Uncle Bob's Legacy
Robert Lee McGill, from 2nd Lt. to Captain to Major
28 April 1940, postmark -- Letter from Constance McGill, 817 Maple, Alva, OK addressed to Bob Lee McGill, S.A.E, Lexington, KY. --
Sunday P.M. Constance tells of things happening back home and, "How about this war. Looks bad. The old boy had something when he said we would be in it. You must be studying hard..... When is school out? What are your plans for summer, a trip to Europe?...." - page-1 & page-2
11 July 1940 -- Letter from Headquarters Enid Reserve Sector. Subject: Reserve officers, other than Air Corps, for duty therewith. To: All Eligible Reserve officers, Enid Reserve Sector.
28 August 1940 -- The Infantry School, U. S. Army. This is to Certify that Second Lieutenant Robert Lee McGill, Infantry Reserve, has successfully completed the Officers Tank Course given during the period August 28, 1940 to September 27, 1940. S/ Lieutenant Colonel Infantry Secretary.
Jan 22, 1941 -- In a letter to his brother (Gene), postmarked Columbus, GA, Bob signed off in the letter as Robert L. McGill, 2nd Lt. 67th Armored Regiment, Recorder. It seems Gene had not written Bob and Bob was pulling rank and quoting army regulations 350-75 that stated that correspondence between brothers is a dire necessity.
28 April 1941 -- The Armored Force School, Fort Knox, Kentucky, "Greetings, Be it known, that Second Lieutenant Robert L. McGill, 67th Armored Regiment (M), satisfactorily completed the prescribed Tank Maintenance (no. 3) course of the Tank department this 28th day of April 1941."
22 September 1941 -- Bob came home on furlough 5 days from Louisiana.Dec 7, 1941 -- Pearl Harbor was bombed. Japs surprised Pearl Harbor.
8 Dec. 1941 -- War declared on Japs
Dec 19, 1941 -- Bob sent Constance an air-mail letter. He was on the train from Leesville (Louisiana) headed west towards San Francisco and passing through New Mexico. He gave Constance instructions about the car, keys, insurance, etc that he left in Leesville with a Lt. Robert Kalbfell at 753 tk bn. He mentioned that when Merle or whoever goes down after it and gets in Leesville to call the post and ask for Kalbfell at 179 before 4pm or 383 after 4pm... Kalbfell will tell him what to do. He assigned the title to Constance to do whatever she thought best. As to New Mexico when he traveled thru in his officers pullman car, he wondered where the living are... that it was really the wide and open spaces. He expected to be in California by morning. He "doubted very seriously if we will have any time off before sailing time but if we do I expect to go to San Francisco and spend a couple of days. He was getting tired of riding in pullman car and needing to get up and walk around." WJ McGill tried hard to meet Bob but he (Bob) was rerouted and didn't come through Alva.
December 1941 -- WJ got cable from Hawaii, Bob got there Okay.
Jan 10, 1942 -- letter to mother from Honolulu, Hawaii, Lt. Robt. L. McGill address was 2nd Lt. Armored Force, Schofield Bks, T.H. He asked them to address mail to that address instead of 193rd Tank Bn.
20 Jan. 1942 -- WJ got letter that he was OK in Hawaii - No battles yet.
21 Oct. 1942, V-Mail, Hawaiian Islands -- to: Mr. WJ McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Lt Robt. McGill, 193 Tank Bn, apo 957.
25 Dec 1942, V-Mail, Christmas Card -- To: Mrs. WJ McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Lt. Robert L. McGill, 0389481, 193 Tank Bn APO 957. "Mele Kalikimaka" Merry Christmas.
June 5, 1943, Bob still at Camp Cooke, Calif. but thinks sometime this month the orders will be Ft. Chaffee, Ark.
10 July 1943 -- Headquarters 6th Armored Division, Camp Cooke,
California. Special Orders, Number 160. The following named officers,
orgns as indicated, WP at proper time from Camp Cooke, Calif. to Ft.
Knox, KY RU to the Comdt, Armd R Sch, thereat, not earlier nor later
than 18 July 1943, prior to 1200, for temp dy as students in
the course indicated below: Battalion Officers #7 (6 seeks) beginning
19 July 1943:
Lt. Col. Joseph L. Dark 016979, Inf, 86th Armd Rcn Bn (atchd)
Capt. Romain B. Robinson 0349124, Cav, 86th Armd Rcn Bn
Capt. Robert L. McGill 0398491, Inf, 86th Armd Rcn Bn (atchd)
Capt. John C. Honea 01010919, Cav., 69th Armd Regt.
