Introduction: W.T. Jack: My Life In the Service

My favorite hangout is a small semi-private forum and one of my “invisible friends” hosts a diary thread where they transcribe pages from old diaries. Forum members often confirm places, people and events mentioned in the diaries, and it’s a wonderful way to look at history through the eyes of ordinary people. Reading these forums got me thinking about that old diary, so I hunted it down and read it.  I recall putting it in a drawer years ago to keep it safe, but I had never read it. As I read, I saw that young Pvt. Jack displayed so many of the traits that stayed with him into adulthood. No doubt, this man is my “Papa”.

My grandfather, William T. “Bill” Jack was drafted into the U.S. Army in December of 1942. He was 20 years old. He was intelligent, inquisitive, and handsome. He also had an impressive wit, and I bemoan that I only inherited half of it. Reading the words of this young man away from home for the first time, I saw that young Pvt. Jack was very much the same man whose influence guided and instructed me, encouraged intellectual exploration, and never denied me any opportunity to experience music, theater, or films.

I’ve decided to transcribe his diary and make it available to the public. Follow along and see the world through a young Army recruit trying to pass Engineering school while making time to see the sights and sounds of places he’d only read about. Of course, he’s also pursuing the usual things young soldiers chase: entertainment, pretty girls, and a good place to drink.

His diary begins on July 6th, so I will post these 76-year-old diary entries on the same day as they were written. I’ve also included links to some of the people and places mentioned.

You are welcome to comment on tie diary; please reply here or follow me on Twitter @Gnashchick

About S. Kay Nash

S. Kay Nash is a writer, editor, and bibliophile. She lives in Texas with a mad scientist and a peaceful contingent of dogs and cats.
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