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Lon Andrew Gault

T/5 in 3132nd Signal Service Co : T&M Platoon


Born 1924 in IA, Died 1995

County of residence at enlistment: Clinton County, IA
Other residence(s): Clinton, IA;  Western Springs, IL; Downers Grove, IL; Wheaton, IL
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: semiskilled occupations in fabrication of metal products, n.e.c
College education after the war: Indiana Univ., Univ. of Iowa
Notes: "bright guy; became college English professor and big band DJ in Chicago; father to 6 daughters"; rank per gravestone
Source: 3132 Caption List; handwritten sonic list; 3132 Pine Camp Photo Names; photo courtesy Ancestry® and Lyons High School

Lon Gault was born on February 10, 1924 in Clinton County, IA, the younger of two children. His father had been editor and publisher of the Salem News. But his parents divorced sometime before 1930, leaving Lon's mother to work as a housekeeper and take in three lodgers in order to support Andrew and his older sister.

Lon graduated from Clinton High School in 1942, and registered for the draft a few weeks later, on June 30. At the time, he was working for the Curtis Co. in Clinton. When he enlisted six months later, on January 21, 1943, his occupation was listed as "semiskilled occupations in fabrication of metal products."

Lon was sent to radio school at Camp Crowder in Missouri, and his high IQ eventually earned him a place in the 3132 Signal Service Company. He served in Europe with the unit during the war, where he kept a well-written journal that occupied an entire chapter in Jack Kneece's Ghost Army of World War II. According to Kneece, he kept his Boy Scout card, and a copy of the Boy Scout oath, in his wallet during the war.

A paragraph from that journal shows some of the young man's thoughts on the subject of war. "When you see a body half sticking out of the mud, whether he is a GI or Kraut, you know that war is really a nightmarish, grimey business totally devoid of glamour . . . These young men who are dying, like our P-51 pilots I saw shot down over Brest, had mothers, sisters, and fathers who loved and doted on them, who prayed nightly for their safety and well-being; men with pals back home they played baseball or went hunting and fishing with or shared a Coke or soda with . . . War is an ugly and depressing business, the lowest impulse of mankind, My heart aches knowing so many of our young men are dying, young men who could do something wonderful with their lives—write a great book, compose great music, discover great cures in medicine, live lives of meaning and purpose. Well, I guess I sound kind of corny as I write this note to who knows who—and it probably will never be read by anyone—as I sit scrunched up in a muddy fox hole wondering how long this stupid war will last."

Lon returned to the states in the summer of 1945 with the rank of T/5, and married Kathryn Nichols on July 14, 1945, while he was still in uniform. (He would be discharged that fall.) Kathryn had also served during the war, as a nurse's aide in the Women's Army Corps. The couple then headed off to Indiana University to pursue their bachelor's degrees.

Sadly, Lon's father resurfaced at this point, committing suicide in Mexico in 1946 after a Mexican woman reportedly spurned his offer of marriage. He left his belongings and a 1931 Chevy to his daughter and son, stating that he had had "too many disappointments" in his life.

Lon and Kathryn graduated from Indiana in 1948, earning degrees in history and math respectively. In his senior year, Lon won the William Locke prize for Civil War essays.

The Gaults became the proud parents of a daughter, Rebecca in 1947, while they were still in college; a second daughter, Beverly, would be born in 1949 while Lon was pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Iowa. The 1950 census shows Lon working a few hours a week in warehouse labor at the University, and Kathryn working part-time as a nurse's aide. He received his MA from Iowa in 1950, and went to work as a schoolteacher at Lyons High School in his hometown of Clinton, where he taught history and served as an assistant coach. (He had run track at Indiana University and at the University of Iowa as a graduate student, specializing in the 440- and 220-yard events.)

In 1958, Lon joined the faculty at Lyons Township Junior College in LaGrange, IL, teaching western civilization. He and Kathryn welcomed four more daughters to their family during these years—Lonnie, Gretchen, Annette, and Elizabeth.

In 1960, he was appointed assistant director of the evening school at the junior college. In 1967, he joined the faculty at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL and by 1975 he was dean of instruction there. A 1975 newspaper article refers to him as "Dr. Gault," so it's likely he'd acquired a doctorate during the 1960s.

Later in life, Lon's wife Kathryn completed another degree in music. She sang in the Grant Park Chorus in Chicago and had a career as a church musician.

Lon also had musical interests—he was a devotee of the big band ballrooms and their history. In 1989 he published Ballroom Echoes: Take a Trip Down Memory Lane to US Big Band Ballrooms Past and Present. The book included photographs of, and stories about, all the old great ballrooms; it had a reputation for being a well-researched study and was quoted as a source in other later books.

Lon died on July 9, 1995 and is buried at Mt. Emblem Cemetery in Elmhurst, IL. After Lon's death, the College of DuPage established the Lon A. Gault Memorial Scholarship for Academic Excellence in History, funded through private donations in his memory.


1930 census

1942 Clinton high school yearbook (includes photo)

1942 draft card

1943 enlistment record

1945 marriage record

1946 father's death record

1947 article in the Des Moines Tribune (IA) about his varsity letter in track

1948 article in the Anderson Daily Bulletin (IN) re his essay award

1948 Indiana University yearbook (includes photo)

1949 WWII bonus case files (Iowa)

1949 article in the Daily Iowan about his win at a track meet as a graduate student

1950 article in the Daily Times (Davenport, IA) about his receiving MA from U of Iowa

1950 census

1953 yearbook (he is faculty; includes photo)

1956 Clinton IA city directory

1958 article in the Chicago Tribune (IL) re his work

1962 article in the Chicago Daily Tribune (IL) re his work

1967 article in the Roselle Register (IL) re his work

1975 article in the Suburban Life/Graphic Herald (IL); he is giving speech on the Ghost Army

1993 US public records

1995 VA death record

1995 Find a Grave record*1am0udz*_gcl_au*MTMyMzc5NjA0NS4xNzIwMjk3MzE0*_ga*MTk3MzMxNDM3OS4xNzIwMjk3MzE1*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*YjIyYmNlNzgtYTNlNC00ZmQ3LTlkNWYtY2FiZjRjZGIzYWE4LjMuMS4xNzIwNDcyNDcxLjUwLjAuMA..*_ga_LMK6K2LSJH*YjIyYmNlNzgtYTNlNC00ZmQ3LTlkNWYtY2FiZjRjZGIzYWE4LjMuMS4xNzIwNDcyNDcyLjAuMC4w

2015 wife's obituary (provides all of their children's names)

College of DuPage website; info re the Gault scholarship

Amazon website; about his book

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