Camp Stoneman conclusion

POE Camp Stoneman

This photograph above was removed from a New York newspaper.  The sign above the entry states: “Through these portals pass the best damn soldiers in the World.”  The clipping beside it indicates shipping out dates.   The 11th A/B departed May 5, 1944.   Smitty said that this cruise would be the most boring part of his service, although he did become quite adept at playing cards during this time.

Smitty was unable to tell his mother that he and the 11th A/B would be shipping out the following day – destination and mission unknown.  The men cruised from Suisan Bay into San Pablo Bay, into San Francisco Bay and under the Oakland Bridge to Oakland Mole where the Red Cross passed out coffee and donuts while they boarded the transport ships.  So … back under the Oakland Bridge, thru San Francisco Bay and under the Golden Gate Bridge to the open Pacific.

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Letter II                                                                                                                                                                                      Thursday 5/4/44

Dear Mom,

     There really isn’t much to write about as I’ve told you most everything on the phone.  By the way, when you receive your bill for the month let me know just how much these calls cost.

I heard from *Harley yesterday and it seems that he wants something to do and they just won’t give him anything.  They have now made him landscape sergeant and I can just see him pulling weeds and taking care of flowers.  If he should ever get his load on, he’ll nip out the flowers and let the weeds alone.  I haven’t written to Woods yet, but give me time.  I’ll get around to it before long.

We have to police up the area now, so will leave you for a while.  Be back before long. — Hello again.  We no sooner pick up the old cigarette butts and paper than some jerk behind you drops one so that cleaning up is getting to be a problem.  Policing up is what is known as body bending exercise, head down, backsides pointing to the sky.

Well mom, that is all there is for now so take care of yourself and give my regards to all. 

All my love, Everett

*  Harley was a friend from back home in Broad Channel, now in the Army.

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Current News – 

I hope all have been showing their thanks during Military Appreciation Month this year and will have a safe and commemorative Memorial Day on 31 May 2021…. and everyday!

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Hugh R. Alexander – USA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Lt. Commander, USS Oklahoma, Silver Star, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Jack Barnes – Haskell, OK; US Navy, WWII, Vietnam, Senior Chief (Ret. 23 y.)

Arlington Cemetery

Leonard H. Crump – Indianapolis, IN; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Edward Geary – Tampa, FL; US Army Air Corps, Japanese Occupation, 11th Airborne Division

Henry L. Helms – Colleran, AL; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. D/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

John Knapp – Ottawa, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, ETO

Douglas Lowell – Pagosa Springs, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO, 97th Infantry Division, Bronze Star

Billy McDonell – CA & TX; US Army, Vietnam, 3/506/101st Airborne Division

Rosie – Annapolis, MD; US Coast Guard, Petty Officer 1st Class, Annapolis Station canine mascot,( her watch is over)

Gene Podulka – Glenview, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, weather forecaster

Robert Tatje – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Combat Engineers

Richard Zeeff – Grand Rapids, MI; US Navy, WWII, aviation

 

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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 17, 2021, in Current News, SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 117 Comments.

  1. Wat fijn dat je vader bleef schrijven aan zijn mama.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I so enjoyed reading that letter. Best to you, GP. I’ll be thinking of you on Memorial Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My son is now a Sergeant. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Everett’s letter was awesome. ❤️ I really admire his wit and sense of humor. ❤️ So delightful! 😀👍😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. GP, I enjoyed reading this letter so very much. You add just enough to the post to make it really come to life. Wishing you an easy coast down the other side of this mid-week hump. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Been away a long time but it’s great to see GP hasn’t missed a beat.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Always heartwarming to hear about letters home to Mom. Sad that sometimes they couldn’t give too much information, as moms always worry. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Stoneman is so metaphorically perfect. What a meritorious military!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a sweet post. I love the letter the most. I can’t imagine how grateful each family was to receive their loved ones letter. Love ❤️ Joni

    Liked by 1 person

  10. americanmilitaryfamilymuseum

    We don’t want to lose touch with you and your wonderful blog–We’ve consolidated several of our blogs-the new address will be: militaryfamilymuseumwarstories.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love these letters, GP! As for censoring, I was told my father had his own methods around it. My grandmother had map on the wall, and would stick pin in it when she was able to determine where he was at the time she got the letter. He would write things like “I found a shell, just like the one your Uncle Saul had.” Of course there was no Uncle Saul, but she was sharp enough to realize he meant Solomon Islands. His letters came through in this type of code, without much censoring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can understand that, because they wouldn’t figure the Japanese would know that there was never an Uncle Saul! haha, and your grandmother had peace of mind hearing from him without redaction.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. so cool that you have the letters to share – and I just watched WWII in color this month (10 episodes) and the Midway one was my fav

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I really like how you added the cartoons in the end😂 tysm for sharing❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am sorry, gpcox, but doctor and hospital visits (with their side-effects) have interfered with life. I will try and send a note later this week. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was going to email you today after my doctor appointment – it has been far too long since you gave me an update on your condition!! But, I don’t want you to strain doing it. Take care!!

      Like

  15. He’ll nip out the flowers and let the weeds alone. Good job description for a landscape sergeant. hahaha. I have never heard that rank before.
    I can’t imagine being in a ship for days crossing the Pacific. Even a plane ride across the Pacific is too long. I gave those men a lot of credit for enduring those long voyage!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It had to be long as they zig-zagged for safety reasons. These troop ships did not get the escort that the Atlantic ships did.
      Thanks for stopping by, Rose. It is always a pleasure to see you.

