Posts Tagged ‘army world war 2’

The following is a press release that was published and widely distributed for my book, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham. The emphasis in this release is on his World War II work in Washington as head of the Fuels and Lubricants Division.

A New Book Explains How the U.S. Army Procured Fuels during World War II and Efficiently Allocated Them

During World War II, securing enough oil and gasoline for American troops overseas and properly allocating these fuels was a tremendous task. This important job fell into the capable hands of the Fuels and Lubricants Division of the Quartermaster General’s Office. A new biography, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham, describes the difficult work of the Division during the war and the dedicated army career of the man who headed it.

Manteca, CA (PRWEB) February 15, 2009 — Many books have been written about the famous U.S. generals of World War II, such as George S. Patton Jr. and Omar N. Bradley. That’s why A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham, a 402-page biography published in 2008, is a much-needed addition to that war’s literary history. It follows the career of a man whose name is not widely known, but who made a big contribution towards the victory of the Allies over the Axis forces during World War II.

After transferring from the Corps of Engineers to the Quartermaster Corp in 1942 and receiving a promotion to brigadier general, Howard Louis Peckham went to Washington, where he directed the Fuels and Lubricants Division of the Quartermaster General’s Office. During those years, he served concurrently on the Army-Navy Petroleum Board (ANPB) and occasionally testified before Congress about army petroleum needs. The necessity of adequate oil and gasoline for American troops was always on his mind, and he worked hard to obtain them.

His hard work paid off handsomely. For meritoriously procuring fuels and lubricants and then allocating them to the military forces of the United States during the period October 1943 to September 1945, he was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal. His division had efficiently allocated petrol, oil, and lubricants (POL) to all the theaters of operation, thus helping them to secure victory.

A descendant of Revolutionary War heroes and a graduate of West Point, Howard Peckham felt a sense of patriotism early in his life. The author traces her father’s career from his early childhood in Norwich, Connecticut, to his retirement years in Washington, DC. She includes one chapter about his engineering assignments during the Great Depression, such as serving as Deputy Administrator of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in New York City, and three chapters about his postwar work as head of the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC) in Paris. The responsible service he performed in command positions after receiving his second star in 1952 is also described, as is his post-retirement job (1957-1958) as a consultant for the Free Europe Committee (FEC).

For her research, the author examined government documents, her father’s diaries and letters, and numerous other sources. The book’s photographs, which number more than 150, also back up the veracity of the book’s historical content.

One image in the book will undoubtedly linger in the reader’s mind longer than the others, in view of America’s current search for energy resources. It shows military vehicles arriving on boats and rolling onto shore the day after D-Day. As noted in Fuels for Global Conflict by Erna Risch, before any vehicle was transported to Omaha and Utah Beaches in Normandy, it was filled with a full tank of gas and carried an extra supply of gas in five-gallon cans. For that foresightedness, and for other expert planning, America can thank Howard L. Peckham and the Fuels and Lubricants Division.

For additional information on the news in this release, or to purchase a copy of A Salute to Patriotism, contact Cypress Publishing at http://www.cypresspublishingsaratoga.com. You can also send an email to Jean Peckham Kavale, the author, at cypresstree123 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

About Cypress Publishing

This independent publisher has been in business in California for more than ten years. Formerly located in Saratoga, it is now situated in the Central Valley city of Manteca.


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Like many other Americans, I turned on the TV this past Saturday and watched–with fascination and sorrow–as the Kennedy family journeyed to Arlington Cemetery to bury another esteemed member of their clan–Ted Kennedy, the beloved senator from Massachusetts.

Watching the ceremony brought back memories of my own visits to Arlington, the beautiful and sacred grounds where at least seven members of my family are buried, including my parents and maternal grandparents.

The following excerpts from my book, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham, describe a visit I made to Arlington many years ago with my father:

       I will never forget the summer day a few years after my mother’s death in 1963 when my father and I visited her gravesite. While we were walking down one of the many pathways, he pointed out the names of a few of his friends, whose names were neatly carved in the granite stones. These men were members of his generation and, like him, had served in the army during World War II. A few were West Point classmates of his, joined by wives who either predeceased them or died after they did. Those men had always seen him as a leader. When they were cadets, Howard Peckham was selected as first captain of his class, the highest rank in the cadet chain of command. The title gave him the privilege of speaking to the administration on their behalf and directing their training.

