Wally's Index

Wally Nadel
World War II in the Aleutians - Shemya (APO 729)
January 26, 1943 to January 27, 1946

1. Recap of Army Facilities

Ft. Benjamine Harrison, Indiana

Ft. McClellan - Anniston, Alabama

Camp Shenango - Pennsylvania

Ft. Lawton - Seattle, Washington

Fort Sheridan - Illinois

Port of Embarkation


2. Conscription - the Draft

3. Selection Process

4. Shemya

5. General S. B. Buckner, Jr.

6. Major A. Brindle

7. My Outfit

8. My Buddies

9. Supply Sergeant

10. Army Medical Experience

11. Civilian Contractors

12. Potpourri

13. Returning to the States

14. Coincidences

15. Unspoken Concerns



The relationship between servicemen and civilians doing work for the

government was not always harmonious.  One of the irritations was

the disparity between enlisted army pay and the civilian pay scale.


Ours ranged from $800 - $1,200 per year, depending on rank and theirs

was $15,000 - $20,000, depending on their vocation.  Most G.I.'s could

and did the same type of work as civilians, ie., driving trucks, operating

cranes, bull-dozers, etc.  After one year, the civilians who didn't sign a

new contract, could return home - and with their savings, buy a house

and furnish it (based on 1940's dollars).


There were some personal incidents,where I was involved,  that also created

problems.   Twenty-four of us left Seattle for the Aleutians on a gasoline

tanker, manned by the civilian Merchant Marine.  Our "B" bags were

stored below, containing the special artic clothing needed to survive the

nasty Winters. We were dropped off at Attu for a few days, then boarded

a sea-going tug.  Sadly, 3 or 4 days after the tanker left for the States, we

had access to those "B" bags and found them pilferred.  An analogy of this

would be to take away a soldiers rifle, then send him into battle. Since we

were all Privates without any clout, our complaints were shrugged away.

Those Merchant Marines were either the warmest sailors around or made

a financial killing by selling those very expensive articles.


Fortunately, many months later, when I was promoted to Supply

Sergeant, I found "inventive" ways to replenish the loss for the boys.


Another incident - - - - twice a year, each soldier was issued a case of

3.2 beer (half the alcohol content of regular).  60 cases for our outfit

arrived as I was closing down and locking up the Supply Hut.  Some

civilian contractors, doing electrical work (who were quartered on the

other side of the Island) observed this scene. You guessed it!

I was awakened about 5:00 AM and told that the lock was broken

and the beer gone.  Our Officer in charge was reluctant to approach

the Island Commander to persue the complaint.


He suggested that I move my cot into the Supply Hut and sleep there,

leaving my buddies and all human contact behind.  We had some strong

words exchanged.  The result was a compromise - - - whenever there

were valuables worth stealing in the Supply Hut, I'll sleep there that

night with a loaded rifle.

Finally, 26 months later, when about 900 of us boarded a troopship

on Attu, also manned by civilian sailors,  starting

 our journey back to

Seattle, we were introduced to another money-making scheme.


It appears that the ship-owners are allotted a reimbursement for food,

per passenger, per diem.


Try eating steamed rice as the main entree for breakfast, lunch and

dinner over a 14 day period.


I'm sure that the few Army Officers we had aboard fought for our

rights while they dined with the Captain and his crew!


What can I say?

© Wally Nadel 2007

Dr. Will R. Eubank - Adak 1943    Map of Alaska