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Forrest Ward "Jack" Cummins

S/SGT in 3133rd Signal Service Co


Born 1917 in IN, Died 1995

County of residence at enlistment: Marion County, IN
Other residence(s): Straughn, IN; Indianapolis, IN; Marion, IN; Columbus, IN
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: skilled occupations in the manufacture of miscellaneous products
Notes: Rank changed from T/5 in GA roster to S/SGT per photograph in uniform and family information supported by 1944 Christmas Program
Source: 3133rd Program, 15 Sept 1944; 3133rd roster from 10th Mountain Division Museum at Fort Drum; AES 1944 Christmas Dinner Program; photo courtesy of Patrick Ward Miller

Jack Cummins was born on January 19, 1917, in Lewisville, IN, the fifth of six children. His father was a farmer.

The family lived in Straughn, IN, a small town in Dudley Township, about 50 miles east of Indianapolis. Forrest graduated from Straughn High School in 1935, and enlisted in the Army Engineers that November. He was stationed in Panama until his discharge in March, 1937.

After returning home to Indiana, he married Ruthelaine Henley on September 17, 1939. They would go on to have three daughters: Gail, Sally, and Holly.

In 1940, he was working as a truck driver; the census record says he drove a school bus and a coal truck. But by the time he registered for the draft, on October 16, 1940, Forrest and Ruthelaine had moved to Indianapolis, and Forrest was working at Allison Engineering in Speedway City, IN.

During the 1930s, Allison had focused its efforts on developing a 1,000 horsepower liquid-cooled aircraft engine. Known as the V-1710, it would become the primary engine that powered Allied fighter aircraft during World War II. They hired thousands of new employees to work on these engines, and Jack was one of them.

Three years later, on December 6, 1943, he re-enlisted in the Army. At the time he was working at a skilled manufacturing job, but since he was living in Marion, IN, he may or may not still have been working at Allison.

He was eventually assigned to the 3133 Signal Service Company and served in Italy during the war. His grandson, Patrick Miller, reports that the only time he ever heard his grandfather talk about his military experience was when Patrick had returned from basic training and was on his way to the Philippines. "He asked me what my job would be. I told him communications. He replied: 'Oh, I was in the Signal Corps too.' He could have been a repairman in NJ for all any of us knew!"

Patrick eventually discovered that his grandfather was part of a tank unit, and possibly a tank commander. These tanks were mounted with the huge speakers used to create deceptions. Jack was discharged from the Army on February 2, 1946 with the rank of Staff SGT and returned to Straughn and his family. By 1950 he was working as a pipe liner in an oil refinery.

Later in the 1950s he became the Henry County building commissioner, a job he held until January 1, 1959 when he accepted a position as an Indiana-based field service engineer with the Continental Vending Corp. of New York. He eventually relocated to Columbus, IN.

In addition to his vending machine work, which he pursued for nearly 30 years, his hobbies included swimming, woodworking, golf and flying—both real planes and radio-operated ones. When he retired, Jack moved back with Ruthelaine to his hometown of Straughn in 1988. There he was a member of the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church.

In his later years, he suffered from a long, painful, and degrading illness, and he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on June 8, 1995, despondent over his failing health.

He is buried at Ebenezer Church Cemetery, south of Straughn, IN.


1917 birth record

1920 census

1930 census

1935 US Army Transport Listing (NY to Panama)

1936 US Army Transport Listing (NY to Panama)

1937 US Army Transport Listing (Panama to NY)

1939 marriage license listed in Tri-County Banner (Knightstown, IN),0.8669226,0.19833598,0.9463136&xid=3398&_gl=1*173r4j2*_gcl_au*OTkxMTQ0Mjk5LjE2OTc1NTE0NzA.*_ga*NzkxODIzNDU3LjE2OTc1NTE0NzA.*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*ZjRmYTM5OWMtZDNjMC00YjkzLWI4MDctMzE4M2ViZDcyMzRlLjcuMS4xNjk3Njc2MjI4LjEwLjAuMA..*_ga_LMK6K2LSJH*ZjRmYTM5OWMtZDNjMC00YjkzLWI4MDctMzE4M2ViZDcyMzRlLjMuMS4xNjk3Njc2MjI5LjAuMC4w&_ga=2.10584244.1003539794.1697551471-791823457.1697551470

1940 census

1940 draft card

1943 enlistment record

1944 article in the Palladium-Item (Richmond, IN) re his being stationed at Fort Harrison

1944 article in National Road Traveler (Cambridge City, IN) re his transfer from Fort Harrison to Fort Belvoir (VA)

1945 article in National Road Traveler (Cambridge City, IN); he is stationed in Watertown, NY

1946 article in National Road Traveler (Cambridge City, IN) re his discharge from Army

1950 census

1957 New Castle, IN city directory

1958 article in Palladium-Item (Richmond, IN) re his taking job with vending company

1995 VA death record

1995 Social Security death index

1995 death certificate

1995 obituary in the Palladium-Item (Richmond, IN)

2023 (October 6) GALP Veteran Biography Worksheet from grandson Patrick Ward Miller

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