Biography of Arnold Yellin

Sgt., 153rd AACS (Army Airways Communications System), Albrook Field, Canal Zone

     In the spring of 1942, I was a student at the University of Illinois in Urbana. U of I as a land-grant college required ROTC of all male students and I chose Cavalry for the opportunity to go horseback riding once a week. The only horses I knew were the ones pulling milk wagons around the streets of Chicago and I thought this was a great opportunity. It proved to be an exercise in futility to learn Indian fighting tactics of the Old West while German Panzers were running roughshod through Europe.

     It was like an old John Wayne movie. We met in classrooms twice a week and then rode for two hours - 8 to 10 a.m. every Wednesday, as I recall. Specifically, one trooper held four horses while other three peeked over ridge of a hill looking for Cochise. I am not kidding. And where do you find hills in central Illinois? The actual horseback riding was hilarious since the guys were mostly like me, city kids looking for some fun.

     And fun it was; we had leather lined leggings that laced on the outside. We were instructed to ride "boot to boot" which was a good way to get the lace hooks tangled up with the guy next to you so that when the formation wheeled in one direction or another, you and your horse went one way while your leg went another.

     The horses were old nags that knew the formations and we didn't have to do much handling because they followed orders. They also knew to take a deep breath when you were cinching the saddle so that it was fairly loose. A sudden maneuver or change into a gallop would let the saddle flop off the horse's back, taking the rider with it. Fun and games, believe me. We were instructed to punch the animals in the belly in order to outsmart them but they were pretty smart.

     Do you recall the incident in "The Caine Mutiny" where Willie Keith tells the instructor that the navy's idea of submarine usage was wrong and was told to shut up and just memorize the book? Well, it was the same way with me and Indian fighting tactics. My mouth got me in trouble.

      Unfortunately, I said so to the second lieutenant teaching us "tactics" and he thought it would be prudent for me to transfer to a different branch of service. Signal Corps fitted into my schedule so I signed up with them. There I learned to string telephone wires all over the old parade ground and struggled with Morse code.

     When I transferred to signal corps they gave me sergeant stripes and made me a platoon guide. Of course, they never told me what I was supposed to do as a platoon guide so I just kind of muddled through. Coming events casting long shadows.

     All the services were recruiting on campus. Many friends signed up for the Navy V programs while others were in the Army Air Corps Flight Cadet programs. Unfortunately, they required 20/20 eyesight which I didn't have. The army came along with their Enlisted Reserve program and I signed up on 11/11/42, allegedly to go into the Signal Corps. We were told that we would be allowed to finish our educations before being called up to active duty. Just the first of many Army lies.

     Anyway, came March, 1943, and the Enlisted Reserves were ordered to report for active duty. The campus was denuded of most of its male population in one dreary weekend. I reported at Fort Custer, Michigan, and was there for about a week before I was shipped out for a secret destination.

     But I knew where we where headed. Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, Signal Corps headquarters, because I had enlisted in the Signal Corps, right? Wrong! The train kept heading south and we sweated our way through Georgia and all its infantry camps. Wait! Camp Blandings, Florida, was another Signal Corps base, wasn't it? Well, the train kept going and going and going until it pulled into Miami.

     There we boarded buses for a trip to the hotel strip along the ocean in Miami Beach. We had lucked out: Air Corps basic training; and our barracks were the hotels along Ocean Drive and Collins avenue. Our drill field was the old Municipal golf course just north of Lincoln Road. And rigorous training it was. I remember instructions from our drill instructors: "When I say ‘hit the ground,' only do it if you can do it on grass. Don't get your fatigues dirty by dropping in dirt!" It really happened.

     The Air Corps was expanding so rapidly there was no place to put the recruits so all the resort areas in the East were taken over for basic training centers. Atlantic City, St. Petersburg, Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi, to name just a few. I never found out if there were Air Corps Basic Training Centers on the West Coast; probably not because some of the guys in my squadron had been shipped in from Seattle. I think they were riding trains for about ten days.

