Biography of Lynn Race

CCC Man, New York, and other locations

1st Division, US Army, WIA, North Africa

          My uncle Lynn Race from Oxford New York, and later Utica, New York, joined the CCCs sometimes in the mid  1930s and served till he enlisted in the New York National Guard in the late 1930's. Legend has it that he had a minor brush with the law as a young teenager, which prompted his CCC service. He got himself involved in a minor incident as a boy (literally) then soon after (so the story goes) was "coaxed" by his parents (my grandparents) into going off to CCC. According to his brother (my Dad, who died in 1976 at age 54, an 8th AF vet stationed in England during WWII) it was a "well, he's better off there-there's no work here etc etc" kind of thing (i.e. CCC Camp was better than here). After the CCCs he began his army service (he was wounded badly in N. Africa). So, sadly, we know virtually NOTHING about his CCC days. All that my Mom recalls is that he served in projects both IN as well as OUT of New York State. Unfortunately nothing remains of that side of my family except oral history via my Mom (whose now in her mid-70's). My uncle (her brother-in-law) passed away in 1986 without leaving any documents about his life (he was a very transient fellow indeed). Not surprisingly, his CCC (as well as army) days were not exactly among his favorite topics of discussion.

     He was in the U.S. Army: 1939-42 (wounded in N. Africa). He (Lynn) enlisted in the NY State national guard in Spring 1939 BEFORE Hitler invaded Poland. Nice timing, huh? The unit was soon activated when the war started and hastily crammed into the (later famous) famous 1st Division (Big Red One) to augment the British in N. Africa. A German 88 maimed his entire squad during a certain operation and he was hospitalized in Tunisia (then inevitably in Atlantic City, NJ) for almost a year until he was sent home (to Oxford, NY) in late 1942 or early 1943. I still have his infantry badge and campaign medal the War Department mailed him after his discharge (yet during the war). Oh, a guy in his unit (NYS volunteers) got the M.O.H. which, ironically, my uncle said was bulls--t! Anyway, I was in the navy 15 long years so I can certainly attest to that (meaning BS). Ha.

     Afterwards he worked in the Railroad Service: 1944-1950's. My uncle, my mom's brother-in-law, passed away in 1986 without leaving any documents about his life (he was a very transient fellow indeed).

       We still have his CCC camp foot locker in nice condition, with a "CCC" with a pine tree in the background stamped (painted?) on the front of it, about the size of a small bumper sticker. It appears this was an "issue" foot locker. My Uncle's CCC Footlocker is light Green in color. The older guys refer to this as "Olive Drab," which I suppose would be a more accurate description of the color. It is obvious the green paint is original. The locker is metal-skinned wood constructed. It may be of "light" construction by THOSE standards of the day. But the damn thing is downright Fort Knox compared with any new foot locker found today. On it the "CCC" stamp is located and centered perfectly beneath the center latch and carrying handle. The handle is leather and still intact, but is cracked and pretty dried out from storage. As for the CCC stamp, one can tell the locker was produced that way, i.e. the CCC stamp isn't a sticker someone put on it themselves later on. As for a more accurate description of the CCC stamp itself, the "CCC" lettering is white with a light orange outline, and with a dark green pine tree in the background. The work "Locker" in small orange letters is found across the middle of the CCC. The background is gold in color, with a plaid-like trim about 1/4" wide surrounding it. Again, the entire CCC stamp is rectangular and about the size of a small bumper sticker. It measures 6" X 3". The locker itself measures 30" X 16" X 10." My Mom said my uncle gave her this foot locker right after WWII (when she immigrated here, she was a war bride and married my father). She used the locker only once, when she visited England on vacation in the late 1940's. It still has a "Cunard White Star Line" sticker from the Queen Mary on it (mostly peeled of). Since that time the locker has been in her attic. It's something of a miracle that none of us (I have 6 siblings) ever took it away and used it when we went to camp/college/military etc over the years. It's in pretty nice shape but with some light rusting on the exterior metal edges. Luckily the CCC stamp is completely intact with only a few light scratches on it here and there. The interior of the foot locker is immaculate, lined with a light brown flower pattern. It does not appear to have been refurbished.

     Lynn's father, Peter Race, was also in the CCCs.

----- robmass123@yahoo.com

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