Saturday, February 28, 2009

Letter 24- November 12, 1943

November 12, 1943
(Camp Abbot, Oregon)

Dear Folks,

As per usual I’ve got no time to write, but in spite of all I’ll try to get off a decent letter. I received a letter apiece from both you Mother and you Daddy today and they sure made me feel good. The cookies are almost gone but I’m hoarding the few crumbs like a miser. I want to thank you again for them and the other swell stuff you sent me. Such things mean more to fellows in camp than 3 day passes. Keep up the good work. Something I hate to ask you for because it’s so hard to get is chocolate. Up here in all this cold chocolate means a heck of a lot –especially when it’s 5 or 10 deg. F, a dark night and you’re doing guard duty-by the way I get my first guard duty about a week tomorrow.

In one of your recent letters you spoke of coming to see me at Christmas. You know that I want to see you more than anything else in the world, but this is the situation. Camp Abbot is a million miles from nowhere. Bend is very small and has been completely taken over by the Army. There is no railroad into Bend except a freight line. The S.P. stops at Klamath Falls 145 miles south of here and the only communication between there and camp is a two by four bus line. And then even when you get to Bend chances are 100 to 1 that you can’t get lodging anywhere. If it wasn’t for gasoline rationing there’d be no problem because you could drive up and stay at Klamath Falls and then drive to the camp but since that isn’t possible, I don’t see how it can be done.

Seems as though I might be able to qualify as Expert Rifleman. Don’t know yet. There are a lot of “ifs”-but I can try.

Best Love,



  1. It is hard for us in the present times driving enormous cars to realize the fact that there existed gas rationing at one time (and even harder for those like me who were born after the 1970s). As I've gone deeper in my studies it almost seems to me as if our traditional capitalism was cancelled for a time during the war, out of necessity.

    It is easy for me, as a military historian, to forget the personal side. The first thing he mentions is a simple one - cookies. I know from my college experience that a package or a home cooked meal can mean all the difference.

    As an aside, it would be better if you left a contact email on the site here as I cannot find it. (Its 5 am I might have just missed it, I am quite tired).

  2. Wow. The artist of the attached poster sure loved blue eyes, eh? Even Hitler would have been proud of these blue-eyed Aryans.

  3. Chase,
    It's hard for me to truly appreciate the kind of rationing that went on during WWII, and I am a baby boomer having been born in 1948. In my 60 years I have not experienced anything even close to the total commitment made by American citizens during that war. In the early 1980's we had gas rationing for a brief time, but it was short-lived and merely an inconvenience. To me the total commitment that people made during WWII is truly amazing and I am humbled by it.

    As to the personal side of the letters, Bill's story is so engrossing to me, aside that he's my father, in that it allows me to follow his progress on an almost daily basis in the most immediate way, through his eyes and pen to his mother and father. It's as if I'm there at Camp Abbot going through boot camp.

  4. Ward,
    I'll say one thing, with the smiles on their faces it's clear that they are returning and not departing troops. In fact it looks like VE Day!


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