Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Letter 26- November 15, 1943

November 15, 1943
(Camp Abbot, Oregon)

Dear Folks,

Well, I haven’t got anything to do tonight so I can get off a pretty good letter. Everybody else has guard duty tomorrow, but I’ve got K.P. Kitchen Police sounds bad, but around here nobody minds it because it’s easier than training. Today was pretty soft, however, because we went to the show about 4 times for training and orientation films (orientation is another word for propaganda). The Lieutenant asked who could carry a guidon today and I said I could although I had my doubts. I came out all right though because I could remember enough of what my guidon carrier at Harvard did to get by. This morning with a smirk on his face the Sgt. called me out to lead the exercises. This is considered one of the toughest ways of drilling an outfit, but it was just my meat. I think the impression I made on the Lt. & Sgt. was pretty damn good. We had boxing but I wouldn’t do it because of my broken snozzle. That’s why I got the phys. Tr. But it was good to give a few commands instead of taking them-and with the officers present-well.

Today I walked around the corner, and ran “smack dab” into a private in the German Army—gray-green uniform—coal scuttle helmet and the whole outfit including a Mauser rifle. For a moment I was stunned and I almost beat him over the head with my Garand. Then I realized that he was one of my corporals. There were several of them wandering around the camp to show the soldiers what a German uniform looks like and to find out what the reaction of the troops would be. The corporal said that 99% of them thought the uniform was British (what jerks.)

I don’t know if it means anything or not but the rumor that the war in Europe is almost over continues to gain momentum around here. One fellow in our barracks got a letter from his brother in Italy saying that he would be very surprised if the war lasted until the 1st.of the year. I saw the letter myself. I’m sending you a clipping from a San Francisco paper. Has the news been along this line generally, lately? (bad English)

We’re learning “Judo” up here right now. I already know how to kill a guy in 50 different ways (all dirty) and can throw a man over my head with a flick of the wrist. (pleasant, huh?)

According to weather reports a cold wave is going to hit this region tonight sometime. The weather’s been beautiful for over a week and I was afraid it couldn’t last. Even with the nice weather colds have been terrible. The hospital is full of pneumonia, flu, and cold cases and now the mess halls are handing out hot lemonade every night. I’ll bet this camp folds up the by the first of the year. One thing that makes us think the war is almost over is the number of medical discharges that are coming through now. Men are getting CDD’s without having a hell of a lot wrong with them. Of course, that doesn’t mean a hell of a lot.

I haven’t heard anything about the A.S.T.P., but I’m going to get an interview with Capt. O’Grady about it as soon as I’ve made a good enough impression.

I’m sure glad my cold’s breaking up now. The ambulance is down at number one barracks right now dragging off a flu or pneumonia case. It’s the regular guidon bearer. Looks as if I may have his job for quite some time now. What a “jernt”. If this keeps up, there’ll be so few in the Company they’ll have to make me a non-com.

Best Love to the
Best folks in the World,

(sketch here)


  1. How tragic that the GIs are led to believe that the war might be over soon. But the men will believe the rumors that make them feel good. Like the one about Camp Abbot closing.

  2. Most of these rumors do seem to be in the category of "wishful thinking". Some guy in Italy makes an offhand remark and presto, the word is out throughout Camp Abbot that the war will be over in less than 2 months.

  3. I certainly don't remember KP ever being easy. The only rest we got between scrubbing greasy cooking pots was sitting down with a paring knife and peeling the skins off potatoes. We tried to make that task last as long as possible before going back to the dishpans. -- wg

  4. Ward, I've always associated KP with punishment so I was surprised by Bill's comment too. I have this mental image of Sad Sack sitting before a mountain of potatoes with a tiny paring knife looking like he was doomed to an eternity of peeling...and that is the easy part compared to scrubbing!


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