Sections: Photographs | Diaries, Bound Collections, and Albums | Correspondence | Maps and Flags | Military Papers | Special Collections and Other Items

Serving in the Army of Occupation—World War I

Corporal Vincent Cornelius Reed served in the 358th Infantry, 90th Division, Army of Occupation, American Expedition Forces, between April 30, 1918 and June 16, 1919. In this wartime diary, Reed recounts his experiences in Germany and France. "After seeing so many of the German people and living in their houses, we came to have a different impression of them than we had had before. . . . When we stopped overnight in any of the towns the people would bring us hot dishes of some sort." The newspaper article shows Corporal Reed reviewing his World War I collection. His diary and other papers were donated by James R. Reed, his son.

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In Full Flight Gear, Ready to Go

Early in the war, Joe Thompson, Jr., Major, U.S. Air Force, 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Squad 9th Air Force, joined the British Royal Air Force to gain experience and training. He flew missions over Normandy, Belgium, and Germany from bases in continental Europe. Thompson donated eighteen photographs with extensive narratives describing his missions and the pilots that served with him, such as this description of a fellow pilot, Keller: "This in one picture captures a measure of the happy-go-lucky energy of field pilots of the day. . . . on the second day of the landings, he was making a flight across the channel and was shot down by an American destroyer. And the plane hit the water and he had about 15 seconds to get out of that plane. And he did so."

"Keller stands on a truck wearing full flight gear, smoking a cigarette." Photograph. Page 2 - Page 3. Joe Thompson, Jr., Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (49)

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Battle for the Philippines

George Rhea, Technical 4th Grade, U.S. Army, 27th Infantry, 25th Division was given this book of drawings by William de Jarnette Rutherford, titled "165 Days, 25th Division on Luzon." Some of the original ink drawings with captions have additional handwritten inscriptions, possibly by Rhea, describing the war. George Rhea donated this collection through the offices of Senator Richard G. Lugar.

"165 Days, 25th Division on Luzon." Bound drawings with inscriptions. Page 2. George Rhea Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (50)

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Life in the Jungle

Samuel Boylston's pursuit of his art was remembered by his friend Gerald Duquette. "There were many boring leisure hours in the jungle, and my friend spent many of these hours pursing his hobby of artistry. He had a keen imagination, and his many cartoons were very much enjoyed by all of us. Drawing cartoons of the many happenings of our jungle life, he incorporated them in the addresses on the envelopes of our letters to our folks at home. (Also see items 63-65) They never failed to amuse everyone who saw them. My wife kept every one I mailed to her. Every cartoon envelope bears a story of our adventures overseas."

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"Angel Tiger"

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Earl Pierson, U.S. Air Force, 1st Air Commando Group, 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron, a combat pilot in Vietnam, served with the Air Force for more than twenty years. He kept several diaries, three of which are displayed, in which he logged his combat support missions and travels. An excerpt from his Viet Nam Log for Wednesday, July 10, 1963, says, "I put a 'Than Ho' on the nose of #367 with a grease pencil. Then Jim Ahmann came out and sketched some outlines for tiger teeth and eyes on #364. As soon as we can find some paint we'll paint the tiger teeth and eyes on all 5 of our airplanes. By the way, 'Than' means one who is in heaven and 'Ho' means male tiger." Pierson donated his diaries, photographs, and maps to the Veterans History Project.

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  • "Viet Nam Log: A Story of the Air War in Viet Nam, by Capt. R.E. Pierson." Bound diary. Richard Earl Pierson Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (52)

  • Flight log. Bound volume. Richard Earl Pierson Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (53)

  • "Early Vietnam War Air Commando Operations, A Veteran's Record by Lt. Col. Richard E. Pierson, USAF Retired." Bound memoir. Richard Earl Pierson Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (54)

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Pacific Theater Diary

Sergeant Joseph Steinbacher, U.S. Army, 169th Infantry, 43rd Infantry Division, 6th Division, served in New Guinea, New Caledonia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Japan. His journal "Nine Lives: The Journal of an American Soldier" describes in detail his survival of two years in the jungles of New Guinea, the invasion of the Philippines, and the occupation of Japan. The diary and photos were donated by Joseph Steinbacher. His title comes from this entry:

