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Billow was born in Millersburg, Pennsylvania. Growing up during the depression was rough, they did not have much. His family was poor, food was scarce. It was tough for his parents to raise a family. He completed the 9th grade in high school, but he quit school to work in a box factory to help support his family. He was at a local garage in Millersburg when he heard the radio broadcast about the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was drafted in the Army and was sent to New Cumberland depot. Billow was sent to basic training at Camp Groover, Oklahoma in January of 1941. He recalls it being very cold in Oklahoma.The barracks were tall buildings with stoves on either end to keep the men warm. He was assigned to the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion. They completed survey training in flash and sound communications at Camp Groover before transferring to Camp Polk, Louisiana for more training. They returned to Oklahoma for more training at Fort Sill to train officers in flash and sound observation and communications. Billow trained at Fort Sill for a year before deploying overseas from Camp Shanks, New York on the USS Mooremack Moon. He remembers being in a huge convoy of ships. They lost one ship from the convoy to a German submarine. Billow remembers docking in Wales and waiting for orders. They crossed the channel and landed in France in August of 1944.
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