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FDR's "New Deal" Civilian Conservation Corps Prep for WWII?

Discussion in 'Military Training, Doctrine, and Planning' started by OSCSSW, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. OSCSSW

    OSCSSW Member

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    The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was the brainchild of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. CCC had two stated purposes: to provide outdoor employment to Depression-idled young men and to accomplish badly needed work in the protection, improvement, and development of the country’s natural resources. Camps housing 200 men each were established in every state: 1,468 in September 1933, 2,635 in September 1935.

    In 1939 Congress ended the independent status of the CCC. About 5,000 Reserve officers for the camps were affected, transferred to Civil Service and military ranks and titles were eliminated. Despite this loss of an obvious military leadership in the camps by July 1940, with war in Europe and Asia, an increasing number of CCC projects focused on resources for national defense, developing infrastructure for military training facilities and forest protection. By 1940 the CCC was no longer wholly a relief agency, rapidly losing its non-military character, and becoming a system for work-training as its ranks had become increasingly younger, with life-inexperienced enrollees.

    In my Opinion given 2.5 million young men participating in the CCC, the US Army's experience in managing such large numbers and the paramilitary discipline learned by CCC provided invaluable preparation for the massive call-up of civilians in World War II.

    Two questions for your consuideration:

    1. At what point in the development of the CCC, if ever, did FDR's well documented belief we would eventually have
    to defeat Fascism, (which was well established in Italy and Japan and would soon control Germany) materially effect the program?

    2. Was the CCC of material advantage to the US WWII war effort.


    In my opinion question one is debatable but question two is a fact.

    As always I would appfre3ciate your thoughts.
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Well if it is a question it can hardly be a fact but indeed the answer to the question is a rather emphatic yes. As for 1 that's an area I don't know enough about to even hazard a guess.
     
  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Advantage? I would disagree that it was an advantage in that other countries had similar organizations that had the same effect on their war readiness. Now, that does not say that it did not aid the US preparations for war by allowing its members to learn to handle groups of men.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'm thinking tenuous connection off the top of my head. How many men in a camp? How many camps under one command? Logistics, logistics, logistics.
     
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  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    How would it not be an advantage? Having experiance mobilizing that many men in a short time period? It's irrelevant whether other countries had the ssimilar organizations IMO. The US military mobilization would not have gone nearly as smoothly as it did without the CCC so it was clearly and advantage in the US's mobilization.

    Now whether or not it gave the US more of an advantage than the similar organizatoins by other countries is an open question. I'd have to know a lot more about them than I do now.
     
  6. 36thID

    36thID Member

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    When Roosevelt transferred the CCC to the Federal Security Agency in April 1939, he saw potential military troops. It would be a natural progression of the CCC concept. I know it worked for my family. 4 out of 5 uncles went directly from the CCC to the military.
     
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    A benefit, yes, but not necessarily an advantage.

    To me, an advantage would consist of something that the other side does not have. The other side certainly had the same benefit, so I don't see that it was an "advantage."
     
  8. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    And that right there is million dollar answer. The CCC, WPA, TVA, CVA, REP....etc..etc. All of these programs built infastructure: Roads, dams, health, irrigation, which all lead to a stronger infastructure and an increased logistical network ie Getting products and people from point A to point B and supporting them once they got there.
    The incentives given to industry helped ramp up production and provide skilled labor wich benifitted the war effort.

    There were several programs in the "New Deal" wich bore a striking resembelance to those taking place in Germany during the same time period, although the german programs had a much more menacing agenda.
     
  9. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    On the Civilian conservation. From 1933 to 1942, over three million young men between the ages of 17 and 23 enrolled in the CCC, the thing which is interesting here is that it was run in a completely "military fashion", and overseen by George C. Marshall. These young men would be housed in military style barracks, trained in a military fashion for application to their jobs, fed in military fashion mess halls, and learned to work together as they would if they were in the armed services.

    He also made an "exception" for the ageing WW1 vets who had been in the "bonus march", and allowed them to enlist into the CCC as well. One of the cutest quotes in the program was when a bonus marcher mentioned that when they protested to Hoover, he sent MacArthur and the Army, when they protested to FDR, he gave them a job and sent his wife to serve them coffee.

    I’m bringing this up as I just watched the PBS documentary on the CCC the other day, and it made me reconsider just how great a pool of "service ready" young men this had made for America to draw upon after Dec. 7th, 1941.

    With projects in every U.S. state and territory, "Roosevelt’s Tree Army" lived in camps under quasi-military discipline, and received a wage of $30 per month, $25 of which they were required to send home to their families. Typically, boys rose early for breakfast in the canteen before heading off for eight hours of manual labor. Lunch was often brought out to the work site. In the evenings ninety percent of enrollees took advantage of classes offered in subjects from literature to welding — courses which, over nine years, taught 40,000 illiterate men to read and write.

