15 September, 2012

15 September 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
15 September, 1945      10450
Nancy

Dearest darling fiancée –

I was supposed to have a court today but for one reason or another it was called off at the last minute – and so here I am, dear. Gee – before I forget it – a letter of yours the other day mentioned some clipping or other from the Traveler - and you never enclosed it in the letter. What was it, dear?

Two letters from you came the first thing this morning – both stimulating, too. One in particular caused me to do a lot of thinking. You brought up the subject which you say we’ve avoided and which I mentioned in my letter of 28 August – namely the question of whether or not we’ll “click” once we’re together again. I don’t actually remember in what connection I brought it up, but if it has been avoided in the past, it hasn’t been with any intent on my part. I’ve just answered, darling, that there’s no question that we were meant for each other. Oh, I’m fully aware that we may seem strange to one another at first – although that isn’t necessary because as I sit here and write to you – it’s just as if I were talking with you, and your letters have been just as communicative to me. I feel that it will be the most natural thing in the world for me to tell you I love you, to kiss you and make love to you, to visit our friends, to get the feel of Boston and suburbs in my blood again – and to discuss with you the plans for our marriage. Even people who were married before they were separated by war – are sweating out their reactions after a two year stretch of not seeing each other – so certainly we’re entitled to a bit of speculation without qualms that it might be a wavering of emotions on the part of either one of us. That’s a touch of circumlocution, dear, but you understand what I mean I’m sure. Frankly and honestly I’m not doubtful or worried about it at all. I just want to get back; from there on I know it’s in the bag.

You mention that you’re a little stale after about 2 years of inactivity – and I can certainly understand that. Some fun and entertainment might do you a little good at that – I think your trip to Montreal gave you a little taste of what you’ve missed all this time. It’s most natural, too. But I can’t see it as a test – because you’ve been tested. Furthermore – you couldn’t really compare me with another fellow – because you hardly can remember – except in your mind’s eye – what it was like to go out with me.

But for entertainment’s sake, darling, it’s probably a good idea – only please don’t get to like anyone too much.

Well – to change the subject only slightly – I love you, darling – and you know that, I guess. Believe me – these months since VE day have been tough on me, too. But hell, it can’t be long now. I still have no specific date for myself except that troops are really moving out by the thousands. I’ll make a boat too, some day – Just hold on a bit longer, darling. I’ll love you hard and long once I get back – for I’ll love no one else and I never have loved anyone else as I love you.

So long, dear – Love to the folks –

All my sincerest love and devotion
Greg.

THE PAPERWORK BEGINS...




The three Certificates above, dated 15 September 1945, all have the same language.
They were all signed by Raymond W. Hoag, Major - CAC of the 438th AAA Aw Bn.

1.  I certify that I have personally examined the items of captured enemy military equipment in the possession of "Greg", Capt MC; that the trophy value of each item exceeds any training, service or salvage value; that they do not include any explosives; and that the possession thereof is in conformity with the regulations of the Theater Commander.

2.  I further certify that the item referred to was captured from the enemy by the above man.

3.  The items referred to are:

1 camera, Luminar
field glasses, Zeiss, 7x marine
1 pistol, Browning Automatic, .32 caliber

* TIDBIT *

about The Florida Hurricane of 1945

At this time in World War II, the U.S. had many military manufacturing sites around the country and many more military bases than it has today in some areas. It was on this day, 15 September 1945, that a powerful hurricane struck the greater Miami area. It was a "Cape Verde" hurricane, having originated off the coast of Africa and moved thousands of miles west becoming a major hurricane (Category 3) as it roared through the Turks and Caicos, and then the southern Bahamas. Still strengthening it reach Category (CAT) 4 intensity before reaching south Miami coastline; winds were estimated to be near 140 mph. Many thought this one would move south of Miami, others thought it might have died over the Bahamas along its long path.

By the morning of September 15th winds were howling, along the south Florida coast waves were rising above 10 feet (high for an area that rarely sees waves above 5 feet), and rain clouds were moving onshore with increasing severity. Miami residents began to realize the hurricane had not died and was rapidly approaching. People raced to take cover from the approaching beast. The eye moved across Homestead in the early afternoon, and turned towards the NW, then north, moving by Miami from the southeast in the late afternoon, depending what location you were, and then made a sharp turn up the spine of the Florida peninsula. By the time it moved by Jacksonville about 24 hours later, it had weakened to a strong tropical storm.

But the damage had already been done to south Florida, the eyewall of the hurricane moved across south Miami blowing roofs off of structures, blowing away power lines, downing trees both small and large and producing one of the largest "storm surges" recorded in south Florida. Depending on where you were water rose 10-15 feet above normal astronomical tide levels, flooding coastal areas, destroying docks and piers and severely eroding the beaches. Collins Avenue in Miami when under water! Coastal businesses filled with water and sand. Boats were tossed like toys onshore from deeper water and lay on dry land listing after the water receded.

But it was the wind that was horrendous in this CAT 4 hurricane. One location hard hit by some of the strongest winds measured a peak 2-minute wind of 170 mph with gusts estimated to be near 195 mph for a few seconds! Many areas had sustained winds above 100 mph with higher gusts.

Unnamed Florida Hurricane, 15 September 1945

Those deadly and destructive winds carved a path of destruction that included the U.S. Naval Air Station at Richmond Heights. Huge hangers built to house military aircraft and blimps were blasted by the high winds. The huge hangers caught the extreme winds like floating kites and the result was catastrophic. Hanger roofs blew away, and hangers fell to pieces in the high winds. Airplane fuel was ignited by the hanger collapses and fires raged across the air station in winds that today would have been considered CAT 5! The result was total destruction of 25 blimps, 183 military planes, 153 civilian planes, and 150 automobiles which workers routinely parked in the hangers.

Those that had parked outside found the paint blasted off the upwind sides of their cars by the tremendous winds. More than 200 people were injured in the racing flames that blew out not long after destroying the air field. After the event engineers examined metal doors that had bend under the force of the extreme winds and calculated that winds had to have been at least 160 mph!

At Homestead Air Reserve Base, three years to the day of the base's founding, enlisted housing facilities, the nurses' dormitory and the base exchange were all destroyed. The roof was ripped off what would later be Building 741, also known as the "Big Hangar." The base laundry and fire station were both declared total losses. The few remaining aircraft were tossed about like leaves.

Homestead Air Reserve Hangar after the hurricane.

Here is the path of that unnamed hurricane, colored according to the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The scale starts with Tropical Depression and Tropical Storm and ends with CAT 5.

Path of Storm

Here is a map of all hurricanes with effects on Florida from 1900-1949, using the same Saffir-Simpson color scale.

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