About Me

June 1943, before leaving Virginia for Camp Haan, California

Thomas Riley Ferguson was born on February 20, 1925 in the town of Roanoke, Virginia and drafted into the United States Army in the spring of 1943. He started army life in June of that year, immediately after he graduated from Jefferson High School. Tom wrote home to his family [his parents, his older brother Bernard, younger brother Bill, and younger sister Charlotte] regularly during his service.

My grandmother kept all of those letters and I received them after she passed on. My dad was surprised to see they still existed and didn’t pay much mind to their content. I’ve organized and transcribed the letters, illustrating them with pictures and postcards he sent back as well. This is my dad’s story.

For me they are a treasure. I love the guy who wrote these letters – not just because he was my dad but because he is so genuinely nice, sweet, “gee whiz, I guess if Uncle Sam wants me to go fight the war I’ll make the best of it.” His service wasn’t particularly dramatic or significant, but he and the many others like him who served overseas and at home won World War II.

Feel free to contact me, Shelley Ferguson, if you have any questions or comments. I hope to get some of the pictures he took up soon.

10 Responses to “About Me”

  1. Bill Wellman Jr. September 2, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Hi Shelly,

    I was doing a search on the 567th AAA Battalion and found your blog. My Dad, William M Wellman, was in Battery B of the 567th – he was from Danville, VA, as most of the men of the 567th were from Virginia and Maryland. Dad passed away in 2005, not long after attending the WWII Memorial dedication. I have the photo of Battery B which was taken at the same time as the photo on your website. Dad told me this photo was actually taken at Camp Stewart Georgia (notice the pine trees in the background). He also vividly remembered the crash of the B-24 bomber at Camp Haan (just as your dad mentioned in his letter home). Perhaps they knew each other. As an aside, Camey Williams, who served in your Dad’s batter was a childhood friend of my Mother’s in Frostburg Maryland. Camey has also since passed away.

    Keep up the great work, I can’t wait to read more. If you would like more infomation on the history of the 567th after arriving overseas let me know, and I’ll be happy to share. I have the copy of the unit history printed in Germany at the end of the war.

    Best Regards,
    Bill Wellman Jr.

    • Pfc. Tom Ferguson September 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

      That’s great! This is exactly what I hoped would happen. I wanted to get this info out there so anyone looking for these men, especially family, would find it. I think one of the best ways to honor these veterans is if we all share as much as we can. I’m so glad you liked it. Spread the word!

    • Lori Delih May 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

      Hello Bill
      I recently joined this blog and would be really interested in the unit history of the 567th from overseas. My Dad, Harris Smith, was in Battery C.

      Thanks,
      Lori Delih

  2. Krisa McGillis January 6, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    Shelly, my mother and I really enjoyed reading your dad’s account of Camp Haan and the planes crashing. My grandpa was the 125th Battalion Batt. A Commander Lt Leslie Ide during that time and we have been reading his letters he sent home. We also have been compiling them and are loving them. What is really interesting is an officers view of camp compared to a young private’s.
    Thanks for sharing. Someday we hope to have a similar page.
    Barbara Nelson and Krisa McGillis

    • Pfc. Tom Ferguson January 6, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

      Thanks so much for your comment. 2013 got too busy for me and I had to break off. But my resolution for 2014 is to get back on this. My “theory” is those of us who have this great material should get all out there so anyone who is looking for info on family or such can have more to find. It’s a labor of love for sure. You’ll enjoy working with your material for sure. Thank you again for the note. It’s just the encouragement I need to get back at it.

      • Lori Delih May 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

        Hello Tom
        I recently got a hold of some of my Fathers photos from his time in the service. I knew he was in the 567th AAA but did not know the battery. After comparing some items, I have confirmed he was also in Battery C. If you look at that photo of the large group he is in the back row 13th from the left. His name was Harris Smith. At discharge in late 1945 he was the rank of Sergeant. I am sure interested in reading up on your letters and any future info you have.
        My Dad would never talk of his time in the service, so I am thankful for all I can now learn.

        Lori Delih

  3. Renee Winklmann March 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    I just recently stumbled across your wonderful website. My father, Chester C. Schliep was a sergeant in Battery A of the 567th Battalion. He passed away in 2005 and I am currently going through my parents photos and correspondence. I’m using a large scanner to scan in and save this memorabilia on disk. I’ve come across programs for two 567’s reunions – one was the 19th in 1968 in Roanoke, Virginia and the other was the 40th in 1989 at Fort Stewart. My father spent much of 1942 at Fort Canby in Washington State before transferring to Camp Haan during the first half of 1943. I have a photo album that begins at Ft. Canby and seems to end at Camp Haan. I also have scanned in photos of the battalion’s stay in Germany after the war.

    I’ve just about finished retyping in an informal history of the 567th. It was written by 1st. Lt. Edward F. Meany C.A.C. of Battery A. I’ve added appendices containing place names and their locations. Also army terms and their definitions. Another appendix has a timeline of the battalion’s movements in both the U.S. and Europe. One appendix shows “google” maps of their locations in the U.S. and Europe. I would like to create one more appendix with some photographs.

    But, it is a labor of love and I’m uncertain how long this will all go on. I have another very yellowed copy of a paper entitled “Wanderings over the European Continent of Battery A.” I want to tackle that next. Unfortunately, I don’t see where there is any author’s name on it.

    Bill Wellman, I see where your father also attended the 40th reunion at Ft. Stewart. Let me know if you would like to see any information that I might have.

    Renee Winklmann

    P.S. Shelly, please edit this and pare this down if you like before posting it – I’m always too verbose. I would like to be able to get an email address from you and Bill Wellman, if possible. My personal email address is reneewinklmann@hotmail.com but please do not post it online!

    • Lori Delih May 16, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

      Hello Renee
      My name is Lori Delih. My Dad, Harris Smith was in the 567th AAA battery C. He never spoke much of his time in the service, but I know he did attend at least one reunion, though I don’t know which one. I am really interested in all I can find about his military history.
      Glad to see so many are also interested.

      Lori Delih

      • Pfc. Tom Ferguson May 17, 2014 at 10:40 am #

        Hi Lori, Renee,
        It’s so exciting to see your comments. I want to get back to this project and I expect I will by late summer. But late last year I got very ill and by this May and April I had to spend sometime in the hospital. I’m beginning to feel better and they tell me I will get stronger as the summer goes on. It is so wonderful to see your messages. When I first started this blog this is exactly what would happen, that others looking for info on their dad’s might find a tiny piece here. For me, it’s a way to still be close to dad even though he’s gone now. I thank you so much for contacting me!
        Shelley

  4. Lori Delih May 21, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    Shelly
    Glad you are doing better and I am looking forward to your future postings

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