     I was quartered in the Lafayette Hotel, 944 Collins Avenue. Couple years ago, National Geographic Traveler ran an article about the South Beach area and first on the list of recommended hotels was the Lafayette. I wrote the owners and sent them a picture of the hotel as it was in 1943.

    Anyway, one of the first things I did in basic training was fill out an application for Officers Candidate School, which was located in one of the fancier hotels on the Beach. Our squadron headquarters didn't want to process it but suggested I would have a better chance if I sent it in when I reached my next destination, which was clerks school at Fort Warren, Wyoming.

     I was insistent and kept bringing it back and then was told that I had been recommended for a new college training assignment called Army Specialized Training Program. The officers told me it was a better deal than OCS and I should really consider it, because it was a plum. Sounded good so I sat through the testing. Early in June I was called out of the morning roll call and told to pack my barracks bag and get ready to ship out.

    Nest stop, The Citadel, Charleston, S.C. This was a STAR unit, which I believe stood for Student Testing And Re-assignment or something like that. More testing. The Citadel was interesting to visit but luckily I didn't stay there. I was there for about six weeks, half of which I spent in the Army hospital in Charleston with pneumonia. When I got out of the hospital, all the fellows who had come from Miami Beach were gone, either to college or back to Miami Beach, having failed to qualify for the program.

    I asked what was in store for me and was told I had qualified and would be shipped out on one of the next assignments. The policy was to send one group north and then keep one group south. On the day I got out of the hospital, a group had been sent to the University of Tennessee and another group was posted for the University of Michigan. Following that a group was kept at the Citadel. High school friend of mine was one of those who stayed at the Citadel; he later told me he enjoyed leaving and returning to the infantry.

   Then another group was posted and my name was on it. Destination? UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS! We waited for a train on July 10, 1943, but it never showed. Were they toying with us? No...that was the date of the invasion of Sicily and all troop movements in the U.S. were stopped because of fear of sabotage. We didn't find that out until later, of course; we just sat at a siding at the Citadel campus and cussed out the Army, the Citadel, anything we could think of.

   The next day we climbed aboard some rickety coaches and headed north. U of I is officially in Urbana but the Illinois Central station is in Champaign, about a mile from the campus. The Army didn't know this, of course, and we took a circuitous route from Cincinnati to Indianapolis to Danville, Illinois and then to Urbana. Our barracks bags were thrown on trucks and we hiked about five miles to the campus. I didn't really care. The day was July 12, 1943, my 20th birthday. How was that for a birthday present?

   I was assigned to a fraternity house about two blocks from where I had lived when I was called into active duty. We were four to a room; my roommates were Murray Weisenfeld , from Brooklyn, Phil Wolf from Philadelphia, and John Wolfe from Chicago. Alphabetical, obviously.

  We were given our class schedules and I discovered that despite the fact that I had been in the second semester of my third year of college, I was taking six freshman classes. English, Math, Physics, Chemistry, History and Geography. I already had credit for the first three and tried to tell someone that but was told to keep my mouth shut and go to classes.

   I told the instructors in English, math and physics that I already had credit for these classes but they couldn't do anything about it. Naturally, I got A in those three classes. I wound up with 4 As, 2 Bs and a C in geography, about as dull as subject as it could be! Best grades I ever had. The Army seemed to have set up the curriculum and the instructors were as confused as we were. Instead of teaching their courses the way they usually did, they followed rules set down by the War Department.

  The geography course concentrated on meteorology (the instructor had a quaint way of pronouncing the word "temperature" as "tem-poor-azure!) and the chemistry and physics courses were taught without laboratory sessions. Either I had an outstanding high school chemistry teacher or the college instructor (or curriculum) was very bad because the college level course was practically a repeat of my high school course.

