21 July, 2012

21 July 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
21 July, 1945      0900
My dearest darling Wilma –

Gee this month is rolling right along and a good many fellows who have arrived home are digging into their 30 days. As much as I’d love to be home now – I know darn well how much I would dread having to leave again for more overseas duty. And it wouldn’t be the fear of combat, either, because I went through enough of that to realize it’s all in the breaks. But once home – with you and the folks – and no doubt married – well I know I’d want to go AWOL.

With all my inquiries etc. I still can’t figure out my own disposition. It seems as if when a Cat. IV outfit finally gets ready to be redeployed – everyone with less than 85 points gets separated from the outfit. That would include me – with 82. Where I would go – I don’t know; I may even be all wet in regards to that dope. I hope I am, for somehow or other I’d like to come back to the States with this outfit. Anyway – each day I remain here is good. It means more troops ahead of me are getting home and then leaving for the Pacific and the more that get there – the better I like it. Meanwhile they keep sending more occupational troops into Germany. Well with Germany being filled up – and also the Pacific – there’s only one place for me to go, darling, and that’s home!

I received a letter of June 26 and one from 13 July from you yesterday, dear. One contained a sketch by Cyn and you asked me if I see any likeness. Honestly, sweetheart, I don’t know because it’s so darned difficult for me to visualize you after all this time. It’s a keen sketch, though.

There was also an item about Irv Feldman that kind of made me angry – although it’s none of my business and I don’t know the guy. But frankly, dear, the taking of a Leave – without getting it recorded – is about as cheap a trick as is possible in the Army or Navy. He sure would be in line for a heluva lot of trouble. As much as I’d love to be able to visit a wife and baby of mine, I could never get myself to do anything like that. Anyway – I’ve got a lot of leave time due me now – and even after I get my 30 days – the government will owe me a lot of time – because accrued leave is figured on the basis of 2 ½ days per month. My last leave (7 days) was in March ’44 – and even before that – I hadn’t used up what was coming to me. You never really catch up on it though, but I believe they pay you when you’re discharged for the time coming to you.

I was sorry to read about Sylvia B. and the trouble, present and anticipated, in her adjusting to her new life. When Florence wrote me – she often went into detail about Sylvia and the trouble she had with her – Now without a mother – Phil really has a problem and the kid’s in a tough age to be changed so much.

Well I’ve just been interrupted by a couple of fellows who dropped in to see me. The sketch of you by Cyn was lying on the desk where I’m writing now, and they wanted to know who it was. One of the fellows thought it looked like Barbara Stanwyck – so of course I told them it was an exact likeness of you – only that you were prettier – which of course you are!

And now it’s past 1000 and at 1015 I’ve got to sit on a Section Eight Board, as medical member. It won’t be a difficult one because I’ve already had the fellow seen by a psychiatrist and he’s been classified as a Constitutional Psychopath.

And so for another day, sweetheart, I’ll say ‘so long’ and remind you again, as I’m always trying to do – that I love you as keenly and sincerely as I know how. I miss you terribly these evenings, particularly, but I can wait it out – knowing that you are doing the same. So be well, dear, take care of yourself – and send my love to the folks.

All my deepest love for now.


about Soldier Art

On 21 July 1945, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote this:

One of the very interesting things to come out of the war has been the discovery of new artistic talent in various forms among soldiers and sailors, regardless of where they may be.

It is not very surprising to find that men who have had the ability to express themselves before in writing or as artists continue to do so even under the pressure of war conditions, for all art expression is a release from strain. Also, the artistic temperament usually is an emotional one which responds to every incident of life. Therefore, one can well understand that a man who was a writer or artist before he entered the service scribbles or paints or sculpts no matter where he is or what he is obliged to do.

The remarkable thing that has happened is that many new artists have emerged and have shown a degree of competence which one would hardly have expected.
* * *

Early this month, in Washington, D. C., a soldiers' art exhibition was sponsored jointly by the National Gallery and the Special Services Division of the Army Service Forces. Eight soldiers were awarded prizes of $100 war bonds. These winners were the best of 9,000 final entries chosen at other exhibitions held under Army sponsorship. The work was done in off-duty time, under the Army's program of promoting arts and crafts as a leisure-time activity.

This special exhibition will be open through September 4th. It contains paintings in different mediums, mural designs, sculpture, drawings, prints and photographs.

"GI's in Paris",  oil painting by Floyd Davis, a winning entry

"Bob Hope Entertaining Troops Somewhere in England", by Floyd Davis

Though I have been unable to visit the exhibition, I have greatly enjoyed looking through the little book in which many of the winning productions are reproduced. It is called "Soldier Art" and is published in the Fighting Forces Series. I think it is a record of which we will be proud in the future, for it will show that, even in the midst of war, we fostered a great civilizing activity.

* * *

It is interesting that I have been sent some clippings of some rather severe editorials in several Southern newspapers on the subject of a speech made by an important gentleman in Congress criticizing our Negro troops. There does not seem to be complete agreement with this gentleman's point of view. I have also seen some letters from officers in charge of Negro troops overseas who are greatly affronted. So perhaps, if this gentleman in Congress takes the trouble to read the papers, he may realize that he was intemperate in his remarks.

E. R.

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