Just in Time for Memorial Day: Dad’s Army Trunks

Last weekend, I drove down to Richmond, Va., to retrieve two trunks that once belonged to my dad when he was an officer in the Army Reserves. My half-brother had them and gave me one to keep for myself and one to give to my sister. They are really pretty awesome connections to my dad’s military past. They are stamped with the same ID number that was printed on his dog tags.

The smaller of the two trunks.

The smaller of the two trunks.

IMG_0251

The top of the larger trunk.

The trunks can nest together and are part of a larger set of 7(!) that has been split up among family members. Apparently, Dad traveled with all seven at the same time while stationed around the world. I never want to hear anyone complain again about how much I pack for a trip. I apparently get my preparedness from my dad.

Note: I’m assuming the blue line on the trunks indicates something — either rank or branch of service. Anyone know?

Album Rescue Project: Album 1, Photos 68-72

The next set of photos is kind of a hodge-podge, but a couple present some potentially identifiable landmarks.

Photo 68

Photo 69

I’m kind of curious about the person in the background of this photo. I believe it to be a guy, but it looks like he’s wearing a long robe. I believe we’ll see more photos of the infant the woman is holding in future photos.

Photo 70

This is a funny photo — what a weird backdrop. Wouldn’t you think they would want to stand in front of the stag instead of behind it? It kind of reminds me of the plastic animals in front of a couple all-you-can-eat buffets in New England.

Photo 71

I despaired that the top of the monument isn’t visible in this photo. She’s sitting on a canon pointed at the camera, so I figured this is a Civil War monument. Knowing that at least some of the photos in the album were taken in Pennsylvania, I searched for “Pennsylvania war monument pillar” on Google Images and met with success! Our album’s star is seated in front of the Penn Common Civil War Memorial in York! In this image, you can see some of the writing that is barely visible over her right shoulder above.

Photo 72

I give up. This photo has not one, not two, but THREE codes written on it (see, one is hidden behind one of the photo corners, top right?). There’s only two people in this photo, so presumably there goes my theory about the codes potentially relating to certain photo subjects. Argh!

“You’re Going to Employ Women” — U.S. War Department (1943)

One of my friends has had to clean out a recently deceased relative’s home and she has found several gems, including a copy of “You’re Going to Employ Women,” a pamphlet issued by the U.S. War Department in 1943 to its personnel offices (her relative worked in personnel at the Pentagon).

During the 1940s, with so many men off to war, women needed to be hired for positions traditionally held only by men, including in industries like manufacturing. This is the era that spawned the iconic Rosie the Riveter image.

The prospect of hiring women must have struck fear into the hearts of the many men left behind. Pamphlets like the one detailed here were created to helpfully guide them through the hiring and supervising of these creatures.

My friend allowed me to snap photos of the document, which includes such gems as:

“When training women, orient her more thoroughly than a man on health and safety rules, plant layout and production company policies, job techniques.”

“When training women, relate her job training to past experience, usually domestic—interpret machinery operation in terms of household and kitchen appliances.”

“Use a trained personnel woman. She understands women worker needs. She can give sympathetic attention to home problems. She can be told personal difficulties that would not be confided in a man.”

Unfortunately, not all of my photos of the booklet turned out that great, but here are the ones that did:

"When Hiring Women..."

"When Supervising Women..."

"For Victory -- Employ women intelligently."

Treasure Chest Thursday: Doorprize Painting

When my grandparents and their fam were staying in Heidelberg in the 1960s, my grandma won a door prize at an event for the “Comptrollers Wives” club (my grandpa was an accountant with the U.S. Army). The prize? A painting that was done by an artist on the spot during the shindig.

A bit hard to read. It says "Comptroller Wives, Heidelberg, 1964-1965"

Pretty neat, huh? The frame’s in pretty bad shape, so I’m going to have that redone. Then it’s just a matter of figuring out how to hang it on these *&%^& plaster walls.

Fearless Females: How Did They Meet?

This is my first post for the Fearless Females blogging prompts during the month of March. Thanks to Lisa Alzo for putting together this list!

Today’s prompt asks: “How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?”

Well, I didn’t get a chance to document their marriage, but the story I’ve heard about how my maternal grandparents goes like this:

My grandmother was working as an office manager at the Pentagon when she and the other office girls received a file about the new set of officers who were going to be transferred to their office. They were browsing through the photos that accompanied each officer’s file when my grandma stopped flipping through the photos and pointed at one in particular.

“That one,” she said. And the rest is history. She married that officer, who also was an accountant.

I forget who told me this story — it must have been one of my aunts. I love this story though. My grandma could come across as mild-mannered, but she was a firecracker too. I think this story demonstrates that well.

History of the 81st Field Hospital/276th General Hospital, Page 13

This is the final post in a series in which I’ve transcribed a document that belonged to my father titled “History of the 81st Field Hospital.” It details the hospital’s preparations in the U.S. before deployment and operations in Germany during WWII. This field hospital eventually reached German concentration camp survivors. Read from the beginning here.

HISTORY OF THE 276TH GENERAL HOSPITAL

On 18 November 1945 orders were received by the 81st Field Hospital Headquarters (at Crile General Hospital, Cleveland 9, Ohio) to the effect that this unit would be redesignated the 276th General Hospital and that the considerable reorganization involved would take place at the earliest practicable date. However, the official existence of the new unit was not reflected in the morning report until 11 December 1945. On this same date, Major John B Moring was named Commanding Officer of the new organization.

There was relatively little immediate change in the unit. Men eligible for discharge continued to be separated from the service; others, ineligible for discharge but likewise ineligible for overseas service, were to be trfd to other organizations.

60 enlisted men were awarded the Good Conduct Medal pursuant to GO #3, 276th General Hospital, dated 26 December 1945.

The additional personnel authorized by the new T/O were slow in arriving, and by 31 December 1945 there remained in the unit only six officers and fifteen enlisted men eligible for overseas service.

Captain Milton B. Smith was transferred to Crile Gen Hosp on 17 Dec 45 pursuant to 10/292 War Department Washington DC dtd 8 Dec 45, thus transferring the last Medical Officer from the outfit with a surgical background.

History of the 81st Field Hospital, Page 12

This is the twelfth in a series of posts in which I’m transcribing a document that belonged to my father titled “History of the 81st Field Hospital.” It details the hospital’s preparations in the U.S. before deployment and operations in Germany during WWII. This field hospital eventually reached German concentration camp survivors. Read from the beginning here.

[Page 12]

Four days later on 18 November 1945, orders dated the 14th were received directing that the 81st Field Hospital be redesignated as the 276th General Hospital and brought up to the revised T/O strength for general hospitals. The considerable reorganization involved was to be effected at the earliest practicable date, and with this change of status the back cover was affixed to the history of the 81st Field Hospital.

Captain Winston C. Hall, MC, was transferred to Crile General Hospital on 4 Nov 45 pursuant to 10/256 War Department Washington DC dtd 26 Oct 45.

[There is one more page in this document.]