27 October, 2011

27 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
27 October, 1944         1100

Dearest sweetheart –

Friday morning and a quiet day I hope. When I say “quiet”, dear, I refer to my own inactivity and not to noise. The latter is something that doesn’t bother me very much any more – and darling, you’ll be able to scold the children as often as you want and I won’t even look up.

Yesterday I wrote you in the morning, as I remember it; in the early p.m. I took care of a couple of routine details and then I got to thinking that my detachment ought to have a radio – one of its own. I’ve been using mine here – but there are times when the officers live in one house and the medical detachment in another. Time hangs heavy for them too. In my various wanderings – getting my own radio fixed, I came across a Signal Company Corporal who had a re-built G-I radio. He wouldn’t sell it but was willing to swap it for a pistol. I was tempted to give him the one I just got – but it’s too good a souvenir, so instead I chased around yesterday and bought one for $30.00 and got the radio for it. The officers and med. detachment then pitched in and it came to only $3.00 per man. We have a swell radio and now we have almost continuous music, day and night.

Greg's radios may have looked like these WWII-era Zenith short and long wavers

On the whole this detachment of ours is pretty well equipped with extra conveniences etc. compared with other divisions in our outfit. For example – we have 4 kerosene lamps and the kerosene to run them and kerosene lamps are impossible to get. You just have to know how to go about it. There I go bragging again – so excuse me, dear. But the army is a funny place – and you usually get only what you go after; nothing or very little is handed to you – but then, life as a whole is like that too.

In the evening – we drank some wine at the Colonel’s quarters and played some more bridge. At game’s end I was ahead 2 marks, but the rubbers were all close ones. Previous to that I received another letter of yours – 7th October and one from my brother-in-law – Irv – of the 16th – the best time in a long while. Your letter interested me a great deal, darling; that was the one in which you apologized for about 2 weeks of ‘blue’ letters and blamed it on Lois’ influence. I’m glad it was due to her. I couldn’t describe it exactly, but your letters were a bit different – and as you must know by now – the letters I wrote in answer – were anything but gay, and I know I wrote some things I didn’t mean. I believe I’ve already mentioned that, dear, and I know you understand.

You mention also – in that letter – that it was 11 months since we’d seen each other and that you didn’t think it would be that long. I did, dear, because I knew how long it takes a big Army to get things done. I have never actually tried to crystallize in my mind how long we’ll be separated, darling, but I’m always prepared for the worst – and anything better than that – is a gift. I’m happy you feel the same way I do about the immediate post-war status we may find ourselves in – I mean the fact that I may be in the States and still in uniform. Darling – I’ll want to get married – regardless of the uniform. As a matter of fact that would be a lot of fun – because married officers in the States have a swell time and we wouldn’t have anything like expenses and rent to worry about. Well that’s another thing we’ll have to wait for.

Say I hadn’t even thought about a gift for Stan; it just hadn’t entered my mind – but by all means – we ought to get them something. Now I do want to do this together – but only on the condition that I pay my share. I insist on that, dear, and I want you to tell me and I’ll send you a check – and don’t give me that stuff about your being a working girl! Get them whatever you think is right, dear, send it from us and that will be that.

Again it’s time to eat, dear, and by the way – won’t it be swell when we’re together and having our meals together and talking things over? Gosh there are so many things I’m looking forward to – simple things – but things I’m missing so much now – All for now, sweetheart; my love to the folks, and

All my sincerest love, dear

about The Signal Corps

Signal Corp Regimental Emblem

From Lone Sentry comes this information about the Signal Corps.
When Allied forces began their final advance across Germany, the course of operations caused single Armies to spread over hundreds of miles of territory. The Signal Corps' intricate system of communications was extended more than ever before. During these operations, First Army staff officers were in constant touch with all activities by high-power radio stations capable of transmitting and receiving messages over distances of more than 100 miles. Stations were mounted on jeeps and operated by the 17th Signal Battalion.

Signal Corps Jeep

As American lines advanced, liaison officers went forward to maintain a running description of the fighting. Messages were encoded by radio operators and transmitted to Command Posts. The high antennae carried with jeep radio stations often were added danger to radio operators. Easily visible, they drew artillery fire to such an extent that on several occasions officers demanded jeeps be drawn away from the vicinity of troops and installations.

One of the most interesting developments in field radio was the construction of a powerful 60 kilowatt mobile radio station. Called "Sigcircus," this mobile station had all the facilities of a fixed station of comparable power and was completely self-sufficient. It was equipped with broadcast and radio facsimile transmission facilities in addition to the normal message-handling radio-teletype channels. The station could also make recordings on wire, film and disc and carried its own Signal center complete with radio teletypes for simultaneous sending and receiving between Europe and the United States.

In addition to its primary mission, the Signal Corps also was charged with the responsibility of maintaining and repairing the equipment necessary to do the job, along with Signal Intelligence work and the processing of V-mail. The tremendous task of repair and maintenance of Signal Corps radio, telephone, teletype, cryptographic, radar and other types of equipment demanded that repair companies operate a system of workshops at Signal Depots as well as send crews of skilled technicians out into the field to keep front line equipment functioning. Thousands of Signal Corpsmen, many of whom came from similar jobs in civilian life, kept the equipment working.

Signal Intelligence, using the latest developments in radio, intercepted enemy transmissions and obtained information invaluable to field commanders in their tactical planning. Little known to the millions of GIs and civilians using the V-mail service was the fact that the Signal Corps was directly responsible for the laboratory processing of this handy form of personal mail. Working with the Army Postal Service, Signal Corps V-mail laboratories were set up in London, France and Iceland and rapidly photographed and printed incoming and outgoing V-mail on a scale that reached several million individual letters per day.

The success of American air and armored forces, the close liaison that carried all troops to victory was due in a large measure to superior Signal Corps equipment, developed specially for each branch and arm of the service.
Their expertise also contributed to the morale of at least one unit - the 438th AAA AW BN Medical Detachment and it's Battalion Surgeon, Greg.

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