Edward J. Thomas - World War II

28 July 1945 SaturdayEdward J. Thomas Sergeant Tec 4 - July 1945 Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis 15, Tenn.

Dear Mom, Harry & Izzy:

You have probably noticed on the envelope that there was a slight change in my name. Instead of corporal, it's sergeant. The chevron I wear has three strips and a "T" underneath. It stands for technician fourth grade. It is the lowest kind of sergeant, but still a sergeant with sergeant's pay which comes to about $78 per month or $12 more per month than a corporal.

You may be interested to know just how I got this rating. I'll be glad to tell you. It is the secret of my success and if any of y'all can use it to your advantage in civilian life, you have my permission to go right ahead. This is how my success started: About two or three weeks ago, I began to be bothered by flies. I went to work and improvised a fly swatter from cardboard and with this inefficient weapon I swatted and sweated at my desk. An officer, seeing how hard I was trying to do something for my country, gave me a factory made swatter. When I killed about 150 flies during one afternoon, I had a hunch I was on my way to military fame and fortune. Rumors soon sneaked around in the latrines from toilet to toilet that plans for promotions were in the air. I swatted flies more furiously than ever. My extra efforts were showing immediate results. A captain sent me a note (this actually happened and is not exaggerated), saying that I should give him a full report at 6:30 every morning of the number and sex of all flies killed by me the previous day. Being madly industrious and ambitious, I did not wait until 6:30 the next morning. I quickly answered him by note that 153 flies were killed that particular day-one male and two females and 150 whose sex could not be determined because they were squashed beyond recognition. Now there was no doubt in my mind that I was climbing my ladder of success at least three rungs at a time if not less. Wasn't it obvious my work was gaining attention and importance? Wasn't I really exchanging letters with an officer regarding my work? This had never happened to me before. In a day or two, rumors about promotions became more concrete but unsteady. One day I was hearing that they cnceledd. Finally a special order was delivered to me, officially stating that I was a Tec 4.

Perhaps, now I should plan to make a fly trap. if I make one as big as those we have in the mink yard, I probably would become a master sergeant. Or if I in succeed in making an electrical fly trap, I might even becane a lieutenant, who knows?

Mom, from your letter of July 22, I understand our little farm isn't producing very much this year. Probaly it's just as well. You will miss a great
quantity of fresh vegetables and fruit, which is too bad, but it will relieve you from overwork, which is very good, especially during a time when there are so many mink.

How about the fruit trees which I received from my Chinese friend who worked with me at Ford's? Did they show any signs of bearing fruit? If they did, I imagine nothing came of it because of the hail storm you had.

It is true that Detroit temperatures of 80° would be pretty cool here almost chilly, I would say. Lately we have had temperatures above 95° almost every day. It was 99° in the shade one day when I had a hike. In the sun, I believe the temperature at that time was about 110° or 115°. The top of my helmet was hot enough to burn my hands. Just sitting down and doing nothing would get my clothes wringing wet.

I am sending two large photographs. One was taken at the party I referred
to in my previous letter. The guest of honor, the one who was to receive his
discharge, is the only person who has his face almost hidden. Everybody else is in plain view. I am too, for which I am sorry every time I look at myself.

The other photograph shows all the men who work in the Quartermaster Section. The officers are in the bottom row and the pawns are in the upper two rows. The boss of the section is the chubby colonel in the middle of the bottom row. The fifth soldier in the top row is Franklin Wright of whom I had written to Gertie & Gene. He is no longer with us. About a month ago we were told that 1st Army Hq wanted two corporals, and Wright volunteered to go. He is now at Fort Jackson, S. C., where 1st Army Hq is staticned temporarily until it again goes overseas. The 11th soldier is a staff sergeant who sits in the office at a desk right next to mine. I believe you can guess who the last man in the top row is. He's Christy who lives in Toledo and whom I have spoken of to you several times before. He is quite peeved and discouraged right now because he failed to receive a promotion. His not getting one was just a matter ot chance. He deserved a higher rating but did not get one because Fate accidentally did not smile at him. The second last man in the middle row is the chief of the pawns and a go-between for the pawns and officers. At the office, he sits at a desk next to the staff sergeant who sits next to me. The three ot us make a group separate from all the others. There is no use in looking for me in the picture because I am not in it. The photograph was taken while I was in Detroit on.my furlough.

Izzy, thank you for the third set of snapshots. When you mail your 4th set
to me, I hope you will remember to send the negative of the officer--the one which has one person in it with a building far off in the background. This officer spoke to me about it a few days ago. I told him what the circumstances were.

It was a great surprise to me to learn you have decided to sell your home.
Is it possible for you to do it without Mack's permission? I was wondering about that because as far as my knowledge goes Mack is a joint owner.

Harry, with all the work you have on your hands, I just hate to tell you
that I have enough leisure time to keep improving my tennis playing. As a representative of the working class, you may start a revolution and displace playboys like me, but I'll risk telling you about my playboy activities anyway. I now feel I can take you on and win easily. I have already played one set with the second best player in the Quartemaster Section and won by a score of 6 to 1. The best player in the Section is of city (line through it) finalist caliber and by the way he slams the balls around I know I am not ready for him yet.

If you have the time, let me know how your mink ads are coming along. Have you received any answers?

I'll stop writing now because it's late in the afternoon and I'll have to
report to the guard barracks for guard duty. I owea letter to Gertie & Gene
and will tell them in a couple of days what my latest guard duty was like.

So Long, Eddie

P.S. Momn, I am enclosing one wrist watch band. It is a cheap one but the
best I could buy at the PX. There were other types being sold, such as the spring type which I wore on my furlough. It is the kind that has to be bent around the wrist and is held there without a buckle. I gave up using that type because the leather would smell awfully bad after contact with sweat. Let me know if the band I am sending you is O.K. If you want a spare band, I could wait a few weeks and probably buy a better one.

Couldn't mail this until July 31, 1945 - Edward J. Thomas sergeant technicain fourth grade

Mon. Jul 30 After delivering atomic bomb parts to Saipan the last major Allied ship is sunk by a Japanese submarine.

Harry May be Drafted

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