Wednesday, January 5, 2011

News From Camp Luis Obispo ~ July 1941

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Lee R. Christensen Recently Comments:
  Reading your posted news clip “Camp San Luis Obispo” where a dozen or so artillerymen from Mt Pleasants Btry “D” are mentioned recalled, for me, that pre war summer of 1941.

. Mt Pleasants National Guard unit, Btry D, was called up for Federal service 3 March 1941 with the rest of the California/Utah 40th Division under the 1940 Draft Act.. National Guard units were called up for “one year” and men 21 to 35 drafted for one year.

National Guard units prior to call up were at about ½ strength – when we went to summer camp we hired cooks – only two of our four howitzers were manned. So on call up we had many vacancies. Locals and near locals joined to get their year of military service over with in a home town unit. Prior to call up I do not recall anyone from Spring City, Fountain Green and certainly no one from Indianola in the unit. Jacob Houtz joined from Indianola, Vernal Christensen along with a half dozen others from Spring City and Cliff Anderson form Fountain Green. Some out of County students from Snow College, Walt Goodwin from Wayne County, joined Btry D rather than the Ephraim Band or the light artillery Manti unit. Some long range thinkers may have seen a war in our future but most of us just wanted our year of military service out of the way so we could get on with our lives.

Another big recruitment plus for Btry D was the local CCC camp. At least half a dozen men from there joined and in the case of Jones Belcher from Alabama we got an experienced military cook. Two others from the news clip, Clyde Tucker and John Milner were CCC transfers, both southern, Georgia and Tennessee.

The extension of The Draft Act, by one vote, late summer of 1941 meant the national political leadership was getting serious about the possibility of war. The extension meant National Guard units and draftees could be sent overseas. In October, prior to Pearl Harbor, Mt Pleasants Btry D along with the rest of 2nd Bn 222 FA, Richfield and Cedar City, was alerted for assignment to the Philippine Islands, code name “Plum” to sail from San Francisco, 10 Dec 1941. The attack on Pearl Harbor intervened and the Unit had a totally different history as Btry “A” 204th FA.

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