Thursday, February 5, 2009

Letter 11- October 29, 1943

October 29, 1943
(Camp Abbot, Oregon)

Dear Folks,

I am writing this before mail call so I don’t know whether or not I’ll get any from you today. Ordinarily I would wait, but tomorrow we’ve got Sat. inspection and I’m not sure I’ll have any spare time tonight. If I do get some mail from you and do have some spare time I’ll write another letter.

Things are pretty much the same here as always. I fell out for sick call this morning in order to get some nose drops. Everyone here has a miserable cold. As a result I got “Shit Detail” or in other nicer words- clean the latrine, etc.

The weather here is as bad as ever-rain-sleet-slush. The situation is getting so bad that there’s a song making it’s way around the camp right now. It’s rather bawdy, but it expresses our feelings perfectly. Here’s how it goes:

Oregon is a hellava state
Oregon is a hellava state
Oregon is a hellava state
It’s the asshole of the 48
hinkey dinkey parley-voo

At any rate, the weather’s making me pretty homesick (I’d be homesick anyway). Your letter of last week in which you spoke of the chocolate cake and baked beans made my mouth water terrifically. I don’t expect you to send me a chocolate cake or candy, I know how hard it is to get those things but I sure could go for some of your Toll House Cookies right now, Mother. If you do send some make ‘em small. I’ll have to pass some around. A few such delicacies from home mean a lot to the fellows here because we get food in the messhall, which in the words of the great whoozis is “confidentially stinky”.

I wish you would tell me in your letters a little world news. Believe it or not (trite), the last news that I heard was to the effect that Hull, Eden & Molotov had their first meeting. Has anything important happened since then? Sometime next week we should get a radio in here but until then we don’t know from nothing.

Best Love to Mudder
Daddy and Her Nibbs
From, Bill

P.S. It’s raining
P.P.S. The Army. Phooey!


  1. It is not uncommon for troops to believe that their post is the worst one in the Army. I met a wounded soldier who would rather go back to Vietnam than return to Fort Polk, Louisiana.

    The meeting that Bill heard about was between the foreign ministers of the U.S., Great Britain, and the Soviet Union in Moscow. They tried to work out post-war plans for Europe. All they came up with was a restoration of Austria to its original configuration. That was the last two weeks of October 1943. The big war news of the rest of the year was in Russia and out in the Pacific. U.S. Marines will invade Bouganville, Makin, and Tarawa in November, and New Britain in December.

    At this time, the Army is focusing its energies on Overlord, the invasion of Europe. I wonder if Bill and his mates know that this is underway. That an invasion was planned is no secret. The time and place are, naturally, a closely guarded secret. It must be hard to focus on training if you have no idea what you are being trained for.

  2. Bill certainly didn't have much good to say about Camp Abbot. Having grown up myself in Los Angeles, where the typical weather in late October is warm, dry and sunny, I can see how the cold, damp, perpetually overcast sky would get him down. That being said, I don't think Bill is atypical in his complaining. It seems most recruits in boot camp are "chronic malcontents".

  3. It certainly appears that the camp policy was to make life so miserable for anyone needing medical attention that they dare not report for sick call, huh? Can't run the risk of harboring any slackers, you know. -- wg

  4. Bill seems to be a candidate for P.L.O. (Permanent Latrine Orderly) as depicted by Andy Griffith playing Will Stockdale in "No Time for Sergeants".


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