Commentary, Military Postcards

Gory, Gory, what a Hell of a… National Airborne Day

Curtiss : C-46 : Commando

In honor of National Airborne Day, here’s a bit of dark paratrooper humor.

Presumably intended to instill proper respect for the grim dangers of jump school, Blood on the Risers has been sung by U.S. Army Airborne trainees since WWII and follows the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Have a listen.

Blood on the Risers

He was just a rookie trooper and he surely shook with fright,

He checked all his equipment and made sure his pack was tight;

He had to sit and listen to those awful engines roar,

“You ain’t gonna jump no more!”

(CHORUS)

Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,

Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,

Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,

He ain’t gonna jump no more!

“Is everybody happy?” cried the Sergeant looking up,

Our Hero feebly answered “Yes,” and then they stood him up;

He jumped into the icy blast, his static line unhooked,

And he ain’t gonna jump no more.

Continue reading “Gory, Gory, what a Hell of a… National Airborne Day”

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Commentary, United States

Following Buddy Marress, WWII G.I.

I was excited to find Buddy’s postcards because of the longer story they reveal.

Buddy was born in 1918. His enlistment record indicates that he worked in the education field and had completed 3 years of college. (I don’t often try to look up the names on my postcards, but since I had so much information, in this case I gave it a shot.)

Postcard Timeline

Enlisted: May 23, 1942 – Fort Oglethorpe, GA (age 23, unmarried at time of enlistment)

Source: National Archives Enlistment Record

Date Sent from Current Unit/Base Rank Recipient Name Recipient location
26-Aug-42 Salt Lake City, Utah Army Air Base, Salt Lake Pvt Gladys Bell Lobelville, Tn
5-Apr-43 St Louis, Missouri 21st Sqd. Topeka, Ks ? Mrs. E Bell Lobelville, Tn
29-Aug-43 Topeka, Kansas 21st Sqd. Topeka, Ks Sgt Mrs. L. H. Marress Lobelville, Tn
13-Sep-43 Topeka, Kansas 21st Sqd. Topeka, Ks ? Mrs. L. H. Marress Lobelville, Tn
9-Apr-44 Topeka, Kansas 25th Adr’m Sq. (S) Cpl. Gladys Marress Linden, Tn

It seems that Miss Gladys Bell became Mrs. Marress during the summer of 1943.

Buddy Marress’s wife is buried in Perry County Tennessee: Marress, Gladys Bell, Apr. 1916-Dec. 9, 1989, “Wife of Loyd Marress”

bonds-topeka-army-airfield
Topeka Army Airfield http://9thbombgroup.org/99th-BS-files/war-bonds/they-bought-bonds.html

 

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Commentary

Remembering on Memorial Day 2017

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I have a special passion for finding military postcards because they hit home for me, personally. Many of my immediate family members have served in the military, and I have lived overseas myself. These messages provide a fascinating peek into the daily lives of service members, and I will continue to post more military postcards from my collection in the coming months.

Lost Greetings Military Postcards, to date

World War I

Another view of the Castle [1919 – Marseilles, France]

The Great War [1919, France]

World War II

Postcards sent by Sgt Buddy Marress [Series of 5]

And the war is over. [1945, PA]

1950s

Nice spot in the Azores [1953, Portugal]

U.S. Troops Surrounded by Holiday Mail During WWII

“U.S. troops almost buried by parcels do their best to handle that year’s holiday mail.”


Memorial Day Remains Relevant

American service members from every generation have fallen, from the Revolutionary War through the present. These are the members of the military who we have lost so far in 2017.

Link: 2017 Fallen (Military Times)

Please remember them and their families. In the U.S., Memorial Day honors those who have paid the utmost price for the freedom of others. I hope that you take a moment to honor those who did not come home and those who loved them.

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Commentary, Postal History

Is National Air Mail Week still a thing?

It seems that the “National –insert cause here– Week” concept has been around for much longer than I thought.

At its introduction, one had to pay a premium for air mail service (24 cents) compared to regular first-class mail (3 cents). With the serious occupational hazards the first air mail pilots endured, I think the price was justified.

According to Edward A. Keogh, 1927, the earliest Air Mail service in the United States carried many more postcards than other type of mail, by a landslide, though the dates over which this tally was amassed is unclear.

Postcards 32,415 87%
Letters 3,993 11%
Circulars 1,062 3%
Total 37470

Though postcards are becoming rarer, we are now more dependent on air transport of mail than ever. How could we get our online purchases “over-nighted” without our packages continuing to take to the sky?


 

Side note: Philately is far too competitive for my taste, but I recently learned more about the famous “Inverted Jenny” stamp, the holy grail of stamp collectors valued at about $1 million. The stamp came about because of the rush to produce the 24 cent air mail postage. I much prefer the humanity that is revealed on vintage send postcards, but it’s also a hobby that’s much easier on the wallet than stamp collecting.