    After planting 3 billion trees in nine years of service, the CCC dissolved in July of 1942. As the economy began to improve in the late 1930s, young men found higher-paying jobs at home, and the number of CCC camps across the country dwindled. President Roosevelt’s attempt at turning it into a permanent agency failed. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor and subsequent U.S. involvement in World War II, the CCC’s funding and assets were diverted as the nation’s focus shifted toward the war effort.

    See:

    WGBH American Experience - The Civilian Conservation Corps Introduction

    To watch the program, Goto:

    WGBH American Experience - The Civilian Conservation Corps

    It struck me as I watched and thought about this CCC program just how far-reaching its effects were and are. Preparing our pool of young men for military service, and contributing to our nation's well being in more ways than one.
     
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  10. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    As my father described it, he served in the CCC until one day when for the "benefit of the government"(stated in his CCC discharge) he was discharged from the CCC to enable his draft into the Army. Having performed as a farm worker in an area with subsistence farming only until joining the CCC, his food was poor until he was able to get the regular meals of the CCC and a small amount of pay thus increasing his health over the depression diets, he felt he benefited by both the CCC service and eventually his service in the Army. At least those in the CCC were fed regular meals increasing their health for service in the military. As you may know, many soldiers that wanted to enlist were woefully short in their diets to the point they could not qualify at local enlistment centers for military service. This was not the case for him after his time in the CCC. He also felt that the daily requirements of regular work were excellent opportunity to learn to follow instructions and tasks required every day.

    I think in the Southwest, people are more aware of our woefully short availability of troops when the initial need hit for more soldiers after the attack in the Philipines. WhY? Because the first efforts at war were in our over extension in the early parts of the war at such places as Bataan. We lost heavily in numbers of troops and in suffering and this was experienced by the troops from New Mexico, Texas and maybe a few other parts of the South. This was the only area that had troops in numbers that could support a war effort, so our local populations remember well what was suffered at that time. My dad felt he was very fortunate that his CCC service was not complete in time for the first wave of troops that were gathered that were many of his friends from his area. By the time his Army training was complete, this part of the war had failed and other things were being planned and executed.
     
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  11. OSCSSW

    OSCSSW Member

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    double post
     
  12. OSCSSW

    OSCSSW Member

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    "Yup OpanaPointer "Amateurs talk tactics but professsionals talk logictics" old US Army adage.

    I would not be surprised if Rome's centurians had a very similar saying---)))

    I think you will enjoy this article. I "redacted" a lot of non logistical fluff so it might read a bit disjointed which is my fault
    not Major Porter's..

    The Enchanted Forest
    By MAJOR JOHN A PORTER, Q.M.C.
    The Quartermaster Review March-April 1934

    Army Quartermaster support to the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression
    Webmasters note: The Quartermaster Corps’ role in this great endeavor was to supply on short notice a hastily mobilized "army" of domestic workers, a force almost three times that of the Regular Army, with food, clothing, equipment, and shelter, and transportation. The Quartermaster Corps rose to the challenge, and more importantly, used the CCC experience to ready itself for an even greater challenge – World War II.

    It was soon realized that no government department other than the Army had the necessary qualified personnel or facilities for the handling, supply, transportation and welfare of this vast number of young Americans. Consequently the task of the Army was almost immediately extended to the establishment of work camps and to the administration, medical care, feeding. supplying and welfare during the entire period of service. This tremendous task, which the War Department decentralized to the various Army agencies at the very beginning, was carried out in the most expeditious manner as is illustrated by the fact that within seven weeks after the approval of the Army's operational plan the assembly of the Civilian Conservation Corps had been completed to 1,315 camps located in every state from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Canadian to the Mexican border.

    The needs of this large force of government civil workers for all types of equipment has been foreseen and promptly furnished. In spite of the necessity for haste in getting these men to work camps the enormous quantities of articles required for equipping, feeding and supplying were procured at a minimum cost and in a most expeditious manner With few exceptions, each camp comprised 2 regular officers, 1 reserve officer and 4 enlisted men of the Regular Army and about 200 men of the Civilian Conservation Corps. At the peak during the month of July there were 1,450 camps in operation. Although administered by military personnel, the members of the Civilian Conservation Corps constitute a purely civil organization. The officers have nodefinite authority to compel individual obedience to regulations or orders for the good of the organization as a whole; nevertheless it is amazing what has been accomplished under the leadership of officers of the Army. Disciplinary troubles have been insignificant, which is due entirely to the high class of leadership displayed by the officers in administering, equipping, supplying and handling these men who have shown a remarkable attitude of cooperation with their company officers.