      Like

  16. According to my dad, his unit addressed the nothing to do problem by having the men dig unnecessary holes and fill them in again. (In the interest of full disclosure, Dad was known to tell a tall tale or two.)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Letters are so interesting to read aren’t they. They provide a real insight into the lives and characters of the individual concerned. They’re a great read.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for sharing this great remembrance, GP!
    I imagine that is really bad. If you don’t know where you are being sent from. Not even in a luxury liner, but more like in a coal cellar. ;-(
    For today’s soldiers, at least the journey is a bit more pleasant. But in the end this is no particular consolation.
    Have a beautiful week, GP! Enjoy the upcoming sun, in the sun state you have for sure. :-)) Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can even talk from experience, the journey to combat doesn’t compare to actually getting there!
      Thanks for the well wishes, Michael. Florida sun and the Summer heat are certainly here!

      Like

      • Oh, i love the sun, GP! 😉 During my service we had no real fighting, but all the exercises, and the outdoor living was very special. Really dont want to experience what the soldiers in Afghanistan and all around the world have to do. Best wishes, and please stay save, GP! 🙂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Glad to hear that you did not have to go through combat, but you did get the military experience. Frankly I think we should have the draft back – it might help kids to grow up.
          Take care!

          Liked by 1 person

  19. My dad told me that he and the rest of 511PIR /11th A/B zig zagged their
    way to New Guinea on the SS Sea Pike. All the zigging & zagging added time
    to the trip. They hated the ship off loading they were ordered to do so they
    liberated all the goods they could. Cases of canned fruit became fermenting
    fodder as just about every company rigged their own stills thanks to the
    troopers from the South! Some say the nickname “Angels” came from
    what Gen Swing told the harbor master when the 11th A/B men were
    accused of thievery…..”No, not my Angels!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is exactly how my father told me about New Guinea. I’ve heard other theories, like after Los Banos, but if they were being called Angels whenever they were in trouble – well, I think history speaks for itself. Thank you for coming by with that!!

      Like

  20. I think to have letters from the past is something very precious and I ask myself, what the people, who nowadays just speak on the phone or send short messages, will consult!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Another lovely letter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The censors were mainly officers in their own units, so I suppose the troopers weren’t quite sure what they could or could not put in writing.

      Like

  22. Always enjoy your dad’s letters and know from my uncle’s letters that they couldn’t tell where they were headed. This is probably still true today. Wish I knew what he was like during his school years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The men can probably mention their destinations these days, because it will be on the 6 o’clock news and later at 11 anyway! (It so annoys me that they do that).

      Like

  23. Thanks for sharing, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. americanmilitaryfamilymuseum

    Reblogged this on Letters Home.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Did they leave out the photo because of the word ‘Damn’, GP?
    I am old enough to still remember when that was considered to be ‘swearing’. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I’m wondering why the NYT removed the photo, or do I know???? Mom must love her son’s letters.

    BTW, I got a laugh out of the cartoon. I remember seeing my daughter on Induction Day at USNA, hauling a duffle half her size on her back. I could barely find her under it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oops, that’s my fault, Jacqui. I should have said that my grandmother took the picture and list from the newspaper to put in the scrapbook she was keeping for Smitty.
      haha, I wonder if she would think this cartoon was so funny then. Must have been pretty heavy for her.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Policing up is just another kind of weeding then 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  28. So awesome you have his letters. If my father wrote home to his parents guess letters weren’t kept. I can only picture what he write by reading other people’s letters.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. It must have been so hard for him not to tell her he was shipping out. But somehow he knew how to comfort and amuse her in his letters.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I hooted at ‘landscape sergeant’! I hope they did not get him to cut the grass with scissors…

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I loved seeing the slides! My father shipped out in May 1944 with the 81st Infantry Division after training at Camp Rucker, Al. Is it possible that my father and yours might have been on the same ship?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do not believe so. My father was headed to New Guinea and your Dad was on his way to Guadalcanal to assist the USMC. They had quite the history!

      Like

  32. I love Smitty’s letters to his mother. I also love the cartoon about the Ship’s captain that can’t figure out his chair. My husband was on a ship that went into Todd Shipyard in Seattle. While the ship was being overhauled, they were berthed in an old WWII troopship. One night a sailor got a Dear John letter from his boyfiiend on the Midway. The distraught sailor went around setting fires on the troopship which they called the Barge. One of the crew, the ship’s doper, knew backways through out the barge and saved dozens of his shipmates from smoke inhalation or burning. The arsonist sat fire to a couch in the wardroom. NCIS sawed off half of the couch as evidence and left the reminder insite propped up on bricks.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. I hadn’t considered that LSTs were also used for ocean crossings for troops. One of my favorite books is “LST 388” by Robert von der Osten with his daughter Barbara von der Osten. It not only recounts his WWII memories of North Africa, the UK, Sicily, Salerno, and Normandy, but it’s also a history of his LST.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Ha, ha “Landscape Sergeant”, that’s a rank to remember.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. From Long Island (Pittsburgh in my dad’s case) tp San Francisco alone was farther than most people traveled back then, Then to board a ship and head into the Pacific, these guys were clearly heroes, worthy of our admiration and respect and worthy of being remembered.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I really laughed at the bugout bag cartoon. That looks like my car during a hurricane evacuation. And you know I laughed at your dad’s comment about Harley ‘nipping out the flowers and leaving the weeds alone.’ Since I lived in the Bay area, I could imagine his ship’s track from one place to another, and that departure through the Golden Gate. I suspect they all experienced that strange combination of excitement and apprehension at that point.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Snip out the flowers, leave the weeds alone! I fell like that at times. 😃

    Liked by 1 person

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