18 July to 28 August 1943 -- The Armored Force School, Fort Knox, Kentucky. Clearance for Armored Force School Student Officers. Name of Officer Robert L. McGill, Capt. Inf. Rank and present organizations on this post, Capt. SOG AS, Aug. 1943. Quarters number: OQ3, R22. Date of arrival on post July 18, 1943. Date of Departure from post Aug. 28, 1943. Forwarding Address: 86th Recon Bn., Camp Cooke California.
[RE: 18 July to 28 August 1943 -- The Armored Force School, Fort Knox, Kentucky. Clearance for Armored Force School Student Officers. Name of Officer Robert L. McGill, Capt. Inf. Rank and present organizations on this post, Capt. SOG AS, Aug. 1943. "From my research, I believe that SOG AS = Special Operations Group Air Support"]Oct 27, 1943, Monterey, Calif. -- Capt. R. L. McGill at HQ XVIII Corps. part of the envelope is torn off so can't read the section except for the last three letters.... "_est" could be "test section." 'cause he mentioned that in the body of letter.
Feb 9, 1944, Shreveport, LA -- Letter dated address of Capt. Robt. L. McGill, HQ 18th Corps, APO 109, c/o postmaster, Shreveport, LA. established in the heart of Louisiana three miles from Camp Polk, living in a pup tent in the woods.
March 8, 1944 -- Capt. Robert L. McGill, 0-389481, HQ 18 Corps, APO 109. His status is still uncertain, but he has asked for reassignment to an Armored Div. or tank Bn. but doesn't think he will get it very fast. Looks like his next stop is Fort Dupont, Delaware and be there 'til end of March.
March 16, 1944 -- Capt. R. L. McGill 0-389481, HQ XVIII Corps APO 109 c/o postmaster Shreveport, LA
May 3rd, 1944, San Antonio, Texas -- Capt. R. L. McGill with the 6th HQ Special Troops, Ft. Sam Houston, TX
1 June 1944 -- Married Helen Louise Soper. Bob & Helen obtained a marriage license on 31 May 1944 and they married in Alva on 1 June 1944 with Gene (Bob's brother) as a witness. (Bob & Helen were Div. 22 June 1948)
2 August 1944 -- U.S. Army, "Key Field Replacement Training Unit Tactical Reconnaissance Ground Liaison Officers School" Diploma for Captain Robert L. McGill, 0-389481 Inf. Given at Key Field, Meridian, Mississippi.
Sept. 20, 1944 -- R. L. McGill at AFTAC, Fla. writing a very loving letter to his wife Helen.
Oct. 1944 -- Capt. R. L. McGill Div HQ G-3 Sec. was at Camp Breckinridge, KY and his wife Helen was with him. It sounds like in the letter to his mother that Helen would be coming back to Alva soon because he was headed overseas or someplace else. He talked about changing car title to Helen's name and making his will and giving Helen power of attorney.
14 November 1944, NYC (NOT SURE, BUT... he may have been writing this letter on board ship just before he was shipped overseas.)-- Letter from Bob to his mother. He was trying to get affairs straightened out before going overseas. He really enjoyed New York City and saw a couple of plays. He was wishing Helen and his mother were there to go to the plays with him. He mentions that tickets were very easy to get for everything but "Oklahoma.". It looks like this letter was received in Alva, Okla. 23 Dec. 1944 because there is a stamped postmark with that date on the letter.
3rd January 1945, Belgium -- Letter to mother from Bob in Belguim. Telling of some of the places he has lived and worked. Everything from a castle to a cellar. He says, "Certainly don't envy these people here trying to get their belonging back together again after all this war is over." he mentions the country where they are reminds him a great deal of Tennessee (rather hilly with streams and etc.). BUT... He would take anywhere at home and wouldn't trade it for the whole darn country and it was a mutually feeling with all of us. He likes his job and has a great group of fellas to live with (a flyer, a paratrooper, and a chem officer). Good companionship.
22 January 1945, V-Mail, Belgium -- To: Constance McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Capt. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. He mentions, "I don't see how you are ever going to get that red dress I promised you ten years ago. Every time I get in the mood you mess things up. Take care of that gal of mine and yourself as well."