  The gym instructors felt it was their duty to their country to run us ragged. I remember one 440-yard dash we were supposed to run at full speed. Most of the guys just loafed along but one of my friends and I decided to make a race out of it. I don't recall who won but I do remember we were both sick as dogs afterward. Couldn't catch my breath for maybe ten minutes and just lying on the ground, gasping for air like a fish out of water. Another time I drew a former professional football player for a gym instructor. This guy ran us around playing soccer. We fought to see who would be goalie because the goalie stood still and didn't have to run. Alas, I rarely attained that coveted position.

  Luckily, I came down with a nasty cold after running up and down in the snow and got a medical excuse for "limited duty" physical education. This meant us sick guys could go down in the basement of Huff gym and play handball while our buddies were running around outside. Frankly, I think handball was more physical than soccer but I know I enjoyed it much more and worked up a nice sweat doing it.

  During the second quarter, I had an 8 o'clock class at one end of the campus and a 9 o'clock in the Engineering Building at the other end, maybe a mile and a half apart. Could have made it in the ten minutes allotted for changing classes if I ran, which I never did. Usually stopped for coffee, too. I am probably one of the few journalism graduates of U of I with credit in General Engineering Drafting!

 While Illinois was officially on the semester system, the Army decreed it would work in quarters so we were never in class with any regular students, meaning girls. Girls were not a problem because I knew my way around the campus. Unfortunately, it was July and most of the sorority houses were closed. The main girls' dorms in Urbana had been taken over by the navy as were the old gym for men and even the stadium with beds set up someplace under the grandstand. Anyway, I dragged my roommates around to the campus watering holes: Hanley's across from the Law Building, Kammerers on Daniel and 6th, the Midway on 4th. Plenty of town girls so never lacked for female companionship.

   Towards the end of the first quarter, I was called in for a conference with some officer who wanted to know why I was in this program if I already had taken most of the courses. I told him I wondered the same thing and had pointed it out to several people seemingly in some position of authority but nothing had been done. He said I was going to be transferred to another school for the advanced program. Not wanting to leave Illinois, I pointed out that I had never taken college chemistry or geography, so he relented and let me stay!

   The Illinois ASTP regiment was about 4,000 strong and the commanding officer was an old Army colonel who had been the commander of the ROTC program. He wanted some military doings so we had a review every Saturday afternoon before we got our weekend passes. In order to have a review, we had to have a band and I volunteered. I had played bass drum in high school drum and bugle corps so I tried out for that. However, I didn't read music and the job went to a real drummer. As long as I was there, they handed me a pair of cymbals and the conductor said he would point to me when he wanted a loud clang! I have a good musical ear and picked up his cues easily so when the band trooped the line, I would give an extra flourish when we marched past Company 2, my company, and they would cheer me!

   At one Saturday afternoon review, following the usual procedure, the adjutant came marching from the ranks to the front to read the orders of the day. "There are no orders of the day," he shouted! The next command was "Pass in Review!"

   From somewhere deep in the ranks came a shout: "F**K YOU! Come and get us!" Needless to say, the weekend passes were immediately canceled..

  A grizzled old regular army sergeant named McCord was the provost marshal (M.P.) for all 4,000 of us. He enforced the curfew and checked the uniform regulations. Uniform of the day was announced each evening in the "barracks" for the following day and we were alerted to what violation of regulations McCord would be looking for. One day it was ASTP patches must be worn to gain entrance to the mess hall, formerly the ice-skating rink. We didn't like to dress formally for breakfast so many of us would show up in our winter underwear tops without shirts. But we had taken the precaution to sew patches on the long johns so McCord let us pass.

  He caught me out after 9 p.m. curfew one evening. I was with a friend who was in the "advanced" program, whatever that was, and he had a curfew pass. He showed it to McCord, then handed it to me and I showed it to the sergeant. McCord commented that we had the same name. "We're brothers..."

