Thank you, Veterans

11 Nov

Today we will forgo the usual book blither in order to thank those who have sacrificed so much for us cowards, specifically our favorite veteran, Harold Carl Schelm.

739th AAA GUN BATTALION WORLD WAR II 1943 - 1946 Fiji - Finshhafen - Mindoro - Negros Panay - Mandanao - Leyte Harold C. Schelm Entered Service: December 22, 1942 Branch: U.S. Army Trained at Camp David, North Carolina Overseas: September 18, 1943 Returned: December 16, 1945 Theatre of Operation: Pacific Engagements: Southern Philippines Discharged: December 24, 1945 at Fort Logan, Colorado Decorations: Asiatic-Pacific Theatre Medal Philippine Liberation Ribbon w/l Bronze Star Good Conduct Medal Rank: Technician Fourth Class Total Time Served: Thirty-six months.

 

This man knew his first son only 10 days before leaving for years.

 

Here is a bit that our Gramma dictated for Grappa about his years in the war:

“On December 1941 when the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor war was declared.  We were at Uncle Bogue and Aunt Alvina’s house when we heard this news.  Little did we realize then what a change it would make in our lives.

In the spring of 1942 the decision was made to put an army base in the Grand Prairie area she already mentioned that was near Johnstown so I don’t think it is necessary anymore to reiterate.  Many farmers had to sell their farms in order for this to happen.  Work on this project went 24 hours a day to finish it quickly.  The first B-29’s came in by the fall that same year.

In the fall of 1942 as I was picking corn, hoping to make a killing, I received “Greetings from Uncle Sam”.  In December 1943 I was inducted into the army, sent to Fort Leavenworth.  From there shipped to Camp Davis, North Carolina.  On May 10 I received a furlough to go home before going overseas.

While I was home Larry was born on May 20.  In June, Irene left Larry in the care of my sister Eva and came to Camp Davis to spend a few days with me.  She always tells that she had seven train changes before getting to her destination, got into Washington D.C. during a blackout and in her own words was ‘too dumb to realize what was happening’.  Her last train was lit by gas lights yet.  She made it and we had several happy days to spend together.

On September 12, 1943 we arrived at Camp Stoneman, California.  We left there by boat to San Francisco.  From there won the USS Middleton for the Fiji Islands.  On September 20 we crossed the International dateline and on October 1 crossed the equator.  October 4 we disembarked at Lautoka, Fiji.  November 21, 1944 we boarded the SS Ainsworth.  November 23 we left for New Guinea.  While enroute radar quit turning.  All personnel was alerted to be prepared to disembark because they figured they had spotted an enemy submarine.  All motors were cut off and we sat there like a sitting duck on a pond.  Eventually all was well.  Also during this trip, a possible mine was spotted.  Our 90 MM guns were fired.  It hit the mine and it exploded far and wide.  Even I had spotted that mine.

On December 1 we got to Finchhaven, New Guinea.  We were unloaded from our ship into “ducks”what exactly is a duck to our camp which was home for a couple of months.  February 7 we departed on a LST to Filandia??? where a convoy of one hundred ships was made up.  We arrived at Mindora, Philippines.  While I was there I suffered back problems and was hospitalized six weeks.  When I left the hospital on a stretcher from Negros they hung we up on a C47 plane with no life jacket while every one else was provided with one.  I am not sure to this day whether they felt I wasn’t worth one or what.

I was in Leyette for another six weeks convalessing.  From here I was sent back to my outfit where each battery was taking amphibious training for the invasion of Japan.  News came August 14 of the bombing of Hiroshima and the surrendering by Japan.  We took over command at Illo Illo where we prepared guns for the troops going into Japan and hauling Japanese from the mountains to be sent home.

Now we awaited orders to come home.  We got into San Francisco December ??.  Then on to Fort Logan, Colorado where we were discharged December 24, 1945 then home to my wife and son who I hadn’t seen since he was ten days old but who I couldn’t deny as he was the spitting image of myself.  Thanks be to God we were all together again.

Those were my army days.”

Thank you, Grappa, for those days.

 

Learn more about this handsome man here.

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2 Responses to “Thank you, Veterans”

  1. Grandma Barbie November 11, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    What a wonderful tribute to your Grandfather, and how special it is have the story in his own words. What a blessing that he returned home from the war to his family, as so many did not. Our thanks to him and to all Veterans for their service to our country!

  2. Taryn M February 22, 2017 at 10:24 am #

    My grandfather was also in the 739th AAA Gun Battalion. I found your blog while searching for information on their unit. Thank you for listing the locations they were stationed. My grandfather does not talk of his times in the war much. One of the only stories he tells is of a wild monkey that stayed with them during some of their travels. It apparently screeched during the night when they were being approached by enemy troops. He believes if it wouldn’t have been for that warning, he would not be alive today.

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