Eventually I’m on a troop train. It stopped at Ogden, Utah. People swarm around the car. They smile, wave, and make me feel good. On November 1, 1945, I was discharged as a Technical Sergeant at Ft. Logan, Colorado in Denver. I call my parents in Minatare. They drive to Denver and Dick is with them. I eat fresh food, drink real milk again, taste ice cream, have a drink. Forget the menu, it’s a la carte for me. I’m alive. The Lord said, “This war was not the time for you to come to me”.-Harold Moss
Harold always enjoyed writing about his experiences from the war. Years after returning, he sat down and wrote about stories from his military career. These stories take a closer look through Harold’s eyes.
- Mercy or Mission – June 1944
- Beach Mission Preparing for the Mindoro Invasion – December 1944
- Easter Mourning – 1 April 1945
My first thoughts on returning stateside after the war:
- I have a real bed—the first time in four years!
- I could eat as much as I wanted. You don’t know what it’s like to have no food. A doctor ordered men to kill nearby cattle while we were in the Pacific campaign, so they could feed the troops.
- Many returning soldiers expressed my anxiety about getting back into American civilian life again.
- I worked with black men who were tremendous friends in wartime. It saddens me that when these men returned to the southern states such as Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, that they had to sit at the back of the bus and become second class citizens.
- One of the greatest outcomes from World War II and especially for me, was the passage of the GI Bill of Rights. It permitted soldiers to go back to school after the war. I was able to return to the University of Nebraska and complete a degree in journalism, Class of 1948. This bill was truly the greatest ‘after-the-war’ reward.
- Returning soldiers still were jumpy at loud noises, some even jumping under cars at loud airplane noise.
- Many returning soldiers blocked out the bad war memories, remembering only the good times. Our lives were marked by ‘before’ and ‘after’ the war. We repressed as many war memories as possible. I never spoke to my wife of the terror I experienced. It wasn’t until 50 years later when recounting some war events for this book, did flashbacks cause my eyes to fill frequently with tears.
- The war was made tolerable by the ability to see my brother Dick, several hometown friends and former college roommates.
- Felt good to get a regular paycheck again. In 1944, we were only paid three times.
- The perpetual hope of going home finally became a reality after four years, at the end of the war. Since our unit was one of the oldest units in the Pacific, our hopes of being rotated out early never materialized.-Harold Moss
Enlisted Personnel at the End of War
Harold’s letters tell a vivid story of his life during WWII, but there are also many artifacts that survived along with the letters that help shape the complete story. One such item is a list of enlisted personnel at the end of the war serving the 225TH Field Arty Battalion, HQ. Battery. These were the men that served next to Harold and have similar stories to tell. The list has hometowns of all the men showing the diverse background of the men.