Historic Photo_Camp Lee_ sighting bar

Soldiers at Camp Lee take part in a training exercise called “Use of the Sighting Bar” that assisted instructors in checking whether trainees had the correct idea of sighting and aiming. This was the most important part of their basic military training – rifle marksmanship. ­This photo, circa 1941, is part of the archives at the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum. (U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum)

FORT LEE, Va. (June 4, 2015) -- The June Historic Photo of the Month looks back to December 1941 when the United States entered World War II following the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor.

Tech. Sgt. Jack Tieney wrote the following words in a column titled “Quartermaster Quips” back then. The comments reflect America’s mentality in 1941. They are not the opinion of the Fort Lee Traveller or the Army today.

“Well, we’re in ... after more than two years of wondering and waiting, the United States is at war.

“As we write this with the President’s message to Congress and the stirring addresses of General Edmonds, Hartman and Dear still ringing in our ears, we are at war officially with the Land of the Rising (or is it setting?) Sun. Just how long before we will be at war with Nippon’s boss, Germany, and Hitler’s monkey-on-a-string Italy, is still a matter for speculation.

“Our first personal reaction is one of satisfaction; at last ,America is going to shove some American steel into the Japanese at a point where it will do most good ... sort of getting at the seat of the ‘new order’ in Asia. The pictures in the newspapers for the past two weeks have created an intense desire to push those smug smiles of the Jap ambassadorial emissary flunkies back down their throats.

“Of course, there is sorrow, indignant sorrow, for the American lives lost in the surprise attack on our Pacific outposts,” wrote Tieney. “We don’t usually quote an old line, and especially one which has been bandied about from coast-to-coast on every Memorial Day for the past 20 years, but those men and women have not died in vain ... like their predecessors of 1775-1812-1917 who have shed the amount of red democratic blood that has always been the cohesive strain necessary to bind us Americans together in a common task and objective.

“The surprise raid on Hawaii will be avenged ... Tokyo and Yokohoma and the land of Nippon will feel the terrible revenge of American anger ... an anger just and strong enough to rid the world of the German yoke in 1917 and strong enough now to tear out by the roots the recently established ‘new order’ that substitutes intolerance and baseness for every human principle of ethics.

“But more important – an America that has grown soft during the past two decades will soon be whipped back into its original shape of a lusty, hard-living, hard-fighting land upon which an attempt at domination is a challenge that must be ever met and defeated ... America will suffer ... Americans will die. Americans will fall and lie wounded ... BUT AMERICA WILL SURVIVE.

“THE MAIN ISSUE IS TO BEAT THE JAPANESE AND ANY OTHER PEOPLE WHO STAND IN THE WAY OF DECENT, DEMOCRATIC EXISTENCE,” the Soldier concluded emphatically.

The Traveller is celebrating 75 years of serving military members and their families at Fort Lee and Camp Lee with a strong journalism tradition. The Traveller welcomes comments from readers about this series. Comments can be posted on www.facebook.com/ftleetraveller.