The Names Behind the Faces

Dad's photo album from his Army years.

Dad’s photo album from his Army years.

The pictures posted here and some of the ones used in my book come from my Dad’s photo album of his Army experience.  Here’s a shot of the album to give some idea of what I’m working with for this project. The scans I’ve used were done some years ago, and at that point I did not document the text written on the prints. Just this week I’ve started that process-reading what is on the pictures. It gives names to the faces and a window into my Dad’s time and who he knew and where he was. There are two sets of writing on most prints; printed names, dates and locations on the front borders and neat script on the back in my Dad’s hand. It appears that the front markings may have been added later but the script is in the first person and seems timed with the images. I believe Dad was getting his film processed on or near his station and then sending the prints home.

In the next post I will have more to share-the details as told by my Dad Pete about his buddies in the outfit. STAY TUNED!!!

With the 224th in Florida circa 1943

My dad behind the wheel of his “5×5” in the orange groves of central Florida

During the summer of 1943 the battalion lived and worked in central Florida. I’m adding words from the book and pictures from Dad’s album to give view of what the men were doing.

Pete's team putting up wire for the battery telco system

Pete’s team putting up wire for the battery telco system

Once the battalion arrived in July, they were “Placed under administrative jurisdiction of the 10th Provisional AA Group, located at Apopka, Florida; positions were taken up at Cannon Mills 30 July and in Kissimmee on 31 July. At this time plotting board personnel began training in the Synthetic Operations Room. Command procedure in new techniques were explained and practiced.”  Kissimmee is now the home of Disney World!!! My dad’s section in “C” Battery were learning by doing while setting up telephone communications for the battery. Part of this work included climbing  poles. My dad said he enjoyed the challenge, but had great respect for the possible dangers of that job.

Each battery had a telephone system with a simple switchboard. The crew manned the board by turn to keep the battery communications running.

Check back soon for more pictures and history!

Running wire included climbing poles. That's my dad Pete at left

Running wire included climbing poles. That’s my dad Pete at left

More 224th History

C. Daniel’s WWII Page…Check it Out!!!

Visit this page for cool WWII images and history!

Visit this page for cool WWII images and history!

Some time ago I was doing a search for anything new on-line about the 224th…when I came across the page; “Louis M. Stark and the 224th Anti Aircraft Artillery Searchlight Battalion.”   That page led me to the C.E.Daniel Collection Page with much great info about WWII.

The page owner, C. Daniel recently read my book and said this; ” I received your book in the mail yesterday.  Spent last night reading it.  That is truly an outstanding piece of work, certainly something the men of the unit would have been very proud of.  I think it came out terrific!  Well done sir…” 

If you go to the Stark page and scroll down you will see his link to this page. A big THANKS!!! to C.

Fact Sheet About the Battalion

I’ve started collecting facts about the 224th from the records I have. So far they are fairly simple, but give some definition to the outline of the battalion. As I gather more information I will add them here.

Activated on January 20, 1943 at Ft. Bliss, Texas
Strength as of December 31, 1943
Officers- 29
HQ/SQ Battery-109
“A” Battery-231
“B” Battery-250
“C” Battery-241
Total-           860

A section from "C" Battery take a break from camp construction on New Guinea

A section from “C” Battery take a break from camp construction on New Guinea

Stationed at;
Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics (AAFSAT) at Orlando, Florida
Camp Stoneman, California
Milne Bay, New Guinea
Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA) Training and Rehabilitation Center, Luna, Northern Luzon, Philippine Islands (P.I.)
Lipa, Batanga Province, P.I.

On This Date in 1943…

Bound for Florida from sTexaa

Bound for Florida from Texas

The 224th shipped from Fort Bliss by train to Orlando, Florida. They were stationed at the Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics(AAFSAT).  The outfit traveled in two trains and spent four days en route.  Upon arrival, the first week was devoted to basic training instruction in the newly-developed fighter-searchlight tactics.

My dad, and enlisted man in the battalion remembered “Orlando was a small farm community surrounded by orange groves.”

Stay tuned for more history of the 224th!