     The program seemed to be heading nowhere fast. There was no rhyme nor reason to the classes we were taking. We had been told we would be study aeronautical engineering. Aeronautical engineering? That was a laugh. I recall one evening when the entire regiment except the language students took a midterm physics exam. We were scattered in classrooms all over the campus. I passed it easily enough but was astounded to learn later that the median grade was something like 35%.

    We were also offered a chance to go to medical school and were all given the qualifying exam, whether we were interested or not. At the end of the exam was a question asking if we qualified, would we want to be considered for medical school. Typical Army. Some of the fellows in my company would have given anything to get to med school and some were well qualified, too, but nothing ever came of it and no one that I know was sent on to med school.

    Around Thanksgiving of 1943, the Chicago Tribune printed a story saying the ASTP program was going to be shut down shortly. Our officers poo-pooed the rumor, saying they would know if it was to be shut down and they had no such knowledge. I had been a journalism student before the service and by that time, trusted the Tribune more than the Army so I determined to get out of the program.

    There were only two ways out: the Air Cadet program, for which I couldn't qualify, or flunking out, which was easy enough to do. I was careful to flunk only English and Math for which I already had college credit and could explain it after the war in case I had to. It turned out that I did have to explain it in order to get back to Illinois and finish my education under the GI Bill.

    Both my English and Math instructors were very confused by my sudden change in direction. The English teacher, a young, attractive female graduate assistant, said she gave me a D on the midterm exam even though I had failed it because she knew I could do better work. I explained what I was doing so she changed it to an F.

    At the end of January, 1944, my ASTP career ended and I was sent back to the Air Corps at Jefferson Barracks, outside of St. Louis. About a month after I left, the Tribune "rumor" proved to be fact and the program shut down abruptly. Ground force troops were sent to the 8th armored division while air force and service force guys went to the Signal Corps at Camp Crowder, Missouri. Again, I just couldn't get into the Signal Corps, although by that time, I really didn't care.

    Bounced around the Midwest to Truax Field, Madison, Wisconsin; then Scott Field, near Belleville, Illinois, across the river from St. Louis, in radio school. I was going along OK in radio school when I discovered that if I washed out, I would be sent to teletype school at Chanute Field in Rantoul, about 15 miles north of the U of I campus.

    I had met a lovely young lady while at ASTP and we had very pleasant times together. Following the Thanksgiving break in 1943, when I went home to Chicago, she had stayed on campus because civilians were discouraged from traveling. "Is this trip necessary" read signs in every railroad station in the country.

    She met me at the train station when I returned and we walked back to her dorm. Following the custom of the times, we were "necking" in the darkened passion pit. I was holding a bag of turkey sandwiches my mother had made for me to take back. Ever the gentleman, I offered her one and started munching one myself.

    What a reaction! It was like I had handed her a snake! "You are so damn dumb!" said she. "You can't tell when a girl is crazy about you and all you can do is hand me a sandwich? Oh, take your lousy sandwiches and get the hell out of here!" She threw the turkey at me and stormed up the stairs.

    To say I was flabbergasted would be mild. First, nice girls in those days didn't swear! And secondly, she was "crazy about ME?????" No, just plain crazy. I know those were hectic times but I sure wasn't ready to get seriously involved with anyone. I was a 20 year old army private with what kind of future ahead? Who knew?

    So I took my sandwiches and went back to my fraternity house barracks. I figured the relationship was down the drain but there were lots more young ladies around with whom to pass the cold prairie evenings. I didn't hear from her nor see her for about a week when one day, she was waiting for me after my last class. She was all weepy and teary and said we should make up and just go on as we had been before and and and. So we did and later became engaged, although nothing ever came of that either. I went overseas in February of 1945 and never saw her again.

    When I was stationed at Chanute field, she was staying at a fraternity house where the house mother was my former landlady. Mrs Robinson (yes, that was her real name) looked the other way and left the back door to the house open past the 10:30 curfew on weekdays or 1 a.m. curfews on Fridays and Saturdays. Since the family car was gasless, my father let me take it down to Rantoul where the townspeople were very generous and sold us gas without coupons.

