What should we remember about the 'Forgotten Army'?

Reactions of American service personnel to the news of the end of war in Europe, May 1945

Catalogue ref: AIR 23/3598


Not a single officer, enlisted man or enlisted woman at Major General George E.Stratemeyer's Eastern Air Command and Army Air Forces Headquarters in the India Burma Theater took time off on V-E Day to celebrate. The closely knit organization that runs the Air War against the Japanese in Burma and Siam continued to function without letup. The first news of V-E Day was passed out early in the morning by an Indian newsboy selling papers in front of the mess hall. Radio confirmations started coming in as GI's and WAC's [Women's Army Corps] began their daily tasks. There was no change in the working schedules, but every face wore a smile.

Pfc. James Johnson, of 527 49th St, Brooklyn, New York, leaned out of his truck when he heard the news and said, "I say, let's get the job over here finished now and go home." T/Sgt. Jack L Recht of 6101 West Eddy Street, Chicago, Illinois, glanced at the newspaper and said "I have been expecting it for some time. I'm not particularly surprised. A big part of the job is done, but there is much more to do."

WAC Sgt.Jeanne Campbell of 2831 Clay Street, Almeda, California, was preparing a chocolate cake for dinner in the mess hall kitchen when she heard the news. Putting down her cake, she said, "my husband has been fighting over there in France and now in Germany. I'm glad it is over, and I'm glad for the rest of the boys over there too. They have really had it rough. I don't think it will make much difference in this Theater as we still have to lick the Japs."

Sgt. Theodore Whitworth of 33 Cranberry Street, Brooklyn, New York, was having his hair cut when he heard the news. With a big smile, he said, "now we can concentrate our efforts on one spot - Japan."