Alfred Peabody Guion (My Dad)
THE ORDNANCE TRAINING CENTER
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUNDS
May 31, 1942
Dear Dad: –
Although it was hotter by 10° or 15° in Venezuela, I don’t think that I was ever more uncomfortable due to high humidity. Regardless of how little energy I use, even just using my brain, I perspire. It really is HOT.
Yesterday, according to custom, we all here in Aberdeen had a review. We went out on the Parade Grounds in our best uniforms, cartridge belts and Rifles at 11:30 and were there until a few minutes after 1:00. It was hot out there, too, and quite a number of the fellows passed out under the strain of standing at attention. However, I was not affected in the least. (I just refilled my pen.)
As luck would have it, our quarantine was called off early, and half of our Co. was allowed to leave camp. I was one of those given a pass but I had a detail, night, at that, good old K.P., and could not use it. The next time passes are issued I’ll have a preference because I turned mine over to one of the other fellows. But it will not be this coming week since Co. B. is apparently going on to guard duty, and there will be no passes issued. The weekend of the 14th, if we do not go out on a bivouac, I’ll have a chance to come home, and will arrive in Bridgeport at the same time Dan did, since it will be the same train he took, I think. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 10:30 PM. However, I cannot know definitely until 4:30 on the afternoon of the day I come home so I cannot give you any further definite information. If I call you at Trumbull you will know I made it. If I don’t, you could be sure I didn’t make the pass. That’s rather a cruel way of putting it, but it’s the best I can do. We have been asked to write home frequently by the 1st Corps Area, but then they put so many restrictions on what we can say about interesting things that I have very little I can write about.
As long as information is only general it is OK to mention it. For example – I can tell you that Camp Rodman here is rather a nice place and is nicely situated as far as terrain is concerned, but I cannot give any definite information, like the number of men here or the size of the camp or how many rounds of ammunition we use for rifle practice or the number of rounds we carry on guard duty, etc.
But anyhow, I’ll answer, to the best of my ability, any questions you care to ask.
Well, Dad, if luck holds out, I may see you on the second weekend in June. If not then – “quien sabe”.
Occasional Report of the Guion Family
as of May 31, 1942.
LAD: Address – Private Alfred P. Guion
Co. “B”, 1 Bat’n, O.R.T.C.
Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md.
Left the middle of May for Camp Ayer, Mass., thence to above address. He writes: “From things that have been said at various places and by various people who should know, Ordnance work and the Ordnance Dept of the U.S. Army rates second to none – – not even the engineering core. Apparently eight men out of 1000 get far enough to make the necessary qualifications for this Dep’t., And then, to make things even better, of those picked men, 2 out of 1000 get a chance to qualify for an instructors rating and the Officers Training Course. I am among the latter few, and that really makes me feel good. I just hope that I can live up to the honor when my chance comes. I believe that if things go for me as they have been planned at present, I will be stationed here at Aberdeen Proving Grounds for six months or even for the duration. In any event, ordnance men are not trained to fight except as a means of self-protection, and the main idea, roughly, is to supply the men on the lines with ammunition and equipment for fighting. We are the men behind the men on the front. Apparently I have been picked to act as an instructor in automotive repair and maintenance.”
DAN: – Address – Pvt. Daniel B. Guion
Co. “B”, 30th Engineers, U.S. Army,
Roanoke Rapids, So. Car.
Has just been granted a specialist Rating in surveying. Application is pending for admission to Officers Cadet School. He writes: “Aside from the inanity of Army ritual and customs, I am disgracefully happy here – – that southern hospitality stuff is truer than your northern imagination could possibly conceive – – I still don’t believe it myself, even when it happens.”
CED: – Address – Cedric D. Guion
P.O. Box 622,
When last heard from (April 15th) was still a civilian employed as an airplane mechanic at Woodley Airways, Anchorage
DICK: Recently rated Class “A” by local Draft board. Subject to call at any time after passing his physical. Sleeps home days and works night at Producto Machine Co.. (100% war work), Bridgeport.
DAVE: Still enduring “Life with Father”, relieved by occasional activities at my office, high school and Trumbull social affairs.
BISS: (and two sons) busy at work as housewife and mother – – both boys husky and growing. 142 Cornwall St., Stratford, Conn.
Aunt Betty and Dad – still carrying on at same old stand. Can be reached at P.O. Box 7, Trumbull, Conn., Telephone Bridgeport 4 – 2993, or better still, by a personal visit from…. Y O U.
Tomorrow and Friday, I will post a 3-page letter from Grandpa, addressing a portion to each son away from home and finishing up with some General Notes.
Why not share this “Slice of Life” blog (greatestgenerationlessons.wordpress.com) with your friends and family. They might find this look into life in the 1940’s very interesting.