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Gordon, Claude McCoy, Jr. (Second World War correspondence)
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box WWII 66, folder 1-6

Series 1, Correspondence from Claude Gordon, Jr. to Jessie McBrayer Gordon 1942 - 1946

Creator: Gordon, Claude McCoy, Jr.
Physical Description: .4 Linear Feet
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains approximately 230 correspondence from CPT Claude M. Gordon, Jr. to Jessie McBrayer Gordon during his service in the Second World War. The series contains handwritten letters and postcards. A few months into their correspondence, he begins to address her as "Jay." The correspondence begins before they were married October 7, 1944. -- The earliest letter is Dec. 1942, before he joined the Army. Writing about his engineering job in Washington, D.C. he says "From all appearances I'll be here until my draft board decides I'm not valuable enough in engineering work to keep me out of the Army..." and "I've been dating Becky's roommate at Walter Reed...she is very nice..." -- April 1944 - From Camp Murphy, Florida, having just left Oklahoma -"tonite one week ago was one of the happiest evenings that I've had in almost two years - I think you could tell that." He writes about the camp facilities and weather, "This land of sunshine and honey is fast coming to a steady boil." He writes how he looks forward to her letters "That year of silence was too much for me." He writes about training exercises, classwork, rifle marksmanship, news of mutual friends, speculation about his next assignment, plans to meet in Nashville when he has leave. He flirts with and teases her. Aug. 26, 1944 he writes after they've had five days together in Nashville, he tells her about his new assignment in Philadelphia in "airways communication" at the Plant Engineering Agency. Sept. 9 he writes about the challenges to their getting married - finding housing in Philadephia, the uncertainty of his time in the States or overseas, difficulty of their parents traveling for the wedding ... "I picked out your ring ... If we can be married now...let's do it with the least possible delay because every day counts." Subsequent letters discuss wedding and apartment furnishing plans. They are married in October and lived together in Philadelphia so correspondence stops until December 1944 when he is headed to San Francisco, CA. He sends postcards along the route then resumes letter writing in early January 1945. There are few envelopes in the collection and letters are sparsely dated. He starts dating and numbering letters - a January 20 letter is numbered #20. He writes about entertainments in San Francisco like plays and movies, dining out, about purchasing jade, phone calls to Jessie, her letters, news of family and friends, getting ready to ship out, waiting for their equipment to arrive from Philadelphia. On January 29, 1945 he writes from "Aboardship in the Pacific" decribing food and activities. He writes about washing and shaving with salt water, the fluorescence of the ocean, flying fish, initiation upon crossing the equator, the strength of the equatorial sun, crossing the international dateline, spectacular sunsets, doing laundry in a rain squall to take advantage of having fresh water. Feb. 27 he writes he's finally on land in the Philippines, tells of fixing up their camp, wiring telephone lines, waiting to be assigned to a project. April 6, 1945 - "The biggist topic of conversation here today is the report that Russia has renounced its treaty with Japan. Now if they'll just declare war, give us air bases and share in their Siberian armies, things will be over in this theatre much sooner." April 10 - he writes of a reunion with his cousin Jack Pinkerton. ..."You needn't worry about me here, Cutie Pie, for I'm just as safe here as in Tulsa... Anyway, a Jap couldn't hit me - I'm to skinny." April 12 - "Before arriving (in Manila) I heard tales of the awful destruction of done to the city, but reality was even more gruesome. There isn't a single building in the downtown are left whole." He writes of getting a promotion and of a new assignment as Supply and Transportation Officer as well as his radio installation duties, and later of being made Officer in Charge of one of the installations he is setting up. May 27 - "Tom and I cooled our beers tonight by putting them in a helmet full of gasoline and bubbling compressed air through it - crude but effective." He writes of speculation about when the war with Japan will end. June 7 - "...the regulations have just been relaxed so I can finally tell you I am in the suburbs of Manila." He shares daydreams about coming home, having children, furnishing their home. July 3 - writes he has a new job as weather liaison. July 14 - he writes of detailed plans to attend Harvard for business school after the war. July 22 - "There certainly has been a lot of speculation during the last few days concerning possibility of Japan's