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



Following are four events when I returned home, before and after



+ + + While being shuffled around the country in 1943, I found myself in a

Replacement Depot, Camp Shenango, near Sharon, Pannsylvania.   For

three or four weeks, nothing exciting happened.  For two of those weeks

another 19-year old and I were given an assignment.


A building was used to store the barracks bags of soldiers who had gone

A.W.O.L.   Our job was to guard the bags (hundreds) and not to allow

anyone in without authorization.  Aside from reading, listening to 78 RPM

records of the 1920's and 1930's, and "chewing the fat", the experience was

not the highlight of my army experience.


Two and a half years later however, while turning in some equipment and

extra clothes at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, I noticed a civilian electrician working

on an outlet.  I recognized him - - - he recognized me - - - my two week

buddie from Shenango.  The time span since our paths crossed - - -  Aug. "43

to Dec. "45.


He ended up in Belgium, multiple machine gun bullets (horrible scars), discharged,

and became an electrician's apprentice.


+  + + Fort Sheridan, in a northern suburb of Chicago, was swamped with returning

G.I.'s ready to be discharged.  When I arrived, they gave 30-day furloughs to ease

the overflow.  Still in uniform, and ordered to return in 30 days, I spent the next

month visiting the folks I left behind in Chicago, Gary, Indiana, Muskegon, Mich.,

and New York.  I spent a lot of time with my girlfriend, Lois, who has been lucky

enough to be my wife since 1948.  At times she may disagree!


One cold morning, walking down the street in Gary, a man whose face was familiar,

in a civilian overcoat approached.  One of his coat sleeves was pinned up.  It took a

few seconds but we remembered each other from basic training in Ft. Mc Clellen, Ala.

in 1943.    Harold Butz, it turned out, was a B.A.R. man (browning automatic rifle).

While attacking a German position with others in France, he felt a stunning blow,

looked down, and couldn't see his B.A.R. or his arm.  His next memory was waking

up in an Army Field Hospital.


We went up to my temporary quarters, and while reminiscing, I pulled out the photo

scroll of our entire company, about 200 men,  cooks, officers etc. at Ft.  Mc Clellen.

Most of the company, with the exception of 50 or so, stayed together, participated in

the second wave at Normandy, and those who made it continued on into France.


I was one of the lucky 50 who went in a different direction.  Sadly he

pointed out many men who didn't make it, some of whom were in my

barracks.  I estimate, as he pointed out the fallen, that one-third of the

outfit did not come home.


+ + +  "State Street - That Great Street"  After my discharge, and in

civilian clothes, I was walking on State St. in downtown Chicago, I

heard my name called out. One of the three fellows walking was in my

outfit on Shemya.   I remembered him well (although don't recall his

name).  His great love was playing the clarinet, and the war was a mere

distraction which kept him from from playing in a band.


Company officers tried to avoid transfers, mainly because of the paperwork,

but also setting a precedent, and convincing the  recipient that the reason

was valid.


He was very persistent over a 10 - 12 month period, almost on the edge of

insubordination.  It turned out that the officer was getting tired of him,

determined that we were a bit overstaffed at that time, and arranged for his

transfer to the Post Band.  P.S.   I was introduced to the two fellows with

him and as it turned out, all three were in a band going to rehearsal!


+ + +  Again in Chicago, my name was called out in the men's department

of a large store. This was in 1946, about a year after I was discharged. I

didn't recognize the man behind the men's shirt counter but he obviously

knew me.


Since I always had "wheels" at my disposal, as Supply Sergeant on Shemya,

I was occasionally called upon to transport people in adjoining outfits

if the need was urgent.


He reminded me of coming to the rescue, although I didn't remember his

name or the occasion.  What is amazing is that while I was walking

at a fast pace through the aisle, in civilian garb, he remembered me and

my name.

© Wally Nadel 2007

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