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Sent Far and Wide

Posted by on June 6, 2017

August 14, 1945. Stanley writes a letter to Dad from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. At this point it is unknown if Stanley is still with the 401st Bomb Group as in previous letters he alluded to the 401st being broken up, for the most part. He is sure that he “will not stay on this field for another two or three days. I have finally found my name on the orders which they have on the walls in the orderly room. They don’t tell you you are shipping but you have to look through each order yourself trying to find your name. If they don’t rescind the order I guess I am going to Abilene, Texas. Will write more when I get there. I know it is a long way from home but it is better than staying here…”

He gives some indication of why he would rather be sent to Abilene after having spent nearly two years in England and thirty days at home. “We have a new CO here…and he is a pretty rough character. Since he got here we now have to get up at 0530 hrs in the morning and after that a bit of calisthenics. We have a roll call at 0530 hrs. We have to march in a formation to chow and from chow. At 1300 hrs in the afternoon we have another roll call. In the evening the lights go off in the barracks at 2230 hrs. That doesn’t give you much sleep at all.”  

He gets to the heart of the matter and describes how much he misses being with the 401st. “I just soon be back with the old outfit back in England. Last I heard about our old group is that it is somewhere in California reorganizing with complete new personnel. Even our First Sergeant Jamison is here on this field where I am. All the fellows with whom I was and lived with for 28 months have been sent far and wide over the United States. Some have been discharged. I still don’t believe it that the outfit broke up like this. I lived with some of the fellows just like a family. We knew each other and trusted each other then bang, no more outfit. They could have told us at least in advance that we would no longer be with our own outfit.”  

For now, “Everyone is sweating out the Japanese answer to the surrender terms.” Until then, it is business as usual and it is almost like Stanley is back in some sort of basic training. “We had some orientation and a medical lecture and film on what to do in case of shock. We go to school in the mornings only. Today we had a lecture on the carbines and how to shoot them. Also had orientation on the Japanese war which was very interesting. Tomorrow we go on the range to qualify on the carbine. I guess in the 2nd Air Force you have to qualify every six months.”

As Stanley signs off he writes, “I hope this mess is over soon so you can come back home brother. Well, I’ll close for now till I write you in the future. God bless you and keep you safe and in good health.”

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