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Army Routine Puts 45th Joy on ‘ABC Basis’

Apr. 29, 1952 – Fort Sill Reception Center began receiving members of the 45th Infantry Division “Thunderbirds” as they returned from their combat duty in Korea.

It was a great day for the Abbeys and Abbotts, but if the name was Wilson or Young, the joy of homecoming was postponed. It seems that somebody assigned shipping priorities based on alphabetical order.

From 9 a.m. Tuesday until far into the night, wives, parents, other relatives and friends of returning Thunderbirds milled quietly about the Fort Sill Reception center waiting to see the men. Their hopes were spurred late in the morning by the arrival, at approximately one-hour intervals, of three non-scheduled airliners, each carrying a load of 37 returning GIs.

At the end of the day, 353 Thunderbirds had checked in at Fort Sill’s reception center. Another shipment of Thunderbirds left Seattle Monday night by rail and is due to arrive Friday. A third shipment of 170 members of the 45th docked at Fort Mason near San Francisco Tuesday to bring the number of Thunderbirds returned from Korea to more than 1,100.

On this date, less than 4,000 of the original Oklahoma division members remained in Korea(Daily Oklahoman).