Private First Class William H. Gramlick
Reflections on this veteran's military service
Submitted by Sandi Nizetich
William H. Gramlick, Jr. was born on December 14, 1919 in Illinois and joined the U.S. Army on December 24, 1941, assigned to the 3639th Quartermaster Truck Company of the 5th Army. He worked at the supply depots where he picked up and delivered supplies and ammunitions to the troops. The engineering group did any type of work that needed to be done, from repairing trucks to handling supplies. One memorable event involved taking supplies during the night through circuitous trails to the last remaining covered point, picking up troops they were relieving using 4-wheel drive, 6x6 GMC’s traversing steep slopes. Night protected them from the RAF’s patrols. In one of Bill’s letters home he says, “I hate night work!”
In November of 1943, he was transferred to Italy to the 235th Quartermaster Mobile Battalion. When the war ended, he was required to stay continuing to get rations and drive troops to ports to return home and transport prisoners to detention camps. In a letter dated May 22, 1945, Bill writes; “We sure have a lot of work yet to do over here. We have to haul a lot of gear, rations and prisoners; never saw so many prisoners before. I have had as many as 125 in one load and they are still coming in, driving their own trucks. They are hungry and tired.” They hauled many trucks full of bodies of dead servicemen that were wrapped in bloody blankets."
William H. Gramlick, Jr. was honorably discharged on July 29, 1945 at Fort MacArthur, California.
He never shared much about his experience, so my brother and I had the idea that he didn’t do much. After his death we found all of the letters that he wrote to his parents and brothers. We were able to learn how important the truck drivers were to the war effort and that the troops were well fed, taken care of when wounded, and were supplied with ammunition because of his experienced driving ability. The war was won and he came home safely.
He attended his Army reunion for about 20 years, hosted two of them here in Southern California and a number of his comrades attended his funeral.
Our family is blessed due to his courage and love of his country.
William H. Gramlick was a Lakewood resident for 50+ years.