In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.
CHINA INDIA BURMA THEATRE
115 Ordnance Company
United States Army
My father’s story is similar to those of thousands of young men and women called upon to serve their country in World War II. They were modest and didn’t consider themselves heroes. My father and father-in-law seldom talked about their WWII experiences. They did their jobs to the best of their abilities under adverse conditions.
This blog entry is dedicated to two WWII GI’s–my father, Clyde F. Adam and father-in-law, Carl E. Dillow. Both, as young men, served overseas. My father served in China, India, and Burma. My father-in-law served in the Philippines. During my father-in-law’s last two years of life, I had the privilege of talking with him, “veteran-to-veteran,” about the horrors of war. My mother, Dorothy J. (Clark) Adam, and mother-in-law, Ruby V. (Barker) Dillow, were war brides.
After my father’s passing, October 26, 1995, the family received a small box containing letters home, a diary, and mementos–small windows into the past. These items were edited and arranged by my older brother–custodian of family historical items. My father’s comments about family, community are uncensored–except by the military. Pictures are exclusive to “Adam family archives” unless otherwise noted. The letters speak for themselves and any informational gaps are unintentional. Opinions expressed reflect attitudes during this turbulent time in our history.
This is the story of a small town farm boy, one of the first drafted from Macoupin County, Illinois on August 6, 1941. Clyde F. Adam was twenty-six years old and farmed with his father–my grandfather, George Adam. He remarked in one of his letters, that what he did, “didn’t amount to a hill of beans.” That was far from the truth. He never saw combat, but along with tens of thousands of other men, contributed to the war effort in his own special way. Dad was a mechanic and truck driver. These men and women helped make Allied victory over the Japanese and Axis powers possible.
Some gave their lives for the cause of freedom. My Dad’s cousin, Harold Clements, is mentioned in one of the letters. He graduated from high school in 1945, enlisted shortly afterward in the U. S. Navy. His life snuffed out when the USS Indianapolis went down, sunk by Japanese torpedoes.
CHAPTER 1: Aberdeen, Maryland
Dad trained at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland and later in California. At home, Grandpa ran the family farm, without the help of his only son. The pictures immediately following are from Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD.
Dad’s barracks, 1941.
Dad’s Army buddies.
Company picture, Dad’s in second row from front, far left.
Picture enlarged to show command detail.
In Chapter 2, Dad’s company set up camp in the California desert. It was his second duty assignment there. There are no letters detailing the first expedition. I remember hearing about my mother making a trip to California to see Dad. Dad’s letters to my mother have been lost over the years–private thoughts to be kept private. I will do my best to fill in essential missing information.
In the background, Hitler’s juggernaut rolled over the rest of Europe. Great Britain was the last holdout. President Roosevelt wrestled with his conscience. War was inevitable–how could he convince the nation? The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought us into the war. There was fear of Japanese attack on the West Coast of mainland United States. Mandatory blackouts were imposed. Motor vehicles travelled about at night with little slivers of light from blacked out headlights.
Dad continued to court a pretty young schoolteacher, Dorothy Jane Clark. Her close friends called her “Dot” or “Dotty.” As a young child, I was bemused by Mom’s nicknames. On a return trip to college in the late sixties, my father, in a “heart-to-heart” talk gave a glimpse into their courtship. Perhaps it was an admission, that his enthusiasm for spirited debate, faded over the years as their relationship matured.
Dorothy was the youngest in a family of five children. As a young girl, she was a towhead and a tomboy. “She wasn’t like other girls he’d dated.” “She had two older brothers and liked to argue.” I interpreted that to mean, she could hold her own in an argument. Probably, in their large family, you had to speak up to be heard. I should mention, that her older brother, Harvey, served as a Navy Seabee in the Pacific theatre.