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You Know the Army

Posted by on September 29, 2014

June 14, 1943, Dad’s friend, Joe Damusis, whom he met at Savanna Ordnance Training School in Illinois, writes to him. Joe’s letter is interesting in that he provides some detail on where some of the other guys who they both met at Savanna have ended up. As a point of context the letter is being written nearly two months to the day since Dad and Joe both shipped out of Savanna. In most instances, I would leave some of the personnel details out of the summary. However I have been noticing that some of the hits that are coming to the website are as a result of searches for specific facilities or military units. As such, I feel it important to list the updates as Damusis provides them.

Joe comments, “I finally know there’s a war going – we work night and day. There is no such thing as a 40 hour 5 day week.”  He has a chance to write because he is traveling from Santa Maria Army Air Base in Santa Maria, California “on a troop train headed for – well, for a place outside of California.”

Joe is in the Headquarters of the 11th Service Group. He reports that he was made a Corporal on June 10th and that he has been transferred from the Ordnance Department as an 821 (Quartermaster Supply Technician) and is now a 501 (Administrative & Technical Clerk). He says he does “plenty of typing and filing” answers the phone and “even had a few occasions to use my Gregg Shorthand

Joe then gets into some details about the other guys from Savanna:

  • Norman Cohen is a Supply Sergeant with the 2107th Quartermasters Truck Company in the 11th Service Group.
  • Joe Chema and Nathan Newitz are both in the 65th Service Group
  • Tom Cavalieri is with the 1566th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Co. in the 13th Service Group.
  • Al Vineberg and Erwin Braff are with the 1564th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Co. in the 11th Service Group. Braff will be in the HQ Squadron.
  • Rubin Smith and Maurice Schwadra are both in the same unidentified Ordnance outfit.
  • Salvadore Delise is in the HQ & HQ Squadron and is a 501 in the Sqaudron HQ in the 11th Service Group.

On June 17, 1943 Joe writes Dad another letter letting him know that he is now at Pendleton Field in Oregon. He says to get from Santa Maria to Pendleton they went through Ogden, Utah. As Joe puts it, “That’s sort of an indirect way of getting to our destination but you know the Army – everything is kept a secret.” He describes Pendleton as “paradise”. “We are situated right on top of a hill from where we can see the whole town of Pendleton as well as miles and miles of farmlands and hills.” The barracks are two story buildings. “Group Headquarters is on the first floor of the barracks and we sleep on the second floor. We don’t even have to go out of the building to go to work.” Pendleton Field in Oregon is not to be confused with the more well-known USMC Base Camp Pendleton in California

He notes that there is a shortage of typewriters at Pendleton and that they are waiting for their supply to be shipped in from their headquarters on Spokane. Joe signs off as “Your pal,” and includes a postscript including “V for Victory” and “Meetcha in Berlin!”

Joe Damusis signs off on his letter of June 17,1943 and adds a few upbeat GI postscripts.

Joe Damusis signs off on his letter of June 17,1943 and adds a few upbeat GI postscripts.


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