Biography of Frank Damon
Leader, Company Clerk, CCCMan, Company 445, Fort Moultrie & Cheraw, South Carolina
The CCC that was in existence from April 1933 to 1942 was the salvation of hundreds of thousands of young men who because of no fault of their own were facing a bleak future, but unfortunately Americans have very short memories unless they are reminded periodically. The CCC was not a welfare program. Far from it. It was a work and hard labor exchange for national benefit. The enrollees worked for their subsistence, board, health care, educational advancement and little pocket money, plus a $25.00 per month allocation for their families in desperate need in the time of the Great Depression of a Nation on the brink of catastrophe.
I had just finished High School in 1932 and had been unable to find a job. My Dad had been laid off from work and my mother was working part time to help support our family. I found out that President Roosevelt had established the CCC and was recruiting young men to become a part of the organization. I immediately applied for a job and was accepted. I was sent to Fort Moultrie for a type of "boot camp" or training since I had taken typing in High School was assigned the job of Assistant Company Clerk. After 2 weeks the head Company Clerk was discharged to accept other employment and I was made the head Company Clerk. I continued on this job for the balance of my time in the CCC which was 3 years and 3 months.
From Fort Moultrie our Company 445 was transferred to Conway, SC to await the completion of buildings in Cheraw, SC. At Cheraw our company was starting the first State Park in S.C., known as SP-1, which many, many people have enjoyed over the years.
Life while a member of Co. 445 in Cheraw was some of the best and most memorable times of my life. The food our mess hall served was excellent and many of the fellows gained many pounds. Although we were not in the Army, our officers were Army officers and we had morning muster, bed checks and reveille. If someone was on report for some wrong doing, he had to appear before the Commanding Officer for punishment. Our company was approximately 3 miles from the city of Cheraw, so a liberty truck was run to take us to town. We were accepted in all of the best families in Cheraw and were invited to dinner on many occasions. We had some of the best dances you can imagine with the popular bands of that time playing for them. We sent out invitations and they had to be presented at the door to gain admission. The ladies from Cheraw came to our dances with their mothers as chaperons. By the way, it was at one of these dances that I met my wife and we recently celebrated our 61st wedding anniversary in Hawaii.
One of our Commanding Officers was Col. George B. Buell, who at the time of my enrollment was Captain Buell, who was one of the smartest and most qualified persons I have ever known. Over the years my wife and I visited he and his wife at the Presbyterian Home in Summerville until his death. Col. Buell often said that the CCC had a great part in our being victorious in WW2 since we had been trained to live together, to work together and to perform our duties as a unit and I for one certainly agree with him 100 percent.
I hope my message to all of you will help to remind you of the CCC and all that it did for our country then and in the years to come.
I am the Secretary of our Chapter 36 group of ex-CCC guys. We meet once a month for a covered dish luncheon on the Air Base here in Charleston. Our wives bring their favorite covered dishes and they are great cooks.
----- Frank Damon
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