Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day Salute: Dick A. Poore

Dick Austin Poore

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm again posting my Veterans Day Salutes to my family.

In the late 1930s, Dick A. Poore drove a milk delivery route for Bush Dairy in Laurel, Mississippi. He wore a number of hats at the dairy as would be expected in a family business. Dick operated the electric milking machine, loaded and unloaded the delivery truck and kept an account of his sales.

After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Dick must have realized that life eventually would change for him. In late June 1942, about three months after his 22nd birthday, Dick registered for the draft. Soon enough, Uncle Sam called on him.

At 7:30 a.m., Oct. 17, 1942, Dick and 75 other young men lined up at the Laurel bus station for the short trip to Camp Shelby outside of Hattiesburg. At the camp, the draftees went through their first physical exams and were inducted into the Army.

Then recruiters sent Dick and the other men back to Laurel to settle their affairs. On Nov. 2, Dick and the other men again boarded buses for the 45-mile or so trip back to Hattiesburg and into the Army.

At Camp Shelby, the Army gave Dick and the other men only a basic introduction into military life. After less than 12 weeks of training, Dick shipped out for North Africa in March 1943. Around Oran, Algeria, Dick began training to be a part of anti-aircraft artillery radar unit of the Fifth Army.

On Sept. 9, Dick, his comrades and their antiaircraft artillery and support vehicles followed the infantry onto the beaches of Salerno in the first Allied invasion of mainland Europe.

The main job for Dick and the rest of the radar crew was to set up and operate the power plant and
Salerno invasion, Sept. 9, 1943

radar unit vitally needed to fight off repeated enemy air attacks on the men and supplies in the U.S. beachhead.

Leaving the Salerno plain, Dick and his comrades had to fight their way along steep and narrow roads in jagged mountains slashed by ravines and streams. Besides this Naples-Foggia campaign, Dick would take part in the North Apennines and Po Valley campaigns over the next year and a half.

The Army discharged Dick in October 1945. He returned to live in Laurel for awhile before eventually settling in Mobile for the rest of his life.

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