Station Life

V-E Day, the climax of all our activity in the E.T.O., was first made known to personnel of the Group when a secret TWX arrived at the base on Monday morning, May 7th. COL Kieffer, the base commander, called a meeting of all personnel in front of base Headquarters at noon the same day and made the official announcement. He also announced plans for a training and recreational program to start immediately. The Chaplains offered prayers appropriate to the great occasion. The news was still not official for the civilian population, and their official V-E Day was May 8th. Individuals on the base received the news in varying manner. Some immediately betook themselves to that bottle saved for just this moment, some shot off flares and made a great deal of noise, but there were many others who just went off in some quiet corner to think. Everyone realized thoroughly that for most of us it was not victory, but the halfway mark of that long road home. It was a strange coincidence, too, that the end of hostilities came on the exact anniversary date of our first operational mission as a group.

After a two day holiday, the base swung smoothly into its new routine. Training programs started, and recreational activities were doubled. Dances for both enlisted men and officers were scheduled at least twice a month, and the athletic facilities were greatly expanded. A considerable increase of interest was shown to the information and education program, and the number of courses offered is being constantly expanded.

The announcement of point values toward discharge from the Army sent every enlisted man on the base scurrying for pencil and paper to calculate his personal total. Much to the surprise of the chronic critics, high point men began to start towards home within a matter of weeks. The officers knew that they would be retained in the Army as long as their services were necessary, but even for them there was a point system under which a lucky few would be discharged. Some of the men scheduled to go home suddenly seemed to feel that leaving the old outfit was not the unmixed joy they had always anticipated; probably never again would they be so close to so many other men, and they knew that they would miss many of their old buddies in years to come.

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