November 17, 1944


Wayne made no entry in his journal on this day. Thomas J. Gray, his father, however, received a “Notice of Change of Address” card1 from Wayne’s brother, Verne. This notice was postmarked November 14, 1944 at Lincoln Nebraska. Such cards were distributed to each soldier when his mail address changed. Verne noted that his new address was APO No. 16745 BE12, c/o Postmaster, New York, New York.

Leaving Alexandria Army Air Field by train on Friday, October 27, Verne and the other members of Combat Crew 7678 were at Lincoln Army Air Field on Monday, October 30. Two weeks later, on Tuesday, November 14, they were noted as having been transferred from Lincoln to  their port of embarkation (POE) where they would board a ship for England. Their POE was New York City.3  The members of Combat Crew 7678 accomplished no flying time while at Lincoln Army Air Field in Lincoln, Nebraska.2

Within a few weeks, Thomas J. Gray would have two sons serving in the Army Air Force as aerial gunners, one with the 13th Air Force in the South Pacific and another stationed in England with the 8th Air Force. By year’s end, a third son would be serving as a truck driver with an Army service unit in Italy and a fourth son would be serving as a combat infantryman with the Army in Belgium.

Notes & Commentary

1 The card was addressed:

Thomas J. Gray
c/o General Delivery
Hanford, Washington

2 Individual Flight Record. 2nd Air Force, 21st Wing, 273rd Group, Lincoln Army Air Field, Lincoln, Nebraska. Boyce L. Pruitt, November 1944.

Boyce L. Pruitt and Verne R. Gray were both members of Combat Crew 7678. Cpl. Pruitt’s Individual Flight Record, stamped “Closed Out — Change of Station — Certified Correct” was signed by K. W. Slaker, Captain, Air Corps, Field Operations Officer.

Some 63 years later, Verne Gray’s son would be a member of the same National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution chapter as Captain K. W. Slaker — Kenneth Waverly Slaker — who by then had changed his name to Kenneth Hawk Slaker.

3  Ronald J. Reid.  “A Tribute to Sgt. Boyce Lester Pruitt”.  (unpublished manuscript, 2007).

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4 Responses to November 17, 1944

  1. suchled says:

    It does not seem fair that one family should bear such a load.


    • a gray says:

      It was not uncommon for families to have multiple members serving in the armed forces.


      • Gary Pearson says:

        Yes, some families did bare a bigger load: I had three Uncles serving in the Pacific theater and my Father (with two sons-worked at the Naval Ammunition Deport in Hastings,Nebraska) my Uncle Homer (with two sons and one daughter ) worked at an airplane factory in Omaha,NE.


  2. 3 sons all over the place. I had a daughter in the Navy and a son in the Army, but no world war to worry about. My heart goes out to Mr. Gray and all families who have multiple soldiers serving.


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