Friday, February 29, 2008

My Father and Fort Indiantown Gap

My father, George Gussman, served in Pennsylvania for most of World War II. His first enlistment was in 1939 at 33 years old. When the US declared war on Japan in 1941, Dad was close to discharge. Of course, no one got discharged after December 7, 1941. My father was the fourth of six sons of immigrants who came to America just before the turn of the 20th century to escape the pogroms in Russia. My father went to school only through the 8th grade then went to work. He liked to say he was a Teamster when there were really teams of horses. His first job was stable boy, working the wrong end of those horses.

When the war broke out my father was twice the age of the other recruits and had real experience in warehousing, what the Army calls the quartermaster corps. Despite his lack of education, he went to Officer Candidate School. As a brand-new 36-year-old 2nd lieutenant, my Dad was soon put in command of a Black maintenance company at Camp Reynolds in the northeastern part of Pa. He was very proud of that command. I still have scrapbooks of clippings and photos of the men he commanded. He kept in touch with some of his sergeant's long after the war was over.

Then he got assigned to Fort Indiantown Gap. More on that later.

My First Military Haircut, February 1, 1972

The night before my Basic Training haircut. When I arrived at Lackland Air Force Base on February 1, 1972, among the first order of bu...