Gallery      WWII Radio
Sgt Bill Powell and Cpl Ed Walsh
In The Beginning
Excerpt from "Serving The Pieces" by Ed Walsh

December 7, 1941

Where were you when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor? Of course, you remember.

Everyone remembers. - - -

Mom and Dad had gone to York to visit Uncle Tom Walsh and his family. My good friend, Charlie, came over and suggested we go into Seward and see a picture show. (Movies were commonly called "show" or "picture show" then.) The show was one of the Marx brothers comedies. We went into the theater about four o'clock in the afternoon and came out around eight. There were newsboys on the street calling out,

"EXTRA, EXTRA, JAPAN BOMBS PEARL HARBOR!"

There had never ever been newsboys on Seward streets before. The Lincoln Journal had brought them out. Charlie and I were both of draft age. The draft had already started. We knew this event would no doubt speed up the process. Within three months Charlie was off to the Army. My turn came in six months.

July, 1942 Received notice to report to the Induction Center at Fort Crook, Omaha. There were about 30 or 40 men left Seward at the old Burlington Depot early Aug 7,1942 by train to Lincoln and then on to Fort Crook.

The Army medical tests were embarrassing for nearly everyone. We had to take off all our clothes, even shoes, and go room to room, doctor to doctor. There was one room for hearing tests, one room for weigh-ins, one room for measurements (how tall, how long your arms were, how long your legs were, normal chest measurement, chest expanded, how long your fingers were, how far around your upper arm relaxed and expanded. How long were your feet, how far around your stomach and hips, and if you had ten fingers and ten toes. (They only had one thing left to measure, but they didn't do that---then. They looked that over later.)

It was like an assembly line in a factory. You had to stand and wait between rooms til they were done with the ones ahead of you. All the time completely bare. This took at least four hours or maybe five. It was great to get your clothes on again.

We took tests and physical exams all day and those of us that passed were sworn in to the US Army just as the sun was going down. We were in the Service and drawing pay. We would have two weeks at home before going to a Reception Center. - - - - - -

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