Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Port Moresby, January 1943

In mid-January Howard sent Christmas and New Year greetings:



                              KENTLAND IND


                               HOARD [SIC] MCCORMICK

                                                                   821A JAN 14

Howard was transferred to New Guinea in January 1943. Major fighting along the Kokoda trail between the Japanese and the Australian and American troops had consumed much of the second half of 1942. At the beginning of 1943, Japan still intended to invade Port Moresby from Lae. Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney, using intercepted information, prevented Japan from building up its forces at Lae, thereby successfully forcing Japan on the defensive. The first half of 1943 saw a stalemate between the opposing forces. Neither Japan nor the United States were able to bring sufficient resources to bear to change the dynamic. The war of attrition continued throughout 1943. (Edward J. Drea, New Guinea: The U.S. Army Campaign of World War II 5).

His first letter from New Guinea, undated and postmarked January 26, 1943, uses APO 929 (Port Moresby). Flights took off at all hours and planes were in constant need of repair, so there would have been much noise.

Dear Margaret,

     As you will see my address is changed.  I am no longer in Australia, thank God, and am now in New Guinea. It sounds exotic does it not? It is pretty nice here, the food is good and although it is kind of noisy here it is not so bad. Time is very limited so I'll write more later. I feel fine. All my love,

Port Moresby has two seasons: monsoon and dry. Howard arrived in the wet season when it rains about every other day, with an accumulation of about 6 inches on average in February. Plants and vines grow quickly in the wet season and mosquitoes are plentiful.

His next letter, dated January 19, 1943, and postmarked February 4, has more detail and indicates that he was already in New Guinea by the 19th. 

My Darling Margaret,
     The time when I have a little more time has come this date. New Guinea is a lovely country, except that it is too dark, too wet, and too [unclear]. The food is pretty good here although that is but a different [unclear], you might [unclear] that you step and to go any where you are going either up [unclear]. I got all, the ones that you mentioned and I suppose that something happened to the ships that were carrying the letters of acknowledgement. I [unclear] remain in good health and I suppose that this is something to be thankful for at that. It has been almost a year now since I left the 'States and [unclear] it does not seem that long. I presume that you are doing much the same as ever. You should be nice and cool as I write this letter. Boy oh boy how the rain is coming down now. It is nice and wet rain too. The mosquitoes here are rather bad [unclear].
     The boat ride up here was rather stuffy. I find Army transports that way. When I get home I think that I will take a cruise somewhere on a peace time liner just so I will have plenty of room and plenty to eat on a ship for once. This damn typewriter seems to stutter more than somewhat. I guess it is just the nature of the thing. As far as I can recollect it has always done it, even when it was quite small. Being in this part of the world is enough to make anything stutter. I am the first sergeant of this part of the company now and we seem to be getting along well. As long as we do and do not have too much static I will be very well pleased. I have gotten no mail from anyone for a good while. This is because of the movement I suppose. Some day things will change I suppose and I will have thousands of letters, a good many from you I hope. This letter has about run out. Some days you can write without any trouble and some days -- I guess you know what I mean. After I get a little better acquainted with the customs of the country I'll write more.  All my love



Sunday, September 27, 2015

Northern Australia, December 1942

Howard wrote to Margaret on December 1, 1942:

My Darling Margaret,
     I am terribly pressed for time but I will write you my weekly letter in spite of that. I got your two part letter dated 8 Nov but none since that. I retain my usual health and there is no perceptible change. We are still living in tents and eating out of some kits. I sure hope that you are as well as you always have been when I have seen you. Merry Christmas honey and I still need you.


