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Samuel M. Findley "Tex", Engineer/Tail Gunner, 323rd BG, 453rd BS

Samuel M. Findley (Tex)
Engineer/Tail Gunner
323rd BG, 453rd BS


ENLISTMENT

At the recruitment office I filled out my enlistment papers and was then given a ticket for fare on the interurban train to Dallas, TX. In addition, I was given two vouchers for meals and was given directions to a small hotel where I was to spend the night before reporting to the recruitment office in the Dallas post office the following morning.

There was a large group of men at the post office for induction into the U.S. Armed Forces. We were required to strip and doctors gave us a medical examination. We were then lined up and told to raise our right hands and then administered an oath, wherein we each swore that we would faithfully serve and defend our nation against all enemies whomsoever. I was directed to a waiting bus that was to transport us to the Reception Center at Camp Walters in Mineral Wells, TX. This was on April 18th 1942 and as we went out on the street the headlines of the newspapers proclaimed that American aircraft had bombed Tokyo. I really felt that I had enlisted in the Service too late and that the war would be over before I saw any action. We arrived at Camp Walters that same afternoon and it was a beehive of activity. Soldiers were marching everywhere in small groups. They would all notice us because of our civilian dress and would call out as they passed by "You’ll be sorry".

RECEPTION CENTER

On the morning, reveille sounded and we were marched to the mess hall for breakfast and then to the barbershop for a haircut. After being sheared we went to supply where everyone was issued uniforms, shoes and other articles of clothing. Everything was well organized and we were kept busy all of the time. Career and skills tests were administered, identification tags were made, each soldier was given the opportunity to sign-up for government life insurance, and we were advised that we would draw the regal salary of $21.00 per month as buck Privates. They also taught us how to recognize commissioned officers when we saw them and how to salute when meeting one. When I put on my uniform for the first time I felt proud to be able to wear it and I pledged to myself that I would try to be a good soldier and do my duty to my country.

New recruits were arriving at Camp Walters every day and soldiers were also being shipped out daily. I was surprised one day to see my 17-year-old brother, Louis Ray, among a group of incoming recruits. I told him that I had requested to be assigned to the Army Air Corps and that my civilian aircraft mechanic experience had been accepted in lieu of having to receive training at an Army Technical School. At that time I believed my job in the military would be about what I had done in civilian life-----work on aircraft.

After a week or ten days I could tell that my processing at the Reception Center was almost over because we were no longer being scheduled for many activities. A corporal or sergeant would take some of us on hikes out on the outer fringes of the camp just to get us away from where the activity was going on. After about two weeks at Camp Walters a large group of us were shipped out to Sheppard Field in Wichita Falls, TX for basic training in the Air Corps. My brother was shipped out to Ft. Knox in Louisville, KY to be in a tank outfit.

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