Thursday, December 28, 2006

More Great Stuff From The Big Sort-Out


I'm in Day 3 of sorting through all my belongings, so I'm running into some memorable stuff. I suppose I could present this in a better order, but why not just press on, and suspend with making sense?

It certainly doesn't seem right to follow a post about me as a banquet captain with one about my father as a Captain in World War 2, but that's what we have. The short account below sure sounds like him - he had a whole bunch of pet phrases that he would repeat from time to time and one of them was, "Let's get organized."

His job in Arabia was in Government Relations between the company and the royal rulers of Saudi Arabia, so he was used to elaborate problems. He told me that he preferred this wide-open, hard-to-imagine stuff to the certainty of numbers or science. He thrived on solving these things, and I'm sure he was a terrific organizer of men in World War 2. Ironically, I'm presenting these things in an unorganized way, but let's just ignore that.

As usual with members of the Greatest Generation, Harry rarely discussed the war very much with me. Once he told me he had seen General Patton drive up, and he wasn't impressed with the flashiness. He said the soldiers liked someone else that he saw there: General Omar Bradley. I wish I could tell you more, but unlike today when our leaders race to the microphones to brag about every little thing - that generation preferred to remain quiet and let their deeds speak for themselves. They also felt the true heros of World War 2 died in battle and are buried to this day in huge cemeteries in France and elsewhere. So here goes:

EUROPEAN THEATER OF OPERATIONS
UNITED STATES ARMY
31 March 1945

This
CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
is awarded to
CAPTAIN HARRY MC DONALD 0-1635067

Headquarters, 3113th Signal Service Battalion

IN RECOGNITION OF CONSPICUOUSLY MERITORIOUS AND OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE OF MILITARY DUTY

CITATION
For meritorious service in support of military operations, 1 March 1944 to 31 August 1944. As Battalion Adjutant, Captain MC DONALD organized the administration and personnel agencies responsible for over a thousand men in disorganized and extremely difficult circumstances. During the movement of the invading armies through Southern Base Section, his efforts aided materially in unifying the signal troops engaged in the operations into a well-coordinated battalion whose superior efficiency and spirit have since won for it official recognition.
JOHN R. HOWLAND
Colonel, Sig G.,
Signal Office, U.K. Base.

* P.S. I think what the Colonel is trying to say is if it weren't for my Dad we'd all be speaking German right now.

1 Comments:

At 8:53 AM, Anonymous jarrett west said...

Hey Bill,
I hope this finds you well. The reason for the note is that I am doing research on my grandfathers troop movements in WWII. He also was in the 3113th Signal Service Battalion. Conforming with his generation he did not speak much about it, or so I am told as he died in 1975 when I was but 4. It's a long shot I know, but, do you have any other info on the unit or know any way to find out? It is very difficult to find. Please email me at jarrettwest@hotmail.com

 

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