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Some 508ers Return To Civilian Life

Civilian life Beckons
G.I.'s returning home and choosing to be discharged were issued this booklet that presumably had helpful tips on how to assimilate in "normal" life.  (Click on the booklet to review pages)
Civilians Gladhand Red Devils In States
NO GRAVY TRAIN READY FOR RETURNING VETS
Welcome mats are clean, bright and shiny, you'll do more hand-shaking than a politician at an Elk's clam bake and you'll be damn glad to be backóbut don't waste your time looking for a seat on the gravy train.

This is the good word being passed out today by the first contingent of Red Devils to rejoin the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment after spending 30-days at home in the States.

"When we go home for keeps, we'll get the kind of a welcome that has made the State's famous, but that's about it," Corporal Robert Ellis of Headquarters and Headquarters Company predicted.

"Many of the civilians I talked to on the train, in New York and a few at home in Newton, Massachusetts got the idea that we are as well off as they and it's still every man for himself, war or no war," he explained.

Corporal Ellis' opinion, generally speaking, was about the same as that of the six others from the Regiment who accompanied him to the States and back again to the ETO, a trip which took about 15 weeks.

The seven Red Devils, all veterans of the Regiment's campaigns of Normandy. Holland and Belgium, were part of the first "dream" quota permitting troops 30-day furloughs at home.

All agreed that as far as their families and close personal friends were concerned things were just as good if not better than before. It was conversation with casual acquaintances _cr strangers that indicated that a war record was a swell thing to have in war time but at the same time wars don't last forever.

"What I like to remember is that I was treated like a king in Owenton, Kentucky," Corporal King S. Burke of Headquarters Company added.

 

 

Sgt. Howard H. Gouge of A Company and Tampa, Florida offered: "Our wives can't save much money the way prices are and we shouldn't expect them to meet us at the door with a bag full of dough. I bought some fresh eggs at the grocer and they cost me 83 cents. I never heard of anything tike that before in Tampa. Florida."

SSgt. Phillip Klinefelter of Company B and Siloam Springs. Arkansas, passes on this tip:

"The cigarette deal Is rough on the civilians but I found that as long as I kept my ribbons on I could usually' get my favorite brand."

1st Sgt. Roy T. Bennett of A Company and Dayton, Ohio says fellows making the trip are pleasantly surprised with the minimum of G. I. red tape encountered and the accommodations available.

T5 James E. Greenwood of the Medics from Ramah, Colorado seemed to think the boys on rotation wanted to have educational refresher courses when the war is over. "It's surprising how much we have forgotten."

Corporal James J. Murphy of H Company, who hails from Floral Park, Long Island, says the servicemen will have to compete with one another as well as civilians when it comes to getting jobs immediately after returning home. "And I'm damn sure that a Congressional Medal of Honor still needs a nickel along with it to buy a hamburger."

The Red Devils and the hundreds of ETO returnees talked it over many a night on the boat back and have reached the conclusion that the GI Bill of Rights has the best answers to the problem.

One of them pointed out:

"After the war is over, that is the thing that gives us the right to be a civilian, too."

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Hero's Welcome
was afforded this infantry soldier by a parade onlooker.
  Public emotions ran high as G.I.'s came home from the war and hugs and kisses were the mode of the day.

Homeward Bound
Harry L. Evans is on the left in this photo taken in the Greenwich Village Inn, New York City on his return trip home.  The other 3 men are unknown and are probably not 508th personnel as no jump wings are evident on their uniforms.
(courtesy of Larry Evans)

Happy Fellas
Staff Sergeant Ralph W. Nicholes [3rd from right] and fellow 508ers celebrate at Jack Dempsey's Bar and Grill in NYC
(courtesy of Nick Nicholes )

Sgt Robert Lenell (Co D) and wife Virginia get reacquainted (date and location unknown)
(courtesy of Arthur Rottier)

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