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


FINAL MONTHS OF THE WAR

After receiving my discharge it was time to travel around a little. I had never met my wife’s parents and her brothers and sisters so we headed for the small town of Doyline, LA which is located about 20 miles east of Shreveport. We visited there a few days then went to Mt.Vernon and visited with relatives. United States law required that I register for the draft. This I did and received a classification of 1-C (discharged) by the local draft board in Mt.Vernon. It was now time for me to get a job in order to support my wife and myself and to contribute to the war effort so we went to Orange, TX where my parents lived.

Getting a job then was easy. I applied at the Consolidated Steel shipyard and was hired that day as an electrician. This shipyard was engaged in building destroyers for the U.S. navy. The employees at the shipyard were mostly from East Texas and Louisiana and for the main part unskilled but they got the job done. This shipyard was producing a finished destroyer each week. The destroyers were badly needed because the Japanese Kamikazes were sinking them at a rapid rate.

Dessie and I got us an unfurnished apartment in a housing project that had been hastily erected adjacent to the Sabine River. We had no furniture and my mother helped us buy a bed and mattress, a couch that made into a bed, and a small dinette. That was it. You could not buy many new things made of metal and at that time there was not a plastic industry so we had a difficult time getting cooking utensils. I couldn’t find a spatula to turn our eggs any where so I got a piece of scrap metal from the shipyard and made one. There were no new alarm clocks available for purchase. Someone gave us an old electric one that had exposed electric wiring on the backside of it. After getting shocked a couple of times while turning off the alarm I learned to get out of bed and turn on the light to see where to turn it off.

Ration stamps were needed to buy groceries, so we applied for and received War Ration Books of stamps. Sugar, coffee, lard, flour, meats, and canned goods all required ration stamps and were in short supply. Just because a person had stamps and money to buy an item didn’t mean it could be found anywhere. It was often necessary to hunt for it. There was a "black Market" flourishing but most citizens avoided dealing in it. The "black market" dealers, if caught, could be jailed. I had a cousin who was engaged in it and many who knew about his involvement ever thereafter looked down upon him.

VJ DAY ---------VICTORY

It was clear that the Japs were heading for defeat but Americans were anticipating the necessity of invading the mainland of Japan and suffering heavy casualties while fighting a fanatical enemy. Then in the first week of August 1945 it was announced that atomic bombs were dropped on two Japanese cities causing extensive destruction. Shortly thereafter the Japs surrendered and everyone was celebrating the end of the war. My family didn’t celebrate. We like thousands of other families who had lost loved ones had paid too high a price for victory to be in a mood to celebrate but we were happy for the victory and for the millions of families who had loved ones that would be coming home soon.

At the start of America’s entry into the war we were greatly unprepared. Our Navy was severely wounded at Pearl Harbor, and our Army was inexperienced and deficient in equipment. We were going up against enemies who had armies that were experienced in warfare and who had superior planes, tanks, and other weaponry. We believed in final victory but it was not a certainty. America was magnificent during the war years and by the grace of God we with our allies prevailed.

The official Japanese surrender took place aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay 2 September 1945. The war was over.

Samuel M. Findley
April 20, 2001

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