He wrote again on December 11:

My Darling Margaret:

     Another letter to you.  I have not written to any one for a number of days on acc't of my new resolve and also I have been pretty busy. Christmas time will, as you no doubt know, soon be here. I have spent a lot of Christmas's away from home, but this one is the furthest, the wettest and the hottest of the lot. It does not feel like Christmas at all. I suppose that my being brought up on cold snowy ones has a lot to do with it.
     It really rains here now days. The water comes down in sheets for a good while at a time. It does not seem to cause any particular inconvenience however and the boys usually can find their way through the rain to the mess tent for meals.
     I feel safe in saying that a lot of our mail as well as yours does not reach it's [sic] appointed destination. Other people are all the time writing me that they have sent stuff to me that I have never gotten. This is I feel, a direct result of the war. The mail situation seems to be in pretty good shape as far as I am personnaly [sic] concerned these days. I guess that I get mail on as many days as I don't. Your own letters are the most welcome of the lot and they are also the most numerous.
     I got a card from Stan and his wife and Bobby the other day. I was a good bit surprised, so I turned around and sent them one too. Then I threw their address away so that I could not possibly write them a letter. My correspondents now number about a dozen and I cannot make the grade any more. Honey child I miss you much too much. You are all the time talking about catching up with the work. I surely hope that we can catch up before too long. I figure that maby when I get back the war will be over and I can take a ninety day furlough, buy a new Buick, and spend about a thousand dollars. With that to start with a guy should be able to operate on a pretty good scale as our censor (Lt Brown) says. This is all for now so you still have all my love.


and again in an undated letter postmarked December 21 and received by Margaret on December 26, according to the penciled date on the reverse of the envelope:

The microfilm is unclear in places, but perhaps we can interpret it later.

My Darling Margaret,
     Today I received one of the nicest gifts imaginable. It was from you. It contained a little of several things and a box of cigars. My thanks to you honey. I needed all of it. I had not gotten any mail for many days and this was indeed a welcome item and the [unclear] that you are too. Does it look like you would get to Florida this year? I sure hope so, in fact I wish that I could be there at the same time, as well as the Aussies would say. Some day perhaps, a new year will be here before much longer and I have have been in this damned country for a year too. Some times I wish that I was back in the States and other times I just wish I were back in the states. Things continue to rock along much the same as usual, the weather is not much to my liking but that is not much to fuss about.
     I got one of those new cheap rate radiograms the other day. The service seems to be staffed from the States but it is not in effect here yet. I guess we will get it one of these days and when it does come, I think that I will stop writing any letters at all, and use these radio messages entirely. This correspondence proposition is really getting me down. I have a good many correspondents and as long as people are mind enough to write to me I feel that I should acknowledge the letters in some way. Of course there are exceptions to this rule.(!) The trouble has gotten to be that there are hardly any subjects left by the censors to write about. My daily doings are military information. The weather as well as the climate and vegetation is taboo. Any how I have to cut down somewhere. Everything is being rationed these days though. This will conclude this evening's letter writing. I miss you more each day. All my love,

This undated telegram could be for Christmas 1942.  Unlike the letters, Margaret did not pencil in a received date on the back of telegram envelopes.






                                                 HOWARD E MCCORMICK


A V-mail letter dated December 20, 1942 is postmarked December 30, and penciled as received January 4, 1943:

My Darling Margaret,
     I have been able to restrain that impulse to write to you admirably of late I think. You have no idea how hard it is for me to resist the temptation to steal a little government time and drop you a note, but I managed it. I got you [sic] wire the other day and I was too pleased. I have lost or mislaid Miss Crowdens [sic] address but maby that does not matter too much. I reckon that your folks know that you are carrying on a mild kind of flirtation with a soldier anyway.
   This is Spring in Australia and a few nice time of the year it is too. We have cause to celebrate today - it did NOT rain. The grass is green and believe me it is a pretty poor kind of grass at that. The American Red Cross has opened up a joint in the small town that we are near and I have been in a couple of times. They have a bar where they serve soft drinks and sandwiches and stuff and they serve regular meals at some tables. There is a dance floor and they have a radio and phonograph and piano and some magazines and so on. The thing that impressed me most about the whole thing was the absolute lack of ability and organization that these poor old Australian girls who work there have. They can do less and do that little bit wrong better than any other people that I have ever seen. I am rather fed up with all these Aussies for that matter. They either can't or won't do anything right. Perhaps I am unjustified in my attitude but I still have it. Any time that the Gov't wants me to leave this country they will not find me unwilling.
   Did I tell you that I got a card from Stan and Kay? I got cards and gifts from a lot of people for a while but they stopped coming all of a sudden. This is very hard on the morale of the troops. There is a young blue eyed sergeant sitting near me and he is a little worried about the population problem of the country. maby he will get to leave this country before things get too far advanced. Come to think of it you did not seem to react in a very appreciative manner to my letter about Sal. I find by looking at the calendar that we have been gone almost a year. Each day brings me that much closer to you. That will be the day.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Northern Australia, November 1942

Two undated letters are both postmarked November 4.

