Tag Archives: history

Heard yesterday that the invasion had started

6 Jun
June 6, 1944
Shreveport, Louisiana

Dear Mom

I’ve got good news I think. We’re moving to Camp Stewart, Georgia pretty soon and that’s positive. I haven’t hardly had time to do anything since I’ve been back. I’ve been working over at Camp Polk on the train. I expect we’ll leave in the next couple of days cause the train is all packed and ready. We’re taking all the guns and trucks on flat cars just like we did last time.

I’ve been pretty homesick ever since I got back, but I guess that’s natural after spending two weeks at home and then coming back to this. I think I will get another furlough but I don’t know when it will be. It won’t be as soon as I thought. We’re going to fire in Georgia and while we’re firing they won’t let anybody out on furloughs.

Camp Stewart is about 30 miles from Savannah, so I’ll be a lot closer home. I think we’re out from under that overseas alert too.

I heard yesterday that the invasion had started. I haven’t gotten hold of any papers to see how it’s coming. But I sure am glad it’s started. I hope it won’t be long before the war is over.

Love to all, Tom

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You can hear the infantry cussing when we pass through in the trucks

17 Feb

February 16, 1944

Louisiana

Dear Mom

We are finishing up the first phase of our maneuvers today. It has lasted two weeks and we’ve really had some hard times. It turned cold as everything the other day and rained on top of that, we really got stuck in some mud then. There are about 20 trucks and five jeeps in the battery and all but one truck was stuck. It took two days to get them all out. Still, these maneuvers are not as bad as the field problems we had out on the desert.

My furlough has been moved up some because three of the men in our section went AWOL and two went to the air corps, but I don’t know when I’ll get it, probably about June. I would kinda like to have my one year service ribbon to wear home and maybe I will but I still want to get home as soon as I can.

I found out the other day that there is one other boy in ‘C’ battery that is born the same day as me and we are the youngest men in the battery. I used to think we were having it tough in the A.A. but the infantry sure does a lot of walking down here. You can hear them cussing when we pass through in the trucks. We are working with the infantry and the field artillery down here. The infantry goes in front, then the field artillery, and we set our guns around them to protect them from aircraft. It’s right interesting and good training.

Guess I’ll close for this time. We are getting a rest period before we start the next phase and if I get a pass I’m gonna try to call, but I don’t know whether I’ll get to a town or not.

Love to all, Tom

I am in the Fourth Army

6 Feb

February 5, 1944

Shreveport, Louisiana

Dear Mom,

I got the letter you wrote to Camp Polk and the one to Shreveport both today. I am not attached to Camp Polk, that was only the de-training point. We moved out of our original camp this morning and we start on maneuvers tomorrow. We are about 60 miles from Camp Polk. We will be on maneuvers for several months. I like it a lot here in Louisiana; it’s warm and where we are now is not muddy or anything.

I’m sending some pictures of some of the fellows here that I’d like to keep. I can’t keep my drivers license and social security card too because I can’t carry any identification on maneuvers except my dog tags. We are simulating real combat and I have to tear up my letters and everything. I am in the Fourth Army instead of the Third like I said before.

It feels good to be closer to home. Guess I’ll close for now.

Love to all, Tom

the Sergeant has as much trouble getting me up as mom used to

17 Jan

January 17, 1944

Camp Haan, California

Hello Squirt!

I am kinda taking turns about writing you all. I write to one of you and that letter will be for everyone. We’ve been pretty busy the last few days getting our train ready. It’ll be ready to roll tomorrow but I think we’ll leave about the last of this week.

I got a letter from mom yesterday. I’m glad to hear the pass they got won’t bother the pass request for 1944. I’m awfully sorry they didn’t get to come out because I’m sure they would have liked to see California. I kinda hate to leave this wonderful weather myself. The last few days have been warm enough to go swimming and wearing the winter uniform is pretty uncomfortable. The nights are cold though, and it’s pretty cold getting up in the morning. The Sergeant has about as much trouble getting me up as mom used to.

We’ll probably only be on maneuvers about 5 or 6 weeks. It’s gonna be pretty tough in those swamps but I’d rather be there than in Oregon.

Love to all, Tom

We are going into the Third Army

14 Jan

January 9, 1944

Camp Haan, California

Dear Mom

They told us yesterday that we would be leaving Camp Haan about a week from today. We are going to Lousiana for maneuvers which will take about one or two months. I kinda hate to leave here but it will be a lot closer to home. It looks like everytime I try to see you all something happens.

We are getting out of the A.A.A.T.C. (anti aircraft training center) which has been making a lot of stiff rules for us, and I am glad of that. We still do the same thing, of course but we are going into the Third Army. It may mean that I’ll get my furlough earlier because their ruling is probably different.

Maneuvers will probably be pretty tough but I’ll be glad to get them over with. We are the first outfit to be taken to Louisiana from Camp Haan for maneuvers, most of them go to Oregon. Anyhow I’m glad to see us moving east and we’ll probably move further east after because the order says we won’t come back to Camp Haan.

I guess I’ll close now, I want to go to church. I am in Los Angeles and I want to visit one of the large churches. The pastor of the Methodist Church at home sent me a copy of the Upper Room and a very nice letter.

Love to all, Tom

I never expected you to be dancing with Lucille Boone

13 Jan

January 7, 1944

Camp Haan, California

Hi Bub!

Guess it’s about time I was writing you. I have had two letters from you and haven’t answered either one of them. I’ve got some match covers but I’m at the Service Club so I’ll send them the next time I write. You must be doing ok with the girls, I never expected you to be dancing with Lucille Boone.

We have a lot of those Douglas A20’s over at March Field only we call it the Havoc. They teach us all the planes by the name instead of the number. I know most all the American planes and most of the important German, Jap, and British planes.

I enclosed a picture of me with a Thompson sub-machine gun. It’s taken in front of one of the huts like I sleep in. I got my experts medal the other day and also my marksmans medal for the rifle.

I sure will be glad when I get to see you again, I’ll bet you’ve grown a lot and I’d like to see you dancing too.

Guess I’ll close for now.

So long, Tom

And now a word from our sponsors . . .

4 Jan

1943 was an exciting year for 18 year old Pfc. Tom Ferguson. He was drafted into the army and shipped out almost immediately after graduation. Sent to Camp Haan, California, dad was trained in anti-aircraft artillery and the army way of life. He saw a handful of movie stars and toured around Los Angeles and Hollywood. But he also learned a long hard lesson in the strength of homesickness.

I am always moved and humbled by dad’s upbeat tone and obvious concern that his parents not worry about him. When I read these letters, I imagine grandma and granddaddy reading them in the breakfast nook in their kitchen and looking for reassurances that their son was truly alright. I can’t imagine what sending a son off to war must be like. I’m grateful an entire generation had the courage and will to do just that.

1944 sees Pfc. Tom Ferguson on the move. There’s maneuvers in and around Shreveport, Louisiana and training in Camp Stewart, Georgia. D-Day comes and goes. He and Helen call it quits on good terms. Dad fills out a form Last Will and Testament the army gives him leaving everything to his parents and heads across the ocean to England and then over to France during one of the  worst and coldest winters in European history.

Best of luck and Godspeed allies!

-your grateful daughter Shelley