There was a matter-of-fact tone in my father’s voice as he spoke their names—nothing forlorn. He was well aware of his own mortality and knew that one day, maybe not too far in the future, he would be laid to rest on those same hallowed grounds. Although Howard Peckham was a realist in regard to his inevitable demise, he was also optimistic. Ever since his boyhood years, he maintained a strong religious faith and a belief in an afterlife. He was convinced that he would one day see his deceased family members and good friends again.

           Howard Peckham and his army compatriots would see each other at different places over the years and during changing circumstances. They would meet during catastrophic wartimes that shook America like ponderous earthquakes—World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. During those dark days, my father and his army friends resembled ships that pass each other in the bleak nighttime of world conflict. All of those wars affected them in one way or another, especially those men who came through World War II unscathed but who lost sons in the fighting in Korea or Vietnam.

When the storm clouds of war finally drifted away, and tranquility again temporarily hovered over our land, the men resembled travelers who greet each other during the bright daylight of peace. Those are the days they especially treasured.

       Ever since the end of the Vietnam War, which is the last major conflict discussed in A Salute to Patriotism, the drumbeat of United States Army history has continued to move steadily forward, and other soldiers have answered the call to duty and country in faraway, dangerous lands.

In 2008, as I complete my writing of this book, American young people are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, helping to keep us free.  A Salute to Patriotism is dedicated to them.

Note: A Salute to Patriotism is available on Amazon. com. Click this link to look inside the book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0966585550/


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Excerpts from Chapter 8, “Freedom Is Not Free,” from A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0966585550/):

The first shipload of American war dead from Europe, more than five thousand caskets, arrived in New York City in October 1947. They had left from the dock-filled city of Antwerp, Belgium, which was the primary port for the deceased of that zone in Europe. General Lucius Clay, United States Military Governor in Germany and Chief of the European Command (EUCOM), paid homage to them before the flower-bedecked USAT Joseph V. Connolly slowly left port on October 5. On that day, wherever the American flag flew over U.S. installations in Europe, it was at half-staff.

Preceding the ship’s departure, my father’s office [the American Graves Registration Command in Paris] sent a list of the deceased by air courier to the Quartermaster General’s Office in Washington.

In a letter to us, my father explained the reason for this expediency:  “The list enables those families to be contacted and also permits arrangements to be made for subsequent transportation of the deceased within the United States.” He added that the same procedure would be followed for later shipments.

Mother received a tentative date right after New Year’s Day for our voyage to Bremerhaven. My father wrote that he had arranged a mid-February departure for us, which meant that we would need to begin preparing right away for our trip.

Preparations included arranging for the furniture to be put in a storage warehouse that Dad had selected and packing those items we thought we would need in Europe.

      Additionally, we had to go to the army medical center at the Pentagon for our inoculations.

     “I think we’re supposed to turn left here,” my mother said hesitantly after we had made a few wrong turns while trying to find our way through the maze of corridors to the Pentagon’s medical office. According to my diary entry for that day, my shots included smallpox and typhoid vaccines. Afterwards we visited the huge cafeteria for lunch.  

     In February, we packed our remaining belongings and left Cathedral Avenue behind us.

A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham is available at the link below.




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Excerpts from Chapter 8, “Freedom Is Not Free,” of A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham:

My parents made a plan that seemed workable. My father would leave in May for Europe, as scheduled. In July, Mother would give Howie a big sendoff to West Point, which he would enter as a freshman. I would finish my sophomore year of high school at the end of December. “Jeanie and I can spend Christmas with Howie at West Point,” Mother told Dad, “and then join you early in the new year.” My brother’s lowly plebe (freshman) status required that he and the other members of his class not leave the Academy for the holidays.

Howie had been overjoyed when he first received news of his West Point appointment, and my father was delighted that his son would be attending his alma mater and following in his footsteps.