I lay down in my shallow trench and stared up at the evening sky. I had chopped through a nest of little red ants and they were really biting me. I mashed hundreds and finally got rid of most of them. I felt just like one of those little ants. If I didn't get killed in this damn war I would really need a lot of luck and probably some help from the almighty. I thought about a cat and how they are supposed to have nine lives. Well, if I had been a cat, I would probably have used up three of my nine lives already.

quot;Nine Lives: The Journal of American Soldier." Typed manuscript. Page 1 - Page 47. Joseph Steinbacher Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (116)

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World War I Diary

Carol J. Albertson found the diary of Captain Harry B. Smith, 86th Division, 311th Ammunition Train, at a book sale. She bought the diary, transcribed it, and donated the diary to the Veterans History Project. In her letter, above, to staff member Jason Lee of the Veterans History Project, she describes how she contacted the Personnel Records Center in St. Louis to find more information on Harry B. Smith and, if possible, return the diary. However, Smith's records were destroyed in a fire in July, 1973. An excerpt from the diary for October 5, 1919, reads:

Blowing a terrific gale and whole convoy is lost. We are alone and rolling very dangerously. Water pouring over decks and can't walk or sit without holding on. Music room furniture and dishes are breaking. More men dying. 120 mile wind blowing and barometer very low. Waves at least 50 feet high. Some say 75 feet. Frightful weather. No ships in sight. We are lost. Captain can't get bearings and we are moving just enough to head into the waves.

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A Time for Everything

Karen Mart-Taverna copied and bound the letters of her husband Larry Mart, Sergeant, U.S. Army, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry, 25th Division.

She included the letters and photographs with the following dedication:

For Larry, who came home to me because God was his point man, and for serving his country. For all Vietnam veterans, who also endured the atrocities of war.
Thank You

The cover of this volume, reproduced and enlarged, is shown here.

The opening shows two examples of Larry Mart's handwritten letters to his wife.

Scrapbook with copies of photos, letters and narrative. Cover - Letter. Larry Mart Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (93, 93a)

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We Live Among Heroes

This collection of oral histories with photos of Eastern Shore veterans was a community-wide effort carried out by a volunteer committee of World War II Veterans coordinated by Sylvia Bradley for the Westside Historical Society and donated by Sylvia Bradley. This book commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II and the contributions made by local veterans to the war effort.

"We Live Among Heroes: A Commemorative of Wicomico County's World War Two Veterans." Westside Historical Society, Inc. Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (97)

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USS Alabama

Edward J. Suchy, Sr., served on "The Mighty A," the USS Alabama, as machinist mate third class. His ship is now a museum at Battleship Park in Mobile, Alabama. Suchy and other crew members contributed their stories to Rebecca Bundy Brown and Heidi Bundy Brown. The stories were published in the book, "The Mighty A" and the Men Who Made Her Mighty.

"The Mighty A" and The Men Who Made Her Mighty. Bound memoir. Edward J. Suchy, Sr. Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (98)

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The Military Police

Major Bertran F. Wallace was part of the U.S. Army, 743rd Military Police Battalion. His unit integrated the Army. He served in Africa and Italy during World War II and the Korean War. Displayed is the yearbook from his military police battalion. His picture, as part of the choir, is also shown. Major Wallace is at the far left. The yearbook was donated by Major Wallace.

"743rd Police Detachment of the 743rd Military Police Battalion." Page 1 - Page 2 - Photograph. Bound yearbook. Bertran F. Wallace Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (141, 141A)

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The War in North Africa

During World War II, Virginia F. Higgins, First Lieutenant, Nurse Corps, U.S. Army served in Africa and Italy. This veteran's story is told completely in photographs. She compiled two albums of 100 photographs of her patients, friends, local people, and travel and military experiences. One album shows a German cemetery in North Africa, and the other includes photographs of Lieutenant Higgins with various locales she visited. Her niece Claribel Regimbal donated these albums as well as negatives and the discharge papers of Lieutenant Higgins.

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  • "German Cemetery." Virginia F. Higgins. Photograph. Virginia F. Higgins Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress(94)

  • "19 May 1944--Hospital Ship Shamrock Leaving Bizerte," May 19, 1945. Virginia F. Higgins. Photograph. Virginia F. Higgins Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress (96)

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Sections: Photographs | Diaries, Bound Collections, and Albums | Correspondence | Maps and Flags | Military Papers | Special Collections and Other Items