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


I had already obtained a gasoline ration book and I later became acquainted with a tugboat owner who was always giving me a few extra ration stamps.

I was living the "life of Riley." After instructing students during the day some of my friends and I would get in my car and visit some of the ethnic French villages around Lake Charles and date the girls and go to some dances where they played Cajon music etc. We would go to Jennings. Evangeline, Lake Arthur, Mermentau, and of course into the city of Lake Charles.

Once, while in a café, in Lake Charles I was playing a jukebox and there were two girls there. One of them appealed to me and I struck up a conversation with her and learned that her name was Dessie Sewell and that she worked in a pharmacy there. The next day I went by where she worked to see her and made a date with her. After a very short while I knew that I was in love with her and that she was the one person with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I was determined to win her for my wife and within a month after meeting her popped the question. She consented and I was the happiest man alive. I wasn’t able to get a three-day pass to get married so I arranged with a lady Justice of the Peace to marry us. I bought her a wedding ring on credit and got Sgt. Harry Compton, a friend, to be my best man and we were married in Westlake, LA on 27 April 1945. I made arrangements to live off of the base and we rented a furnished room with kitchen privileges in a lady’s house. I also signed Dessie up for a dependency allotment. In the meantime momentous events were taking place. Our beloved president Franklin Roosevelt died, Adolf Hitler had committed suicide, Italian partsans had disposed of Mussolini and Germany had surrendered unconditionally to the allies. Also in the second week of May I was advised that I was eligible for discharge from the Army if I so wished.

MUSTERED OUT OF SERVICE

With Germany’s surrender the United States would not require the numbers of men that were now in uniform so a point system was implemented to demobilize some of the armed forces. The point system favored those servicemen who had been overseas the longest and had been directly engaged in combat with the enemy. Points were given for the total time in service, time overseas, battles fought, missions flown, wounds received, and etc. My 78 missions made me eligible for discharge in the first group discharged under the point system. I was issued orders to proceed to the Fort Sam Houston Separation Center in San Antonio, TX by private conveyance to be mustered out of the Army Air Force. So my bride, of less than a month, and I loaded our meager belongings in our 1940 Ford and went to San Antonio. This trip was for us the honeymoon that we didn’t have. We went by Boling, TX on the way and visited with my Uncle Beryl and Aunt Imogene Jones and my dear cousins Patsy, Martha, and Jeanie. While visiting with them we acquired our first household appliance. It was a small radio that would not play and needed repair. We were happy to get it because new radios were not available, as was the case with many consumer goods, during the war years. We had it repaired when we got to San Antonio and enjoyed listening to it for several years. I received my Honorable Discharge from the Army at Fort Sam Houston on 20 May 1945 after being a serviceman for three years, one month, and three days. I was now a civilian again.

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