Army Life – Lad’s First Letter Home (1) – Lad’s First Week in the Army – May, 1942

 

This is the first page of 11, a long letter to Grandpa telling him of all of his adventures after leaving Grandpa at the Railroad Station in Shelton/Derby, CT, on May 14, 1942.

APG - First letter to Grandpa from Aberdeen Proving Grounds - May 18, 1942

Pvt. A.P. Guion

Co. B 14 Bn ORTC

Aberdeen Proving Ground

Md.

May 18, 1942

Dear Dad: –

We left Derby on time and stopped at Ansonia. Here a second car was filled, and after a stop at Waterbury the third car was filled and our next stop was Hartford. Here we detrained at a few minutes before nine and walked about 1 ½ blocks to the Induction Center. There were so many of us that the complete inspection was not over until 2:45. The actual inspection per person was not more than 30 or 35 min., if that much. At 3 PM the 88 who had passed the examinations out of 169, were put into a separate car and in a few minutes a train coupled onto the car and we were off. The train stopped nowhere until it got to Worchester, Mass. Here a switch engine hooked onto our car and while the train went on, we were switched back and forth, and ended up on the track going in the opposite direction. Here another train picked us up and again we were off. Our next stop was in Ayer, Mass., where there is no platform of any kind. The tracks run through the backyard of Camp Devens. Here, with our baggage, we were again given a short march and after a little discussion concerning behavior in the camp we were issued raincoats and a barracks bag, another hike to Co. B, 1st Bn., and we were issued blankets. Incidentally, we detrained at Fort Devens at 5:40, 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Then came supper and bed making instructions and we were more than glad to turn in at 9:00.

Friday we rose at 5:45 A.M., policed the barracks and fell out for breakfast. Immediately after that we were taken to Q.M.C. and issued our uniforms. What a system. It takes about four or five minutes from the time you start, stark naked, til you emerge at the other end very well fitted from the skin out, and in six complete uniforms with two complete changes of everything else. Then came an Aptitude test – lunch – and a private interview. Back to the theater to be shown a film on the evil side of sex, a couple of short welcome speeches – supper – a couple of fallout calls to advise some of the men that they were leaving early Sat. morning and then to bed.

Sat – up at 5:45 and out for reveille where 10 fellows and myself were told we would be ready to leave at 7:15. A rush to breakfast, again to the medical section for injections and a vaccination, back again for clothes and we fell out at 7:21 for the trip to wherever it was. We were marched out to the same lot at which we detrained when we first arrived and here we were told to wait for further orders. We waited until 8:30 and then were assembled and marched back to the road again, a distance of a couple of hundred yards and were put onto a truck. By truck we were taken a few miles to Fitchburg where we again waited and at 9:21 a train pulled in. At the rear was a special car and we were loaded into this. By now we numbered 44. A sergeant was in charge. He would give us no information as to where we were going, not even if it were a long trip. However with spirits undaunted, we had a good time. At Greenfield, Mass., we were shunted again and changed direction of travel from west to south. Our next stop was at Springfield where we were put onto a siding and taken into the station for lunch. After lunch we boarded the car again and in a couple of minutes another train backed up and again we were off. We stopped at Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford and Penn Station. We were ordered not to mail anything or make phone calls until we arrived at our destination, so I could not write anything to you. A half hour stop in Penn. Station, while a Penn. Engine was put on in place of the New Haven, during which time we ate a box lunch, and then began a real ride. On the New Haven road we had made good time, and only a few stops, but the track was quite rough and I don’t think we traveled better than 45 or 50 M.P.H. The first stop on the new leg was at Newark and then began a fast non-stop trip. The only times we slowed down below 75 M.P.H. (according to my figuring – the mile posts were going by every 44 or 45 seconds) was when we switched from the local track to the express or vice versa. On this trip we passed two freight trains, two locals and one express. All of them moving. It took about 2 ½ or 3 miles to pass the express, but we did it. Our next stop was Philadelphia, then Wilmington and then Aberdeen. Here, to our surprise, we all got off and were taken by truck, in the rain, to our present location (see the letterhead). We were issued blankets, assigned to barracks and were glad to go to bed even though it was only 9:30.

Sunday we had nothing to do, and also being in quarantine for a two-week period, we could do nothing. I acquainted myself as well as I could with in our limited grounds, about 2000 x 1000 feet, and made a few purchases at the PX (Camp store – Post Exchange) which we are lucky enough to have within grounds and again retired.

