Military Postcards, North America

Summer Camp and Boot Camp [1943 – Galilee, PA]

Postcard Camp Chicopee, Galilee, PA 1943 lg

This postcard traveled from the itty-bitty town of Galilee, PA to Great Lakes, Illinois, home to a massive Navy installation which trained a staggering number of sailors for service in World War II.

The front of this card features an aerial image of Camp Chicopee, a traditional summer camp which was located in the rural northwest corner of Pennsylvania near the New York state line. The camp was in operation until the late 1960s (source), but based on some Google Maps sleuthing, the land has since returned to private use and little trace remains of the buildings depicted in this photo.

Regarding supervising campers, I can personally relate to the sender’s sentiments. I myself worked as a camp counselor for one summer in rural Vermont when I was 19, and can attest that keeping a group of 8-year-olds entertained and out of trouble is no easy feat no matter the era. Though, for the recipient of this card, I’m sure a Navy life wasn’t much of a picnic either. Continue reading “Summer Camp and Boot Camp [1943 – Galilee, PA]”

Military Postcards, United States

Postcard Casanova [Camp Barkeley, TX – 1945]

Postcard Casanova, Camp Barkeley TX 1945 Mt Vernon image lg

On the front, we find a sedate pastoral image of George Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon. On the reverse, we read a list of presumed conquests in the form of a litany of female names, though I wager this note was written with tongue firmly in-cheek.

This card was sent from Camp Barkley, Texas to Captain Cassidy, a chemical officer serving in Europe with the 9th Army (based on the APO listed, #339). The recipient may have needed some lighthearted cheer, because as of February 1945 (postmark of this card) the 9th Army had been heavily involved in the Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive of the war. I hope that this implausible list of exploits was well received and that the sender wasn’t really the Casanova he purported to be. Though, I did enjoy reading the list of common female names of the time period, and I hope a few of these lovely monikers come back into style. Continue reading “Postcard Casanova [Camp Barkeley, TX – 1945]”

Vintage Photos

Post Office in the Sand: Servicemen Sorting Packages on an Unidentified Island in the Pacific – [1940s Photo]

This is not a postcard, but I also have an affinity for photos such as this.

Though postcards have fallen out of popularity as short-form communication, packages are still of vital importance to everyone of us. This is especially true for Americans still serving in far-flung locations around the globe, just as they were in this candid photo from the Pacific Theater of World War II. Instead of being secured with clear packing tape, the parcels pictured here were carefully tied with string before being entrusted to the mail service to bring a bit of home to service members abroad.

“Photograph of two U.S. Army Air Forces servicemen sorting packages in the sand in a post office hut at an unidentified camp on an unidentified island in the Pacific Theater during World War II. A row of Army Air Forces mail bags is seen on a stand. Photograph taken or collected by Capt. Ferd L. Davis of Zebulon, N.C., while he served in the 394th Bomber Squadron, 5th Bomb Group (Heavy), during the war (undated).”

48900386212_488d25687b_o

From Ferd L. Davis Papers, WWII 191, World War II Papers, Military Collection, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, N.C.

 

Europe, Military Postcards, Postcards

Now quartered [1945 – A.P.O. Germany]

WWII Postcard Austria 1945 image lg

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.

WWII Postcard Austria 1945 message lg

August 17

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?

George

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.

Reit im Winkl Tourist Information

Wikipedia

Military Postcards, North America, Postcards

Uncle Sam’s Scrubs [1952 – San Diego, CA]

1952 Comic Postcard Image - San Diego, California lg

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.

1952 Comic Postcard Message - San Diego, California lg

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

Carl {?}

To: Mr. Mrs. J. T. Knight
308 Madison St. N
Nashville 8, Tenn

Postmark: San Diego, California – April 7, 1952

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North America

Little Fanny has Grown! [1948 – Knoxville, Tennessee]

 

1948 Comic Postcard Image - Knoxville, Tennessee lg

This is a cheeky one. (Pardon my bad joke, I couldn’t resist.)

I think Wallace would have liked texting and the memes of the 21st century. Don’t you?

1948 Comic Postcard message - Knoxville, Tennessee lg

Can I say this about you the 22nd?

Hello there!

