Nov 8, 2016
I was born in 1927 at Rainier, Oregon. When I was little, my mom and dad divorced. My dad remarried and had three more kids. Times were tough and I could take care of myself. I left home on good terms with my dad. I was 13 years old. I wasn’t worried about finding a job at 13 because most of the men went to work for the 3 c’s (The Civilian Conservation Corp), and the war had just started. I worked in the wheat fields and ranches in Eastern Oregon. I “cowboyed” for a couple of years, for the Roaring Springs Ranch, (south of Burns).
I returned home when I was 17 and got my dad to sign for me so I could join the army. I was sent to Fort Sill, OK for boot camp and was assigned to the artillery unit.
Within 3 months I was shipped off to England. It was a miserable trip. We came over on a Victory ship. It was an old thing that creaked and groaned….keeping us awake at night. We left with a huge convoy of ships. Three days out to sea, we hit a large storm. The ship was pitched and thrown in the waves. Every time the screws came out of the water, the ship shuddered from the vibration. Nearly every man on board got sick. I made it through even though I don’t know how.
When we got out of the storm, we had lost our convoy and we never saw another ship until we hit England.
I worked as the cook's helper on the ship. I was steaming chicken for supper one night. We would steam it in a pot and transfer it to a sheet pan for serving. When opening one package, it hissed and a foul smell came out. The chicken had not been cleaned.
The cook told me to throw it out the hatch. So, he and I had steak that night instead. It sure helped to work in the kitchen.
From there I became a Replacement for the Battle of the Bulge. I went to the 9th Division, 60th Field Artillery 105’s. I didn’t get a scratch in the Battle, but my captain was killed, along with many others. We then (advanced to the rear). Besides being scared, it was so damn cold and conditions were miserable.
When the war ended, all the troops were put on box cars referred to as (40 and 8’s) 40 men or 8 horse’s, and we traveled to Augsburg, Germany, south of Munich. There I was put in the Armored Cavalry, whose job was to police the area. I worked mostly up in the Bavarian country traveling in M-8s with 37mms.
We traveled all over Europe in the 40x8’s. We were in charge of helping DP’s (displaced persons). We took boxcars of them to Poland. There were 15 of us and at every stop , we had to keep the people in the cars for their own protection….from the Russians. Those Russian soldiers were meaner than hell.
48 of those box cars were sent to the US by the French after the war. One for every state to remember. Oregon’s is held in Simpson Park in North Bend. When they found that I had rode in them, they sent me a picture of it.
I was discharged early 1946. I came home and went to work. I signed up for 3 years with the reserves. President Truman extended my reserve status for one more year, we did our monthly training at Fort Vancouver and our summer training at Fort Lewis. I was discharged in 1951.
I am now a member of the Bend Band of Brothers and one of its original members. I am Corporal Frank J. Deal.