Jefferson Barracks - Savannah - Oakland

I graduated from Watertown H.S. in May of 1941.  Europe had been engaged in Hitler's war for almost 2 years and it was just a matter of time before we were involved.  The Army Air Corp had a program going, where if you enlisted you could choose your school.  Aug. 29 I enlisted at Fort Crook, Nebr. with the promise to attend the Photography Sch. at Lowry Field in Denver.  My first week was spent at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.  It consisted of orientation, applitude tests and the General Classification Test.  You had to score at least 110 on that to be Officer material - I scored 141, but had no illusions of being an officer.


After a week I was sent to Jefferson Barracks at St. Louis for Basic Training. My basic was a bit of a farce.  It rained a good bit of the time, so mine consisted of some close-order drill and lots of lectures out of the rain.  No obstacle course, no small arms training, no 25 mile hikes - no nothing that would prepare you to do battle. I did get into town a time or two, and even got to attend my first major league baseball game , the Cards and Dodgers, if memory serves me right. 












In mid Oct. there were no openings at the School and I was assigned to Hq. Sq., 3rd Bomb. Gp. Savannah Army Air Base. Having some typing skills I was assigned to Group Operations as a Clerk Typist, and informed that I was scheduled to attend School in January 1942.
Operations was on the Hangar Line and this was all very new and interesting to this Dakota Boy.  Even got my first ride in an Airplane, 0-47 - observation plane. Did get into Savannah couple times, but did not find it that exciting. Did visit a yacht basin one day, why, I will never know. 






In December, they started putting out Christmas furloughs. Being a short timer, I had to take mine early, and only got 7 days. This was not enough time to get to South Dakota, but I had a Sister working in D.C. and my old boy hood pal, Erv Von Wald had moved there. On the evening of Dec. 6, I arrived at the D.C. bus station and was met by my Sis and Erv.  I stayed with the Von Walds, and Sunday afternoon, Erv and I walked up to the corner drug store for ice cream. They had the radio on and were getting the bulletin that the Japs were attacking Pearl Harbor. That nite I received a telegram to report back to base PDQ. Couldn't get a bus out until Monday nite, so Erv gave me a whirlwind tour of our Nations Capitol. We were standing outside the Capitol Building photographing it when FDR was giving his "Day of Infamy" speech. 








That nite I boarded the bus and headed back to the base, so much for my first furlough.  The next five weeks were rather hectic ones.  We started packing up for a move, and the Christmas Holidays were a rather somber time.  Jan. 19 we boarded a troop train and headed West.  We spent a week in a huge warehouse in Oakland.  Could get short passes to get into town, and had some dock details helping to load equipment.  About 1:30 AM Jan. 31, '42 we boarded the USS Ancon.  About 2:30 that afternoon we sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge headed West.  Many of us thought the P.I.