Goroskop Maia 2012
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“Everybody was at war”

Joanna Gebhard Geer, daughter of Chaplain Maj. Wesley Gebhard, age 15 in 1944

 

 

 

My mother’s youngest brother was a navigator on those B-17s that flew over Germany from England. And he was on his next to last mission when it was shot down. The enlisted men parachuted out but all the officers blew up with the plane. So we lost my Uncle Dick. Yes, everybody—during World War Two everybody felt—we were at war, and everybody was at war.”

 

-Joanna Gebhard Geer, resident at Fort Slocum during the Second World War

(interviewed 2007)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chaplain Maj. Wesley Gebhard (officer at left) with his colleague, Chaplain Capt. Dunstan W. Smith, at the Fort Slocum dock distributing Bibles to soldiers leaving for combat assignments during the Second World War.

 
 

He [Chaplain Gebhard] had a lot of compassion for those men. He really did. And he was very good at it…I know a lot of those men were afraid. And they knew that they were headed—because the next stop was over in the battle in Europe.”

 

-Joanna Gebhard Geer

(interviewed 2007)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Scottish unit parading on Hoyle Road during the Second World War, possibly the 4th Battalion of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders in February or March 1942.

 

I do recall that during that same period, I think it was, let’s see, 1939, 1940, 1941…It was in that period when a contingent of Polish and British troops came through here. I understand that they had evacuated the Far East, came across country and were stationed, just for a couple days or so at our place and were on their way to Europe. It was a very interesting time.”

 

-Ken Rought, posted to Fort Slocum from 1939 to 1943

(interviewed 2007)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staff Sgt. Gladys Woodard Borkowski, far left, in 1944 with a formation of Wacs at Fort Slocum.

 

Well, I was a drill sergeant, so…I was out on the drill field with new people that were coming in and getting ready for the parades and different things…And then I worked in the Provost Marshal’s office to work for the Italian prisoners. But I was still taken out when I was needed for drilling.”

 

-Gladys Woodard Borkowski, WAC NCO at Fort Slocum, 1943 to 1946

(interviewed 2007)