21 Sep Chain of command, March 27, 1945
In this letter, my Dad explains the hierarchy and abbreviations of the chain of command from the top down in the field of battle. This give me a much better idea of the complexities of his job. I gather that he’s one of the guys who helps direct mail and communications up and down the chain, top down to bottom up. So a few days after the crossing of the Rhine River, and major forward advances on the battlefield – my Dad and his comrades are playing volleyball! This could be a Fellini film! I’m also including a few snapshots that I wasn’t sure where they fit in, but Dad mentions pictures taken at Ninth Army “Hqs” – and there are pictures of a building that could be just that, along with names he’s written on the back of the pics. I’m hoping that someone else out there is related to one of these guys and we can compare notes!
27 March letter
Good evening, my very darling, As, usual, I’m a very beat chick, with great need of sleep,but I had a couple letters from you the last few days which bucks us up a bit, you know? Especially, the one with the picture of Mary. Doggone, honey, you really look good!!! And that’s a mighty fine looking jacket! The snow all around looks good. You go right along side of Miss K under my big glass on my desk, and you have drawn many a low whistle from Captains on down!!!
I’m sending you some German marks. These (obviously) are worthless, but when you figure that a mark is worth ten cents, you can see that a few of these little old papers were WORTH something once! Also a few more “Huberts”. Do you like him? OH, yeah, I don’t ever remember you acknowledging the pictures that I sent you way back in Dec. The regular “posed” photo for Xmas, a couple of snaps taken when I was working up at Ninth Army Hqs. Did you ever get those? My garish, but you’re dumb when it come to army lingo (almost as dumb as I until I got “in”). What is the difference between a HQ (headquarters and a Gp (group) — indeed!!! Oh me, this is going to be complicated. At the top you have an Army Hq, including the different branches of the service, such as Signal, Artillery, Ordnance, etc. Under that Ordnance Officer (Army) are Gps, such as this 79th Ord Gp Hq. Under this Hq (79th) are Bn (battalion) headquarters, which in turn have Cos (companies) under them. The companies are the only ones who actually do the work of repairing trucks, guns, etc. The Hqs are merely offices that consolidate and break down the paper work that goes up and down “thru channels”. For instance, if the Army Ord Officer decides that he wants to tell Joe blow in such and such a company something, he can’t just write to him and tell him. He writes first to the Gp, who indorse the “document” down to the Bn, who do same on down to the company and finally to Joe. Joes answer goes back up the same way — through channels. You can see that if you want to say something official to some guy in an entirely different army you’d do better to wait until the war is over and call him at home. Is this all as dull as it sounds?
We have had a lot of fun the past few days playing volley ball. Some of the boys strung up a net out in a field, and we knocked off at 4;30 and had several games before supper. The strange part of the story is, that the officers (including the “old man”, who is as good a man as they have on the officers team) knocked off with us and we had an Off. vs EM match — and you must know how it turned out! We beat them four games straight. It was really a hell of a lot of fun and I have a feeling that comes the end of this lousy war (and while we’re waiting for whatever is going to happen to us) we are going to have some very good times playing ball of one sort or another.
Golly, but the war news is really good, now isn’t it? We’re feeling pretty good about it all hoping to hell it won’t be too long now. I must hie me upstairs for a shave before I go to bed and as it is it is 10:30 already I’d better be going. Gee, but I miss you guys and love you with all my heart. Be a good girl and give Karen a huge hug for daddy “in the Ahmy”