The Houston law firm of Butler and Binion has been “greatly reassured regarding the probable ultimate outcome of the present difficulty” by a young associate, Private Wm. N. Blanton Jr., who was inducted into military service February 25. “The Army is both thorough and efficient,” Private Bill wrote a few days later. “If any of you still have any doubts about our winning the war, you may now stop doubting. I am not saying this because I have donned the khaki, although that fact alone is probably a serious blow to the enemy morale, but, believe me, this Army means business.” His firm is convinced that he is a potential Major General. Six of the seven sons of District Attorney J.R. Black of Abilene are in the armed forces, a fact which he accepts with the laconic statement, “not much to it—except that they are serving.” One, J.R. Black Jr., is a lawyer who got in the coast artillery so he and his big guns could “keep the Japs and the Nazis away from the other boys.” He received his bachelor of laws degree from The University of Texas in June, 1940, and practiced with the Abilene firm of Scarborough, Yates and Scarborough until inducted in February of this year. Four of the Black boys are connected with the Air Corps. Ray D. and Gordon are at Sheppard Field. The twins, Truett and Truman, were the first to “join up.” At the age of 19 they enlisted in Randolph Field in October, 1940, and later were sent to Foster Field at Victoria. Truman is a Staff Sergeant and Truett is a Sergeant with a Second A.M. rating. Norris L. volunteered for the naval reserve after receiving his mechanical engineering degree from The University of Texas in June, 1941. He was commissioned as an Ensign and stationed at Corpus Christi, but recently was sent to Pearl Harbor. Only one son, Eugene, remains at home. He is 18. “Tanks are as thick as lawyers on the opening day of court,” writes Major Aubrey A. Wilson of the Armored Force School at Fort Knox, Ky. The Gladewater attorney is serving in his second war. The first, as he puts it, “was the prelude to this one and ended in 1918.” Major Wilson was recalled in November, 1940, and sent to Fort Knox. “Upon arrival, I started organizing the Chassis Division of the Wheeled Vehicle Department. It was just getting started then, but now is one of the largest schools in the United States,” Major Wilson says. The only other Texas lawyer he has encountered is Major Edwin A. Gajeske of Brenham. “There are a world of Texans here, though,” he says. “The branches of the Officer’s Club hear The Eyes of Texas on many nights. Even the ex-Aggies sing it.” James L. McNess Jr. of Dallas is now a Lieutenant in the Army, but there are times when he probably thought he wouldn’t be. Picture a deep forest, a driving rain, and flashing lightning. Then place yourself in the middle of that with a radio aerial strapped to your back, and you will know how he felt on maneuvers. Although he spent some time in fox holes he had dug for himself and listened to forty- and sixty-ton tanks roll over, he is now quartered in a brick building with carpets on the floor. Lt. McNess, a member of the National Guard, was among the first batch called in November, 1940. Stationed as a staff sergeant at Camp Bowie, he was in charge of an intelligence division until transferred to the Officer’s Training School at Fort Benning, Ga. He received his commission in November, 1941, and was assigned to Fort Benning as a staff officer. A recent arrival on the Pacific Coast is Sgt. Charles O. Patterson of Fort Worth, who feels that the meaning of war is much clearer to him since he is in the restricted alien area. Stationed with him and the 144th Infantry at a Portland, Ore., air base are two other Texas lawyers, Capt. William F. Patterson Jr. of Austin and Major Zachariah E. Coombs of Dallas. Sgt. Patterson formerly was stationed at Camp Bowie. Major T.K. McElroy of Terrell, who is stationed with the Judge Advocate General’s Department of the Eighth Corps Area in San Antonio, has been named special attorney for the new Reclassification Board. The Board consists of five Colonels and one Lieutenant Colonel, and will hear all cases concerning officers charged with inefficiency in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico. “It is one thing to prove that a person has committed murder, theft, or any other crime, but I can’t imagine anything more indefinite or difficult than trying to prove inefficiency,” Major McElroy said. Jake W. Durham of Lufkin has practiced drilling, not law, since January 5. A buck private, he is stationed at Pendleton, Ore., with the ordnance department of an air base. Friday the thirteenth of February was lucky for Guy L. Nevill of Dallas. On that day he received his wings, gold bars, and commission as Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps at Lowry Field, Denver, Colo. He is now an armament officer at Davis-Monthan Field, at Tucson, Ariz. Lt. Nevill entered the service January 16, 1941, and was stationed at Camp Bowie. Transferred to the Air Corps, he did primary training at Ryan School in California. He received his bachelor of laws degree from Southern Methodist University in 1939, and was admitted to the bar in August, 1940. When Thomas A. Miller of McAllen was recalled to active duty December 20, 1940, he was just a Captain. But after six months duty at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., he was made a Major and assigned to the infantry school at Fort Benning, Ga. Major Miller was made an instructor at the school upon completion of a special course for battalion commanders and staff officers. Wedding bells rang recently for two Texas lawyers in the service. Miss Evelyn McDavid of Fort Worth and Lt. Doyle Willis of Dallas were married February 14. A native of Kaufman County, Lt. Willis was graduated from The University of Texas and received his bachelor of laws degree from Georgetown University at Washington, D.C. He is stationed at Fort Sam Houston. Samuel D. Donosky of Dallas and Fort Sill, Okla., and Miss Josephine Ackerman of Dallas were married March 1. He attended The University of Texas and was graduated from Southern Methodist School of Law. After visiting an alien concentration camp, Sgt. William Cox Thornton of Fort Sam Houston reports that “’Tis evident that the Japs, Italians, and Germans have not too much in common.” Sgt. Thornton, a native of Alabama, studied law at The University of Texas, and was admitted to the bar in 1940. After less than a year of law practice in Cameron, he volunteered in January, 1941, and was assigned to the Post Medical Detachment at Fort Sam. Sgt. Thornton spent several months last summer training at a Denver, Colo., hospital. Another Cameron attorney stationed at Fort Sam is W.C. Wallace, better known as Bill. He is the son of E.A. Wallace. Camps in Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming have seen Tom H. King of San Antonio since his induction September 10, 1941. A Second Lieutenant in the Quartermaster Reserve, he was first stationed at Fort Clark, where he served as an officer of property, fiscal affairs, contract and procurement, rail transportation, public relations, and morale. He also was a trial judge advocate. Lt. King was sent to a tactical class at Camp Lee, Va., in December, and upon his graduation was stationed at the Quartermaster Replacement Center, Fort Francis E. Warren, Wyo. Duncan Hughes, lawyer, legislator, and newspaperman, is now an aviation cadet in the Army Air Corps. The Williamson County Representative from Georgetown enlisted January 6, a day before he became 27 years of age, and was stationed at Ellington Field. While he was Attorney General of Texas, William McCraw owned and flew an airplane over Texas as casually as he would drive a car. The experience and the 1,800 miles he logged up will come in handy now, for Capt. McCraw was called to active duty with the Army Air Corps March 1. He is stationed at Perrin Field. Captain of infantry and artillery units with the American Expeditionary Force in France during the First World War, he has been in Washington the last six months serving as legal adviser and assistant in the Office of Production Management and later to the staff of Donald Nelson. “The Army, instead of being the anticipated unbearable ordeal, has proved most interesting to me,” writes Pvt. J. Chrys Dougherty of Camp Wallace. “Like the law, it is a profession about which one could study a lifetime and not know it all.” Pvt. Dougherty, who joined the 35th Coast Artillery Training Battalion January 26, is a member of a prominent Beeville family of lawyers. The engagement of Miss Mary Ireland Graves, daughter of Judge and Mrs. Ireland Graves of Austin, to Pvt. Dougherty was announced February 22. At least two local bar association secretaries have resigned to enter the service. Harry L. Wear of Austin, secretary of the Travis County Bar, left March 7 for the Navy, and John B. Alexander of Laredo resigned March 6, expecting to be inducted soon. Two members of the Mitchell County Bar are active in the Texas Defense Guard. They are Second Lieutenant R.H. Ratliff and Sergeant Thomas R. Smith of the Tenth Battalion, Company D. News about Texas lawyers in the service came this month from Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona, Wyoming, Oregon, and, of course, Texas. From the April 1942 Texas Bar Journal To read oral histories from veterans, go to texasbar.com/veterans.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/Men+O%E2%80%99+War+/1441233/165298/article.html.