Fogus, Donald
Correspondence of Pvt. Donald Fogus of the 450th Ordnance Ammunition Company, while stationed in France, during the Korea Conflict, 1949-1953

Collection of 100 letters, 456 manuscript pages, most with envelopes, dated 1949-1953, plus four small black and white photographs, as follows:

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Outgoing letters:

            17 letters, 50 manuscript pages, with mailing envelopes, written by Pvt. Donald Fogus to his parents, dated 1952-1953. When the correspondence begins in June of 1952, Fogus is in camp in the U.S. By August of 1952, he is transferred to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, he is there briefly, then leaves for France where he is stationed at, or near, Robert Espagne, France, for the rest of 1952. He is part of the 450th Ordnance Ammunition Company, which was stationed at Trois Fontaines Ordinance Depot in France. The company began in 1951 as an active duty outfit at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Its first assignment was to store munitions in Europe. The company set up ammunition depots in Germany and France before returning to Fort Jackson, S.C., in 1954, when it was turned into a reserve unit. Fogus hoped to go to radio school in Germany starting in January of 1953. At the beginning of the year, he writes that he took some leave time and paid a visit to Luxembourg, also to Frankfurt, Germany. He never went to radio school, but remained in France. His brother Conald, or "Connie," also served in the military, and is mentioned in the letters.

Incoming letters:

            83 letters, 406 manuscript pages (2 letters from 1949, 39 letters from 1952, 42 letters from 1953), written to Pvt. Donald Fogus by his parents (mainly his mother), one from his grandmother, and several from his sisters Frieda, Alice, and Nesty, and a brother Kenneth, all of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, dated 1949-1953. The two letters from 1949 seem to be written to Donald Fogus before he was in military service and living at Alexandria, Virginia.

         Pvt. Donald Lee Fogus (1931-2010)

Donald Fogus was born 25 January 1931, at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, the son of Henry Kay Fogus (1909-1955) and Mary Madeline Bennett (1907-1986), his wife, both of White Sulphur Springs. The 1940 Census for White Sulphur Springs shows Donald's father working in fishing for a fishery. In 1930, Villie Harper Fogus (1882-1949), Donald's grandfather, was listed in the census as a farmer, with his son Henry (Donald's father) listed as a painter. Villie Harper Fogus was previously seen in 1910 as a teamster with a lumber company at Falling Spring, Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

Fogus was the oldest of 10 siblings, the others being: Conald "Connie" Winfred Fogus (b. 1933); Frieda Fogus (b. 1934); Kenneth Franklin Fogus (b. 1935); Alice May Fogus (b. 1937); Lillian Antoinette Netsy Fogus (b. 1939); Henry Kay Fogus, Jr., Steven Douglas Fogus; Gary Hamilton Fogus; Reta Joan Fogus.

He graduated from White Sulphur Springs High School. Soon after, the Korean Conflict started up and he served two years in the military, stationed in France, mostly with the 450th Ordnance Ammunition Company. After military service, Fogus graduated with a degree in Forestry from West Virginia University and received a Ph.D. in Adult Education from North Carolina State in 1972.

Fogus organized the two year technical program training forest technicians at Glenville State College. He was president of the West Virginia Forestry Association for several years and a member and President of the National Council of Forestry Association Executives, as well as a member of the National Professional Forestry Association.

He was Community Economic Development Director in Ohio and received a commendation from the Governor of Ohio in June of 1977 for his work generating funding for the Noble County Correctional Facility and for seeing to fruition the completion of the facility.

Fogus was named Forester of the Year in 1977. He retired from Ohio State University in 1997. He was the director of the Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the First Baptist Church in Princeton.

Donald Fogus was married twice. His first wife was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Taft Hamrick, of Spring Street, White Sulphur Springs. The couple had at least three daughters Donna Weaver and Mary Katherine Fogus, of Richmond, Virginia, and Brenda Elaine Showalter, of Elkton, Virginia.  He also had a step-son, the son of his second wife Barbara Bowman Fogus, Dr. Bradley Martin, of Akron, Ohio.