By 21 Feb 1945, Bob and the 75th entered into Maastricht and along about 24 miles of the Maas River in Holland, as relief for the British 6th Airborne Division. From this defensive position, patrols crossed the river every night to gain information on German actions and plans. The Americans were housed in "reasonably comfortable homes along the edge of the river, within sight of the enemy." From there, the 75th Division went "Across the Rhine, into the Ruhr." 104th takes Maastricht, Holland 64-5
23 Feb. 1945, V-Mail, Holland -- To: Constance McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Capt. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. "Haven't heard from you since I have been here. All the mothers write President Roosevelt when their sons don't write, so I guess I will write Mrs. R. and tell her my mother won't write."
3 April 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Constance McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Capt. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451.
12 April 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Constance McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Capt. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. He mentions to his mother, "just found out today from a, not to reliable source, that he may be a Major soon. Now as you know lots of things can happen to stop stop it so lets keep it a secret between ourselves. If it comes through, I will tell you first and you just start wearing that thing you bought in Brownswood. Whatever you do don't tell a soul, so if it falls through nobody will be dissappointed. I sure had to tell someone!"
April 1945, Letter to Helen (Wife) -- postmarked 24 April '45 but written earlier before 19 April 1945. "You know, honey, I haven't the faintest idea what the date is but I'm sure that it doesn't matter. I'm all relaxed in a very nice cozy place. Honey you should see it. Really "snozy". Radio and everything. Although, I did have to call the electrician over to make a few adjustments on the radio so it would work. I am down south of the Ruhr now up in the mountains and darling it is simply beautiful. Of course we have the most comfortable place in the countryside and really it is pretty swell -- of course yours truly got his thumb in on one of the nicest of the bunch."
15 April 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Mrs. Robt. McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Capt. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. "I'm having lots and lots of hard work where I expected a rest, but that's the way it usually goes. Well maybe the darn thing will be over within the next four or five years and I can relax for awhile. Really its not as bad as I imply, honey. Nothing that you couldn't cure in just a few days, or actually just a few moments...."
19 April 1945, Letter to Helen -- Also postmarked 24 April 1945, Germany. ""
20 April 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Mrs. Robt. McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Capt. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. He writes, "Well honey, it looks like your husband is going to _____ in a big way for awhile. In fact I'm as far behind the front lines now. I'm almost in communication zone. All the fighting is over here now as you must already know and the Ruhr is all over...."
23 April 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Mrs. Robt. McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Capt. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. "Lots of excitement around here. I guess the place wasn't as dull as I expected when I first arrived. I suppose by now all you are getting are bunches of my letters telling you to go to work etc. Well, honey, I still mean it, because I'm quite sure you won't be seeing me for a good long time yet. I've reaching the point when I occassionally wonder if I will be able to make the next anniversary that we will have on June '46."
25 April 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Mrs. Robt. McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Capt. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. "...Still leading my liesurely life as usual. In fact I'm getting slightly restless again. Certainly hope we don't do to much of this sitting around. Tell all the folks hello. Certainly glad to hear Dorthy is well again. Love, Bob"
27 April 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Mrs. Robt. McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Capt. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. "....About coming over here. Whose going to dig your foxhole every day. I certainly am not. All my love, honey, and don't worry about yours truly, all I really need is you."
28 April 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Mrs. Robt. McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Capt. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. "Another day just about to pass as so much water under the bridge. I'm working all night tonight so you will understand why I am watching the new day come in. ....I have a new orderly though. A Russian. You should see my trying to make him understand what I wanted done and of course his name is Ivan. Weather has been rather unpleasant for the last two days. Went for an hour ride in a ___ today again. Sure did enjoy it. The scenery was really nice. It will really be wonderful when summer is really here to stay. Boy, there nothing like it in the world (the flying I mean) of course...."
29 April 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Mrs. Robt. McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Capt. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. "...As for the weather darling it is terrible..... in fact it has been this way for almost a week now. It was actually trying to snow tonight..... Seriously, Helen, be a sweet girl, let your hair grow, take your pills, drink your milk, and your old man will be there as soon as he can make it...."
30 April 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Mrs. Robt. McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Capt. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. "...I can't seem to get myself in a letter writing mood. I guess its because I'm sweating out to many things right at the present. I guess you folks have had lots of excitement there over the possible surrender of the rest of Germany (that we still don't have). Well maybe it won't be long after all. The trouble here is what comes after that, that worries me. Oh well it will all come out in the wash anyway."
2 May 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Constance McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Capt. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. He mentions that his Mother can finally wear the jewelry she bought at Brownwoods, "Actually it means a lot more to me to get it here, because here, I really earned it, we were fighting in the Ruhr. You're the only person I have told so you should have some fun out of Helen and Merle & Vada, by starting to wear the Majors leaf. I'll wait till I hear from them before I say anything so you tell them when you want to. The maple leaf is also my cattle brand as of right now, how do you like it?"
