Edward J. Thomas - World War II

From Pvt. E. J. Thomas
Greenville, PA

Dear Mom & Harry Wednesday, Jun 16, 1943

I am now in Pennsylvania, for a short time before being sent to various divisions or overseas. I’m letting you know right away in case I can’t make a phone call or send a wire. I should be here about 3 days to 4 weeks. Average stay is a bout 3 weeks.

My train left Fort McClellan at 10:00 am Monday. It was a slow ride and switching we made it to Birmingham, AL. Looking at the map I thought I was heading west or northwest. But the train kept going north. We were still going directly north until we reached Kentucky. It was to dark to see now, but at five am, I saw that we were going through the town of Sanders, but couldn’t tell what state, but by the sun could tell we were going east. A half hour later I found out we were still in Kentucky. There wee Hills everywhere just as high as Alabama. But they didn’t look the same. They were fluffier, softer and greener. It was easy to see Kentuck’s soil was more rich than Alabama.

At 6:30 am we went through Cincinnati, and this was the first big city I saw since leaving Detroit. We crossed the Ohio River with a good view of Cincinnati’s skyline and very impressive to a soldier from Alabam. We rode through Ohio all day. I never imagined Ohio to be so big. At 5 pm we crossed into Pennsylvania, and went though New Castle and Sliaron.

At 6:30pm (June 15), we reached Camp Shenango. Fort McClellan was like a well kept city park compared to this mud hole. Mud, loose stone sidewalk, and tar paper covered shacks; one of which I am writing this letter. Presently we can’t leave our area, or phone or send a telegram. I don’t know when I can send this letter.

Mom, I received your last letter just a day before I left Fort McClellan. I got a sample of your wet weather. It thundered and rained just before getting off the train and again in the barracks.

So Julia’s Eddie is in Wyoming in the Quartermaster branch. I didn’t know the army put men in this branch because of such small defects as eyesight or hearing. They must have more men than they know what to do with.

I’m glad Gertie’s baby is staying in good health. He’ll be walking by the time I’m back. Don’t send batteries now until I know my correct address for the next couple of weeks.

Harry thanks for buying Sanders candy. If you have sent it, I’ll probably get it and enjoy it. Sanders Candy and Desert Shop opened Jun. 17, 1875. Fred Sanders started with one store in the Detroit downtown area. Eventually more stores would open and there would be some 57 in Detroit and its suburbs. The author remembers his boyhood years and the delicious and famous Sanders milk shakes. Even noted former computer hacker, while 'on the lam',Kevin Mitnick mentioned the tasty milkshakes that Sanders was famous for.

When I get my next address let the Detroit News know, but I may not renew it. I believe I will be assigned a new barrack here, until I get a new location out of this camp. I may be here two months. I’m in the same position
I was in Custer, just waiting for “Bingo”.

With Love Ed
P.S. Just found correct address:
Co. A. 12Bn 3rd Rgt.
Shenango Personnel Replacement Depot
Greenville, Pennsylvania

On June 17, 1943, days after arriving at Camp Shenango Eddie writes a Will

Eddie’s Will (Thursday June 17, 1943)

Last Will and Testament for Private Edward J. Thomas on 17th day of June 1943

Two Letters From Harry - Jun 17, 1943

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