My Darling Margaret,

     I have a letter from you and it was dated Aug. 26. I have been moving around a good bit the last month or so and have had no chance to write to you in that time. In fact I have no time now but I am just taking it. This will be just a short note and I will write a more complete letter at the earliest possible moment.  You mention a skip of some 6 weeks that I did not write, probably a boat sank. They do you know. I have just made a kind of tour of this country and have seen some beautiful sights. Not many though. I still have not run across any boys tht I knew at home but I continue to expect to any day now. I sent you a cable on day a good while ago. I wonder did you get it. We have gotten a good bit of mail the last few days and the bail box is getting a heavy play. After about seven mnths without seeing a female I am thinking of you a great deal. Can you blame me for that? Believe me when I say that my system craves you.  All my love


He sent a longer letter the same day:

Howard and Margaret played a lot of pinochle and gin rummy with friends, but I don't recall him playing poker.  I do remember Margaret objecting to her brother, John, betting on me at gin rummy.

He wrote another letter on November 9:

Source: Wikipedia: Chlamydosaurus

My Darling Margaret,
     Today is Sunday and is turned out to be a very nice day for me. Along about 4.30 PM this day I got a letter from you. I trust that you are getting my letters with a fair degree of frequency.  I seem to get one of yours about every so often. I am still in good health, still in this same country and still making the grade in a kind of a way. Right now I am making it the easy way. I hope you are too. You speak of a good crop of war babies coming along. I suggest that their [sic] will be a good crop in this country before too long.
     I have been motoring around the country a little of late and of course the Army teaches one to be as observant as possible.  It reminds me of 1929. The skirts are getting shorter and the kids are making a lot of noise. I suppose that this is a direct result of the clothes rationing. It is really difficult to get enough cloth here to make a very long garment. Well with everything going to the milit'ry I suppose that people must save somewhere. Is the same influence being felt in the 'States?
     I have a letter of yours dated Oct 14 that mentions a chance to spend a month or so in Florida. By all means go. I suppose that you will not drive down this year but if you have a chance to go down to Miami, look up Ruth and tell me just how she is doing. The opinion that I have of that man of hes is not too good and I just wonder if I am right. Of course every one knows their own business best and if this guy suits her he must be just right. Her address is 739 S.W. Second St. Miami, Fla.
     Simile (sp): As indefinite as an APO address. We have been getting the news over the radio pretty regularly lately and it sounds all right. I suppose that you get the same news as we do. Ours comes from America.
     I just now had to step over the way and see what some of the boys caught this time. It turned out to be a fringed lizard. These little reptiles are about two feet long and they have a fringe about eight inches in diameter around their necks. When they get excited they make this fringe stand out. It is very pretty, a lot of different colors. We never have a dull moment here in Australia.
     I have been studying these rocks her a little of late. I figured that anything that gave me as much bother as they do should be kind of interesting they're not. A very poor grade of rock mostely [sic]. They break very easily but of course to make up for that they are rather pretty inside.
     My love, I miss you a little too much these days. I surely trust that it won't be too long before we are together again for a little at least. You have all my love.


