Communities found innumerable ways to support the war effort, and locations like this service members’ canteen popped up like mushrooms wherever military personnel congregated in the early 1940’s.
The American War Dads of Springfield produced this postcard to highlight their canteen, located adjacent to a passenger train station, but they also raised funds to sponsor the travel expenses of mothers visiting their sons at O’Reilly General Hospital. Known as “the Hospital with a Soul,” this Army medical center in Springfield, Missouri specialized in reconstructive surgery, plastic surgery, and physical therapy. Between 1941 and 1946, O’Reilly General Hospital provided extended care for injured veterans returning from the fight abroad. Worth a watch, a local news story about the history and fate of the “Hospital with a Soul” is included below. Continue reading “War Dad’s Canteen, Part 1 [1945 – Springfield, MO]”→
A Naval base in the middle of Oklahoma? It may be hard to believe, but thousands of male and female Navy personnel spent time training in the wide open spaces of the Sooner State during World War II.
This post card was sent by a Navy service member stationed in Norman, Oklahoma, and depicts the hydroelectric Quanah Parker Dam to the West in what is now Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Perhaps the sender, Russell, found time for a weekend trip to this scenic part of the state during a reprieve from his hospital duties in 1944. Continue reading “Making WAVES in the Sooner State [1944 – Oklahoma] US Navy”→
I never cease to be amazed by the veritable explosion of construction projects and mass movement of personnel that characterized 1942 and 1943 across the United States. The creation of Camp Breckinridge in Morganfield, Kentucky near the Illinois state line provides a textbook example of this furious pace of military activity in many rural corners of the country. A testament to the swift construction of Camp Breckinridge, the buildings here were built in such haste that they were not properly insulated, a fact not lost on our sender who keenly felt the cold in December of 1942.
Based on how it’s referenced in this note, I can only imagine how the stationary Virginia used in her previous correspondence to Bernice must have looked. Apparently duty in Fort Myers, Florida is not all sun-bathing and nights on the town. Working Kitchen Patrol all night, which is what I can only assume the sender means by K.P., does not sound like a pleasant way to pass the time. It seems Bernice survived the nighttime duty though. I hope he did get a glimpse of a bathing beauty before leaving the Sunshine State.
The place of origin for this card, expansive Buckingham Army Airfield located near Fort Myers, Florida was in operation from 1942-1945. Known for its “Flexible Gunnery School,” the installation provided a variety of new technologies for training aerial gunners including sophisticated gunnery ranges, dummy target aircraft, dummy ammunition, and high-altitude training. If you want to learn more about all of the fascinating military training methods that were pioneered at this airfield, I highly recommend the Wikipedia page. (Source: Buckingham Army Airfield Wikipedia)
For better or worse, little remains of the hundreds of buildings and runways that constituted Buckingham Army Airfield. It was closed immediately after the war, was purchased by a land developer, and became a residential area.
Here I am again and a very sleepy chap at that. I just got up after working K.P. all night so you can guess how I feel.
That was some stationary you wrote on the other time. Where in the world does a person think up things like that. It’s straight stuff though. Here is the picture of the bathing beauty but she surely must be in some other part of Fla. I haven’t seen her yet.
Postmark: Fort Myers, Florida – August 7, 1943
To: Virginia Andrews | 410 Elizabeth Street | Durham, NC
Apparently Leonard’s department store was quite a place to see in its heyday. This store, located in Fort Worth, Texas, was a modern marvel before its time, even including at some point an indoor monorail. I found out about Leonard’s by way of Pvt. Luis France who sent this from Texas to a friend in Durham, North Carolina.
Leonard’s is now home to a museum about its spectacular history.
I am on my way back to camp from furlough. I am sorry I didn’t go through N.C. I wished I had gone by that way. Was fine being home again. I had a swell time.
Will write later.
Postmark: Fort Worth, Texas – Jan 28, 1944
To: Miss Ruby Lou Atkinson | 515 Chapel Hill St. | Durham, N.C.
George found himself in a quaint alpine village in the late summer of 1945. The picturesque village of Reit im Winkl is a small German town near the Austrian border with a strong tradition of tourism. No rank or unit is given on this card, but the postcard was stamped at APO 527.
We are now quartered in this little Alpine village. We are really miles from no where. They say the snow here is terrific gets to 8′ deep in the village. Don’t you think the Alps look beautiful?
Postmark: U.S. Army Postal Service A.P.0 572 – 25 Aug 1945
To: Miss Olga Schleichen | 450 N. Pine St. | Indianapolis, Indiana
Image description: Reit im Winkl mit Keisergebirge 2344m
Reit im Winkl
An alpine community in the Southeast corner of modern Germany, to this day, the town has no rail connection (source), but remains a popular destination for winter and summer outdoor sports.
This postcard was sent during the Korean War by what I assume was a junior enlisted sailor. He gives us no details about his assignment other than what we can see from the the San Diego, CA postmark. Carl writes such an endearing note home to his parents in Tennessee. The handwritten names on the cartoon are my favorite part.
Dear Mother and Daddy
How are all of all there fine I hop. I went to church today. It not much to do here today so I thought I would write you a line. I will send you a picture this next weekend. by for now
To: Mr. Mrs. J. T. Knight
308 Madison St. N
Nashville 8, Tenn
Such a charming message with positive sentiment from this soldier who only left us his initials. Ellington Field (where this card was postmarked) was a significant military installation for the war effort in the 1940’s, offering advanced flight training for bomber pilots (Wikipedia).
Due to favorable weather patterns (well, at least most of the time) surrounding its location near Houston, Texas, Ellington Field has served as a significant aviation operations center for the U.S. Military since the First World War. It’s legacy continues as the present “Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base,” serving the Texas Air National Guard, Johnson Space Center (NASA), and other active duty units (source: Wikipedia).
I just thought I would write you and send this card along at the same time. Everything on the other side pertains to me except the last line. I wouldn’t trade my place with anybody. Believe it or not that is a picture of me on the other side. I think I’ll get to come home next Saturday. Well this leaves me still a kicking and doing fine.
Private Ellis jotted this quick and lighthearted note to a friend while stationed on the West Coast. Camp McQuaide was an active post during WWII which specialized in Coastal Artillery, and was located on the Pacific coast in Santa Cruz County, California. (source).
How is Trisha[?] by now. As for me everything is OK. Save that da[?] for I am going to get that furlow sometime. I hope. Ha Ha.
Pvt. Marvin H. Ellis
Btry C 102 Trng Bn.
Camp McQuaide, California U.S. Army