Mother, however, had mixed feelings about it. The World War II photographs and newsreels that showed young officers leading their men on the battlefields of Europe and Asia, where they risked and often lost their lives, were still too fresh in her mind. My mother’s fears for her son, who would be commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation, were intensified when she received my father’s first long letter to us, which came in the mail soon after his arrival in France. More than ever before, she thought about all the mothers who had lost their sons during wartime. After Memorial Day had passed, which of course had been solemnly observed in our area at Arlington National Cemetery, my father wrote us details about the Memorial Day ceremony in which he had participated at Hamm Cemetery, located in the wooded hills three miles east of the city of Luxembourg.

My father was in charge of this ceremony and others like it all over Europe that day, so he was gratified that everything had gone so smoothly.

He was even more pleased that the people of Luxembourg had shown their gratitude to the U.S. Army for liberating them from the Nazis, evidenced by the presence of a large crowd and the many bouquets of beautiful flowers placed at the gravesites.  To provide us with more details, my father also sent us a phonograph record containing his radio address to the United States from Luxembourg on that Memorial Day, which was broadcasted after the ceremony. Although his address was intended for all Americans, it was particularly aimed towards those citizens whose loved ones had died in the European Theater. After being introduced by Henry Cassidy, a commentator with NBC, my father spoke in a clear, strong voice.

My book, A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham, contains the text of his entire speech as well as the one given by Grand Duchess Charlotte, whose speech followed his. At the conclusion of her speech, Mr. Cassidy said: “Americans at home are now being consulted as to whether the bodies will be left here or returned to America. If they are to go home, General Peckham’s command will take them in full dignity. If they remain here, the people of the Grand Duchess will be honored to watch over them. Either way, those of us who observed today’s ceremony are sure they are in good hands. This is Henry Cassidy in Luxembourg.”

      An announcer then closed the broadcast by saying:  “NBC has presented Memorial Day Overseas, with Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, Brigadier General Howard Peckham, Henry Cassidy, and Paul Archinard of NBC’s overseas staff. This is NBC, the National Broadcasting Company.”

A Salute to Patriotism is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0966585550/ 

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I grew up as an “army brat.”  My parents (Howard and Marion Peckham),  brother (Howard L. Peckham Jr.), and I (Jean Peckham Kavale) lived at Fort Benning, Georgia, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. That’s why I picked Benning7 as my user name. That attack, which precipitated  the entry of the United States into World War II, was a turning point for all families, but I think especially for military families such as ours.  The head of the family’s call to duty came quickly after President Franklin Roosevelt’s speech to the nation on December 8, 1941:

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. . . .With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph–so help us God.

References to World War II will appear frequently on this blog, primarily because I wrote a 402-page biography of my father. Its title is A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham.   The book was published by Cypress Publishing in 2008.

A second edition was published in May 2011, and it’s on Amazon.com. Here’s the updated cover:


To read several pages in the book or buy it, just click this link:


I am eager to share with you what I learned after perusing U. S. Government documents and other sources (such as my father’s diaries and letters and  my own diaries) during my many years of research.  Much of the information I intend to provide, in the form of excerpts from the book, will be new to you readers. I’ll also include a few of my own personal experiences.

A sense of patriotism came early in the mind of Howard L. Peckham, for several reasons. First of all, his family’s roots were deeply embedded in the rich soil of colonial New England; additionally, he was a descendant of Revolutionary War heroes. His dad, Frank E. Peckham, never failed to raise the American flag in front of their house on patriotic holidays.

My father was born in 1897 in Norwich, Connecticut, a beautiful harbor city located in the southeastern part of the state, adjacent to the confluence of the Yantic, Thames, and Shetucket Rivers. He lived in Norwich with his parents and siblings (a brother and two sisters) until he completed high school at renowned Norwich Free Academy.

A graduate of West Point (class of 1918), my father had an admirable career in the U.S. Army, eventually rising to the rank of two-star general.  As Adlai Stevenson once wisely said,

Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.

Those words certainly apply to my father, whose devotion to duty and country stayed with him all his life.

 About Me:

I’ve had more than fifteen years of experience as an editor in Silicon Valley, including Senior Editor with PDR Information Services and Contract Editor for Fortune 500 companies. I hold a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maryland, a teaching credential from San Jose State University, and a master’s degree in pastoral theology from the University of San Francisco. (I’m also the author of  two other books: Faith and Philosophy and From the Potomac to the Seine.)

Again, the link to A Salute to Patriotism: The Life and Work of Major General Howard L. Peckham on Amazon is


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