Camp Stoneman part 1

POE/POD Camp Stoneman

Pvt. Smith was as cocky and proud as the next trooper, but he also thought of the Army as a learning experience and considered his new adventure as a chance to experience things he would not otherwise have the opportunity and on April 23, 1944, he stepped off a train near Camp Stoneman, California.  It was here the troopers would learn how to live aboard ship, operate life boats, raft kits and climb up and down rope ladders.  Censorship of the soldier’s letters began here.

Camp Stoneman

The Inspector General’s men discovered the ruse of the 11th A/B Division hiding behind the paperwork of Shipment #1855 and the troopers began to accumulate AW104’s in record amounts. (Under the Article of War #104 – a commanding officer may give punishment, as is necessary, without the threat of court-martial.)  May 2, the 11th A/B moved to Pittsburg, CA by way of inland boats to their actual POE/POD (Point of Entry/Point of Departure), and the letters from Smitty began …

Letter I                                                                                                                        Tuesday 5/2/44

Dear Mom,

I sure am a fine one after calling you Sunday especially to wish you a Happy Birthday and I go and forget to, but I assure you it wasn’t intentional, but just excitement of the conversation.  I tried yesterday to buy a card, but to no avail.  No doubt by the time you receive this letter you will be wondering why I didn’t call you this week as I promised I would.  It just so happened that we were confined to our company area starting yesterday morning, so it was an impossibility to get to either a telephone or telegraph office.     From now on all my letters to you will be numbered as this one is in the upper left hand corner.  In that way, you can read my letters in sequence and can tell whether or not you are receiving all my letters.  I would also advise sending all letters to me from now on by airmail as that will be the quickest way.  We heard that not all the mail so far from here has yet been sent out, but when it does go out, why you will no doubt get them all at once.  Tell everyone at home to be patient and they will no doubt hear from me as I sit down Saturday and either write a letter or card to everyone I know.  You had better check up on them all and see that they have my correct address, as the army will notify only you of any new changes.  I sure don’t want to lose out on my letters of anyone just because they have an incorrect address.     Yesterday we didn’t do much of anything, but Sunday was really quite an entertaining day.  We went bowling, then to a free USO show and from there to a movie.  The entertainment is so full and alive that sometimes it still persists in your dreams.  Therefore, you can really say they even take care of you while you are slumbering.     Well mom, that is all for now, so once more I want to wish you a “Happy Birthday” and the best of everything.  Don’t worry and keep your chin up.   

Love,                 Everett

PS – Be on the lookout for a new Class E allotment I made out and also a B allotment.  Your allotments now will come to 22 dollars cash and a $18.75 war bond a month.  I’m getting pretty good, aren’t I?

Camp Stoneman souvenir

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Current News – Everyone helps out when it comes to finding the MIA.

 

Austrian Raimund Riedmann, pilot with the Flying Bulls, flies a restored P-38 Lightning

Austrian, Raimund Riedmann, a pilot with the Flying Bulls, flies a restored P-38 Lightning during a fly over event for a recovery team attached to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), Austria, April 25, 2021. DPAA personnel arrived to conduct excavation operations in an effort to find a U.S. service member lost from a P-38 lightning that crashed during World War II. DPAA’s Mission is to achieve the fullest possible accounting for missing and unaccounted-for US personnel to their families and our nation. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Melanye Martinez)

 

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Military Humor –

‘Lord, what have they done to him? He made his own bed!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert R. Arrowsmith – Livermore, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Pfc., rifleman, Co E/511 PIR/11th Airborne Division

Carmen DePaulo III – Jacksonville, FL; US Army, Africa, Green Beret, Medical Sgt., 3rd Special Forces

John Foye Jr. – Lowell, MA; US Navy, Japanese Occupation

William Halliday – Scarborough, CAN; Queen’s Own Rifles, WWII, ETO

Sherman Hoffenberg – Delray Beach, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Military Police

Clifford S. Johnson – Valatie, NY; US Army, Korea, Cpl., HQ Co./57 FA/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Joseph Kuba (100) – Struthers, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Major (Ret.), 1264th Engineer Combat Battalion

Lindbergh Lopez – Niagara Falls, NY; USMC; WWII, Korea / US Army, Vietnam (Ret. 23 y.)

Ian N. Morosoff – Saquamish, WA; US Army, Pfc., Co. B/1/503/173rd Airborne Division

Robert Parker – Lansing, MI; US Army, WWII, PTO, pilot, 1st Lt.,35th FS/8th Fighter Group, KIA (New Guinea)

Lloyd Price – New Orleans, LA; US Army, Korea  /  singer

G. Clark Shaffer – Bloomsburg, PA; US Army Air Corps, Japanese Occupation, 5th Air Force

Bobby Unser – Albuquerque, NM; US Air Force, sharp shooter  /  auto racing champion

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About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on May 10, 2021, in Current News, First-hand Accounts, Home Front, SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 97 Comments.

  1. I enjoy reading these letters from your father, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a warm man was your father.We learn him so much more of his letters and love for his mam an dfamily

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heel erg bedankt. Ik heb altijd het gevoel gehad dat papa slim was, ondanks de Grote Depressie die hem dwong om van school te gaan en het gezin te helpen onderhouden. Hij maakte er een punt van om elke dag iets te leren en het leek erop dat hij het vasthield. (iets waar ik vaak moeite mee heb.)

