From the archives: Alabama Power employees serving in World War II write back to coworkers

From the archives: Alabama Power employees serving in World War II write back to coworkers
An issue of Alabama Power's Powergrams magazine during World War II features "Letters from Our Fighting Men." More than 700 of the company's employees served in the military during the war. (Powergrams Archives)

At the time of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, more than 700 Alabama Power employees were in active military service.

That’s according to archival editions of Powergrams, the company’s employee magazine. Alabama Power would mail copies of the magazine to soldiers across the world, who would often write back with updates from the front lines.

Here’s a look back at some of the correspondence between soldiers serving overseas to Alabama Power staff back home.

Alabama Power’s Powergrams magazine during World War II contained many items about the war effort and company employees serving in the military. (Powergrams Archive)

June 1944

Just a line to express my appreciation for the copies of the Powergrams that I have received to date. The Army has been moving me so fast in recent weeks it is almost impossible for any kind of mail to reach me. The February issue of Powergrams was delivered to me on the eighth of this month, even at this late date, it was quite a treat to look through it and read of some of the news within the power company.

I have only been overseas for a short time, and there isn’t much that I can say about what I am doing here. I can say that I have seen something of the effect war has had on this country. In the cities and towns that I have been in, there is hardly a building that has not been damaged to some extent.

Yours truly,

Pvt. Marvin Beasley

Former addressograph operator and meter reading supervisor, Montgomery

July 1944

I am very thankful to you for sending me the Powergrams monthly. I enjoy reading it because I can keep up with some of my old friends who I worked with while I was with the company. I can also keep up with the activities of the company.

I worked with Joe Hamilton’s tree trimming gang. We worked in the Eastern and Southeastern sections. I really liked Mr. Hunter in Eufaula. He is a grand fellow. His rules of safety first have followed me throughout all my experiences in Europe.

I am an aircraft electrical specialist with a service squadron. I had some very useful experience with the Air Corps.

I am looking forward until the day I start back to work for the company.

Yours truly,

Sgt. Alvin Irvin

October 1944

For quite some time, in fact ever since we hit Southern France, I’ve planned to write you, but we have moved through France so fast we were hardly in one place long enough to write. The last time I had a letter from you was back in Naples just after we pulled back from above Rome.

I’m sure you are busy, and it must take you quite a while to write all your friends in the armed forces. I’m always glad to hear from you though.

How is the best department of the company making it these days? From the Powergrams, I take it that you haven’t lost any men to the armed forces for some time now. That alone must be a great relief to you.

After you are over here for a while you are not looking for glory if that was the case when you left for the Army. All we want is to get back and live a normal life …

I would sure like to see you and am looking forward to the day we are working together again.

With kindest regards,

Sincerely,

Pat

W.R. Patrick, former storekeeper, Phenix City

Alabama Power employees enjoyed reading about their former coworkers serving overseas during World War II, and those in the military treasured their copies of Powergrams, even if they arrived a few months late. (Powergrams Archives)

December 1944

Somewhere in France.

Just thought I would send a hello your way. I received Powergrams, and while sitting in my foxhole reading it, it brought back old memories. I thought I would write and let you all know I am thinking of you and am hoping for the time to come when I can be back working with you all.

I was employed in the Southeast Division as tree trimmer under supervision of Joe Hamilton. The crew was swell. I guess we all are in service now. Please send me Hamilton’s address. I enjoy your Powergrams very much. Some of them are late getting to me. Now that I am in France will you please change my address.

Thanking you, I am,

Lonnie Gary

March 1945

The January issue of Powergrams arrived today and was read with much interest from cover to cover. The above items are wealth of information for members of the Armed Forces …

I have been in France for several months after passing through North Africa and Italy. I sailed from the States 18 months ago today and have completed more than 400 days of front-line combat duty.

For the past two weeks, the snow and ice has been melting. Have had about six weeks of zero weather or lower, and it snowed almost every day. This type of weather is rough on a man from the Deep South, although I had plenty of food, clothes and have been in the best of health …

Many thanks to editor for sending publication while I am away from the company. I will be glad when the Allies win this war then the former employees can return to their families and work for Alabama Power Company.

Best regards,

Red Mann

March 1945

I have been receiving my little Powergrams regularly up until I was moved. I read every word in it sometimes as much as three times. I find it and my little paper from Jasper is the most interesting papers I’ve found since I’ve been in service.

Well, I would like to tell you all about the place where you could pass it on to the Gorgas boys, but we can’t say too much, but I can say I’m on Johnson Island somewhere, and it sure is a small world.

I have an easy job. I’m watching the engine that makes out lights so you see I’m still on the same line, but rather be back on the Gorgas line.

Sincerely,

Arline Cain

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