    The top student in each training class got an unlimited off-base pass and I arranged with the fellows in my class so I would get it and then give them rides into Champaign whenever they got regular passes. Since I had taken typing in high school and was fairly adept at it, then had another typing class in radio school, I probably could have led the class without this cooperation but it was better to be safe than sorry. If I didn't have a full car when returning to the base, I would drive by the bus station and pickup a carload of GIs. I would collect the bus fares to help pay for gas, which was around a quarter a gallon at that time.

      A fairly funny incident occurred on one of those trips with a carload of strangers. There were three privates in back and a sergeant and lieutenant in front with me. One of the guys in the back seat was complaining about what a lousy officer he had. I glanced over and the lieutenant had a big grin on his face. He caught my glance, then pointed to himself. He was the "bad guy" the private was bitching about! Poor guy probably wound up on permanent KP!

      My time was up after teletype school. When I first got out of teletype school, I was sent to Langley field, VA. But at Langley, we were just killing time so I got the wonderful detail of washing the tower windows. On the outside, on a little catwalk. That I remember only too well. They had to help me down. That was a really long time ago.

     After Langley I was sent on to the overseas assignment base at Sheppard field Texas. Everyone in the air corps got to Texas sometime or another, I think. The overseas processing base, Shepherd Field, was outside Wichita Falls, Texas. Lo and behold, a corporal in headquarters there was a guy who had been in the room next to mine at ASTP and somehow made it back into the Air Corps.

      He had something to do with where we were being sent and suggested I head towards South America. While teletype operators were hardly combat soldiers, he suggested playing it safe again. He told me he could put me on a shipment to Miami where I would be further reassigned, probably either in the Caribbean or South America. It turned out that I ended up in Panama. You think that wasn't dangerous? You have no idea what Panamanian cab drivers are like!

       The unit was 153rd AACS (Army Airways Communications System), Albrook Field, CZ. Attached to the VI Air Force. AACS ran radio (ground to air, ground to ground) teletypes (weather, landline, message center, radio teletype), control towers, cryptography, direction finding equipment for lost aircraft, etc., all over the world. The overall outfit had 50,000+ guys and later WACs in it. Fairly far away from combat but one buddy of mine went in with the second wave of marines on a pacific island invasion to set up ground control for aircraft. Not too much fun.  Me, I never even had a weapon issued to me during my three years. We had carbines in the outfit but not enough to go around and since I am at the end of the alphabet - and managed to be somewhere else when they were handing them out - I didn't get one. This excused me from the monthly cleaning party.

     Of course, as it turned out we had no need of the carbines during the war.  There was a Japanese plan to bomb the Canal with submarine based aircraft, they even built a class of submarine for the purpose. But they wound up using them for something else.  Of course we didn't know about this, not while I was there. We did hear of a Chilean ship supposedly loaded with explosives and set to blow up in the locks. Story was that the FBI intercepted it and the navy sunk it. True? Have no idea...  The only real threat in the region were the U Boats in the Atlantic approaches to the Canal.

     Most damage done to the Canal was the passage of aircraft carrier (Bon Homme Richard, I think) which took off all the light posts from the locks. They lightened the carriers by flying the planes off while in the Atlantic and landing them at our field, then they would fly out and meet the carriers about 100 miles out in the Pacific.

     It was a great game when a carrier came through because we went on alert, carried weapons and defended the canal from an aerial attack. Never heard the results but it wouldn't have taken much to knock the canal out. One well-placed 500 lb. bomb and it was Hello, Straits of Magellan.

     When the navy fighters would take off, they buzzed the field. Our sleeping quarters were on the second floor of permanent barracks. I had just come off night shift and was awakened by Navy Corsairs and Wildcats flyying past the window. One was upside down, as I recall.

