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Although most of our WWII veterans who were stationed and trained at Camp Adair are no longer with us, there are many personal accounts of the soldiers about the time they spent at Camp Adair available in the various histories and publications of the divisions that trained at Camp Adair.  Sgt. Fred Dunham was in the 104th Infantry Division, 413 Regiment, 2nd Battalion HQ.  Here is an excerpt from his war story…

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My Participation in World War II (part 1)

by Fred Dunham

 Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 413th Infantry Regiment as printed in War Stories of WWII Written by the Soldiers of the 104th Infantry Division Timberwolves, copyright 2011,

Used with permission of the Dunham family and the Editor of War Stories, Katherine P. Clark

           “We were loaded onto buses bound for Camp Beauregard near Alexandria. We arrived on Thursday, 3 December, and by Sunday we had completed processing and were ready to ship out to our unit of assignment. We were marched down to the railhead and after some more waiting, the train pulled in and we were sent aboard. We pulled out about 9 p.m. headed for parts unknown.

          Finally on Friday, 11 December, we reached our destination. We learned that we were in Camp Adair, Oregon, about eight miles north of Corvallis. This was to be my home for the next eight months.

          Very soon after our arrival I was assigned to Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 413th Infantry. I was very fortunate to stay in the same unit for the entire war. In fact, I was also in the same platoon, and for the most part, so were the other forty or so men assigned to the anti-tank platoon of the battalion headquarters company.

          The weather along the northwestern coast of the U.S. is miserable in winter. It is very damp and rainy all the time although it is not very cold. Our basic training began on December 14, 1942.

          Since the outfit I was assigned to was a newly activated division (authorized strength of about 15,000 men), the only folks with NCO rank (corporal, sergeant, etc.) was a skeleton cadre. Each platoon had only one staff sergeant assigned, so the sergeant, corporal and private first class ranks were all up for grabs. After about two weeks I and three others were assigned as acting corporal squad leaders. I was promoted to corporal on 27 January 1943. That made me a bonafide NCO and increased my pay from $50 to $66 per month.

          After a few weeks we had become quite well acquainted with each other, and I had come to know a fellow squad leader, Elmer Etters. When he mentioned he had found a place in Corvallis for his wife to live and she would be coming to Oregon, I immediately began planning for Shirley to do likewise. She arrived on February 15, 1943. Our living arrangement was quite common during the war. It consisted of a bedroom with a common bath nearby and kitchen privileges.

          In July 1943 I was promoted to sergeant and was now being paid a whopping $84 per month. About the same time we learned that Shirley was expecting our first baby.

          In August our division moved from Camp Adair across the Cascade Mountains to the high arid desert of eastern Oregon for maneuvers. We were not to enjoy the luxury of barracks for the next three months. Initially, we were near the town of Sisters, Oregon. Since the area was very dry, water for personal hygiene was not always available in any very appreciable quantity. That’s when I learned I could shave, bathe and do a week’s washing in one helmet full of water. Our maneuvers lasted until the end of October. The last mock battle we engaged in was fought in a snow storm.”

 

Sgt Fred A. Dunham was born on 3 November 1921, Sulphur, LA.  He died 27 February 2008, Plano, TX.  He married Shirley Lorraine Miller on 14 June 1942 at Grand Chenier, LA.  He entered the U.S. Army 8 months later. After the war he continued to serve in the Louisiana National Guard retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

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Lt. Col. Fred Dunham

This excerpt was taken from the book, War Stories of WWII Written by the Soldiers of the 104th Infantry Division Timberwolves, compiled and edited by Katherine P Clark and published by the National Timberwolf Association.  This blog post was submitted by ALH Board Member, Mary Jamieson, whose father was with the 104th Infantry Division and trained at Camp Adair.  Mary is on the Board of the National Timberwolf Pups Association, a legacy group made up of descendants of the soldiers of the WWII 104th Infantry Division.  If you are interested in the book, please reach out to Mary (mejamieson@aol.com) and she will provide you with details on how to obtain the book.