From 2 August to 31 August 1941, Herbert attended a "Citizens' Military Training Camp," held at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, where he received the basic course of instruction, as follows:
"For physically fit male citizens of the United States, 17 to 25 years of age. Previous military experience not required. Applicants must possess average intelligence, be able to read and write English, and be of good moral character. This course provides preliminary military training, including physical development, athletics, school of the soldier, squad and company drill, rifle marksmanship, first aid, camp sanitation, personal hygiene, military courtesy, meaning of discipline, studies in citizenship, and preliminary training in different arms: Infantry, Field Artillery, Cavalry, Coast Artillery Corps, and Signal Corps. Those taking this course will be given the opportunity to qualify for the next higher, or Red Course." As far as is known, Herbert did not attend the Red Course.
Herbert served with the United States Army during World War Two, having entered into service on 13 October 1942, and being separated from service on 17 December 1945, at the Separation Center, Camp Atterbury, Indiana. After his initial training at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, Herbert served almost his entire tour of duty with the 762nd Railway Shop Battalion, Persian Gulf Command, which was stationed in Iran (formerly known as Persia). Herbert was trained and served as a Light Truck Driver, and earned the Driver and Mechanic Badge; he also qualified as Marksman with the rifle. He was awarded the Victory Medal, the EAME Theater Ribbon, and a Good Conduct Ribbon.
Herbert compiled a diary of his adventures and exploits while serving in the Persian Gulf during World War II, and I have transcribed the diary and was able to publish it in 1995. The entire diary is now provided.
The Persian Gulf Command was a United States Army service command established in December 1943 to assure the supply of U.S. lend-lease war material to the Soviet Union. Its history originated in September 1941, when the U.S. Military Iranian Mission led by Engineer officer COL Raymond A. Wheeler (later CG) was established to facilitate lend-lease supply to the U.S.S.R. At this same time, the Iranian District of the North Atlantic Division was set up to provide construction support. In August 1942 the mission was re-designated as the Persian Gulf Service Command, and in December 1943 became the Persian Gulf Command. It subsequently came under the command of a succession of engineer generals. Following the War Department’s full militarization of construction, the Iranian District ceased to exist in May 1943. Three districts directly subordinate to the area command eventually replaced it. Eventually thousands of personnel worked in Iraq as well.
Iran was already occupied by British and Russian troops who were guarding the oil fields and keeping an eye on the pro-German Iranians (Persians). Hitler believed that German military forces could eventually take possession of the oil fields and the railroad that went through the mountains from the Persian Gulf to the Russian border.
Conditions in Persia were new and foreign, and hotter than anything Americans had previously trained for. Those who arrived in the summer of 1942 were welcomed by pouring rain and mud more than a foot deep. This is where they had to pitch their tents to sleep on the ground for the next six months until huts were built. The rainy season was followed by temperatures that rose as high as 170 degrees in the desert sun, accompanied by sand storms that persisted for as long as a week as they constantly changed the landscape.
Between 1942 and 1945, the United States helped to equip Russia with 192 thousand trucks and thousands of aircraft, combat vehicles, tanks, weapons, ammunition and petroleum products. Before the construction of the aircraft assembly plant at Abadan, Iran, the United States Army Air Forces flew A-20 medium bombers across the Atlantic to Abadan, where they were turned over to Russian flyers. Army engineers transformed the camel paths into a highway for trucks and improved the railroad with its more than 200 tunnels so trains could carry tanks and tons of other heavy equipment over the mountains. Historian David Glantz has concluded that U.S. and British lend-lease assisted Soviet victory on the Eastern Front, but it was not a critical factor: 'left to themselves, the Soviets might have taken 12 to 18 months longer to defeat the Wehrmacht.'
The Command, in conjunction with the British Tenth Army and Soviet troops, also provided security for the Teheran Conference in the fall of 1943, the meeting of United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin in the capital city of Iran. Allied troops all over the country were on the alert to protect the Big Three. The British, Soviet and American troops together prevented a German assassination attempt on the leaders at the conference.
The design of the insignia was approved in 1944 for the Persian Gulf Service Command, whose mission was to insure the uninterrupted flow of lend-lease arms and supplies to Russia. The red scimitar, from the flag of Iran, represents the warlike spirit of the descendants of the ancient Persians. The seven-pointed white star, taken from the flag of the Kingdom of Iraq, represents the purity and religion of the Middle East. The green shield denotes the agriculture of old Persia and also stands for Islam, the dominant religion both of Iran and Iraq. The colors red and green are also adapted from the flags of Iran and Iraq.
Worn from: 29 August 1944 - 31 December 1945.