     There were two main airfields in the zone. The one nearest me was Albrook field. It was the Panama Air Depot and handled mostly transports. Fighters were based at Howard field, more in the interior of the zone. The VI bomber command fleet of B-17s were based at Rio Hato, north of the zone.

     I have a photo of the Albrook Field tower in 1945. Access was via a shaky outside ladder through a trap door in the floor. When the wind blew, the whole thing swayed. And with my "love" of heights, it was not the place for me although I was up there many times for one thing or another.

     The army was replete with "silly" stories. I was on duty at the radio station (WZA) when an all-out search was launched for a missing Sixth Air Force fighter plane that was overdue. After about 12 hours of search missions over the jungles of Panama and neighboring countries and sea searches, it turned out the pilot never took off. Had some kind of problem and went back into the hangar unnoticed by the tower and he failed to reprot back. I am sure the fecal matter impacted the oscillating air-handling appliance that morning.

      When the war ended, I was still a lowly PFC teletype operator but a friend of mine in the squadron headquarters was eligible for discharge. Only problem was that he had to have a replacement before they would send him home. He said he would teach me the routine in about a week if I was interested. Sure, why not?

     As soon as I was transferred to the HQ section, I got my second stripe. Shortly thereafter, I promoted myself to sergeant. I was in charge of the Table of Organization and flim-flammed the commanding officer into promoting me. Another friend in headquarters was due for his third stripe and I told the CO that he couldn't promote Kenny without promoting me too. Just proved that regular army retread Majors were no match for ex-ASTPers. Strangely enough, I was the only ASTP guy among 400+ guys in the 153rd AACS (Army Airways Communications Squadron) of the VI Air Force.

     My favorite incident was after the war ended and I was transferred to the HQ section. We had what were known as Paybooks that were used by soldiers between the wars if they were traveling and needed money; they could check in at any army base and get some cash which would be recorded in the paybooks. The paybooks were supposed to be kept up to date as to promotions, transfers etc but they were never updated during WWII.

     Anyway, down came an order from on high instructing us to update the paybooks, a herculean task to say the laeast. The second part of the order instructed us to BURN them after they were brought up to date.

     Being a fairly bright guy, I saw the obvious shortcut. Got our squadron armed messenger to stand by, dumped the whole batch into a 55-gallon oil drum and lit them with my trusty Zippo lighter.

     Captain Scwartz, the squadron adjutant, wandered by at that time and inquired as to what I was doing. He and I didn't get along too well but I told him I was following orders on the paybooks. He asked if they had all been brought up to date. My answser was in the affirmative, of course, and I suggested he might want to dive into the roaring inferno ande take a look for himself. My direct superior was a regular army warrant officer and he fully approved of what I was doing. Not so our adjutant.

      As things wound down and duties got less and less, I volunteered for lots of stupid things, like driving a truck, to ease the boredom. On 12/31/45, I "liberated" a vehicle to run into Panama City and stock up on booze for a new year's eve party. Damn thing broke down on the road on the way back so some of the guys hiked back to the base to get a jeep and rescue our supplies. MPs stopped to investigate but everyone was in a good mood and I bought them off with a couple bottles of scotch.

     We tried to promote a Pacific Theater ribbon for ourselves because we were on the Pacific Coast side of Panama. No luck. Also, no battle star for VI Air Force members despite the fact that between December, 1941, and August, 1945, there was one "probable" sinking of a German submarine off the Atlantic side of the Canal.

     Many of my friends stuck it out with ASTP. My brother-in-law was at Hope College, in Holland, Michigan; and wound up in the Signal Corps on Iwo Jima. He was in the group that was assigned the landings on the main island of Japan but luckily the Atom bomb intervened and he never made that trip. An ex-brother-in-law was at Michigan School of Mines in the upper peninsula and got captured at the Bulge when the 106th Division, also an ASTP division, got destroyed.

