Soldiers don't die

"A man dies only when he is forgotten"

Saturday, June 1, 2013

1942 - Mel promoted to Sergeant, Camp Forrest Tennessee Maneuvers

Mel earned his Sergeant stripes on August 7, 1942. 

Some time that year he visited home and got another photo looking sharp in his dress uniform. Interestingly, he's still wearing the brown leather 'garrison belt' that was outdated by this time (No longer required per regulations after 1941)  This, and the bare trees behind him, leads me to believe this photo was taken sometime in early April or late March of '42.

Aunt Marilyn is trying on his Class A visor cap.
So what else was Mel doing in 1942? 
"1942 – The 8th Division was ordered to patrol the Atlantic coast. For six weeks during the winter of  1942, units of the division ranged along the eastern shores of the country from North Carolina to the Florida Keys. The 8th became a Motorized Division.

March 1942 – The 8th Division returned to Fort Jackson late in March to resume training.

Sep 1942 – There was a motor march to the location of the Tennessee Maneuvers.  Two more months of war games further hardened the troops of the 8th.  Then, after a brief stay in tents at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, the Division set out for its new station, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

December 1942 - March 1943 – There was a period of comparative calm."

The following slides were most likely taken at camp Forrest., as they are dated 1942 and show them camping in tents in the woods during the winter.  He doesn't have many pictures of this period, probably due to facing unfavorable weather and the fact that many of the operations during these war games were classified.  These wilderness survival and combat exercises, though meant to condition the men for living and fighting through the forests of Central Europe, had ill prepared them for the horrific ordeal they would face during winter in the Hurtgenwald and the Ardennes as part of their drive into Germany.

A man crawling through the underbrush most likely during tactical maneuvers.

Mel's tentmate

I'm almost positive the seated man in this photo is my grandfather.

A lean-to made of a single shelter half.
A blazing campfire somewhere in the dark woods.

The US Army printed holiday cards to send home to the folks. This is one from Easter of that year.

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