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15 October 2014
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Clark Gable Was in the Same Class as I was

by cambsaction

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Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
Frederick William Priestley
Location of story: 
Texas and Florida, U.S.A.
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A6537855
Contributed on: 
30 October 2005

[This story was submitted to the People’s War site by a volunteer from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire on behalf of F. W. Priestley and has been added to the site with his permission. Mr Priestley fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.]

I was meant to be drafted in January, 1941 but the accounting company I was working for got me a deferment—they needed me to work on income taxes. So, I went into the service (U.S. Army-Air Force) in June of ‘41 to Randolph Field, Texas as a buck private, getting $21.00 a month. After basic training—three weeks I think—I was assigned to the Administrative Inspector’s Office checking the company records—income and expenses—of the Post to see that they conformed to Army (G.I.) regulations. I did this job because I had experience in accounting, having worked for an accounting firm in Houston, Texas.

After so many months, there was a bulletin for anyone who wanted to get a commission to take an exam and my superior wanted to know why I wasn’t taking the exam to go to Officers’ School. I said I was happy where I was. ‘Don’t think you are going to spend the rest of your life in the military’, he said. So, I took my exam and accidentally passed. So, off I went. I was sent to Miami and it so happened that Clark Gable was in the same class as I was, but I did not know him personally. Of course, I knew who he was, and he drew quite a crowd. He was a corporal in another outfit in a different company. He used to march new recruits up and down a street called Biscayne Boulevard. I never knew him nor met him but would see him once in a while marching his group.

I got my commission in Miami in 1942, I think in October or November. After I got my commission, I had to wait six or seven weeks for my assignment.

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