Julius Kerekes was one of eleven million drafted during the duration of World War two.
Once drafted, he boarded a train to Cleveland along with many of his friends and neighbors. Although the concept of war is often seen as horrific and dangerous, Mr. Kerekes as well as his friends were all eager to join in the fight due to what happened in Pearl Harbor. Even though he is of Hungarian descent, Mr. Kerekes as well as his parents were all loyal to the United States. At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mr. Kerekes was 19, still the magnitude of the attack affected him and his family and friends on a personal level, and felt that U.S. involvement in the war was necessary.Mr. Kerekes describes the feeling of the need to retaliate as very similar to the feelings of U.S. citizens following 9/11, in the sense that we had to become involved.
Although communication was difficult, soldiers were able to send letters to loved ones back home through a system called V-Mail. Even though it was hard to communicate with those back in the United States, Mr. Kerekes had other friends in the war. He and his friends would communicate through the V-Mail when they were stationed in separate areas. Also, there was a bulletin published at the church to inform those at home where their friends and family were currently serving. Due to his experience in stenographic typing, Mr Kerekes was transferred to Fort San Houston Texas, directly to the Third Army headquarters.
In February of 1944, Mr. Kerekes and his friends boarded Pullman Cars going to New York. Once they arrived in New York they waited several weeks before boarding a ship. It took nine days to go across the ocean, and even though there was the threat of U-boats, they traveled without an escort. They landed in Scotland and took a train to a town called Knutsford, England. The Third Army Headquarters were set up in an English mansion called Peaver Hall. While in Peaver Hall, Mr. Kerekes was very fortunate to be the number one in General Patton’s headquarters. Mr. Kerekes saw Patton frequently around Peaver Hall. In one instance, in what Mr. Kerekes describes as being one of the greatest things to happen to him, was given orders from General Patton to type an alternate invasion plan, straight from General Patton and several other colonels. Mr. Kerekes remembers Patton saying to him “I want you to type this, double spaced, and don’t worry about any typographical errors, I want it done as fast as possible.” Mr. Kerekes remembers how nervous he was that he was going to make a mistake once he knew the magnitude of what he was typing. While he was typing, Mr. Kerekes had a man looking over his shoulder to make sure that he spelled several of the French cities in the plan correctly.