Induction 1944

Physical examination: June 10, 1944

John B. Campbell (JBC) registered for the Selective Service System (SSS) on his 18th birthday:  April 10, 1944.  On April 20, he received a letter informing him that the Army Specialized Training program was limited due to "military requirements."  Both of these events occurred during his senior year at South High School and are recorded as part of that story.  

On May 31, 1944, an Order to Report for Preinduction Physical Examination was sent to Dad by the SSS.  The stamp in the upper left corner references Local Board No 7, Mahoning County, and the South Side Library in Youngstown.  Local Boards were set up to process SSS registrations and administer the draft.  It appears Local Board No 7 was based at South Side Library, or at least used that location for certain activities.  The library branch at 1771 Market Street was erected in the late 1920s thanks to two different mill levies.  

JBC was to report to Erie Terminal on June 10, four days after D-Day and two days after his high school graduation.  Erie Terminal was completed in 1923 to accommodate the traffic associated with four major railroad trunk lines converging in Youngstown.  The Order to Report indicates that Dad was taken elsewhere for the physical examination:  "When you report for preinduction physical examination, you will be forwarded to an induction station where you will be given a complete physical examination to determine whether you are physically fit for service....upon completion of your preinduction physical examination, you will be returned to this Local Board. You will be furnished transportation and meals and lodgings when necessary.  

John B. Campbell did receive a Certificate of Fitness from the Selective Service System on June 10, 1944.  The bottom right references Cleveland, Ohio, so perhaps his physical examination was conducted in Cleveland.  Or maybe a physician from Cleveland traveled to Youngstown to conduct exams locally.  The order number on the far right is explained in the Local Boards link above.  

There is a checkmark next to item 1, and "by Army" is highlighted twice.  I'm not sure what it meant to have item 3 highlighted.  Does that mean he could have also served in the Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard?  

Induction order: September 8, 1944

John B. Campbell's Order to Report for Induction was mailed on August 29, 1944.  His report date was September 8, so depending on mail delivery times, notice of no more than 9 days!  This letter didn't tell him where he was going or whether he would be inducted into the land or naval forces.  V.F.W. Hall stands for Veterans of Foreign Wars. The five-digit Order No. below Dad's name is the same number that was on the physical examination documents.  It was a number used for induction purposes, not his U.S. Army serial number.

The accompanying newspaper notice (probably from The Vindicator in Youngstown) simply states that JBC was "Leaving for Induction;" there is nothing about his destination.

Charles Leonard Haddix (in this same notice) is referenced throughout Dad's U.S. Army career documentation, but only as "Haddix."  It is nice to have a full name!  He's a bit of a mystery.  In a 2002 interview project for school, Dad told his grandson Alex about a "...fellow from Youngstown named Haddox [sic] who had gone to South High School with me."  I cannot locate Haddix in Dad's South High Annual, or in the 25th Anniversary Program.  If he was inducted with Dad, then they were the same age.  Haddix may not have graduated yet when he was inducted.  Perhaps he never graduated, or did so after returning home from Europe.  I haven't been able to locate an obituary, either.  

Dale Luther Money was a friend of Dad's from South High School.  There is more information about him in that story.  

Dale Money was destined for the Navy, while Dad and Haddix for the Army.  This information was still unknown when they departed for the V.F.W. Hall at 34 N. Chestnut Street on September 8, 1944. Once Dad knew he was bound for Camp Atterbury, he would also have known he was headed for service in the U.S. Army.

Camp Atterbury: 11 days

John B Campbell documented his U.S. Army career in two different three-page documents.  The information is mostly the same, but not exactly, so I am sharing clips from both.  I am so grateful for these itineraries that he developed! His documentation begins on September 8, 1944, the day of his departure for induction.  SCU is Service Command Unit.

His ~2002 interview with his fifth-grade grandson Alex states, "I graduated from high school in June of 1944 and I was in the service by September of '44."  Dad probably didn't remember that he left for induction exactly three months after his high school graduation.  We have no photos from that day.  I wonder if his parents went with him to the V.F.W. Hall, or if they said goodbye at home.  