Monday began our training and was spent in learning marching fundamentals.

Today, Tuesday, we heard from a few of the Big Shots on the duties of the Ordnance Dept., and this afternoon, more drilling. Just now we are having an inspection of all equipment issued to us. And so will end today. And, believe me, we are all glad to hit the hay at 9:00 P.M. when the lights go out.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this letter from Lad to his Dad, my Grandpa, all about his first experiences in and with the Army after his induction. Friday, another letter from Grandpa to his three sons away from home: Ced in Anchorage, Alaska, working as an airplane mechanic; Dan, being trained as an Army surveyor in Pennsylvania and Lad, who has just been inducted and is at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland.

Judy Hardy

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Trumbull – Dear Boys – Lots of News About Friends and Family – April, 1942

 

Trumbull, Conn., April 26, 1942

Dear Boys:

Tomorrow is registration day for the old fellows; in Trumbull it is to be conducted at the Center School. The high schools in Bridgeport are to be used for the same purpose so Dave has a holiday – – to work at the office. Along in May sometime there will be a day when we will appear again at the school to apply for sugar registration cards, 1 pound per person every two weeks. On May 15th gasoline rationing starts. The powers have not decided whether the common people get 2 ½ or 10 gallons of gas per week, but between gas rationing and tire restrictions, it does not look as though there will be much auto driving this summer, and by the same token, Dan, I am wondering if the gas situation will induce you to change your mind about driving your car down to camp from here as mentioned in your last letter. Dick says the car is in running condition and when I read your letter I had an idea I would like to drive down with you to North Carolina and come home by bus or train after looking the place over, telling your general not to let to stay out nights and get your feet wet by leaving off your rubbers on rainy days, and in general putting my seal of approval on the new layout, but we can talk that over later.

Jack Fillman was in for a few minutes yesterday afternoon to see Dick. He looks fine, has gained 15 pounds and is with an artillery unit stationed at a new post on the North Carolina shore. Cy Linsley also called yesterday afternoon to have me witness his questionnaire. Arnold (Gibson, Lad’s best friend) called one day during the week all dolled up in his Bridgeport emergency police uniform. It was rather amusing to see him in that outfit knowing his attitude in the past and recalling the many run-ins he had with the Trumbull police.

It has been a mild, balmy, sunshiny day and Dave and I started out at 8 this morning and walked all around Pinebrook Lake. We got home a little after 10, Dave to go to church and I to get Sunday’s dinner. On the way back we stopped for a minute to talk to Mrs. Ives, who was weeding her flower bed, and learned that Mr. Ives is in Bridgeport Hospital for observation and treatment. He is still is troubled with swollen glands, a condition known as Hodgson’s disease or some similar name. As long as he takes it easy he is O.K. but as soon as he does any work he develops a fever. X-ray treatment is being used to remedy the trouble.

Friday I attended a joint meeting of chairman of various Red Cross activities in the Town, and incidentally learned something that, in the back of my mind I knew all the time, but had evidently lain dormant, and that is the fact that the Red Cross is the liaison between the men in service and the home. For instance, when you Dan, needed money to get home you could have made arrangements with the local Red Cross field representatives. Their job is to solve family problems, providing relief where necessary, securing social histories and reports on home conditions required by military authorities in considering questions of medical and hospital treatments, discharge, furloughs and clemency. Cooperation is also rendered in securing the return to duty of men, particularly first offenders, who are AWOL. Claims both for disabled veterans and able-bodied were necessary.

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Red (Sirene) came home this weekend and he and Dick have been up at Plumbs this afternoon starting to get the tennis court in condition. Dave stayed home to work on getting his wheel in condition.

Elizabeth and her two tykes just came in. They had been up at the Zabel’s and are going back. Zeke is fishing. He got a couple of trout last week.

Ced, it is so long since your last letter and so unlike you to cause me to get anxious that I am wondering if you have written and for some reason or another, the letter has failed to arrive. I have thought that for war reasons there might be a strict censorship on outgoing letters, but I can hardly believe that they would stop mail entirely even though they might delete some of the things you might write. I reasoned that if you were ill or something, Rusty would write, still I cannot understand how you could be too busy to even drop me a card, knowing you are thoughtful and considerate of others. So in a word, you have me guessing. I have had only the one letter since you have returned from the glacier repair trip.

