Bill at age 4
Bill was born in Los Angeles on August 15, 1925, the only child of William W. Taylor, Sr. and Alice Aten Taylor, formerly of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Bill Sr. was the head of the English Department at Harvard Military School, an exclusive school for boys. Alice was a typical housewife of the era. During Bill’s formative years the family lived at 12928 Bloomfield St., North Hollywood, California in a typical California bungalow style house in a typical neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley.
Bill was an excellent student and he got top grades at Harvard School. He particularly excelled in English as would be expected with his father’s background. He had the dubious distinction of being a student in his father’s English class and earned A’s in the class despite having to work twice as hard as the other students. Bill attended Harvard for six years and spent many hours in military drill and related military subjects. This gave him a great advantage over most of his peers at Camp Abbot.
Following his graduation from Harvard School in June of 1943, Bill enrolled as a freshman at UCLA, where he was recruited to join the Army under the auspices of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). ASTP was established in December 1942 to identify, train and educate academically-talented enlisted men as a specialized corp of Army Officers. To qualify for this program Bill had to score 10 points over the score needed to qualify for Officer Candidate School. The plan was for Bill to complete his engineer training at Camp Abbot and then return to UCLA to continue his education as a member of the United States Army. Following the completion of the UCLA course of study Bill expected to go to OCS and ultimately be commissioned an officer. Alas, this was not to be, and Bill ended up in the infantry, as did most ASTP candidates.
Bill Taylor, Jr. left home on Monday, October 4, 1943 for Fort MacArthur. The following day he wrote letter 1 of this collection and we pick up the story from there.
Pfc Bill Taylor
My father, Pfc. William W. Taylor Jr. served in the 100th. Infantry Division, 399th. Regiment, Co. A. His Division saw duty in France and Germany spending 185 consecutive days on the battle line. He wrote nearly 300 letters home chronicling his service to our country. Like so many combat veterans of the war, he spoke little of his experiences, but these letters tell the story.