Edward A. McMurray, Jr., was just completing his first semester of college when the news on the radio told of the horrific attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1942. He was working in a gas station to help with college expenses plus helped support his mother as he could. He had dreamed of going to college, but felt he needed to go to war, since he was 18 years old. His duty to his mother as an only child prevailed, however, and he continued with college and work. By the time December, 1943 rolled around, however, there was no escaping it- he needed to put his dream of being a doctor like his father on hold. Ed enlisted in the Army Air Corp on 24 Oct 1943 in Des Moines, Iowa, and officially began boot camp on 13 Dec 1943 at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri; like all Reservists at that time, he spent his tour on active duty throughout World War II.
Ed wanted to be a pilot, so had signed up for a training program at college for flying (possibly the Civil Air Patrol?); unfortunately, his eyesight was not good enough to be a military pilot. His second choice was to go into the Medical Corps, but by that time, they had enough trained men to fulfill the need. So Ed went to boot camp at Jefferson Barracks, then was off to his training school to become an aircraft mechanic.
Mac’s unit left the United States for the South Pacific on April 28, 1944. (See my previous post about his time in the South Pacific here.) He spent 22 months overseas, returning 14 Feb 1946. He had served in the 3rd & 4th Engine Over-Haul Squadrons and the 13th Depot Supply Squadron, and remembered his Serial Number even into his later years: 17152911. Ed separated from the Army Air Corp on 22 Feb 1946, just eight days after returning from overseas. He was honorably discharged.
In 1949 Iowa offered its World War II veterans a service compensation bonus. Mac filled out a two page application that detailed his squadrons and service dates. (What a treasure for genealogists!) The WWII Service Compensation Board determined he had earned a bonus of $345.00.
Thank you, Edward McMurray, and all the brave men and women who have served throughout the years to keep our country, and our world, free. Freedom, of course, is not free, and so many were prepared to pay the ultimate price if needed. We are so grateful that Ed and so many others came home.
Make sure to thank a veteran today.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.
2) Military Monday: Edward A. McMurray, Jr. in the Pacific Theater of WWII: http://heritageramblings.net/2014/09/08/military-monday-edward-a-mcmurray-jr-in-the-pacific-theater-of-wwii/
3) Ancestry.com. Iowa, World War II Bonus Case Files, 1947-1954 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: WWII Bonus Case Files. State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa.
4) Not quite sure how the WWII service compensation was calculated, but they looked at his months of foreign duty (22) as compared to active domestic service, which they noted as 29 months. Not sure where that number came from, as he had signed up in October 1943 but did not leave the US until Feb. 1946; that was only four months, for a total of 26 months in service.
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