I would like if possible to hear from you in time to get off some little birthday remembrance that would reach you by June 1st, so if everything is O.K., drop me a line as soon as you get this, PLEASE, and tell me what would be welcome from home.

Lad has now about finished training a successor in his shipping department job, and the next step is to talk to someone in the company to learn what the latest news is regarding his draft status and whether he should proceed at once to try to get into the Naval Reserves.

There doesn’t seem to be any further items of interest I can think of to mention at this time. Anyway, it’s time I got a bite to eat for Aunt Betty, so I’ll close in the customary manner, the usual method of signing off as

DAD

Tomorrow, more Special Pictures.

Next week I’ll post letters written in 1943. Lad and Marian’s Wedding is almost upon them (the Army being cooperative).

Judy Guion

 

Army Life – Dear Family – Marian and Lad Find an Apartment – November, 1945

Monday

11/19/45

Dear Family –

Our status is no clearer now than it was last week, altho’ there have been a number of changes. Lad is in a new company — a perfectly foul one that treats their men worse than the basics. He has no definite job to do, because he has over 50 points, but he can’t get out as they are just holding him there. He has to report on the post at 5:45 — can get a pass every night, except Friday night (Don’t ask us why — even they don’t know. It’s just a company policy.) You have to be in the company four months (Heaven Forbid !!) before you can get a three-day pass, so we probably won’t be home very often. Because he’s in a holding company, he can’t apply for rations off the post — can’t have his laundry done on the post — can’t buy things at the commissary — can’t —— oh!, The list is endless. Now that I’ve presented the worst side, there are a few encouraging items. One — he hasn’t been sent to classification as yet, so that might make a difference, we hope. Two — because he’s a T/3 he won’t draw any company duties except C.2 — and that shouldn’t come up too often. Three — they are off duty by 11 o’clock Saturday morning, so we do have a fairly long weekend. And they usually get off at 4 o’clock on Wednesdays. Otherwise it is 5:30 before he can leave.

So – if Lad doesn’t pull C.2 on Thursday (or Wednesday night) we will drive up Wednesday night and be home for Thanksgiving dinner anyway. Bob is in the same Company but is hoping to be moved today or tomorrow, so he might not be coming with us. I guess one place more or less won’t make too much difference, will it?

Dad, please call Jean and ask her to get an extra pound of butter for us? Butter is a very scarce item down here, so I’d like to bring some back with us. Also, tell her that we will bring olives, pickles, nuts, candy (if we can find it) and anything else along that line that I might think of. They won’t be perishable, and we should be able to get them down here.

We have found an apartment such as it is — which isn’t too bad (We’ve been in a lot worse). It has a fairly large living room and bedroom and a fairly nice kitchen — good gas stove — icebox — and dishes and silver furnished. We share the bath with the couple in the other half of the duplex. Ice and milk are delivered four times a week and we are only five blocks from town. It really isn’t bad at all and it’s ever so much better than eating out all the time. We just hope we won’t be here very long.

Went to see the Chandlers yesterday. Took us forever to find the place but we finally made it. Only the two boys were home, however. Mike is 6 feet tall — Dave 6’3” !! Lad could hardly believe it. Mrs. Chandler’s step-mother had died, so she was in Kentucky — was expected home tonight. Mr. Chandler was speaking to a Young People’s Group in a town about 12 miles away (on our way home) so we stopped there and said “Hello”. Didn’t have time for much more. We hope to get back there again.

Hope we see you late Wed. night or early Thursday morning.

Love –

Marian and Lad

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa.

Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Sons – Dan Arrives Home for a Visit – March, 1942

 

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel Beck Guion

 Trumbull, Conn.,  March 15th, 1942

Sons:

