Lyman County, South Dakota  Genealogy

 Military Letters, WWII

As found in old newsletters.
Transcribed by barbara stallman-speck

Restored   Thursday, March 04, 2010  


Interesting letter from Paul Gerard to parents     Dec. 1941

    The following is part of a letter received  by Theo Gerard from his son Paul who enlisted in the US Air Corps about 18 months ago and has been at Chanute Field, Rantoul, Ill.  About 20,000 men are now stationed at the field, where technical instruction is given to cover many phases of work relating to the US air service. He writes as follows:
    Boy is hell ever a popping now. Looks like we have a big job on our hands with Japan, German and Italy. We sure are going to have to clamp down on things. Here at Chanute they have armed guards watching everything.
    I had to go out to the firing range last week for  pistol practice and i scored 75 percent hits at 25 yards. We used Bob targets. They are targets shaped like the human body from the waste up and all the time you are shooting, they are moving, which makes them harder to hit. Between the moving target and the jump of the 45s, I figure I did pretty good by getting 75 percent. Any one of my hits, the instructor said, would kill a man.
    Sure wish I could get out of this office so I could get a crack at those damn bums. But instead of getting out, they made me Sergeant Major of this personnel office and is it ever a job. I have charge of 20 men who do the biggest share of the paperwork for the squadron, which consists of about 2000 men. I catch hell for all of their mistakes and they make plenty of them, the office force, I mean. Some of the guys think I'm pretty tough because when I catch it for their mistakes, I have to turn right around and jack them up for making the mistakes. But I guess that's life, at least, that's life in the army.

Paul Gerard  Writes Letter From France  to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Theo Gerard      
Jan. 9, 1945

    I received your most welcome letter day before yesterday, with all of the clippings from the Advocate Leader and Gilbert Ross' letter. All in all, it was a very nice newsy letter and I enjoyed it very much. Was so sorry to hear that you are not feeling so good though, Dad. I sure wish I could be there to help you out so you could take it easier. Can't you get someone to do the heavy work? Boy, that will be the day when I can return to the farm. The longer I am away, the more I think I would like to be back on the farm.

I have written Josephine and asked her how she would like to be a farmer's wife after this war is over and she said she would go and do anything I wanted, bless her heart. I don't know what you think, but I think I really got a mighty sweet gal when I married her. She has sure changed my outlook on life to the better side. A good wife, two good looking sweet babies, what more could a guy ask for? You can't guess how much I want to be home. I'm afraid that son of mine will be fully grown before I get back if I'm not careful. I was so sorry to hear that you wouldn't be able to get down to see them this winter, and I know there will be a lot of other folks sorry that you couldn't get down to see them.

I had a nice letter from Merle the other day. She seems to be very happy about her new job. It really ought to be better for her now that she is working for the Civil Service instead of with public hospitals in general. The work should be easier, too.

That reminds me, I owe her a letter. I also owe Dee and Adeline so I guess I'll have enough to keep me busy for a few evenings. You see, I write Josephine every evening if possible, and if I was to write to all of you as often as I should I would have a full-time job. So if it seems a long time between letters you will understand it isn't because I don't think of you often.

By the way, will you tell Jerry and Alyce I received their nice Christmas card and letter, but that I don't have time right now to answer it, but will try a little later on. I'm not trying to ignore them, but after all, they are close to you and you can pass on what little news I send.

Dad, you were saying that you had scratched your initials on the Eifel Tower somewhere, some 44 or 45 years ago. Well, they have the gates locked on it now so one can't get up inside, but if I'm ever there again and the gates are open, then I will try and locate them. It would be fun if I could find them and scratch mine right under yours, don't you think?

I was back to Paris for two days just before New Year's before I came back up here for duty with this airborne Engineering Battalion. I think I told you I was working and guarding German prisoners of war. I don't mind it so much, but would rather be up with the fellows that are taking these Jerries. I'm not very far from the front, but it is pretty quiet here most of the time. Just before Christmas was the last time we were under fire. A Jerry plane came over about midnight and did a little strafing. There were no casualties, although we did a little sweating. Yes! Yes!

I missed getting the Stars and Stripes during the holidays, but I have saved a few I will send on to you soon.

It seems I am about run down now so I guess I might as well sign off. Hoping this finds you all well. Write when you can.




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