Source: 23 April 1942–Clothes of 1942 & Air Raids

Howard was on furlough for two weeks in November 1942 and wrote when he returned:

My Darling Margaret,

     I guess that it is about three weeks or so since I have written to you. I have been on furlough to a small town near here and I had a very nice time. It certainly does one good to get away from the Army for even a few days. I was gone about a fortnight as the Aussies would say. When I got back there were a lot of letters from you and other people too here for me. This did indeed help the morale of this troop. You that sometimes you go along for some time without getting any letters from me. I assure that I am writing with a surprising degree of regularity. There is doubtless something that you can guess is wrong. We are at war you know. I go back to work tomorrow.
     I read all the clippings that you sent me with appreciation. Most of them are very apropo [sic]. How is the old civilian morale holding up? I am more concerned with it than with our own. I know that our morale is alright but I do not know about yours. From the letters I get I guess that it is in pretty good shape.
     You know that it is impossible to get a good cup of coffee in this country and I sure missed it when I was on my leave. I had to settle for a slug of Scotch and you know that this beverage is very harmful when taken into my system before ten o'clock in the morning. In view of this I felt that since it was my duty as a soldier to keep my health as good as possible, I did not eat my breakfast until about 10.01.
     Tomorrow it will be exactly nine months since we came to this country. A lot of days. Also in a few days it will be Thanksgiving. I can just imagine a lot of them ministers getting up in church and Thanking the Lord that things are no worse than they are. I am thankful that I can get a glass of beer once in a while and that in spite of hell I am just mad enough to never take anything too seriously.
     Honey child, from the tone of you[r] letters you spend to[o] much time looking for the mail man. This practice will cease with the least practicable delay. As always you have all my love


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Northern Australia, October 1942

In the fall of 1942, the name of Howard's company was changed to 1927th Quartermaster Co. (Trk).

His October 17th letter to Margaret describes a Sgt. Lawrence W. Salvas, likely this man.  If so, he survived the war and was discharged in 1945.

On the same day, Howard mailed a Christmas card to Margaret, which she received in early November.

By October 26, 1942, when he wrote this letter, Howard was acting as first sergeant for a detachment of the company.  His sister Ruth was two years older.  When Ruth died years later, Howard, Margaret, my sister, Nancy, and I cleaned out her house in Melbourne.  As I went through her closet, I kept finding little envelopes with small amounts of money in them.  Howard said they were from her winnings at the dogs. 

Howard wrote again on October 27:

My Darling Margaret,

     I have in hand three letters from you all V mail. They have all come in the last two or three days. I assure you that I am corresponding very regularly at the present time and have been for about a month. There was a period of about three weeks that it was impossible for me to write. This was in August I guess. Your letters indicate that you are well. That's good. I am too.
   The morale of the troops is being kept up pretty well these days. We are able to get about as much beer as we like and if a soldier can go to bed in the evening with the proper amount of alcohol in his system he is much better off, both morally and physically. We have a couple of fairly new Lieutenants with us now. They generally stop around and have a glass of beer or two. One of them (he'll probably censor this letter) has a mess of peptic ulcers he says and he claims he drinks the beer just to irritate the ulcers.  It makes a good story anyhow.
     I heard a little story about one of the boys in one of the nearby outfits the other day. I guess it will get by the censor. It seems that this boy had a four days furlough and when he was due back he did not come. In fact he was six days late. He said "I was held up at March Field for six days." March Field is in California.
     How is the civilian morale these days? No matter how high the taxes get by all means produce all you can. I suppose that is really tough having your sugar and stuff rationed but just think of the poor soldiers. I have only enough sugar to sweeten my tea for the next 198 days. It must be very tough just now, being a civilian I mean. One of these days before too long I should have some pictures of one kind and another that I can send to you. As soon as I can I will.
     There are just as many rocks here as ever. Lots of Love


He wrote another letter the following day:

