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Showing posts from January 18, 2016

My Father's First Command: A Black Supply Company

Louis Armstrong Played for My Father's Soldiers at Camp Shenango, Pa.
My father, George Gussman, enlisted in the Army at the end of 1939.  He was 34 years old and at the end of his career as a middleweight boxer and a pitcher for the Reading Phillies.  He was the fourth of six sons of Jewish immigrants from the Russia.  They arrived at the beginning of the century.  My father and his older brothers only went to Boston Latin school until the 8th grade.  The younger boys got all the way through high school--business was better by that time for grandpa.

Dad was a warehouseman in a bad economy and the Army was a steady job.  He took a two-year enlistment which was to end in mid-December 1941.  Dad was packed up to go home in the second week in December.  He never left.

On December 8, 1941, all discharges were cancelled and enlistments extended for the duration of the war.

With war declared many rules changed and the Army sent George to Officer Candidate School.  In 1942 he was commis…