Albert Giroux was born Jan 10, 1913 while the family was living on Nash St. in Waterville, Maine. Like most of Napoleon Giroux's sons, he took a turn in the barbershop and tried to learn the barbering trade from his father. Al remembers practicing to sharpen the straight razor used in the shop on a bottle. The bottle was also used to practice his shaving strokes. The boys would tease that it was time to shave the bottle. Albert hated the barbershop and found other work and interests. At one time he worked as a caddy at the Waterville Country Club. He remembers wanting to go to a special caddies tournament in Portland, Me. and having his mother give him the money to go, from her own savings. He also remembers that it was his brother Dan, who started his first interest in radios by giving him his first battery powered radio to work on and take apart to see how it worked and how to repair it.
completed high school, Al worked in the W.P.A (Work Progress Administration)
funded projects. He worked “pick and shovel” on the road crew that
improved College Ave. from old Colby College towards Fairfield.
It was a dirt road at that time and became concrete. He stayed
for a summer in Haverhill, Mass. with his brother Earnest. Then he
returned to Waterville to work in a textile mill in the inspection room.
During a strike he decided to enter the service and went to boot camp at
Ft. Slocum, N.Y. in 1936. Afterwards he went to Ft. Monmouth,
NJ to “radio school”. Then he was stationed in Panama for two years.
While he was there he had to take quinine (which came in tablet form) but
he was unable to swallow pills (to this day) and was forced to dissolve
them in his coffee.
Eventually Al wrote to Gabe’s wife Lorrette and asked her to go to Magog and bring Marie-Anna back to live with her and his brother in Waterville. Lorrette didn't know Marie-Anna but arranged for Gus Veilleux (a funeral director, friend, and Gabe’s employer) to drive her to Portland so she could take the Grand Trunk Railroad to Canada. Lorrette told Marie-Anna in a letter how she would be dressed so they would be able to find each other when she arrived. Once she arrived in Sherbrook on the train she took the bus to Magog and Marie-Anna was waiting right there when Lorrette got off the bus and they somehow knew each other immediately. Lorrette stayed the night at Bernadette’s (Al and Gabe’s cousin) house but there was a storm that night. Lorrette was so scared being in a strange place with branches scrapping on the windows, and the wind and rain, that she insisted that they return to Maine as soon as possible. They packed Marie-Anna's things and left shortly after on the train. Marie-Anna lived with Lorrette and Gabe until Christmas when Al came and brought her to North Carolina, where Al was attending Officer Candidate School. She stayed until May and then expecting their first child, she returned to visit her family in Canada, then to live again with Gabe and Lorrette. Just before Jackie’s birth Al was assigned overseas in Africa. On the way his convoy was attacked by German airplanes near Gibraltar. He arrived safely in Algiers and was assigned to the 267th Headquarters Company in the French Training section. He was in Africa from Nov 1943 till October 1944 before being sent to Italy. While there Al was a translator for the Algerian troops enroute to the Russian POW camp. During that time he received the European African Millde Eastern Service Medal. He stayed in Italy for the remainder of the war, returning home just before Jackie’s 2nd birthday in Oct. 1945.
Al was assigned to Ft. Devans Mass until Jan of 1946 when he was released from active duty and commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Signal Corps Reserves. Later that year Kathleen (Kitty) was born in Waterville. By December that same year of 1946 Al re-enlisted at Ft. Monmouth N.J. as a sergeant. By April the following year he was promoted to tec/3rd class and in August the same year he was promoted to technical sergeant in Fort Monmouth. A year later in October of 1948 Al was discharged from enlisted status and recalled for active duty with the rank of 1st lieutenant and assigned to signal school at Ft. Monmouth.
We know at that time Marie moved to Germany with 2 girls, Jackie and Kitty, in tow and she was pregnant with me, Lorraine. She was spotting while she was preparing to board a ship and the doctors gave her something to prevent a miscarriage.
I guess all went well and she and the 2 girls arrived in Germany and the lived in a home near where dad was stationed in Herzogenaurach, a few miles from Nuremberg. I was born Nov. 5, 1949 at the American Hospital in Nuremberg.
Marie and Al were able to take a trip to Austria and Italy in March 1950. And by the end of that year Al was promoted to Captain on 30 Dec. 1950. In Feb 1951 Al was transferred from Herzo Base, Germany to the "Block House" in Paris France.
When Marie and the children arrived in France a week later than Al the lived for a time in Versaille on the Boulevard de la Porte Verre. In April they all moved to St. Germain en Laye where Shape Command(allied forces in Europe) are stationed.
Norman to 1st and only son born to Al and Marie was born in July 1951 at the American Hospital in Neuilley, Paris, France. He was later baptized at Notre Dame Cathedral.
In Aug. 1951 Al was transferred from the Blockhouse in Paris to the 7th Signal Battalion in Versailles as a Liaison officer to the French Government. Dad always told us he worked for DeGaul on something that had to do with translation as he spoke both French and English.
Later that same year the whole family returned home to the states via ship
departing Bremahaven, Germany to the Brooklyn Army Base in the US. and in Dec.
1951 the family bought a house in Fairhaven, N.J. near Ft. Monmouth. Al was at
the same time given command of the 9489 TSU at White Sands Ionosphere Station,
Six months later the 9489 was deactivated ad Al was reassigned to the White Sands Signal Agency in Los Cruses, New Mexico until he was sent all over -from Los Alamos NM to Travis AF Base in Calif. to the Marshall Islands. Both going and coming from the Marshall Islands he stopped over in Hawaii where he stayed a couple of days before returning to the States in late November and was again stationed at Ft. Monmouth, NJ. Late the following year in Dec. 1953 Al again went to Travis AFB in California on he way to Okinawa, Japan for duty in Joint Task Force Seven. He was there for 6 months and then left for Guam in May, en-route to the USA.
It is during that time we think he went to Bikini Island. He never spoke about what happened there or what he did but the following information gives a synopsis of what occurred on Bikini during that time.
It is very possible that Al was aboard one of those ships and witnessed the explosion.
In July 1955 Al was assigned to the Thule Ionosphere Station in Greenland were he stayed for a year. He then returned to Ft. Monmouth Ionosphere Station until his retirement in Jan 1957.