Thompson was with 99th, briefly years ago
I wish to thank you for the copy of the second issue of the Checkerboard I recently received upon a request from my brother, John A. Thompson.
While I have not had the opportunity to read all the fine articles, naturally it was with considerable interest to gain the information from those I have read. I was even able to recognize some of the names listed.
Just a little information as to my interest in and relationship with the 99th, which was rather limited. I joined the 99th at the time of its activation, effective Nov. 11, 1942, at Camp Van Dorn MS, as battery commander, C/370. I had come as part of the cadre for the newly formed division in the rapidly expanding army. I had, just prior to that, been a battery executive in the 90th Division at Camp Barkeley TX. Ironically, both divisions were in the midst of some of the worst actions in the Battle of the Bulge.
During 1943, I was transferred to battalion headquarters as a staff officer, went on Louisiana maneuvers in the fall of 1943. Rather than returning to Van Dorn we went to a new site — Camp Maxey, near Paris TX. A few months after this I was part of another cadre, as an S-3, in a newly organized "separate battalion."
Even though my duties with the 99th were relatively for a short period I always appreciated the valuable experience and many meaningful personal associations I gained during this span of service.
I remained in the Reserves after the war and on one occasion, many years later (in the 1960s), while both were on a two-week tour of duty at Fort Sill, I met a then LTC Costello, who had been in both the 370th and 371st (99th) at a shuffleboard game. Also, of course, during the war, my younger brother, John, went to Europe in early February 1945, was assigned to the 371st as an artillery forward observer; pretty much from the time of "the breakout," across the Rhine into the heart of Germany, until the end of war in Europe.
Again, I appreciate the copy sent me and will look forward to continued information concerning the 99th. It is doubtful if I would ever attend a 99th reunion since I did not go into combat with the group and did not share in the experiences and terrific hardships and loss sustained by these valiant men.
Gordon E. Thompson
Col. Arty-USAR, Retired
PO Box 153
Knoxville IL 61448