Lethal A. Slaten – 5th Army HQ WWII

My uncle, Philip E. Bergquist, served the USA at 5th Army Headquarters from October 1943 until October 1945. These stories about his colleagues come from letters he sent home from Italy to his family.

Typically listed as T/Sgt. Lethel A. Slaten, this gentleman was the best man (and chief clerk) at the wedding of M/Sgt Vernon Cratty at Fifth Army Headquarters on Saturday, 20 January 1945. He is listed as #7 in the list from Left to Right, Front Row of a group photo sent home in December of 1944. There his United States location is given as “Hines, Ill (originally California).” By 18 February 1945, T/Sgt Slaten was expecting “to go home on Rotation next month.” He had just lost out in a drawing with another T/Sgt for that honor, despite having “about 30 months overseas.”
He did, indeed, get scheduled for Rotation at the end of March. Here’s how Philp described it to his parents: “Going home on Rotation means that he will not come back to this theater of operations again. He is hoping to get a permanent position back in the good old U.S.A. He also has about 30 months overseas time to his credit and deserves anything he can get.” T/Sgt Lethel A. Slaten left Fifth Army Headquarters on 2 April 1945 on Rotation.
His departure was written about with these words on 6 April 1945: “He was really a swell guy and one of the best Section Chiefs I have ever seen. We all chipped in and gave him a Wallet and Key Case to remember us by. We gave it to him at breakfast the morning he left because he was scheduled to leave at 7:30 and half of us had to fall out for drill at 7:30.”