One of the most difficult additional duty as a junior officer was to be the SDO and the call from the red cross came in announcing the death is a device member's relative are the passing of a dependent's family member. I got the call about once a year. A junior CPT had explained how to do it. Surprising how easy the notification is. What is difficult is handling the reaction of the news. No one ever tells you about it or what to do. When it happens during the day, the S1 just sends to news through the chain of command and the Plt leader gets the task. I don't know if the other Lt's gave the job to the Plt Sargent or squad leader. I did not. At night as staff duty, who ever got the call had to deliver the news. Time to be human and not the Lt. The only thing worse is telling the family the service member is gone. We lost some to dwi, trying accidents, drugs and suicide. Luckily not any of my men. I know, not the same as the troops deployed but the emotions are the same.
Fast forward a few years. Desert storm just kicked off. That is another story. We had a new guy in our reserve unit. Real world he was a chiropractor. E7, funny and a good guy. Our unit among other things worked as a source of people to fill empty slots in deploying units , both active duty and reserve/national guards. SFC Capps name came up on the computer search to fill a critical short for graves registration. The intel NCO had a secret life. The war was over before he was called up. He was on stand by for months. New respect for the guy and the job.
Don't know why these events of old keeps popping in my brain. Guess it is a function of my age. No kids or grand kids to bore with my ramblings so y'all will have to suffer. Ok, next round on me and smoke them if you have them.
"...smoke them if you have them."
??? "...smoke 'em if you got 'em."
Page 3 from his report. This one mentions airplanes...In 1943 my Dad, then- Major C C Albaugh was in Quartermaster, assigned to the Charleston Port of Embarkation. At that time, they were shipping war materiel to the middle East and much of it was Lend-Lease bound for the Soviet Union. He was sent on a mission to study and evaluate the supply situation by accompanying a ship convoy bound for Iran. I was reading a 25 page report that my Dad wrote to higher headquarters about his Army inspection trip to the Middle East and Africa in 1943/1944.
Reading page 18, where he talks about flying a particular air route across Africa, I was absolutely stunned by this sentence:
"It is not used much and only kept open for the purpose of bringing out a small supply of minerals which can be flown out of the Belgian Congo."
Good grief!!! The Belgian Congo is where the US obtained two-thirds of the Uranium used by the Manhattan Project to build the A-bomb!
"A small supply of minerals", indeed! I wonder if Dad was aware of just what those "minerals" actually were. I wish I could ask him. After all, why would "a small supply of minerals" be flown out by AIR? This must have raised questions in his mind even if he was not aware of exactly what was going on.
My admiration and respect for my Dad was always very high but it has also grown over time as I have had a chance to study his papers.
Regarding the Belgian Congo uranium mine: Manhattan Project: Places > Other Places > URANIUM MINES
Interesting! And thanks for sharing.Page 3 from his report. This one mentions airplanes...
4. Abadan is the location of the original Douglas Aircraft Assembly Plant.
That plant was taken over by the Army some time ago. In some cases heavy lifts
may also be removed at the wharf at Abadan before the vessel proceeds on up the
river to Khorramshahr. The Ports of Basra, Buehire, Bandar, Shapur, and Abadan
are used to discharge Lend-Lease cargo or by the British for their purposes. It
is again emphasized that Khorramshahr, as far as Charleston Port of Embarkation
is concerned, is the chief port of discharge in the Persian Gulf Area.
c. Medicinal whiskey has been received showing the brand or other distinguishing marks which made it very obvious as to the contents. The contents should be coded and the boxes strongly banded or otherwise protected so as to prevent pilferage.
6. Upon completion of the discharging of cargo, I visited the airplane assembly plant at Abadan, where the War Department has taken over the operation of the assembly plant from Douglas Aircraft Company. A few of the original Douglas employees are still there in a supervisory capacity, but practically all of the assembly work is done by American soldiers with native laborers as assistants. This assembly plant is concentrating on P-40 fighter aircraft and a few P-39s. Planes are assembled and tested here and are picked up by Russian pilots and flown from this point directly into Russia. Abadan is also the final stop on the ferry route from U.S. to Russia. Most of the planes being flown in are A~20 bombers and the Russian pilots take over at this point the same as they do on the fighters, The camp surrounding the assembly plant is older than most of the other American installations in this area and consequently somewhat better. A station hospital is located at this point.
7. One of the largest oil refineries in the world is located at Abadan and is the main industry of that entire area, This is operated b ythe Anglo~Iranian Oil Company and the refinery is fed by pipe lines extending out across the desert in most all directions. A large number of Europeans, especially Englishmen, make up the population of Abadan,
8. After completing my investigation of the installations in this vicinity, I flew to Teheran, capitol of Iran,and the location of the Headquarters of the ...
Thank you, Artesh.Interesting! And thanks for sharing.
Just a very little minor correction...
Bandar -e Shapur, or as it is known today, Bandar -e Imam Khomeini, is just one of many "Bandar" - Port - cities along the coast. However, the word "Bandar", generally refers to Bandar Abbas, in Hormozgan province.