143rd AAA Gun Battalion - Page 10
Shortly after this time, the remainder of the men moved to Camp Irwin where they set up in the Camp proper and awaited the return of the bulk of the men on the 25th of May.
Here we found that we had still more tests, and more inspections to make sure that we were ready for a theatre of operations. Remember the overnight medical proficiency test that was made in the face of a twenty-five mile wind and under supposedly simulated malarial conditions.
And then there was more field artillery firing to comply with directives issued by the Antiaircraft Command, applicable to our own Unit. With this completed, we had only the Army Ground Force test which we completed and were thus made available by the War Department for immediate movement overseas.
On the 19th of June, we returned to Camp Haan for the final packing, inspection of equipment and the completion of records for our trip across the country and overseas.
On the 10th of July, 1944, our Battalion Anniversary Dance was held at Pasadena in the City Auditorium. This was our last dance in the United States.
Finally on July 15th, we marched to the station under full field pack, passed AAATC Headquarters and waved good-bye for the last time.
We had a feeling of regret when leaving California which had played host to us for nearly a year. Then, there was that feeling of uncertainty as to our future destination and the fortunes of war.
The trip across the country to Camp Shanks, the NYPOE staging area, was rather interesting; the Royal Gorge, the mountains of the West, the corn and then how much better Ohio or West Virginia was than California.
Remember the periodic limbering-up exercises as the train stopped for water and provisions. Finally, at Camp Shanks there was a repetition of inspection of equipment and final checking of our packing and records, prior to embarkation.
Here too, the Battalion received, a final physical check, and everyone passed, at a trot.
On the 22nd of July we were alerted and by the 25th, all the Battalion was safely aboard the HMS Highland Brigade, to the accompaniment of the GI Band playing the "GI Jive", and the Red Cross girls with their coffee and doughnuts.
The 14 day trip was a masterpiece of monotony.
For meals it was either fish or mutton - mutton or fish.