Referring to the date above, if I had a red ribbon on this here machine the date line above would have been typed in red, signifying a “red letter day”, not because it is the income tax deadline, but because it marks the first visit home of acting Corp. Daniel B. Guion, U.S. Engineers of Ft. Belvoir, Va. Outside of a mere rumor the first real news of the Daniel invasion reached me while I was engaged in the age-old Saturday night custom of a bath. Aunt Betty’s gentle knock on my bathroom door informed me that Dan was at the Bridgeport station, and would I go down for him. Would I? I mentally gave him at that instant my unadorned greeting and hastily removing a few drops of moisture, I donned my nearest apparel and all a-twitter headed the Buick south. There he was, neat and trim in his new uniform, fully as tanned as when he came back from Venezuela. We corralled Barbara on the way home and set down for a quiz fest. As the evening wore on, one by one, Lad and Dick and Dave drifted in adding their own questions to the crossfire of inquiries as to details of Army life until somewhere around 1:30 or 2:00, most of us sought our couches and left Barbara to get in a few questions of her own. I invited Barbara to dinner, after which we talked for a while, then Dan changed into his uniform and started back to see Biss on his way to the train en route back to Camp.

I hope I can check up another red letter day next week in celebration of a letter from snow-bound Ced who has been giving his index finger a three months rest. No news is good news they say but I would rather have something more positive on this score.

Enclosed for each of you is a newspaper clipping giving a list of the Trumbull folks who now have a place on Uncle Sam’s payroll, in which I thought you might be interested. There is a rumor that Irwin Laufer is now en route to Australia. I am also enclosing a clipping regarding the job the Army engineers are tackling in building a road to Alaska.

There is not much to report locally. The Tire Rationing Board turned down my request for new tires. Dave was in another radio broadcast over W.I.C.C. Friday and Saturday, showed films of Alaska and Venezuela at the North End branch of the Bridgeport Public Library — about a 45 minute showing. The weather is showing signs of coming spring although we are aware that there have been years when blizzards have visited the locality even later in the month than this.

Dick plans to take his new car down tomorrow to have it thoroughly gone over mechanically and put in first class running shape. Dan told Dick to sell his old car.

War talk- “Latrino-gram – a rumor. Mechanized dandruff – cooties.

DAD

Trumbull – Dear Dan and Dave (2) – News From Ced – November, 1945

 

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And now let’s hear from Ced.

“You now are in a way a sort of archaeologist delving deeply into the past and exploring some long forgotten man, that called Cedric. Of course others from time to time have made brief sketches of his habitat and some of his occupations, but for the most part, you probably find that his is a nearly dead memory. This would be true certainly for Dan, and to a lesser extent for Dave. Dan, I have not seen or written since September, 1941, he unmarried, unmilitarized, unEuroped, and the country uninvaded and unPearl Harbored. Dave has had the pleasure of seeing my personal self somewhat more recently, he having been home in the Christmas season, 1943. First off, I owe you both letters, long overdue. I am dreadfully chagrined at my failure to correspond with the newlyweds in Français. Be assured Dan and Paulette, that this is through no intentional snub, or even lack of interest on my part, but mostly to a phobia on my part on writing letters, and also due to the fact that I have been too, too dreadfully busy in Alaska. I must still take time, while I have it at home, to write a more lengthy and chatty letter, telling about Alaska and other items of interest to you two. I wish that I could write you, Paulette, in Français, but what little of it I received in high school would hardly bear repeating even if I remembered it at all. Perhaps when we meet you can teach me the language yourself. May I here take occasion to congratulate you with all my heart, and wish for you and yours the best of everything in the future.

To Dave, who has written me on several occasions and is perhaps still waiting vainly for an answer, I must also beg forgiveness, and I might add, I am highly interested in your broad-minded observations as to treatment the Japs should receive. Dave, I think you and I have a lot in common on this score, and one of these days I’ll write you a long letter answering all your questions and telling you a little more about what’s what. I will have more time in Alaska to write, as I am no longer tied up with the Ski Club administration, and hope to have less overtime at Woodley’s.

I just learned that this letter is also for Lad and Marian, and to them I just say “poo”.

This Taylorcraft plane is to be half mine, and half Leonard Hopkin’s. We are planning to put it on floats next summer and I hope to be able to have a commercial license by then. Leonard has learned to fly and has also a private license. His wife, Marian, is also learning, but hasn’t yet soloed. My intention was to fly from Ohio to Trumbull in the plane, but the factory was unable to install the extras before the 20th of this month, so I came on home by train, and will go back and pick up the plane if I can, on the 20th, returning to Trumbull with it (landing at Monroe) and being home for Thanksgiving and the balance of November. I should start back for Alaska about the first of December.

