Thank You, Harry Truman

This is one of six stories that David T. Daniel has added from his time in the Army during World War II

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

5. BACK TO ACTION

Around the beginning of March, I got into a small van along with 3 or 4 and drove away from the hospital in Axminster. I wasn’t really cured. We drove to a processing center in Birmingham, England. After an overnight here we consolidated into a large busload and went to Southampton Port. Here approximately 30 of us sailed in a small English boat to Le Havre, France.

I really do not remember how I got to my outfit, now in the Ruhr Valley. During my absence, it had moved from way down in the Saar up to this area. I stopped along supply room and got re-armed and then joined old friends and many new ones. A couple of old ones were very upset that I had not written. I couldn’t tell them that 2 months ago I had no idea who they were.

During the first month back, there were some small pockets of resistance but gradually the whole valley was filled with escaping Eastern Europeans who had been enslaved, and with thousands of German soldiers fleeing from the Russians and surrendering to us.

The War ended May 20,, 1945. Without delay we were loaded into trucks headed for the French coast. We heard that there were 3 divisions headed home and of course we, as usual, were in the dark. Of course, we speculated that our fighting may continue in the Pacific.

After a 30 day leave at home, I reported to Camp Shelby in Mississippi. We were immediately placed into combat mode and were told we would be going to the West Coast in September. The popular song on the juke box was “Sentimental Journey”, by the Andrew sisters.

In some ways President Roosevelt was a tyrant, forgetting at times the name of his Vice President. However, in April 1945, on his deathbed, he called Truman into his office and revealed to him for the first time all about the Manhattan Project and the making of the atomic bomb.

The proposed invasion of Japan was beyond belief. The invasion was to take place from San Francisco with troops being unloaded onto landing crafts. The estimated casualties, paling that of D-Day, were enormous.

Unfortunately for the Japanese civilians, Truman made the decision to drop atomic bombs and the war ended. Afterwards there was a complete account of the proposed invitation. My division was to spearhead the invasion of the largest island. Oh, thank you Harry, I made it!

I was 21 years of age and ready to be discharged in Mississippi. I thought about my grandfather at age 13 being discharged in Mississippi 80 years earlier from the Confederate Army. He walked all the way home to South Carolina. During these 80 years there was an industrial revolution, so I was able to get a bus home.

David T. Daniel
Southbury, CT © 2013

Part 6

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