My Darling Margaret,

     As I said a few days ago when I wrote you that note I shall sit me down now and attempt to write a more complete letter. The days have gotten pretty long here now. We get up at 6:30 and it is light then. It is now 6:15 PM and there is still a lot of daylight left. I have gotten a couple of letters from you in the meantime and I also got my birthday package from you. It was really nice. All these things I can use. So many things that are sent to the boys cannot be used conveniently. Cigarettes and toilet articles and things of that nature always come in handy.
     I mentioned in my last note I believe that I was in a new section of Australia. This part of the country is not too bad, but not too good either. There are a few white people about and a lot of milk and eggs. Some fresh fruit too. We do not have any lights as yet however, but that condition will soon be remedied. This damn country has more rocks per square mile than any place. I think that all the soil has blown into the ocean or somewhere and the pebbles is what I trip over.
     Maby I mentioned before that there are an awful lot of ant hills in this country. In some sections of the country where I have been these hills get to be 18 or 19 feet high and very artistically (sp?) constructed. One place there were what they called magnetic ant hills. The were in colonys and all pointed north and south. Most ant hills are roughly round in shape with kind of fine emery so often from top to bottom. Those magnetic hills are sort of elongated. What I am getting at is that those ants here do not show any constructive ability. The hills here are not much to look at. They resemble a load of dirt dumped on the ground. My artistic nature rebels but what can I do. I have not found any way to influence the ants. They probably would not do anything for a Yank any how.
     I understand there are a lot of soldiers in the States that want to get a little of this foreign service. The poor old boys. They just don't know when they are well off. I was reading a piece in the Reader's Digest the other day and I came across a note dealing with civilian moral. The general idea seemed to be that what with rationing of one kind and another the folks at home were having a pretty tough time and the soldiers should write home oftener so that the home folks would have something to look forward to. You are what I look forward to my dear.  All my love,


Magnetic ant hills are found in the Northern Territory:


A discussion of the geology of Northern Australia can be found here.  At the beginning of World War II, the entire population of the Territory was about 2000, most of whom lived in Darwin.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Northern Australia, September 1942

In 1942, APO 920 was Batchelor Field, Northern Territory, Australia.  A description can be found here.

Brant Smith is probably: "SMITH, Sr. Brantly E., b. Aug 27 1879 d. Jun 30 1942." See also census information regarding him.

The next letter from Howard to Margaret is also dated Sept. 9, 1942, and is another V-mail.  I have transcribed the text below.

My Darling Margaret,
     No mail from you for some several days.  Ah well, that's war or absence or something of the sort.  Speaking of mail: Let me know if you get any of this V mail.  The status of this soldier remains unchanged for the time being.  Can I wish you well too?  Let us hope that you are making it allright. One more month and I will be 35 years old.  I seem to have picked up a year since I was under the impression that I would be 34 this year.

      A yarn that is going the rounds will perhaps give you a better picture of my surroundings than any words that I might write. The title of the piece is "Somewhere in Australia."

Some where in Australia, where the sun is like a curse,
And each long day is followed by another slightly worse;
Where the brisk red dust blows thicker than the shifting desert sand
And all men dream, and wish for, the fairer, greener land.

Somewhere in Australia, where a woman's never seen,
Where the sky is never cloudy, and the grass is never green;
Where the dingo's nightly howling robs a man of blessed sleep,
Where there isn't any whisky and the beer is never cheap.

Somewhere in Australia where the nights are made for love,
Where the moon is like a searchlight; and the northern cross above
Sparkles like a diamond in a balmy tropic night;
What a shameful waste of beauty when there's not a girl in sight.

Somewhere in Australia where the mail is always late,
And a Christmas card in April is considered up to date;
Where we seldom have a payday, and seldom have a cent,
But we never miss the money, 'cause we'd never get it spent.

Somewhere in Australia, where the ants and lizards play,
And a thousand fresh mosquitoes replace each one you slay;
So --- take me back to Frisco --- let me hear the mission bell,
For this godforsaken outpost is a substitute for hell.
[end indent]

     This is a very hot time of day for this time of year or something.  To-day is the holy Sabbath and we had Communion services here at the camp. I went and was very well pleased that I did.  I miss you so much honey; take real good care of yourself.  Lots of love,


Howard wrote again in a letter postmarked September 18:

I'm not sure which article he refers to:

Richard Savage was an English poet.  Howard may be referring to the novel by Charles Whitehead, or either of the two biographies, one by Samuel Johnson, "Life of Savage," or S.V. Makeover's, "Richard Savage, a Mystery in Biography."  See the Wikipedia article for additional information.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Northern Australia, August 1942

In early August, Howard was still stationed in Northern Australia.