The Taylorcraft is one of the little planes, similar to the one I had an interest in, in Anchorage once before. It is however, a brand-new one, just being finished up at the factory next week. It will carry two passengers and 50 pounds baggage. Will cruise at 90-95 m.p.h., and fly nonstop without refueling, for about 5 hours and 25 minutes. It will have a high priced two-way radio of the very latest type, and should be a fine airplane. The cost of the plane landed in Anchorage will be approximately $3200, and will break my bank for some time to come, but this figure will cover protective insurance on the plane and I will have the benefit of all the flying time from Trumbull to Alaska, an amount of time which would cost me quite a little if I were buying it in Anchorage. Now enough of this item.

I have lots more good Kodachromes for the family album, and you will soon see them, I hope. Adieu for now, and Bon Nuit, Paulette.

Ced”

Tomorrow, part 3 and on Thursday, the conclusion to this letter. On Friday, Marian writes a note to the family.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dan and Dave (1) – Discharges and Ced is Home – November, 1945

Trumbull, Conn., Nov. 11, 1945

Dear Dan and Dave:

You to being the only outlanders left, the salutation above is correct, although on second thought, it was only about five minutes ago that Lad and Marian left for Aberdeen to make that their temporary home until he is discharged, their hope being that their sojourn will not be long and of course they are hoping to get home on a pass for Thanksgiving. However, they took along a limited amount of housekeeping utensils so that if they are stuck there for any length of time, they will have the ways and means of existing until the Army order finally comes through. Anyway, they will thus have an opportunity of celebrating their wedding anniversary together, which otherwise might not have been possible in view of the fact that obtaining another pass so soon after the one this week, might be difficult to secure. It was Marian’s birthday today so we were able to celebrate that en masse anyway. By all the laws of reason, Lad should be permitted to file his request for discharge in accordance with recent public announcement from Army headquarters, but due to a technicality in the wording, Lad not being on furlough or assigned to temporary duty, is not eligible. Dick is due for return to a camp in South Carolina the day before Thanksgiving, but is today writing for transfer to Fort Devens, which, if granted, with the necessary traveling time, will give him until after Thanksgiving to report there and file his request for discharge. Here’s hoping. As far as we can figure it out now, Aunt Elsie, Anne and Gwen (Stanley) and perhaps Lad’s friend in Aberdeen will be here for Thanksgiving, besides of course, Ced, Dick and Jean, Aunt Betty, myself and I hope Lad and Marian. The Zabels go up to their Trumbull in-laws for that day and here for Christmas. Aunt Helen (Peabody Human) has gone to the Bahamas to join Ted (Human, her husband), and Don Stanley is overseas somewhere.

Ced, in Alaska, with, I believe, a company plane.

          I mentioned Ced. Yes, he’s home. Got home Wednesday night and came in almost like Santa Claus. We were all sitting around the kitchen table, supper just being over, when in through the dining room walks Ced, as nonchalant as you please, having scorned to come in the back door, choosing rather to shinny up the front porch, onto the roof and in through the hall window, this procedure being necessary by virtue of the fact that I had put up storm windows on all the French doors on the ground floor and the front door was locked. He had flown down from Anchorage to Seattle in his own company plane and from there took the train to Ohio, where the Taylorcraft two-seater plane he had ordered was being built. Thence by train to New York, where he stopped in to see Elsie and Aunt Anne before “dropping in” on us here. I am going to ask Ced in a minute to write you a little more about the plane, etc., so I will not go into further details on that now.

The new furnace is in and working (but not paid for yet), and thanks to Dick and Ced, all the storm windows are up — the first time in many years, it seems, that I have not had to do this job myself. I doubt if they realize how much of a help they have been, as Saturday afternoons and Sundays furnish so little opportunity to do what is necessary. Also the little time Lad has been home he has been a great help in furnace regulation and other jobs of a mechanical nature that have needed to be done for a long time. It’s been so good to have three of the boys home together, but naturally only 3/5 as good as the ultimate. Anyway it’s the biggest score we’ve had in quite some time.

Tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday will complete this long letter from Grandpa to Dan and Dave, and on Friday I’ll post a note from Marian.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 259 – Lad and Marian Guion on a Road Trip – 1945

In the fall of 1945, Lad came home from France and reported to Aberdeen, Maryland. They didn’t quite know what to do with him, so he was given several furloughs. During one of them, he and Marian took a road trip to upstate New York and New Hampshire. These pictures were taken on that trip.