian is here. It makes Texas quite a bit nicer, and she apparently likes it better than I had dared hope. Now you all may get a little more attention from me again. Since Marion wrote, we have acquired a mailing address. It is Box 154, Hooks, Texas.

Our basic training should end this Saturday and on Monday we will begin our 11 weeks of technical training. I am to help out with the instruction, along with 8 or 10 others. I’m supposed to sort of cram automotive electricity into the already cluttered brains of the trainees. It seems that this post is slightly understaffed for a Bn. as large as this. But everyone is glad Basic is nearly finished. We have our inspection tomorrow, and to be on the ball I’ve got to get some sleep so —– Laddie

 

Dad – I have a Valentine for you, but until we can get suitable packing material I shall have to wait to mail it to you. But it is coming –

With all our love,

Marian

 

Saturday

P.S. – Fellow conspirator –

I received your letter in the mail tonight and I honestly don’t know what to tell you to get Lad for his birthday. Everything in the way of clothes that he needs is issued to him – and the Army has specific ideas about the type they should be. He does need some plain white (no initial) handkerchiefs – the kind that don’t have much of a border on them. And he wants a small sewing kit – and I do mean small. No bigger than the size of a spool of thread – with needles and pins and tiny spools of black, white or khaki colored thread. I have been unable to find one here. He can always use cigarettes (Luckies) if you are able to get a carton of them – And some plain white stationary – (rather lightweight paper)

Practically the only things he uses outside of things issued by the government are his electric razor (still in good condition) and his fountain pen – (he has two of those)

You see what I mean? I realize that I’m not much help, Dad, but this is absolutely all I can offer. Perhaps you have a few ideas on the subject that would be most acceptable. I think you do remarkably well as it is.

Love –

Marian

Tomorrow and Sunday I will continue Biss’s adventures in St. Petersburg, Florida, living with her Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley and helping with housework and the children.

Judy Guion

Advertisement

Army Life – Marian Writes to the Home Folks – I Took a Civil Service Exam – February, 1944

Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

Wednesday –

Dear Dad, Aunt Betty and Jean – Ced, too – ‘cause I imagine he’s there also—

Life in Texas seems very serene these days. Not too much excitement, and Uncle Samuel has been keeping Lad so busy that he hasn’t had time to think, but he has gotten home every night so far, so I’m not complaining in the least – for that is much more than I expected. Don’t know how long this will continue, but just being near enough that I can see him occasionally is all I ask.

Valentine’s Day being our third (month) anniversary, we were going to celebrate, but Uncle Sammy stepped in and decided that Lad should work until 9 PM that evening. However, we did have dinner together, slightly rushed, I will admit. – but that in itself is an occasion! Just think of all the celebrating we are going to be able to do when this is all over!

Dad, we are sending you one of our wedding gifts that we would like to have you put in Lad’s safe deposit box. It is a $25 War Bond, and we don’t want to carry it around with us.

I took the civil service exam yesterday, so if I passed the test and they still need office workers, I may be working at the Red River Ordnance Depot. I should know the results the first of next week, so perhaps our next letter will tell whether or not I have a job. Being a lady of leisure has been very nice so far, but with no house to take care of, I’m hoping to be able to work at least part of the time, so that I’ll have something to keep me busy during the day.

I’m going to wait to mail this letter, and also one to Dan, in case Lad gets home early enough to add a few lines to them. He’s had to work every night this week, so far, so I’m not sure whether he will even get home – needless to say – I hope so – .

Love to all

Marian

2/18/44

P.S.   Sorry, Dad, but I better get this in the mail before you think a Texas tornado has done away with the Lad Guions! Received your letter yesterday – we were glad to hear that Ced has been deferred and are waiting in hopes that we will be able to see him before he returns to Alaska. If he left immediately, I guess he couldn’t stop off in Texas, for he would have been here by now, but if he couldn’t get a reservation until later this week, perhaps we will see him after all. Needless to say, we certainly hope so!

Lad has been working so hard he hasn’t had time to think, let alone write letters! Maybe next time – and that roast beef you mentioned had us practically drooling! How we would have loved to be there! In fact we got so hungry that we had a late evening snack. The best Texas had to offer was crackers spread with peanut butter and one lone candy bar! A far cry from delicious roast beef!

Love —

Marian

Tomorrow, a long letter from Grandpa, on Wednesday, another letter from Marian and on Thursday and Friday, another letter from Grandpa.

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