Donald Lee Fogus died on 21 December 2010, at Princeton Community Hospital. His funeral was held on 3 January 2011, and he was buried at Roselawn Memorial Gardens in Princeton, West Virginia.

Sample Quotations from the letters:

Several of the early letters were written while Fogus was stationed at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, waiting to be sent to Europe:

"Camp Kilmer, Thursday 14 -52

Dear Mother & all,

Well I got here yesterday evening about four o'clock. I made the trip okay without any trouble at all. I was going to write last night but I was pretty tired. We have been running around like chickens with their heads cut off. We had a clothing check today. We don't know when we will ship yet though. I think we will probably ship out the last of the month or the first of next..."

He ships out to Europe, where he is stationed at, or near, Robert Espagne, France, he does not like it there:

"Robert Espagne, France, Tuesday Oct 7, 1952

Dear Mother, Dad & Kids,

    ...I haven't heard anything from Connie yet. I wrote to him over two weeks ago and haven't heard a thing. If he is disgusted now just let him wait til he gets somewhere he don't know anybody and can't understand the ones he talks to, at least he is with the people of his own kind..."

In another letter, Fogus writes home answering questions from the family:

"Sunday, Nov. 2

Dear Family,

...I am getting along alright. Yes I get tired of this rain, but I am kind of use to it by now. It is raining here again today. We had turkey for dinner today but I had more bones than anything else...No, I don't get lonesome. There are plenty of people around but you sort of get blue once in awhile. Yes, they have some cars (American cars) here in France. Most of them belong to the officers and N.C.O.'s. I can wear civilian clothes but I don't have any...Yes, we have a radio here but we just have a little generator for power and they don't keep it on so long at a time. At least I will appreciate things like that when I get out of the army. People take everything for granted. You never know what you can put up with until you try. One thing is setting down to a table with everything in front of you. We have to carry our mess gear with us and go through a line and wash them afterwards ourselves..."

In November of 1952, Fogus comments on what he and his fellow soldiers think of Eisenhower's election to the presidency:

"Robert Espagne, France, Nov. 19, 1952

Dearest family,

...Tell Kenneth I got the Fountain a couple days ago. One of my buddies saw the picture of Bunny Collins on the front page and he said why didn't they put a "man" there. I guess it's because his dad is a big shot. I thought maybe Kenneth would be there but it wasn't. I sent the letter I wrote to his home and they sent it on. He isn't fighting actually. He is behind the line quite a ways. I would have rather went there than come here. We just went a little way from here on our problem but we rode around on a motor march almost all day in the rain. No, I didn't vote and most of the guys didn't or he (Eisenhower) wouldn't have got so many votes I am sure. I haven't been going out any where lately. The last time I went any where was that tour of Luxemburg..."

During his stay in France, Fogus travels when he is on leave, in one letter he describes a trip to Luxemburg:

"Jan 21 -53

Dear Mother & all,

...I took a three day pass this past weekend and I haven't had time to write any since I came back. I went back to Luxemburg again. We slept in the same hotel room and everything. We met a 17 year old boy that could speak English and we went to his home and ate dinner once. I have a new job here now. I am working in the supply room. I like the work pretty good. I get to go two days a week to Nancy, France, to take laundry and bring it back..."

In one letter, Fogus gives his opinion of inter-racial dating by African-American soldiers and German women:

"Feb 10 – 53, Dear Mother & all,

   ...I went on another three day pass and just got back yesterday (or last night rather). I went to Frankfurt, Germany. I saw my buddy Mike. The one I was telling you about that I worked at Thompsons with. He is in a nice place there. Where he is they have everything you can think of. They have a shower room and rest room right across the hall and in the same hall they have a snack bar, recreation room, a mess hall. They have a new theater and they are building them a new gym. They also have a nice service club a couple blocks away. I really liked it there except the Negroes run the place practically. About 75 percent of the German women go with them. It sure is a disgusting sight. It makes me sick at the stomach..."

 The above samples are from the outgoing letters of Fogus. The incoming letters from his parents and siblings deal with the domestic affairs and concerns back home in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.