My father, Frank Sobolewski was stationed at Vancouver Barracks from 1935 to 1941 with the 7th Infantry Regiment. I was born in 1938 at the Station Hospital or Post Hospital. This is the large brick building located next to the I-5 freeway through Vancouver. I was told by a family friend, that I was bought home in an army ambulance. At the time, we lived at 27th and Broadway. The house is no longer there after Broadway was extended in the late 1960’s and now connects to Main Street at 29th Street.
I have three memories of Vancouver Barracks. The first was after I viewed a number of postcards, which my mother collected. Among the postcards was an eighteen (18) picture accordion-type postcard of the 1939 New York’s World’s Fair. The postcard was addressed my brother and me c/o Corporal Frank Sobolewski. It was sent from father’s company commander, Capt. Gavin. The postcard read “I thought you would like to look at these pictures”; signed Capt. Gavin. Capt. Gavin went on to become Lt. General James M. Gavin, the “jumping general” who commanded the 82nd Airborne Division and who jumped with his soldiers in Sicily and Normandy during World War II.
The second relates to when my mother would pull a wagon from our house on 27th Street to the commissary in Vancouver Barracks. I remember I would always get a ride in the wagon to the commissary but would always have to make the long walk back home.
Lastly, was when my brother and I went on a training exercise with the soldiers near Fourth Plain Boulevard. I really do not remember how we got into the training area but I do remember jumping over logs. My brother fell and was jammed in the chin with a stick in a log. I think he still has a scar under his chin today from this accident. Anyway, I consider my brother and I for being the “youngest soldiers” from the World War II era to actual train with soldiers from that era.