Just here for the day. The meeting is about over I think. Time out for lunch. I will try to write tonight.

I love you,

Wallace

To: Mrs. Wallace Parham
510 Summers Ave.
Louisville, Ky

Postmark: Knoxville, Tennessee – July 9, 1948

Postcard Publisher: “Made by Metropolitan, Everett, Mass.”

Military Postcards, North America, Postcards

I wouldn’t trade my place with anybody. [1941 – Ellington Field, TX]

1941 Comic Postcard Image - Ellington Field, Texas lg

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).

1941 Comic Postcard Message - Ellington Field, Texas lg

August 18-1941

Dear friend

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.

So long. RRH

To: Miss Martha Bolton / Buckholts, Texas

Postmark: Ellington Field, Texas – Aug 19, 1941 – 1 cent stamp

Continue reading “I wouldn’t trade my place with anybody. [1941 – Ellington Field, TX]”

Europe, Military Postcards, Postcards

I got your clock. [1954 – U.S. Army Air Force, London]

1954 U.S. Army Air Force Postcard - London Image lg

The postmark caught my eye on this one. Ray sent this card from a military post office, presumably RAF Lakenheath (APO 09179). It’s a military post mark, which reads: “U.S. Army Air Force Postal Service,” and apparently was still being used long after the separate “U.S. Air Force” was created in 1947. The U.S. Air Force, to this day, maintains a presence at RAF Lakenheath (http://www.lakenheath.af.mil/).

1954 U.S. Army Air Force Postcard - London message lg

Hi Folks.

I got your clock shiped it about 3 weeks ago. You should get it sometime next month. It is insured in case anything is broken.

Ray.

To:
Mr. Wallace King
Route 2
Crofton, KY

Postmark: U.S. Army Air Force Postal Service 179  – 27 October 1954

Image: London, The Houses of Parliament

Commentary, Military Postcards

Gory, Gory, what a Hell of a… National Airborne Day

Curtiss : C-46 : Commando

In honor of National Airborne Day, here’s a bit of dark paratrooper humor.

Presumably intended to instill proper respect for the grim dangers of jump school, Blood on the Risers has been sung by U.S. Army Airborne trainees since WWII and follows the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Have a listen.

Blood on the Risers

He was just a rookie trooper and he surely shook with fright,

He checked all his equipment and made sure his pack was tight;

He had to sit and listen to those awful engines roar,

“You ain’t gonna jump no more!”

(CHORUS)

Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,

Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,

Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,

He ain’t gonna jump no more!

“Is everybody happy?” cried the Sergeant looking up,

Our Hero feebly answered “Yes,” and then they stood him up;

He jumped into the icy blast, his static line unhooked,

And he ain’t gonna jump no more.

Continue reading “Gory, Gory, what a Hell of a… National Airborne Day”

Other Locations, Postcards

Greetings from the “Land Down Under” [1971 – Australia]

1971 Travel Postcard Image - Sydney, Australia lg

A description of jet-lag, the superb inflight service, and the quirks of Australian plumbing & electrical fixtures fill up this traveler’s early 1970s message back to the states.

1971 Travel Postcard Message - Sydney, Australia lg

Sydney, Aust. 7-14-71 2:45 A.M.

Hi Neighbors,

Greetings to you from the “Land Down Under.” I hope this reaches you before you leave. Here it is early morning & I’m wide awake (it is about 11:45 A.M. there on 7-13. It was an 18 hour flight down here on Qantas with excellent service – 1 stewardess & 5 men stewards to serve us. The weather here is sunny & bright even tho it is the dead of winter. Where we have the yellow pages in the phone book – there are pink & the hot & cold faucets are opposite ours & the light switches work upside down. The people are friendly. Have a good trip.

Sincerely, Walt Neiman

Sent to: Kalama, Washington

Postmark: Potts Point, Australia – July 14, 1971

Image: Sydney Harbor Bridge, view of Express Way and North Shore


Postcard Context

Qantas introduce the “Jumbo Jet” into their fleet in September 1971 (Qantas.com), just after the above postcard was sent. Take a look at this meal service.

Boeing : 747Image source: Flickr Commons https://flic.kr/p/7ZCzr7

Further Reading:

Daily Mail: The Golden Age of Australian Airline Travel

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