Edward J. Thomas - World War II

Below letter is copied from Eddie's letter word for word.

Hq Co, 2d Army, Memphis,Tenn
26 June 1944 (Monday)

Dear Capt Ayres:

To avoid duplication, Williams and I have decided to oollaborate in
writing one letter for both of us instead of one apiece. The results are
as follows:

We arrived in Memphis at 6:05 AM on the 22nd of June (Thursday). The ride was one of the most uncomforable we have ever experienced, not because PFC Williams was in charge of the movement, but because the air conditioning systems in the cars did not seem to be capable of handling the torrid atmosphere. At Jackson, our transferring point, there was such a large crowd trying to get on the Memphis train that the conductor did not allow civilians to board.

At Grand Central Station in Memphis we had the Travelers' Aid call up
Second Army Hq for transportation. It arrived in about an hour.

We soon discovered that Hq was not located in the downtown section, but
at the Fair Grounds just within the city limits. Instead of quartering in
a hotel as we had expected, we were led into a large tent and told to pick
out our bunks. Our dreams of a hotel with waiters, porter service, dinners
a l.a carte, and private rooms with bath vanished completely like a private's
pay in a New York night olub. It was even more disappointint to find that
at least for the time being we must wash and shave with pans on benches out
in the open air, If it waren't for the heat, we could very easily enjoy
ourselves by fancying we were in the Aleutians again.

In the afternoon, we were interviewed at Hq Bldg and assigned to
Field Artillery and Quartermaster. We say "interviewed" with reservations
because after waiting four hours to see the assistant adjutant we were
informed by a private as to where we were assigned and blindly we followed
our guido to our respective offices. Apparently a study of our Forms 20
was all that the assistant adjutant considered necessary for an interview.
The offices we were assigned to are located in separate buildings and,
therefore, we won't be working together any more.

We learned what augmentation means here. It really isn't a department
or section connected with the ordinary business of this headquarters, but
just a term meaning increase which refers to the new men coming in to
replace the present personnel, who are being transferred to the 8th Army
for overseas duty.

The offices are large and contain rows upon rows of desks and when we
take our places in the morning we are completely lost like golf balls that
have plopped into a stream. So far we haven't had very much to do but just
sit around and wait for whatever little we do get. (Williams doesn't agree.
He says, "I've been worldng like a dog, believe me. I believe I am the
only one who does much in my department with the exception of one warrant
officer.") Judging by what we have observed already, we are confident that
we can handle the work which will come our way because of our excellent
experience in the l53d.

The life we lead after duty hours, which is 4:30 PM, convinces us that
we have finally become commandos--that is, of the USO brand, of course. With our Class "A" passes we hop a street oar in our back yard and in l5 minutes are in town enjoying a swim, dinner and entertainment at one of the various USO clubs. Transportation into the heart of Memphis is no problem at all because this camp has only about *[????] men and even that small number will dwindle down to about *[????] after the old personnel begins to move out. For recreation it really is necessary to go downtown because there are no service clubs, rec halls or movies in camp. There is a small day room in
the one and only mess hall we have here, but it doesn't amount to much.

When we left 153d Hq, you asked us to see if they needed any broken
down captains up here. Well, Captain, from our observations so far, that
is just about all they have. Upon entering one of the massive barns (offices),
we see row upon row of officers sitting busily at work with a copy of the
latest "Time magazine in their hands and their feet sprawled nonchalantly
on the desks.

In our haste to make that train at the Shelby siding, we had no opportunity
to say good-bye to almost everybody and both of us would appeeciate
it if you would pass our farewells along to those whom we missed.

PFC Thomas D Williams
PFC Edward J Thomas

Copyrighted by
Thomas & williams me.

*Note, Eddie's penciled these words at the bottom of this letter: We were told not to mention the number of men. I even cut out the numbers before sending this to the capt.

Letter from Stanley - Jul 2, 1944

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