On August 11, he sent a letter that was turned into V-mail. V-mail,inaugurated on June 15, 1942, was designed to expedite the delivery of military mail.  Letters were microfilmed, sent overseas, then printed out for the recipient. I plan to transcribe V-mail, since it is hard to read even when enlarged. I am not printing the envelopes, as they have no useful information.

My darling Margaret,

Another letter from you this day. A nice one it was, too. Dated May 27 so you can see it was comparatively recent. Any mail that I get that is later than February is very fresh to me.  I am still here and still in good health. I think a few strawberries would aid my digestion however.

I got a new pair of glasses this day and although they are not much and I cannot see too well with them they might come in very handy some day. I read Mrs. Garcia's letter and it brought back of glimmer of old times. That clipping about my boy John was interesting to me too. I wish he were here now for one reason and another, partly because he loved to play and could not win.  You know, my love in regards to this apparent ____ over my welfare and stuff I have three words to say on this subject. Take it easy. I have a letter from you dated June 16. In it is a picture of your car. It will never see the famous military road of Australia I hope. You ask for my cable address:
S/Sgt Howard E. McCormick
933 Q.M. Co. [Trk]
APO 921
[end indent]

I am getting disgusted with this typewriter, it is making too many mistakes. I am rather disgusted with the fact that I am not where you are too. The news is getting less and less these days what with the censors being what they are. Maby the day will come when the only censors that I will ever have any contact with will be the movie ones. I miss you more than ever my love and with that goodnight.



He sent a telegram to Margaret that month, too, on August 14:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Northern Australia, July 1942

Howard is still in Northern Australia, probably Darwin.  His address now says 733rd Q.M. co. (Avn) (Trk), indicating a change in organization.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Northern Australia, June 1942

In early June, Howard was still at APO #921, which should be Darwin.  He has been promoted to Staff Sergeant.  If he is able to wear shorts and no shirt in winter, he has to be in northern Australia.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Northern Australia, May 1942

I plan to keep looking for more information on the 733rd Quartermaster Company, which was probably still in Darwin.  A discussion of the movement of materiel from Adelaide to Darwin can be found here on p. 51.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Australia, April 1942

In early April, Howard was serving with the 733rd Quartermaster Company (Truck) in Australia.  A history of the Quartermaster Corps can be found here and information about specific Quartermaster entities can be found here.  This is the information about the 733d Quartermaster Company (Truck):

1961st QM Co. (Truck, Avn) - 301 ASG
773d Quartermaster Company (Truck) activated 13 Mar 40 at Key Fld, MS. Assigned to 301st Serv Gp 15 Aug 42. Moved to Selfridge Field 15 Oct 42. Renumbered from 773 QM Truck Co per WD AG 320.1 (8-28-42) Letter, Subject: Redesignation and Reorganization of Quartermaster Companies, Truck, with the Army Air Forces, Sep 12, 1942. Departed for Calcutta, India 18 Aug 43. Reassigned c. 20 Sep 43. Unit located near Deoladie, India.

When I reach August 1942, I'll be able to tell whether he moved to the 301st Service Group or somewhere else.

According to this letter, he was moving about Australia, which conforms with the information in the QMC history concerning the early part of 1942.

A.P.O. 925 was stationed at Adelaide until January 1943.

By the last part of April, Howard was stationed at A.P.O. 921, stationed in Darwin.

This is the Australian magpie's call:

and this is the call of the yellow billed cuckoo:

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Arrival in Australia

American troops first began to arrive immediately after Pearl Harbor (Brisbane, December 22, 1941). Howard arrived in Australia  on March 25,1942, a week after Gen. Douglas MacArthur arrived from the Philippines (see letter Howard to Margaret, Nov. 24, 1942). Howard was a Sergeant, which implies a promotion at some point before he was deployed overseas.  Information about the early arrivals can be found here. The WWII APO list here doesn't show an APO 505 for that time in Australia.

A description of the type of work Quartermasters did can be found here.

