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I Would Like to be Free

Posted by on June 19, 2017

August, 29 and September 3, 1945. Two letters from Stanley to Dad. Stanley is still in Abilene, Texas where it is “kind of quiet in the barracks” as “most of the fellows took off for town.”

He shares more information about the area where he is stationed. “…the land around here is sure flat and you can see for miles around here. There is only one place where the ground is not level, and that is Camp Barkeley. That is about ten miles away from here and you can make out the water towers and the barracks from where we are.”

He also mentions going to a movie in town (“Wonder Man with Danny Kaye”) and goes into some detail describing the theater. Based on the description, it is likely that he went to the Paramount. He writes, “The theater was a very nice one indeed. It had several balconies and had plants growing around. The ceiling was somewhat oval shaped and painted blue like the color of the sky with small streaks of light shining down to make it look as if the stars were shining in the sky. The place was very cool but as soon as we left the place and went on the street we almost roasted to a crisp.”

Current photo of the restored Paramount Theater in Abilene, Texas where “the ceiling was…painted blue like the color of the sky with small streaks of light shining down to make it look as if the stars were shining in the sky.” To learn more about the theater, click on the link in the paragraph above.

Now that the war has come to an end, Stanley is starting to see some of the fellows he knows being discharged from service. “I received a letter…from my former First Sergeant Jamison. He at present is stationed at Fairmont AAF, Geneva, Nebraska but expects to go to a separation center for discharge sometime this week. …some of the fellows here in the orderly room were transferred out…” Stanley also writes that they are operating on a scaled back or “peace time army routine” which consists of “half day on Wednesday and Saturday and…all day Sunday off.”

As far as his own prospects for discharge, Stanley writes, “They are going to reduce the points again in the near future. I hope they lower them low enough for me to get out. Last I heard about it was that they would lower them to 75 but last night they said something about making the points 80 and letting you add more points from where they fell off at 12 May 45. That will give me more points than I’ll need for discharge. Lots of the fellows have already left for the separation center to be discharged.” Stanley continues that he has 79 points “and under the new system they add on about 4 more to them and that gives me 83 and I will be eligible for discharge.”  Stanley is clear that not all of the fellows are going home, presumably those who do not have enough points. “Lot of the fellows who were permanent party here on the field are being transferred to outfits which are going overseas as occupation forces.”

He goes on to ask his brother, “How are you getting along now since the war is over in the Pacific? Have you any idea what they are going to do with your outfit?”  Stanley also relays that he saw a newsreel “about the Island of Guam. It was about how the islands were before the Japs got there and after it was recaptured from the Japs. It was quite an interesting bit of news.”

Stanley notes two other items related to the war coming to an end. The first is, “…that the censorship everywhere has been lifted. I guess that is a pretty good thig.” Secondly he writes, “You know that now you can reenlist into the Regular Army and still keep your present grade. You get an enlistment bonus and also a three month furlough and I think mustering out pay. Sounds like a good deal. I gave it a second thought…but I would like to be free for a change and do what you want and not what someone else wants you to do.”

He wraps up, “Well, I guess I’ll close for now. God bless you brother and keep you safe and sound.”

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