14 May 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Mrs. Robt. McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Maj. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. "Spent the afternoon in bed, honey. Much as I hate to admit it. Anyway I'm really wide awake now with nowhere to go as usual. Its 05:30... I'm looking foreward to getting lots of mail from you today honey. I think to much VE celebrating down the line has really missed things up. Its been very unsatisfactory for a long while now. Almost a week. See how you have spoiled me? I have plenty of points to go home on, honey, but being an officer they don't do me much good. Anyway I'm sure I do have some other advantages somewhere but exactly what they are I'm not sure as yet. Seriously, sweetheart, I'm fine of course and having a wonderful time in comparison. Its just the things I do now make me miss you so much more than when we were still fighting. I Love You, Bob"
16 May 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Mrs. Robt. McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Maj. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451."....your husband has in excess of the 85 points required for... to be sent home but don't know as yet how it will effect officers. Thought you might be reading about it in the papers and wondering how I stood in the count. Still living in the lap of luxury, but not enjoying it in the least. I'm very much like you, can't find anything to occupy my time. Everybody else is the same way but of course I'm sure it can't be helped to any great extent. Sure wish I could have about two or three months ahead to know what I will be doing. I sure do hope that at least a month of it will be spent with you, but don't have much hope at the present."
17 May 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Mrs. Robt. McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Maj. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. "Its 0730 in the morning..... I'm sitting at a desk in the office listening to the radio and watching the sun come up over the mountain in the back yard. Its quite a pleasant sight primarily because its going to be a nice day..... I sure am anxious to hear what John B. (Doolin) is up to whether he will stay in the army or not. And what his assignment will be if he does stay in. I rather expect he will be discharged. he has certainly done his share I should think...."
18 May 1945, V-mail, Germany -- To: Mrs. Robt. McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Maj. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451. ".....This sitting around is certainly much different than what we were doing for several months but even if I do complain a bit, I guess its much nicer and a darn sight safer than the fighting. You know, honey, there are really some funny things happening all the time here. Will tell you about some of them in another of my letters later on. I've been in the town of Plettenberg south of Dortmund for about three weeks now....."
19 May 1945, V-Mail, Germany -- To: Mrs. Robt. McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Maj. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451.
24 May 1945 -- General Order Number 149 - Headquarters, 75th Infantry Division, Office of the Commanding General. Citation - Under the provisions of AR 600-45, 22 September 1943, as amended, the Bronze Star Medal is awarded to the following: Major (and Captain) Robert L. McGill, 0 389 481, Headquarters 75th Infantry Division, for meritorious service in connection with military operations against the enemy from 24 December 1944 to 9 May 1945, in Belgium, France, Holland and Germany. Serving as Ground Liaison Officer, Major McGill instituted policies and procedures for air-ground cooperation and impressed all divisional units in taking important objectives. Major McGill exhibited outstanding judgment and skill in the coordination of the execution of the tactical plan by which enemy resistance to our forces was overcome. Entered military service from Alva, Oklahoma. signed/ Ray E. Porter, Major General, U. S. Army, Commanding. General Order Number 149, 24 May 1945."
13 June 1945, Chalons-sur-Marne, France -- To: Constance McGill, Alva, Okla. From: Maj. Robert L. McGill, 75 Div HQ APO 451.
14 August 1945, Paris, France -- Letter to Mom (Constance McGill), Alva, Okla. From Robt. McGill, somewhere in France taking classes. ".....I'm as happy as you must be that the war is all over. Maybe living will be a little more pleasant for lots of people now. I can certainly admit that it was a great surprise to me when it did end. Although I knew it was only a matter of months because I'm certainly convinced by now that nothing can stop the American army, air corps, navy or marines....."
9 Sept 1945 , Maj. R. L. McGill, 75 Div HQ apo 451 - was in Chalon, France and expecting or ready to come home sometime. Wanting his mother to stock up that "Larder" (food storage) because he would be calling her soon. He had been in school over in France and graduated from French class with a "B". He says, "...I hardly know anything but the army and I've learned all I want to of that. Harold Vinson can certainly have my share. I'll bet he's sick of it hemself."
11 December 1945 -- Headquarters Army Ground Forces, Office of the Commanding General, Washington, DC. Major Robert L. McGill letter to return to civilian life at 1027 Maple, Alva, Oklahoma. S/Jacob L. Devers, General, USA Commanding.