Thursday, May 30, 2013

Life In Nashville During World War II


  As a child I heard stories about life in Nashville during World War II. I loved these stories because it sounded like a time that I would have liked to have experienced. It made me proud to be an American because everyone pulled together and supported each other. I was especially proud of my family because my grandmother told me how she opened her home to soldiers, sailors, and airmen. How the family gave them a place to live at times and how she fed them. I believe this because of all the times I saw her feed hungry people that came to her back door.

As a student of history I know that Middle Tennessee was important militarily to the war effort. Nashville's Berry Field and Smyrna's Sewart AFB trained bomber crews for the Army Air Force. Vultee aircraft plant built military aircraft which later became known as AVCO. My grandmother talked about all the convoys that passed through town on a regular basis. Just before the war and throughout the Army prepared troops going to the European theater by training them in Tennessee because our woods and terrain was very similar to Western Europe. When I trained in the woods of Germany, Belgium and England I could easily imagine that I was back home in Tennessee.

  Hunting for Civil War relics I found many World War II relics like M-1 cartridges, but the best find was an Army Signal Corps ring. My brother-in-law found a mess kit dated October 1941 and the name Private Dabbs etched on the bottom. George S. Patton trained his men in tank warfare through places like Bell Buckle and Murfreesboro on his way to later fame on the battlefields of North Africa and Europe. There were many prisoner of war camps throughout the South like Camp Forrest in Tullahoma which is now Arnold AFB. Then there was Camp Campbell as they called it then. The 101st Airborne was not there then. They wouldn't be there until the 1950's.

  Young girls dated these men and would later marry many of them. My mother, and her sisters "Tincy" and "Didi" dated them, especially Didi. I laughed when I saw all of the pictures she had of her boyfriends in uniform after she died and she always talked about them when she was alive. The funniest one was of an Airman named Nick Caravello who was obviously a Northerner. She wrote on the back of the picture " the sweetest little yankee in all the world. And what a yankee!!

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