My father, James F. Sullivan served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. I believe he served four years in total, two of which he spent in Greenland. I have heard many stories over the years of life in Greenland as well as of his travels to bases throughout the US: Presque Isle, ME where he mustered out; Biloxi MS; Sioux Fall, SD; Mobile AL; Charlotte NC. (I know he's going to correct me when I reads this because I probably got the order wrong!)
He also spent some training time in South Beach, Miami, when the military took over the hotels across from the beach. He speaks about training on that beach in the hot south Florida sun; running in the sand wearing full gear, including a gas mask. I have vacationed there in recent years and it is now very chic, yet when I look at that beach all I can picture is those young men.
My parents were typical of many young couples during that time--a civil marriage ceremony, followed by a life involving many trains and periods of time when they could be together and time when they stayed connected through letter writing.
My dad did not see combat but had to deal with the challenges of leading men in cold and desolute Greenland, where there was misery that ranged from minor boredom to homesickness to depression to suicide. His brother was severely traumatized and permanently scarred by a mental disability after finding himself in multiple combat situations, including Anzio in 1944; and his childhood friend who grew up across the street never came home from the war. My dad came home in 1946 to a world like most veterans, I would imagine, where re-entry was a challenge due to competition for jobs, family changes that had take place, and personal readjustment difficulities.
Today is his 90th birthday, and his party will be small and low-key, as he is no longer into big festivities. He recognizes that it's tough to find the perfect gift for someone who is 90, so he asked for donations to a veteran's organization. I was preparing my donation to the Disabled Veterans, when I came across your website and noticed the section on oral histories.
My dad has only limited ability to walk now, but he is bright and articulate and can remember every detail of his service, if anyone in your organization would like to contact him. He loves to talk about it. A few years back he rode in one of the veteran's cars at our Memorial Day parade. I know he would be thrilled if you'd care to contact him. His name, address and phone number:
James F. Sullivan
100 Albert Avenue
Wethersfield, CT 06109
I think the work you're doing is wonderful and so important, and sadly, I know your sources of information are diminishing by the day.