    The Quartermaster Corps of the Army has played a most important role in the success of the Civilian Conservation Corps as it is upon this splendid organization that the tremendous task of equipping, transporting, supplying and feeding the large army of civil workers was placed. At the outset The Quartermaster General, his assistants and his field representatives made extensive and detailed plans for the problem confronting them. These plans were based on the assumption that the Army would necessarily be called upon to provide food, clothing, shelter and transportation for the large number of men who were to be enrolled in this civil organization of government workers. The Quartermaster Corps being the Army agency responsible for handling these essentials, the task naturally fell to this organization which, by the way, is the oldest branch of the Army (Webmaster’s note; the Quartermaster Corps is one of several branches organized on that day, the Infantry has the claim to being the oldest branch being formed on 14 June 1775) having been organized at Carpenters' hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 16, 1775, just two years prior to the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as our national emblem. In addition to equipping, supplying and transporting the corps to work camps, it has naturally fallen to the Quartermaster Corps to continue the task of furnishing supplies for these work camps and of feeding the members thereof, many camps being at isolated points in remote sections of the country. Many are located so far from transportation facilities as to make necessary the use of lumbering and pack trains for the transportation of food and supplies, this being particularly true at camps in the 9th Corps Area.

    After departure from reconditioning camps and while at work camps, ration credits based upon the Army ration were set up by district commanders for each camp. These credits were established by taking the cost price of each ration component delivered at each camp, thereby setting up a credit for each Civilian Conservation Corps mess against which the camp mess officer procured his staple food articles such as canned goods, flour, cereals, etc., which were shipped to him from Army quartermaster corps depots and from sub-depots located at Army posts. Camp mess officers purchase their perishable food supplies, which include fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, beef, pork, chicken, bacon, eggs, milk, etc., from farmers and local dealers in the vicinity of the camps. During the first few weeks a few complaints were made as to insufficiency of food served and upon investigation it was found that these men, who were undernourished, were consuming unheard of quantities of food. One camp commander reported that his cooks had broiled 300 pounds of beef steak for dinner for two hundred men and that it became necessary to broil an additional 50 pounds to satisfy their keen appetites. At this same meal three vegetables, one fruit; pie, bread, butter and coffee were also served. As soon as the men became properly nourished the regular food supply proved entirely adequate and most satisfactory, as is illustrated by a survey made by the Medical Department of the Army, in which it is shown that the average gain in weight of these men after two months' service is over twelve (12) pounds per man.

    Originally all cooks for the Civilian Conservation Corps were supplied from enlisted men of the Regular Army, practically all of whom were graduates of the Army Bakers and Cooks Schools, from which sources all cooks for the Regular Army originate

    Quartermaster Corps issued two classes, namely initial equipment and maintenance equipment. The initial equipment is that necessary to equip each man with the authorized allowance, and the maintenance equipment is that necessary to furnish the individuals and organizations with replacements for that worn out and consumed in the service. The initial equipment of clothing for each member of the Civilian Conservation Corps included three suits of underwear, six pairs of stockings, one pair of shoes, two pairs of denim trousers and jumpers, one pair of woolen trousers, two flannel shirts, one tie, one waist belt, one hat, one raincoat, and where and when necessary, one overcoat and one pair of gloves. In addition each man is supplied with a mess outfit, a toilet set, a barrack bag and two blankets. Organizations were supplied with tents, cots, mattresses, pillows, bed linen, wash basins, cooking ranges with equipment, water sterilizing sets, trash and garbage cans, lanterns, brooms, typewriters and numerous other items of equipment. After the initial equipment was furnished it immediately became necessary to provide for the maintenance equipment. It was realized that the clothing issued would be subject to hard wear in the forests and that many articles would have to be replaced within a few months, or at least once during the first six months' period. This necessitated taking immediate steps to procure replacements for these items. The cost of clothing furnished the Civilian Conservation Corps up to September 30, 1933, approximates $10,292,611.69,and the cost of equipment and miscellaneous supplies approximates $5,522,788.06, or a total cost of $15,815,399.75 for clothing and miscellaneous supplies and equipment, all of which went to American manufacturing industries. The expenditures by the Government have undoubtedly contributed much towards the recovery of these industries.