At some point that day, Dad found out he was bound for Camp Atterbury, Indiana (near Edinburgh).  There is no record of how he traveled - bus, military vehicle, or train.  I suspect the latter.  Driving this route today would take 5.5 - 6.5 hours.  However he traveled, he probably arrived the same day.  He likely reached Camp Atterbury after dark, since his Youngstown V.F.W. Hall arrival time was 10:30 a.m. (his departure time isn't noted).

The barracks postcard is glued into a scrapbook, so I cannot read the rear.  I assume he mailed it to his parents. I don't know if he had ever been so far from home by himself.  He never talked about visiting family or summer camps.   I expect this was his first time away from home without his parents. I know from the newspaper clipping above that two friends were departing the same day as him, but I don't know if they traveled together or even to the same location.

During WWII, Camp Atterbury consisted of 1,780 buildings that housed approximately 44,159 officers and troops.  I wonder what its capacity was when Dad was there.

Presumed activities at Camp Atterbury:

--informed he would be in the Army (versus Navy or another armed forces branch)

-- "received Army clothing" and "went through processing" (per his itinerary)

--issued dog tags (2)

--provided with Soldier's Individual Pay Record booklet

--received the first of many immunizations on September 12:  triple typhoid vaccine

--received U.S. and crossed rifles (infantry) collar devices

--issued serial number (see dog tags, pay record, and immunization record) 

--posed for formal photographic portrait(s)

I don't know when this photo was taken.  It is a bit blurry.  I imagine the U.S. Army worked to ensure that inductees had decent photographs to share with family before heading overseas.  Since injury and death could occur during basic training, I expect photographs were provided relatively early in the process (perhaps as part of induction).

The stainless steel dog tags include:  

-- name

-- eight-digit serial number

-- T44: indicates a tetanus shot was administered in 1944

-- A is his blood type

-- P is his religion (Protestant)

The serial number beginning with a "3" indicates a draftee.  

The second digit of "5" indicates he was drafted from Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, or West Virginia (the Fifth Corps Area).

The WW2 US Medical Research Centre website provides additional information regarding dog tags:  "War Department Pamphlet 21-13, Army Life, 10 August 1944 states… Always wear your Identification Tags. These are considered part of your uniform, and your Officers may ask you to show that you are wearing them at any time on or off the Post… AR 600-40, Section III, 31 March 1944 further indicates… Identification Tags will be worn by each member of the Army at all times and may be removed temporarily ONLY as the necessities of personal hygiene may require; one Tag is to be suspended from the neck underneath the clothing by a 25-inch non-corrosive, non-toxic, and heat-resistant material looped to form a necklace, and the second Tag fastened to the necklace below the first Tag by a 2 ½-inch extension of material similar to the necklace (introduced 29 December 1942). The Tags, embossed as provided in AR 600-35, Section VI, will be issued to each member of the Army as soon as practicable after entry into service…"

The pay record indicates "Date of opening this book:  8 Sept. 1944".  It includes Dad's signature, which is different from the one I remember -- his teenage signature, I guess.  It doesn't seem the pay records were used extensively; the interior of his is empty, and the only entry after 1944 is one from March 1945, when he was assigned to the 102d Infantry Division (Ozark Division) in Holland.  

The pay record includes insurance amounts and premiums and notes that his mother should be contacted in case of emergency.  I believe his father traveled for work (as a stagehand, he sometimes had work out of town).  Perhaps Helen Louise Campbell was the one most likely to be reached in an emergency.  

Transfer to Fort McClellan: September 18-19, 1944

After induction into the U.S. Army at Camp Atterbury, John B. Campbell was transferred to Fort McClellan, Alabama.  His scrapbook doesn't include any official notification.  His itinerary notes his final day at Camp Atterbury as September 18 and the first day at Fort McClellan as September 19.  Given the distance, I am fairly certain he would have traveled by train.  By car, the trip would be 7-8 hours today.  

A notice appeared in The Vindicator on September 20, 1944.  His mother must have saved it for him. Richard Rhiel is listed after Dad, and Charles L. Haddix after Rhiel.  Haddix was mentioned above.  Dick Rhiel graduated from South High School with Dad in June 1944.  He appears in photos with Dad at infantry basic training (more on that in a future story).  

This hand-tinted image of Dad appears to be better quality than the one above.  It's the only photo we have of him with his visor (versus a cap or helmet).  Like the photo above, there are no insignia, medals, etc., so I presume this photo is prior to basic training.

John B. Campbell, age 18

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In