24 April, 2011

24 April, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 578 % Postmaster, N.Y.
24 April, 1944       1100

My dearest darling –

Yes – nine months ago today I met you and little did either of us dream that we would end up becoming engaged. But then – lots of other people start out the same way – so we needn’t feel we’re too different. I don’t know what the statistics are concerning engagements by mail; probably not too high, but hell – anybody can get engaged the usual way. I shall insist on the latter, though, for our marriage, darling, for general reasons.

Well I got a good night’s sleep last night and feel quite chipper this a.m. I almost had to go on another business trip today but on studying the map, it seemed a little bit too far – so I’ve decided to transact my business by mail this time. I’ve just returned from the dispensary and am at the Castle now – waiting for a battery commander’s meeting at 1130.

Late yesterday I got a letter from you written on the 13th and one from my dad of the 12th. My folks are so tickled about us, darling, it’s wonderful. And they like your folks so much, too. I hope yours feel the same way about mine. In this letter – my father first alluded to Stan. You had mentioned that Stan had called my mother and that she was surprised. I wondered just what you meant. Apparently my folks know about what went on; my father said he was disgusted with the way Stan acted when he heard of our engagement. The whole thing is too bad because we were always – what I thought, at least – good friends; but chalk that up to the “you never can tell” department. I haven’t heard from Stan since we were engaged – but I suppose I will soon. I had no idea he reacted so badly about it all. Anyway – he’s probably sorry and as I wrote you before – as far as I’m concerned, I’ve forgotten about it. The fact is, Sweetheart, I do have you and that’s what matters most. Stan does have lots of good qualities, and it’s not strange to human nature for man to be jealous of another’s good fortune. I should probably be the same.

I enjoyed reading about your dream, dear – and the way you talk about a child here and there, “two already”, and the possibility of twins. I’d say off hand that prolific is the right word to use.

I’m glad, dear, that you are reading the Stars and Stripes and the Yanks I’m sending out. The SandS are old when you get them, I know, – but it’s a well done newspaper and does have a good bit of Army lingo. They’re widely read here in the E.T.O. and it is a good way to keep up to date on what’s going on. I’ll keep sending them along as long as I keep getting them.

I’ve got to go now. (11:25)


Hello, dear –

Oh sorry – I have to leave again.

Hello, again –

This is beginning to look like an appointment book. I thought I’d be able to finish this letter right after lunch, but I had to leave. I’ve just returned – and I’ll have to stop in a minute to go to a meeting. Boy – don’t I sound important – I mean busy! Anyway, sweetheart, I’ve got time to write you that I love you very much, all the time and everywhere I go – and I always shall. I’m never too busy to let you know that. That’s all for now, dear – except love to the folks.

All my love forever, darling


about Military Organization Terms

Greg mentioned he was going to a battery commander's meeting. This list of terms puts that meeting into perspective relative to the Army's organization. At the highest level was the Supreme Allied Commander of the European Theater of Operations,  General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Army Group — A tactical and administrative military unit, consisting of a headquarters, two or more armies, and auxilliary units. Greg was part of the 21st British Army Group, commanded by General Sir Bernard L. Montgomery.

Army — A tactical and administrative military unit, consisting of a headquarters, two or more Corps, and auxilliary units. At this point, Greg was part of the First US Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Omar Bradley.
First Army Shoulder Sleeve Insignia

Corps — A tactical military unit of ground, combat forces, between an army and a division, and composed of two or more divisions and auxilliaries. Greg was part of the VII Corps, commanded by Major General J. Lawton Collins.
VII Corps Shoulder Sleeve Insignia

Division — A tactical and administrative unit, smaller than a corps, but self-contained and equipped for long combat activity. Usually consists of three regiments, or four combat commands (armored div.), and attached units. At some time during the assault and drive across Europe, 17 different Infantry Divisions, 6 different Armored Divisions and 2 Airborne Divisions were part of the VII Corps. The 2 Airborne divisions were the well-known 82nd and 101st Airborne. Twelve Units were attached to these various Divisions.

Regiment — The major, tactical unit of a division. Divided into three battalions, each with four companies (or) batteries (in artillery battalions). Commanders are usually colonels.

Battalion — The major tactical unit of an infantry regiment. (See above). It also may be a separate, tactical unit, not organic to the division, which may be attached to a division during combat. i.e., the 438th. Battalion Commanders are usually lieutenant colonels. 

Crest of the 438th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion

Company — One of four, tactical units into which an infantry battalion is divided. Company commanders are usually captains.

Battery — One of four, tactical units into which an artillery battalion is divided. Battery commanders are usually captains.

Platoon — One of the tactical sections (usually four) into which the company (or battery) is divided. Platoon commanders are usually lieutenants.

Squad — The smallest, tactical unit into which a platoon may be divided. Number of men in a squad may vary from eight to twelve. Squad commanders are usually sergeants.

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