    The problem of supplying winter clothing to the camps during the second period presented another problem to the Quartermaster Corps, as it meant going into the market for large quantities of special types of winter clothing and equipment suitable for the welfare and comfort of the members of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the winter months. To provide these men with winter clothing has necessitated the purchase of the following articles:
    300,000 winter caps
    300,000 lumber jackets or windbreakers
    300,000 felt jerkins
    300,000 pairs arctic overshoes
    300,000 comforters
    600,000 mattress covers
    300,000 mattresses
    1,200,000 sheets

    at an approximate total cost of $6,720,000, or $22.40 per man. This purchase has contributed much toward the revival of the clothing industry of the country and has indirectly given employment to thousands of textile workers at a time when it was severely needed.

    The question of providing shelter for the summer camps was largely a matter of furnishing pyramidal tents, with necessary poles and pins, for some 1,300 camps. However, this was not as simple as it might seem, since this great number of men required approximately 36,000 of these tents for housing alone, two-thirds of which had to be manufactured after the enrollment commenced. In addition to tentage required for shelter, thousands of storage and other tents were necessary for storage of supplies and equipment.

    The problem of providing shelter for winter camps has been a real one as it became necessary to construct wooden-built houses for over 250,000 men before winter set in. Fifty thousand men are continuing to live in tent camps, all of which are located in the southern part of the country where climatic conditions are less severe. Each house camp is to have seven or eight wooden buildings housing approximately 50 men each. The order placed for lumber for construction of these camps was one of the largest single orders ever placed for that material in the history of the country, and it gave an active stimulus to the lumber industry in which over a million men are normally employed. The construction of these houses furnished jobs for twenty-five or thirty thousand skilled laborers, all of which went to carpenters and other mechanics in the vicinity of the camps. A market was also furnished for other construction materials consisting of thousands of rolls of roofing, much sheeting, hardware, piping, cement and electric lighting fixtures and supplies. The cost of construction of 1,218 camps is approximately $19,000,000.00, or $16,000.00 per camp. For the heating of these buildings there have been purchased 30,855 heating stoves, both coal and wood burning types, at a total cost of $484,672.16, or approximately $1.64 per man. In addition 4,437 cooking ranges have been purchased and supplied to winter camps at an approximate cost of $302,646.89, or about $1.00 per man. There have also been purchased 16,227 fire extinguishers of the soda and acid, foam, and carbon tetrachloride types, at a cost of $121,502.07.

    In the transportation of supplies and equipment from reconditioning camps into work camps and National and State forests and National parks, use was made of both rail and highway transport in every section of the country, although, due to the numbers involved and the distances traveled, the great bulk of both men and supplies moved by rail. Although approximately 600,000 men were involved in the two enrollments, due to the fact that those men are transported from their place of enrollment to an Army post for reconditioning and equipment, from these posts to work camps, and, on discharge, from the work camps direct to their homes or, in some cases, back to a discharge center and then to their homes, considerably over 1,000,000 journeys have been performed by these men since the first enrollment of the Civilian Conservation Corps began early last April. Like the World War draft, they came from every city, town and hamlet in the, United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from Canada the Mexican Border.
    The total expenditure for transportation, up to and including November 30, 1933, is as follows:
    [TABLE="class: MsoNormalTable, width: 100%"]
    [TR]
    [TD="width: 50%, bgcolor: transparent"]Passenger transportation
    [/TD]
    [TD="width: 50%, bgcolor: transparent"]$9,173,847.84
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="width: 50%, bgcolor: transparent"]Freight transportation
    [/TD]
    [TD="width: 50%, bgcolor: transparent"]$3,433,520.28
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="width: 50%, bgcolor: transparent"]Total
    [/TD]
    [TD="width: 50%, bgcolor: transparent"]$12,607,368.12
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
     
  13. OSCSSW

    OSCSSW Member

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    Victor have you seen this article? It supports your last para.
    My first shipboard Chief was an RM3 on one of the Yangtse Reiver gunboats that made it to the PI in November of 1941.
    He told tales of supporting the "poor bastards" on Bataan with their puny 3 inch and Mgs. He said it was just plain murder.