     Various friends wound up at Nebraska, West Virginia, Citadel, Tennessee that I know of. Of the guys who went back to the air corps with me, not all were as lucky as I was. My roommate Murray was a gunner on B-29s over Japan but he made it back OK. Johnny Wolfe, who had 10 thumbs, was sent to Signal Corps teletype repair school where he destroyed many machines. A fellow Chicagoan was a gunner on a B-26 shot down over Europe.

     ASTP buddies Joe Capone from Pittsburgh and Donnie Esrig from Chicago were killed in action with the 8th armored division at the bulge. Sad...Capone was nicknamed "The Cat." He played drums in the marching band and was a wonderful character. I miss him. (Actually since writing this I have found Joe, alive and well in Pittsburgh).  But I miss all my friends and acquaintances who were killed.

     My best friend growing up was a navy ensign killed in an automobile wreck outside of Los Angeles while awaiting assignement to the Pacific. At a class reunion in 1987, 50 years after graduating from elementary school, a woman asked me what ever happened to Wesley Tennyson. She had felt that of all of us kids in the 8th grade, he was the most likely to succeed. When I told her he had been killed during the war, she broke down and cried.

     I think one of the most famous of the former ASTPers is Robert Dole, former Senator from Kansas and Republican candidate for president in 1996. I always attributed the sour look on his face to the fact that they took this apple-cheeked youngster from the wheat fields of Kansas and dumped him down in ASTP at Brooklyn College. Talk about culture shock!

      In looking back at my army "career," it was three years in summer camp, except for three days on bivouac in sub-freezing temperatures at Skunk Hollow (really!) outside of Jefferson Barracks. Lucky me. I have no bad memories, none at all. Just a waste of time but necessary. After the war I returned to U of I to finish college. Many friends had been in battle and I felt ashamed of my lack of combat experience. One friend in particular said I was an a**hole; he would have gladly traded all his medals and wounds for the chance to serve in a quiet place like the canal zone. I felt guilty for awhile but then realized that the same pen that sent men to die sent me and 50,000 other lucky ones to Panama.

     While I was in Panama, a Buddy of mine was a control tower operator in India. He wrote telling me how they had to search for cobras every morning. I wrote him back that if he thought that was tough, our swimming pool had been closed for three days the previous week and the PX ran out of pistachio ice cream. Funny, I never heard from him again.

     As to what I enjoyed most about my time in the Air Force, it's a toss up between my days in ASTP at University of Illinois in 1943 and headquarters after war ended. Both were leisurely and enjoyable. The coeds at Illinois were lovely and waiting out my time before I went home from Panama was pleasant, knowing that hostilities had ceased except between me and a few of the officers in HQ. Promoting myself to sergeant was about as good as it got.

     I had all my papers from induction in 1043 to discharge in 46 but sent them to the archives at Florida State University for posterity. Amazing how that cheap mimeograph paper stood up for half a century. My daughter in California has one of my original brass ones and my Dad's from WWI; other dauther will get my aluminum one plus the other of her grand dad's. In addition to this,  have a display of my my various insignia - VI AF, PCZ, comm specialist, stripes, eetc. I also carried a trusty box brownie with me everywhere during the good old days(!) So at least have a record of somethings that happened.

     There has been a sudden resurgence of interest in ASTP. Steven Ambrose spends a chapter on it and there are reminiscenses all over the web about it. Run a search on either ASTP or Army specialized Training Program. Will be interesting

Arnold Yellin


Arnold Yellin, This is me in Panama in 1945. Uniform regulations were pretty much winked at down there.

Arnold Yellin's Buddy, at the citadel, Charleston, SC in June or July, 1943

Arnold Yellin in Panama, heaquarters type - 1945

Arnold Yellin Insignia, Photo of Rank and Unit Insignia

Company 2, U of Illinois ASTP, 1943

Albrook Field, Tower, 1945


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