Topic: Earnie Tabeling --- WW2
Replies: 18   Last Post: Apr 26, 2017 10:04 PM by: TigerLinks
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Earnie Tabeling --- WW2

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Posted: Apr 25, 2017 4:20 PM

Ernie Tabeling was the truck driver for our team. He was not a big guy and when he sat behind the wheel of that huge truck he looked even smaller. Ernie was a likable chap, always wearing a big smile. Every man on our team firmly believed Ernie learned to drive in a demolition derby and attending the Army Truck Driving School did not break him of his previously learned driving habits.

A trip with Ernie at the wheel was an adventure. Ernie probably caused more people to turn to prayer than an evangelist on the saw dust trail. On departure, there was a prayer for a safe journey, and, upon a safe arrival at our destination, a prayer of thanks. There was never a pot hole, bomb hole, mud hole or any type of obstruction that escaped his challenge. He was, indeed, a master at avoiding a smooth ride. Even with all of his many miles of providing his passengers with constant fears, he never had an accident. However, sitting on those hard seats as we bounced about Europe did inflict some sore bottoms on his passengers.

If there was anything more important to Ernie than driving a truck, it was his passion for poker. The penny-ante friendly game was not his cup of tea, he loved the bigger stakes. He never played poker with his company mates, preferring to seek his fortune or misfortune among those in other units.

Our company, along with about 6,000 other troops, was preparing to leave New York for the European Theater. We were going to sail on the Mount Vernon, the former luxury liner. Washington, now converted to a troop ship. The Mount Vernon was capable of speeds in excess of the speed of the German Uboats so we did not join a convoy, we zig-zagged across the Atlantic Ocean to Bootle, England. Our trip was scheduled for seven days but it took us two additional days. As we were approaching the North portion of the Irish Sea, a pack of German Uboats were lurking in the area. We made a 180 degree turn and returned to the open sea until the Uboats could be "neutralized".

Upon boarding the Mount Vernon in the New York harbor, we found our way to our designated area, selected a bunk and stowed our gear. I believe the bunks were four high and mine was three high. As soon as Ernie had stowed his gear, he disappeared. We knew he had gone in search of a poker game. When meal time arrived, Ernie had not returned so we knew for a fact he had found a game. It had been a long day and not all troops were yet aboard so most of us crawled into our bunks about 10:00 PM.A short time later Ernie came to my bunk and asked if I was awake. Assuring him that I was, he handed me the biggest roll of money I had ever seen. I asked him how much was there and he answered, "about $5,000.". I told Ernie there were a lot of guys on this ship who would kill me if they knew I had $5,000. on me. The only place I could think of to put the money was in my under shirt. Ernie may have slept well that night but I didn't.

$5,000. at that time would have bought a house, a fleet of automobiles, if they had been available, and a host of other high ticket items. The next morning Ernie came to me and said he needed some money. We went to a safe place where I could remove the wad of money and let him take what he wanted. The remainder was returned to the "under shirt" bank. The next day Ernie approached me and said he needed to get more money. I was beginning to feel like the present day ATM. During all of this time the weather was on the chilly side and having to wear a jacket heled hide the bulge in my chest area. Had all the money been in $100.bills, it would have still been a large roll. There were several $100. bills in the roll but most were $20. bills, or less, so you can imagine a huge roll.

Ernie's luck ran out after the first night aboard ship and when we arrived in Bootle, Ernie was dead broke. But not to worry, after the next pay day, there would be other poker games and Ernie's luck would again resemble a yoyo, an elevator, a sine wave or any object that operates on an up or down motion.

Before the last major battle in Europe, word went out to all supporting units to designate or secure volunteers to transfer to the Infantry for the final push. Ernie was one of those who volunteered. That was the last time I saw Ernie, but I can never forget a man who would entrust me with $5,000., with no questions asked, almost 73 years ago.

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Awesome stories Joe, thanks a lot.

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 4:41 PM

I think I see you here!

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There's something in these hills.

Re: Awesome stories Joe, thanks a lot.

Posted: Apr 26, 2017 8:04 AM

Love the pic, thanks for tracking this down.

you should write a book

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 4:45 PM

or tell me what book you have already written

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Cat on a tin roof, dogs in a pile,
Nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile!!!!

Re: Earnie Tabeling --- WW2

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 5:21 PM

Should've charged Ernie a 10% administrative fee. You were evidently a nice guy.

