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



Fort Lawton, Seattle, now a State Park, became a Reception Center for

returning servicemen from the South Pacific as well as the Alaskan

Command.   Many from the South Pacific, who were battling malaria,

had a yellow complexion cast caused by medication.  Most from the

Alaskan Command were rather pale caused by lack of sun for 2 - 3 yrs.


We were told that we would be there between 4 to 7 days until troop

trains would be available to army camps close to your home.  Those

camps would be where your discharge would take place. 


Upon arrival, hundreds of us lined up ready to receive an orientation

regarding camp procedure, protocol, and what to expect.  As the

officer started his speech, a hilarious event took place.  One soldier

returned with a male dog who was born and raised on a treeless

Aleutian Island.  The area we were standing in was surrounded by

large pine trees.    You know the rest - - - - He went bananas - - - - -

dashing to and fro - - - not wanting to miss a tree - - -  and continuing

on even though there was nothing left to give.  The officer couldn't

compete, with 200 men laughing hysterically. I think he gave up.


At dinner time, we entered the mess hall for a special steak dinner,

with all the trimmings, fresh fruit, fresh milk - all of which on the

Islands was a faint memory.  Our systems were not able to make

the adjustment and a good part of our evening was spent in the latrines.


Something however was different in this army mess hall.  As we walked

along with our trays, the people dishing out the food wore different

uniforms.  It turned out that the German Wehrmacht prisoners of war

from the African campaign some years before were shipped to the other

side of the world to minimize escape attempts.  Later we saw other

P.O.W.'s doing landscaping, carpentry, and K.P. duty.

These all volunteered - - - the war was over - - - they were glad not to

be P.O.W.'s of the Soviets.  For their  labors, they were paid a small

token amount, and eventually sent back to their fatherland in one piece.


Some prisoners did not volunteer!  A mutual decision was made since

no one, including prisoners, was allowed to just lay around their

barracks all day.


Imagine this - - - on the parade grounds - - - in an American Army Camp,

German P.O.W.'s, with their officers shouting  commands in German,

doing short order drill and marching most of the day


One has to wonder, since the war was over, whether they would not

accept that fact- - -  or did they think that Hitler would rise up from the

grave to restore them to their former glory?


We did not take all this too seriously since the whole scene was ridiculous.


More minor recollections as we returned to civilization (we were allowed

to go into town a few nights during our brief stay).


Our feet didn't sink into the cement & asphalt of Seattle, as it did in the

Island's tundra.


The unusual high pitch of women's voices took some getting used to.

Voices of little children, crying babies, all of the lights shining brightly.


Paying for meals in restaurants - the high cost of cigarettes, the P.X.,

(Post Exchange) sold them for 50 cents a carton.  I estimate that at

least 75% 0f men smoked at that time.


Men in civilian suits & coats.         AND


Using decorum because of obscene language one acquires in the service.


Seattle was a great Army town for returning soldiers.  The people were

friendly, generous, the transportation around town free, and one welcomed

gesture;  residents often went to the U.S.O. or the W.M.C.A. to invite

servicemen for dinner or the weekend.


Anniston, Alabama (Ft. Mc Clellan) on the other hand, partly because it was

overrun by servicemen, partly because many of us were "damn yankees",

treated us poorly, overcharged for services, and provided little reason for

the men to leave camp for the evening.

© Wally Nadel 2007

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