Friday, October 28, 2011

Tango Hotel Alpha November Kilo Sierra, Charlie Company!

While home with my step-father this week and going through some old pictures with him, I found this Soldier's Handbook from when we was in the war. Used as the Basic Field Manual, this book was issued by the "War Department", which is now known as the Department of Defense. The book is pretty interesting, although it doesn't look very read; the spine on it is barely cracked. But to still have it? Kinda cool.

In the foreword of the book, it states "Making good as a soldier is no different from making good in civil life. The rule is the same and that is - know your own job and be ready to step into the job of the man ahead of you. Promotion is going to be very rapid in this Army. Be ready for it."

It goes on to say, "If you will make a part of yourself the following characteristics of the good soldier, you will be doing your part in upholding the glorious reputation of the Army of the United States." Those five things are; Be obedient. Be loyal. Be determined. Be alert. Be a member of the team.

The table of contents contains chapters covering things soldier's will need to know; responsibilities of group life, relations with civilians, care of clothing, safety precautions, packing individual equipment on a horse, carrying the automatic rifle, camps and
bivouacs, first aid, etc.

There are illustrations on how to display your equipment...

How to put on your gasmask (this cockeyed way is wrong)...

This one, with the eye pieces level, is the correct way. You want to make sure you get this right.

They even illustrate the proper way to hide behind a rock...

In the back of the book is a chapter on Pay And Allowances. The first paragraphs states, "When you first enter the military service, your rate of pay will be $21.00 per month. This pay is in addition to the food, clothing, medical, and dental attention whic the government provides you without charge. After a period of 4 months, however, and provided you have not demonstrated inefficiency or other unfitness, your pay will be raised to $30.00 per month."

Wow, a whole $9.00 raise. Woo hoo! These soldiers, young boys really, went to war and put themselves in harm's way for twenty-one dollars a month. You couldn't get me to get out of bed for twenty-one dollars a month, let alone go fight someone; possibly resulting in my death.

The following will be best understood by people who are familiar with military ranks, or grades. These are the various grades, with their rates of montly pay as authorized by Congress in the act of September 16, 1940:

First grade - Master sergeant: $126.00
Second grade - First sergeant and technical sergeant: $84.00
Third grade - Staff sergeant: $72.00
Fourth grade - Sergeant: $60.00
Fifth grade - Corporal: $54.00
Sixth grade - Private, 1st class: $36.00
Seventh grade - Private with over 4 months' service: $30.00
Private with less than 4 months service as described above: $21.00
If you were a specialist, depending on your class ranking, you can get an additional $3-$30.00 per month.

Frank never really told very many stories about his time in World War II, but in the last two weeks, he was talking a little bit more about it. Mostly what he couldn't understand, was why God let the little children die. He wondered why God didn't turn the dropping bombs into food, since that's what the people needed. It's certainly a question I can't answer, but it is one that I agree with.

He always said the horrors of war should never have to be experienced by anyone, especially the young boys they send to fight but specifically by the innocent people who get caught in the battles. He lost a lot of friends in the war. And he remembers everyone in his battalion.

So for that, I'd like thank Company C of the 759th Military Police Battalion for their service.

You are remembered by many.

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Belledog said...

Oscar Kilo.

Great post; glad your stepdad saved the manual and how interesting to see a world that is past.

Although, unfortunately, our world still calls on the young to die, when talking and acting honestly might avert same.

PS: I thought the picture of the paillard was from the NYTimes.

None of my food ever turns out that photogenic!


Paul Acciavatti said...

Well, $21 in 1941 would buy the equivalent of $324.13 today. Still pretty meager for running the risk of dying face down in a ditch on the other side of the planet.

An E-1 makes $1491 today. That's just barely above the poverty line.