After being drafted into the U.S. Army in March 1943, I was first sent to Camlp Lee, Virginia, and then to Camp Wolters, Texas,Infantry Replacement Training Center.I received four weeks of Infantry training, and then transferred to a special company of Clerk, Cook, Auto Mechanic, and Truck Driver specialized training.
Having worked as a clerk typist for the U.S. Engineers, prior to becoming
a U.S.l soldier, I became a student in an Army Clerk training class.
From Camp Wolters, Texas, I was transferred to the 542d Field Artillery
Battalion, 42d Infantry Rainbow Division, that was activated July 14, 1943.
I became a Battery Clerk of Battery B in the 542d FA Battalion. Our prime
job assignment was maintaining entries on the soldiers’ service records,which contained date of entry, and discharge from the Army, furloughs, promotions, record of immuknization, dates paid, and general pertinenent information on the soldiers’ activities. Also we typed special orders,maintained personnel records on Form 20′s, which assigned a number to each veteran’s activities, such as rifleman was 745, 405 for clerk etc.
Computers, copy and fax machines had not yet hit the scene. When multiple
copies were needed , we typed info on a stencil and copies were cranked out of a stencil machine.
At Camp Gruber, Oklahoma we worked in the 542d Battalion headquarters,where are battalion commander was Lieutenant Colonel George A. Carver, a tough West Pointer, who later became a Major General.
Walter Peirce well known to most rainbowers, joined our unit from the
South Pacific and became sergeant major working directly under Colonel Carver.
Warrant Officer Charles L. Brown was in charge of the peronnel section, and James C. Newhouse who arrived from Fort Sill, Oklahoma became our
Our three Infantry Regiments were rushed overseas ahead of the remainder of the Division, segregated with no artillelry or back up support.fighting in
an area of Alsace, Lorraine, France. The Infantry regiments sustained many casualties, and also had many GI’s taken prisoner by the Nazi troops.
The rest of the Division, including the Artillery,Engineers, Medical Battalion,
Signal Company, Ordnance Company Quartermaster Company, Military Police Platoon, Division Headquarters department the New York Port of Embarkation on January 6, 1945 and arrived in Marseilles, France on January 18th 1945.
I recall throwing candy, to many children who gathered on the Marseilles,Port, waving to the American Soldiers.
Armed with carbines, and portable typewriters, we followed our battalion
from different French, German, and Austrian cities. Our personnel section was comprised of about 10 to 15 soldiers, who arrived from many different
Most of the former “Combat Clerks” have passed OVER THE RAINBOW.
I recall the following comrads with whom I worked,and getting along.
To the best of my knowledge, the following men are deceased:
Tech Sergeant James C. Newhouse, Durant, Oklahoma, Corporal Bill Sak , Detroit, Michigan,Corporal Charles Swackhammer, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Corporal Joe Miller, Shaker Heights, Ohio, Corporal Joe Herbers, St. Louis, Missouri, (became Attorney), Corporal Phil Giambalvo, Mineola, New York, Corporal Charles Gipson, Texas, Corporal Claukde Clodfelter, North or South Carolina.
Master Sergeant Walter Peirce, went over the Rainbow,January 2010,shortly after his 100th birthday.
Former Corporal Harold Vervinck, lives today in Oklahoma City, and I former Personnel Sergeant, Larry Rosen, reside, in Rockville, Maryland.
After many attempts, I have been unable to locate Warrant Officer Charles L. Brown, a great leader. Someone had to do our job and we did.
JOURNEY OF THE 542D FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION PERSONNEL SECTION, 42D INFANTRY RAINBOW DIVISION.
ARRIVED AT CAMP KILMER, N.J. DEC 25, 1944
LEFT CAMP KILMER, N.J. JAN 5, 1945
LEFT PORT OF EMBARKATION JAN 6, 1945
ARRIVED MARSEILLES, FRANCE JAN 18, 1945
WENT TO CP 2 LARGE FLAT GROUND AREA
MARSEILLE, SLEEPING IN PUP TENTS JAN 18 1945
LEFT CP 2
No comments yet.