Thursday, March 19, 2009

Letter 37- December 5, 1943

December 5, 1943
(Camp Abbot, Oregon)

Dear Folks,

I sure hope you’re beginning to get my mail regularly now. There were 3 days when I was I was unable to write but I’ve been doing much better ever since. As I told you in my last letter I didn’t receive any mail from you for 4 days but now everything seems straightened out. How do you like this paper? The darn thing about it is that I didn’t know I was buying (it) even. I thought I was getting the kind with a spread eagle on it; but when I got into the barracks, this is what I found. I like it though.

Well, the rumors about us moving out of Camp Abbot are beginning to assume real proportions. There are some medical and engineering experts from Fort Leonard Wood here right now studying the mess. Right now, about 20% of all personnel of the entire camp is in the hospital with some kind of cold, flu, or pneumonia and the situation is getting worse. Even officers predict openly now that the camp will be closed by Christmas. If so we’ll probably go somewhere in Texas.

Today is the most beautiful (and coldest) I’ve seen since I’ve been here. All day yesterday there was a heavy snowfall. Of course, I would have to be out on detail all day in that crap, but to get back to the point. Right now at 9:30 in the morning the ground is covered with about a foot of blinding white snow and the sky is as blue as can be. I sure wish I had a camera so I could take some pictures, it’s so beautiful. I was planning to go to Bend today but with all this snow and cold I think I’ll be better off right here. If I get cold here I can always come back to the barracks but if I get cold in that burg I can’t do a hell of a lot about it. I hope you’ll excuse my bad writing.

This morning I stayed in bed until 9:00 and it sure was swell.

I received the box of chocolate bars and finished off the last of them yesterday. I think they made me feel a lot pepier, peppier, peppyer, (take your choice). I have not as yet received the apron but am looking for it.

I was sure sorry to hear about Bill Vaughn getting killed. Wouldn’t you know that’s the way it would happen after floating around on one of those damn tankers all the time.

Mr. Hamilton must be very proud of Johnny. He must really be doing a great job over there. He always seemed like such a kid it’s hard to realize that he could accomplish such a job. I bet no one will know him when he gets back, he’ll have aged so.

Hot Dawgs! Boy! Oh, boy! A six pound fruitcake. My tongue’s hangin’ on the ground already. As I probably told about 20 times, there’s nothing in the world more important to a soldier next to mail from home than food from home. However, I certainly don’t want you to go without just so you can send me stuff. I can manage.

That Ruby sure must be a kick. Honest to god I never heard of anyone like her. I sure liked your picture, Mother. It gave me a good laugh.

I’m sure glad to hear that we’re going to get something to make up for all the headaches that Hughes clan has given us. If anyone deserves that 5% it’s you.

The trouble that Fulton Lewis has had in getting to the Army camps on the west coast has received much talk here in camp. Everyone knows that there’s something crooked right here, and it’s probably that way elsewhere. As I’ve written before, the C.O. here just happens to also own the land on which the camp’s built. He also controls the bus line here as well as half the town of Bend and all the camp P.X.’s. Nice layout, huh? I’d like to be getting what he rakes in.

I see by the “Sunday Oregonian” the only news I get all week that they really gave hell to Leipzig last night. Boy! If they keep that up there won’t be a town left in Germany.

Well, that’s about all right now.

Bestus Love,

p.s. over

Did you get my letter saying I made sharpshooter and had missed expert by only 4 points. 176 out of 180?


  1. Have you done some research to learn who the Commanding Officer was that owned this land, the bus line, and half the town of Bend? -- wg

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I checked the National Archives site which has the official U.S. Navy casualty lists. It shows

    William Frank Vaughn, Pharmacist's Mate 2c, USN, Wife, Mrs. Madeline Vaughn, 1218 S. Menlo, Los Angeles

    There is no date or other information.

  4. I'd be curious to know who John Hamilton is. There is a John Hamilton, First Lieutenant from Los Angeles County killed in action, but from Bill's letter Johnny accomplished something significant rather than being killed.

  5. The CO of Camp Abbot was Col. Frank S. Besson. A West Point graduate, Besson was in command of the ERTC at Ft. Leonard Wood prior to being assigned to Camp Abbot. Nothing in my research indicates any connection between Col. Besson and the Camp Abbot property. According to an article dated November 4,1942 in the Bend Bulletin announcing the construction of the camp, "The cantonment will be located on the area well known as the Shonquist Ranch property." A "Google" of Shonquist Ranch is essentially a dry hole.

  6. Unfortunately I have nothing on Bill Vaughn or John Hamilton. Because Bill is from Los Angeles rather than, say Manhattan, Kansas it is virtually impossibe to get much background on many of the people he mentions in the letters. Having names like John Hamilton doesn't help!


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