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the only good politician is a dead politician.

How do 279 people read this and this not have 270 TU's ?

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 5:29 PM

Great story - great writing.

Keep them coming, Joe.

And THANK YOU for what you have given to allow me to do the things I take for granted.

Thank you.

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Enjoy your stories, Joe. You write so well.

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 5:34 PM

Thanks for sharing and thanks for your service.

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Re: Earnie Tabeling --- WW2

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 7:47 PM

keep them coming, good read.

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Re: Earnie Tabeling --- WW2

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 8:08 PM

Loved reading this! Thank you for sharing it with us!

^^^Quickly has become a favorite poster on Tnet

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 9:20 PM

Thanks for the great stories, and even more for your service!

My father in law, Leon Dodson , from Ware Shoals went over

Posted: Apr 25, 2017 10:28 PM

on a ship like you did. 18 years old and all of a hundred thirty five pounds. His M1 probably weighed what, 8-9 pounds......Any way, he always said he hit the beach hopping off of one thing or another and never even got his boots wet....

Joe...you will glad to know that the incarnation of Ernie

Posted: Apr 26, 2017 12:27 AM

came back to be my driver in Viet Nam. My combat engineer platoon had two six-by's that we used every morning to check Highway One for IEDs (except we just called them "land mines" or mines). My "Ernie" (Corporal Taylor) would load up the truck with our mine detectors and about six men and start the mine sweep going north just outside of our compound and would travel about 6 or 8 miles until we met another sweep team coming south.
We would have two men out in front of the trucks using the mine detectors (when they worked) and one or two men on the each side of the truck keeping the Vietnamese citizens from sneaking around the side of the truck and getting in front of our sweep team ..... really kind of like a big game for them.

When we finished the sweep and loaded up to come back, Cpl. Taylor would absolutely fly through these small villages on a crappy road with three and four year old children playing right on the shoulder of the road. I swear he was missing them by 12". One day I had had enough of telling him to slow down, so I pulled my .45 and pointed at his right foot and told him if he didn't take his foot off the accelerator I was going to blow his da*n foot off. Not knowing whether I was serious or not, he finally lifted, but he doesn't know how close he came to a serious foot problem!

Re: Joe...you will glad to know that the incarnation of Ernie

Posted: Apr 26, 2017 8:06 AM

And thank you for your service in Viet Nam. Ya'll have never received the honors you deserve for fighting in that rotten war.

Thank you CK....I always considered it an honor to serve!*****

Posted: Apr 26, 2017 10:00 PM

Re: Joe...you will glad to know that the incarnation of Ernie

Posted: Apr 26, 2017 3:28 PM

Thanks for your service Tigerlinks. I know you should have some good stories to share. I'm glad I was not recalled for Vietnam. You guys really had it rough.

I checked on the buying power of the dollar between 1945 and today. $5,000. in 1944 would equate to about $70,000. today.

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Thanks Joe....you did your part...no reason they

Posted: Apr 26, 2017 10:04 PM

should have called you back up for Viet Nam. My first platoon Sgt. there, Staff Sgt. Chester Chapman, from East Liverpool, Ohio, had served in the Marines for ten years starting in WW II, with the 1st Raider Battalion. He then got out for nine years and came back in for nine years during the Viet Nam war. He was a"crusty" old guy, but my men loved him. He was a real disciplinarian, but my young Marines needed that and never resented it. I think they knew he had served during a very tough time to be a Marine.

Re: Earnie Tabeling --- WW2

Posted: Apr 26, 2017 12:51 AM

Great story Joe. You're a good story teller, I felt like I was on the ship with y'all

Re: Earnie Tabeling --- WW2

Posted: Apr 26, 2017 8:03 AM

Joe, love your stories and so appreciate the sacrifices all our soldiers, and their families, made through out the ages.

Re: Earnie Tabeling --- WW2

Posted: Apr 26, 2017 8:53 AM

Great story! My Pop also went on the troop ship and played poker. Won and lost some $10,000 pots, which was some kind of money in those days. He may have been in some games with Ernie. As his young'un, I did not hear these stories from his mouth. Adult cousins told me after he passed, and some other stories about him that he would not have considered a good example. He ended up in an engineering unit if the 94th Infantry Division, and lost an eye, almost lost both, trying to rescue some buddies from a minefield when one of the other rescuers stepped on a mine.

Thank God for Ernie, you and my Pop. Not many people get the opportunity to save the world.

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