surrender... I've an idea that terms have been presented and if refused, Russia will enter the war." July 30 - "Don't forget though that I'll probably be over here several months after the war really is over awaiting transportation. Surely they will send the combat troops home first..." -- August 7 - on their 10 month anniversary - "Being married to you makes everything so bright and cheerful - life was never so worth living before you became mine." August 9 - "The news of the past two days has us as much agog as you all must be at home. The atomic bomb came as such a welcome and yet unbelievable surprise that everyone has been hanging on to the radio reports." August 20 - "The Jap emissaries arrived last night and were immediately taken into confrence by MacArthuer's staff, but as yet he hasn't met with them to settle the peace terms. We all are pleased with the manner in which MacArthur is making them come to him for the negotiations ... I'm praying our nation will forever keep a mighty close watch on them. Another world war might easily be the end of civilization as we know it." His Sept. 5 letter has the dateline/location as "Destination Tokyo" and notes the lifting of censorship. Sept. 14 he is writing from Yokohama, Japan. He describes his ship's arrival in Tokyo harbor, most of the city destroyed. He marvels at how well the Japanese radio equipment near Yokohoma survived and writes his job is job to restore radio communications for American and allied use. "...the schedule has speeded up, if anything - speed of installation being the keynote. Sept. 21 - he writes of observing his birthday at 25 yrs. "My best hope of coming home anytime soon is that we'll be sent home when our work is done." He describes his living quarters as he moves around to repair or set up radio receivers and transmitters in the country. On their anniversary date, Oct. 7, he writes a romantic recalling of their wedding day and night. He meets some Japanese farmers and children and shares his conflicted feelings about "the Japs." He writes of the slow rate at which soldiers are getting transportation back to the States in spite of their qualifying points. Nov. 25 - He writes of being relocated to Tokyo and of friends who are leaving for home. "Lordy, the rest of us are so damn frustrated that we can't stand it." He writes of his responsibilites in setting up control towers at air strips. Christmas Eve, 1945 - He describes festivities, such as they are, in Tokyo headquarters. Jan. 20, 1946 he writes from the hospital where he is being treated because " the upper tip of my left lung is very slightly collapsed, probably as a reult of this fluid in my pleural cavity." He is encouraged because his illness may speed his discharge and return to the U.S. and on Jan. 26 he writes "We're in, Sweetheart, - I'm to be sent home for any necessary treatment...I'm just awaiting transportation." On Jan. 30 he writes he is aboard the hospital ship "Comfort" and of the expected stops to pick up patients in Nagoya, Japan and in Korea and Okinawa before heading to California - "The morning of 5 March should see us slipping under the old Golden Gate." He writes enroute from Yokahama, Nagoya, and Okinawa. March 5 -"Frisco!!!!...My heart did all sorts of flip-flops while I waited with the phone in my hand this evening, and when I heard your voice, it turned right over." March 13 he writes from WBGH, Ward 25A (William Beaumont General Hospital, Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas) and discusses plans for them to get together "I'm doing fine and you know doggone well that I'll send for you as soon as possible." Two days later he writes "I hope this just barely reaches you before you hop on the train... I thank God that you'll be at my side very soon now. Goodnight, Sweetheart - you'll soon be here." Subsequent letters written from the hospital discuss travel in Texas and New Mexico for various employment interviews and of employment applications with telephone companies, American Airlines, General Electric and Westinghouse. He writes of anticipated meetings with the Army disposition and retirement boards. His last letter is written April/May 1946 from Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio where he is to process out. "..approximately at 1430 Tuesday I should be a civilian. Oh joy!"

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Correspondence -- World War, 1939-1945
World War (1939-1945)
World War (1939-1945) -- Philippines.
World War (1939-1945) -- Pacific Area
World War (1939-1945) -- Japan
box WWII 66, folder 7

Series 2, Biographical information

Physical Description: .1 Linear Feet
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains an undated copy of a biographical essay titled "Meet Claude Gordon," a copy of an obituary for Claude McCoy Gordon, Jr. from the Washington Post, a copy of Gordon's Honorable Discharge document dated April 1, 1953, and an original 2012 Certificate of Death for Gordon from the State of Maryland.