      Like

  3. As I read the trooper’s letter, it reminds me of when I used to get letters. ( Many years ago) I would open them with glee. ❤️ It must have been so comforting to get letters from loved ones, especially during uncertain times. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What a treasure that letter is. The concern for his mother touches my heart. Thank you for sharing this private letter. What a gem of a man your Father must have been.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I enjoy reading Smitty’s letters

    Liked by 1 person

  6. One can feel the heart touching moments, inside the letter. Thank you for sharing, GP! its always best taking unknown situations one is coming in as learning experiences. I did the same as i changed from priest seminary to the military barracks. After two months i never more had missed my first occupation. Lol Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can only imagine, Michael. There seems to be quite a difference between the two. But then again, there are Chaplains in the military.

      Like

  7. I so enjoyed reading the letter from your dad, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reading those old letters from your dad to your grandmother must have brought back fond memories of your father and what he went through during training. It is a wonderful letter! Much, much better than text messages we get today!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Communication had to be so hard, even without the censorship. And moms do tend to get excited when they think they have been forgotten on their birthday. 🙂 One thing about modern communication systems, it makes it ever so easier! –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  10. What a wonderful and loving letter this is. Your grandmother must have been so thrilled to get it. No wonder she saved his letters. They are so precious. I am glad you have them.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Thank you for sharing your Dad with us, GP…and this letter.
    I’m honored and I’m all teary-eyed. 🙂
    Your Dad’s attitude, sense of humor, and his concern for his mom is wonderful.
    (((HUGS))) 🙂
    Guess what? I’m doing a lot of reorganizing and going through boxes I’ve not looked in in a lot of years. I found the letters my oldest brother sent to me when he was in the army. I was just a little girl, he was 18. He was stationed in Ft. Bliss, then spent a year+ in Vietnam in the war, and then finished up at Ft. Polk. It was very emotional to read those letters. Like your Dad, my brother wrote to his parents, and us siblings, with humor, love, a positive attitude, and concern for us.
    Such amazing men and women have, and do, currently serve in the military. So very grateful for each and everyone through the years. They would not use this word about themselves…but to me they always were, and always will be, heroes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I understand how you feel. I know when you dig those letters out from your brother and read them, you will get the same emotions you felt back hen.
      I agree, they are Heroes!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. That is such a lovely letter from a young man to his mother. Full of consideration and reassurance. Thank you for sharing something private like that.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I really like the picture accompanying the Farewell Salutes. It’s very touching. (I biggified it to get the detail.)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. GP, tell people to go to my blog! Thanks SO much for following

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Just today, I received an email from a friend in Canada, asking if the Christmas card she sent to me in November had arrived yet. Alas: no. Last month, my electric bill never arrived, and the Mother’s Day card I sent to my aunt two weeks early has yet to arrive. Which is to say, it’s amazing that mail flowed so easily then, in such complicated circumstances. I’ve noticed more and more conversations these days begin with the phrase, “You would think…”

    Smitty’s letters brought back my time overseas, too. Those days there was only HAM radio and airmail letters for communication: no internet, no cell phones, and certainly no satellite phones. The ingenuity and commitment of the people responsible for the mail during the war is as commendable as any other service.

    Liked by 3 people

    • So true. That’s why I am always telling people that the jobs behind the scenes were just as important. That it takes an Army to keep one man on the front line!!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Enjoy Smitty’s sense of humor in his letters. Was he still full of fun when he came home from his military service? Know how important the letters were to the men in the service as well as to those at home. That is true in every war.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Dad was fun to be around, but you also felt confident to go to him with a serious problem.
      Oh yes, the mail is A-No. ! for morale – always has been!

      Like

  17. I enjoy Smitty’s letters, GP. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I can only imagine Mom’s excitement at getting her son’s letter. BTW, I saw my son in the bootcamp picture. Yeah, he loved it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Grandma had to get the Salvation Army to get Dad writing, since he had been making so many phone calls, he didn’t realize just how anxious she would be.
      Your son in the boot camp picture has me smiling too.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. A wonderful example of how your dad cared about his mother! Good timing for publishing his heart-warming letter on Mother’s Day, GP!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Fascinating letter and post, GP. Living in Northern Virginia, I was aware of the Naval Amphibious Training Base in Solomon’s Island, MD and had wondered if Smitty had trained there. I didn’t know about the one in CA. When my father was a Midshipman at the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point during WWII, I think he told me about the opportunity to take this type of training on either the East Coast or California. Since he was from Springdale, a small town out side Pittsburg, “Of course, I selected California. I had never been out there.”

    Liked by 1 person

  21. He was such a responsible son, worrying that his mother might have been worrying!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, she would have been. Grandma was a tiny little thing, but I believe the phrase “Dynamite comes in small packages” was a description of her. (most of the time she was an absolute sweetheart though)

      Liked by 1 person

  22. You know, fighting the war in the thick of things is what most people think of when they think of WW2. I enjoy learning about the several weeks prior story. My step-father served in the Korean War and his stories of learning how to be a FROG in a SC camp, swimming in the swamps, avoiding the snakes and the crocs–no wonder he hated water and was deathly afraid of snakes in later life.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. The first sentence describing your dad says a lot. Every opportunity to learn and experience something new was appreciated. Things in the world would be so much better if we all approached life with that attitude.

    Thanks for mentioning Bobby Unser. he was one of my favorite drivers.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. This reminds me of my sending such letters from boot camp, but mine were very short! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  25. A very timely feature

    Liked by 1 person

  26. It is very moving to read these letters that you kindly share with us. To think this was written 8 years before I was born, and with so many more months of war still ahead of him. As well as being a personal treasure for you, this is also important first-hand history.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

  27. Thank you, Ian.

    Like

  28. Thank you, Ned.

    Like

  29. Thank you, Yvette! This was a unique experience!

    Like

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