North High School Wall of Honor
Theodore Harold Block
Class of June, 1942
Theodore Harold Block
Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953.
Theodore Harold Block
Ted was a member of North High's class of June, 1942. His next of kin were listed as Mr. and Mrs. David Block who lived at 219 College Avenue, Des Moines, IA. Ted's service number was 37658989.
Theodore Harold Block
Year   Rank   Status
June, 1942   x   Graduated from North High, Des Moines, IA
Summer, 1942 x Worked x Baker's Shoe Store (there were two outlets).
December 15, 1942   Drafted; US Army
  86th Infantry Division; *Camp Howze, TX (Gainesville, TX across from Oklahoma state line).
January 29, 1943 x Inducted x Camp Dodge, IA
March 1, 1943 x US Army x Basic Training at Camp Livingston, LA (near Alexandria, LA).
1943 x US Army x Camp Roberts, CA (near Bakersfield, CA)
September, 1944 x US Army x Camp San Luis Obispo, CA. (now Vandenburg AFB); amphibious training.
January, 1945-
February 2, 1945
x US Army x In January, 1945, Blackhawks prepared for movement ot east coast for embarkation to Europe. On February 2, 1945, loaded troop trains to Camp Myles Standish near Boston for embarkation to Europe.
February 19, 1945-
March 2, 1945
x US Army/Enroute x Sailing from Boston on February 19, 1945, Blackhawks joined a convoy of over 60 ships, including the USS John Erickson, to cross the Atlantic. Troop ship arrived at La Havre de Grace, France; then on to Normandy (Camp Lucky Strike). **Camp Lucky Strike was in Janville, France (5 miles NE of Cany-Barville).
April 17, 1945 x In Europe;
France, Germany
x Blackhawks assigned to assist General Patton's 3rd Army front line drive into southern Germany. Dachau. Ended up in Ruhr Pocket, Bavaria. The liberation of Dachau was April 29, 1945.
June 6, 1945-
June 17, 1945
x Enroute x We were the last division to be sent to Europe, but the first division to be returned to the States. Leaving Le Havre, France enroute to Long Island, NY
August, 1945 x Training x Camp Gruber, OK, a training camp at ***Camp Gruber, OK (14 miles southeast of Muskogee, OK).
August 19-20, 1945 x Sailed from San Francisco x To San Francisco. Sailed to Japan. On September 2, 1945, Japan surrendered to General Douglas MacArthurr while we were at sea.
September 9, 1945 x Arrived in Philippines x Arrived in Manila, Philippines on September 9, 1945. Arrived in Batangas on Sepember 11, 1945.
date x Furlough x

Furlough of one month granted to return home for father's ill health/death. Started out in cargo plane surrounded by various caged animals; i.e., monkeys, dogs, etc. Smell was unbelievable and hardly tolerable. Plane had to stop at Kwajalein for refueling. Miliary personnel got off, but animals were given priority and permitted to continue on flight. Eventually made it to Hawaii, and then on to San Francisco.

x Discharged/Rank x Dependency discharge. To Des Moines. Then had to go to facility outside of Chicago for final discharge process.
date x Student x Back in Des Moines. Married. Student at Drake for one semester. Then back to work.
date x Employment x Sales work. Agent for Prudential. Retired at 55.
*Camp Howze, TX (Gainesville, TX, across from the Oklahoma state line)
*As the army and the rest of the United States, prepared to enter World War II, the active posts of the United States Army were inadequate for training the numbers of draftees necessary to fill the army's wartime ranks. Several infantry replacement training centers were constructed, particularly in Texas, to accommodate the large number of new soldiers. Camp Howze was one such camp, and development began in December 1941. By 1942, trainees began arriving by train and bus from all over the country and the population of both Camp Howze and Gainesville quickly increased.

The first commander was Major General John H. Hilldring. With a capacity of 39,963 soldiers, the camp was one of the largest training centers in the country. It was responsible for the preparation of several hundred thousand soldiers[1] for both the European and Pacific campaigns. Divisions that were trained at Camp Howze included the 84th, 86th, and 103rd Divisions of the U.S. Army[2]. The camp also housed as many as 3000 German Prisoners of War.

**Camp Lucky Strike was situated in the town of Saint-Sylvian, 5 kilometers from Saint-Valery-en Caux. Its location was not selected by chance, but rather because the occupying German troops had constructed an airfield there in 1940 with a landing strip 1800 meters long and 50 meters wide. This airfield was one of the defensive elements of the Atlantic Wall: surveillance and coastal defenses were also a perfect starting point for attacks on southwest England. V-1 rocket launching ramps were installed at the beginning of 1944 in the woods surrounding the airfield. It was heavily bombed by the British throughout the war, but especially during the fighting which followed the June 1944 landings. In September 1944 American Engineer Corps troops took control of the area, repairing the landing strips and constructing the camp.

The camp became the most important military camp in Europe. It extended over 600 hectares (1 hectare = approximately 2 ½ acres). It was a mandatory port of entry for practically every American soldier, and 1½ million spent from a couple days up to 18 months there. It was the principal camp used for repatriated soldiers and liberated POWs, but also as a reception station for soldiers on leave. It was also a staging area for the Pacific Theater and — until August 10, 1945 — for the invasion of Japan. There were 100,000 men in the camp each day — 100,000 men to lodge, feed, train, and entertain. (Regarding repatriation, there were 6,000 daily departures by plane or boat from Le Havre, the only port liberated on the western coast that could accommodate large ships.)

***Camp Gruber was an Army training camp between 1944 and 1949. In 1942 and 1944, the United States of America acquired 65,650 acres of land in Muskogee County and Cherokee County, Oklahoma. The U.S. Army used the property as a military reservation known as Camp Gruber. Camp Gruber was named after Brigadier General Edmund L. Gruber, the composer of "The Caisson Song." Construction of Camp Gruber began in February 1942 and was completed in May 1942. At that time, Camp Gruber consisted of approximately 2,250 buildings including a 1600-bed hospital, 479 barracks, 12 chapels, 4 theaters, and various other buildings. Colonel H.C. Luck was the first post commander.

The 88th Infantry Division was reactivated at Camp Gruber in July 1942. In 1943, the 42d Infantry Division was reactivated here. In July 1945, the 86th Infantry Division was relocated to Camp Gruber to retrain for war in the Pacific theater. Camp Gruber was also used as a prisoner-of-war camp until May 1946. Camp Gruber was closed at the end of WWII.

US Army Seal

86th Infantry Division

86th Infantry/Dachau

Theodore Harold Block
86th Infantry Reconnaissance Troop
86th Infantry Division
US Army

Combat Infantryman's Badge

January, 1945;
Camp San Luis Obispo, CA

Patton's 3rd Army Patch

Driver, Mechanic Badge
WWII Victory; American Theater; Bronze Star; good Conduct; European African Middle Eastern Theater w/bronze battle star; Asiatic Pacific Theater

WWII Victory; American Theater; Bronze Star; Good Conduct;
European African Middle Eastern Theater w/battle star (Rhineland); Asiatic Pacific Theater
(1) The World War II Army Enlistment Records contain information on more than nine million indivdual enlistments. These records can be found online at

(2) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High School graduates can be found online at: Theodore Harold Block's 1942 class page is:
05/29/10. Living in West Des Moines, IA.
Music: "Wind Beneath My Wings"
Home | Back/allyears | WWI | WWII | Korea | Vietnam | Afghanistan/Iraq | Lyrics | Refs/Awards | Contact

©2023-csheddgraphics All rights reserved.
All images and content are © copyright of their respective copyright owners.