    [h=1]New Mexico National Guard's involvement in the Bataan Death March[/h][h=4][/h]The infamous Bataan Death March was one of the greatest atrocities of World War II.
    Approximately 1,800 men from the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery Regiment – also known as the “New Mexico Brigade” deployed to the Philippines in September 1941, during World War II. When the Regiment reached the Philippines they immediately moved to Fort Stotsenberg, 75 miles north of Manila. Over the coming months, they would train under simulated war conditions. By December things would change drastically.
    On December 8, 1941 Japanese bombers made their appearance and the war was on. It was the 200th Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft) — the original full Regiment — who is credited as being the “First to Fire” on December 8, 1941. That night, the 515th Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft) was formed from the ranks of the 200th. The Japanese landings on Luzon began on December 10, 1941, with more Japanese forces landing on December 12, 1941.
    The 200th and later the 515[SUP]th[/SUP] could not do much damage as their powder train fuses only had a range of 20,000 feet and the bombers were flying at 23,000 feet. The main Japanese invasion forces landed December 22, 1941 and the decision was made to withdraw the forces into Bataan. The 200th covered the retreat of the Northern Luzon Force into Bataan and the 515th for the South Luzon Force. They were able to hold the Japanese air and ground attacks back, thus saving the bridges – and the North and South Luzon Forces found a clear, safe passage to the Bataan peninsula.
    For months the American and Filipino troops fought bravely as the war situation worsened. By April 3, 1942 the Japanese received sufficient reinforcements and began to drive down the Bataan peninsula. Four days later, the Japanese broke through allied lines. After holding off the Japanese from December to April – four long months – the battle for Bataan ended on April 9th
    Following the fall of the Bataan Peninsula, on April 9, 1942 the United States surrendered to the Japanese and instantly, more than 75,000 U.S. and Filipino soldiers were forced to become Prisoners of War. The POWs were soon forced to make the 65 mile trek – with no food or water – to confinement camps throughout the Philippines. Thirsty and exhausted, those who attempted to steal a sip of water from roadside streams or collapsed along the way – were shot or bayoneted on the spot by their Japanese captors. In total, 10,000 men – 1,000 American and 9,000 Filipino – died during the Bataan Death March.
    Those that survived the march would spend the next 40 months in horrific conditions in confinement camps. Most were transported to the Japanese man island aboard “death ships.” Many did not survive the voyage. Given very little food, water and even clothing, the men were tortured, malnourished and riddled with disease. Two-thirds would die from disease, starvation, horrendous conditions, and beatings or were murdered. More than 11,500 American soldiers died during the three plus years in confinement.
    It wasn’t until late summer of 1945 that these prisoners of war would see freedom. Survivors were diseased, frail – emaciated, skin and bones, some blind, others unable to walk. Sadly one third of the former POWs would die of complications within their first year of freedom.
    Of the 1,816 men 200th & 515th Coast Artillery men identified, 829 died in battle, while prisoners, or immediately after liberation. There were 987 survivors. See the “Casualty Report” attached. The attached report is the result of 12 years of research and is a must read.
    [h=4]UNITS[/h]The 200th Coast Artillery was inducted into federal service on January 6, 1941, for one year of active duty training. Unit designations and home stations at the time of induction were:
    Regimental Headquarters – Deming
    Headquarters Battery – Deming
    Regimental Band – Albuquerque
    Medical Detachment – Albuquerque
    HQ & HQ Battery, 1st BN – Albuquerque
    Battery A – Albuquerque
    Battery B – Albuquerque
    Battery C – Santa Fe
    Battery D – Gallup
    HQ & HQ Battery, 2nd BN – Clovis
    Battery E – Clovis
Battery F – Carlsbad
    Battery G – Silver City
    Battery H – Taos
    [h=4][/h]
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I see. I took it to mean an advantage in executing the process. In any case like I said I'm not really familiar with the programs by the other side. How big were they and how and who organized them? In the US it was army officers that organized the CCC the same officers who oversaw the build up of the war time US army.
     
  15. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    OSCSSW, thank you for bringing my attention to the article you have presented as I had not seen that particular article, but I am thankful you have pointed it out and the heavy New Mexico involvement but I want to be inclusive of some of the nearby states who also contributed significant numbers. It is a bit off topic concerning the CCC camps but necessary to understand why demand for troops was a very early problem for our forces. I will always be upfront to state that those troops involved in this first wave effort did not often see an end to their suffering upon making it home as many were so damaged by their treatment that the wounds involved permanently damaged organs..... involving just about all the faculties of the human body. My father took me along sometimes when he visited some of these people and I will not forget what I was to learn from him about their great sacrifice made on behalf of their country. I remain proud of our states contribution, thank you for providing this little known portion of the story of the first wave to go overseas in WWII. I would add that there were not an abundance of VA hospitals for their care in this state and most who survived did so on smaller subsistence farms as are typical in different parts of our state so most continued working as they could at farming here in New Mexico, which was a difficult way of life for those that came back with many new problems.

    I must add many perished at war, or perished early upon their return so much of what I witnessed, were the very lucky ones to live a while after their return in this state. At times I had to dig for the detail, as my dad would not mention, what they did not often wish to talk about and remember........ when making his visits. As a boy, I was not always aware of the battles or what occurred, or what our states involvement was, until later years in school and later discussions with my dad.
     

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