Wood and coal burning cars are discussed here.  Below is a picture of a coal gas car in Sydney during World War II:

The Japanese were still a sea threat, and while there was train track from Adelaide to Alice Springs, there was a 600 mile gap in the railroad line between there and Birdum "which had to be bridged by truck or air transport." (Mayo, 1991) The railroad line from Birdum

"had small capacity, was antiquated and in poor repair, and was chiefly useful in the rainy season when the dirt road, in some places only bush trail, was washed out.
   "From Brisbane to Darwin, a distance of 2,500 miles, the railroads ran only as far as Mount Isa, a small settlement that reminded some Ordnance officers of a mining town in Arizona or Nevada. There, supplies were transshipped to Birdum by Australian truck companies. Assuming cargo space was available—not always a safe assumption—a shipment normally took about ten days....
   "Beginning in March regulating stations were established along the routes to Darwin, but the length of time supplies were in transit and the probability of losses en route made necessary extra supplies to fill gaps in the supply line...."

Lida Mayo, The Ordinance Department: On Beachhead and Battlefront 50-51 (1991).

Saturday, September 5, 2015

To the South Pacific, March 1942

By the beginning of March 1942, Howard was at sea in the South Pacific.  A list of troop transports is here, and I hope to figure out at some point the ship on which he traveled.  The records of ships transporting troops were destroyed in 1951.

At Sea
Feb. 5/42
Dear Margaret,

     I guess you have been home for a lot of days by the time you get this little letter.  Let me hope that you had a pleasant time in Fla.  At the present writing I am somewhere at sea in the southern Pacific and where we are bound I do not know.  Confidentially I don't care much either.  We have had a good trip so far and although the accommodations are not of the finest, they are bearable.  I wish I were with you for a while honey lamb.  I miss you so much.  I suspect that it will be a lot of days before I see you again my love, but until that time hold the fort.





Margaret was still in Kentland, living with her parents and Bud Kruman, her first husband.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Windsor Locks 1942

The first letter from Howard to Margaret is dated Jan. 19, 1942, from Company F, 30th Quartermaster Regiment, Air Base, Windsor Lox (sic), Connecticut.  The letter is addressed to Margaret Kruman, Palm Bay, Florida, % Cap't. Harry Wilson.

So Howard enlisted in the Army in 1940 and in January 1942 is at an Air Base at Windsor Locks, Connecticut, Bradley Field, now Bradley International Airport and a dual use military facility with the U.S. Air Force.  He is "still working in Personnel," which "is very enjoyable."  This is after Pearl Harbor, and within a year after Connecticut turned over the land to the U.S. Army.  I fly in and out of Bradley at least once a year to visit friends who live in western Massachusetts.

Margaret lived in Kentland at this point, with her first husband, J.W. "Bud" Kruman, but has taken a trip to Florida.  It is clear that Howard and Margaret have already been corresponding and possibly more:

When I was growing up, Howard kept a steady stream of magazines, including Time, Newsweek, Life, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Harper's, not always all at the same time.

Andrews Sisters, "The Shrine of St. Cecelia."

I love that he calls her "my little honey child."

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Florida, 1940

The first document I have is a final bill, dated Feb. 18, 1941, from the Tampa Gas Company.  The bill was for the sum of $4.18, less a $5.00 deposit, with .82 due Howard.  The address, 4302 1/2 Nebraska, is crossed out and replaced with c/o MacDill Field, Co. 7, 30 Quartermaster Reg., City. This was my first indication that my long held belief Howard volunteered for the army after Pearl Harbor was not true.  The building at 4302 N. Nebraska was built in 1925 and is now an office.

I obtained Howard's enlistment information from the National Archives and Records Administration, which confirmed the earlier enlistment on July 7, 1940, as a private in the Quartermaster Corps for the Panama Canal Department.

He would have been stationed at MacDill AFB.  Company F, 30th Quartermaster Regiment, in which Howard served at Windsor Locks, was activated at MacDill in June 1940.  Howard joined up shortly after the Regiment was activated.

Blaze E. Lipowski, Birth of a Base, MacDill Field 1939-1941 (AuthorHouse 2013).