Saturday, March 21, 2009

Letter 39- December 6, 1943

December 6, 1943
(Camp Abbot, Oregon)

Dear Folks,

I’m really becoming concerned over your not receiving my mail. I haven’t been as regular with it as I should, but I’ve been doing better than you letters seem to indicate. I don’t know what’s wrong, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the fault may be found right here in Camp Abbot. I certainly hope that by now you are receiving my letters regularly. I haven’t been getting mail from you the way I should but I rarely go more than 3 days without getting any and then I usually get a pile.

Well, the camp rumor mill is grinding away at full speed. According to the latest from the front, we’re moving out of Camp Abbot sometime within the next 4 weeks and packing off lock, stock, and barrel for no place less than Needles, Calif.
Boy! That would be a gift straight from heaven. Cripes! I could get 3 day passes and spend a day at home. No, I mustn’t even think about it. It’s just too good to be possible. However, even if we were sent to some place like Texas or New Mexico I’d feel a “hellova” lot better. No matter what anyone says about this climate, there’s one thing that’s a certainty. From now on our training is going to be darned limited if we stay here. In zero weather a man’s capable of just so much and no more.

Today we worked with anti-personel mines and booby traps. Of course, instead of having T.N.T attached to them there are only firecrackers but you could give yourself a nice burn with one of them. The mine that I made was so fiendishly conceived that the fellow who was supposed to put it out of action, theoretically was blown up. I put one out of action with no trouble.

Well, have to close now. I’ve got K.P. tomorrow and that means I’ve got to get to sleep early. By getting K.P. I miss a 10 mile hike so it seems I’m getting the lesser of 2 evils.

Bestus Love,


(sketch here) Me putting booby trap out of action.


  1. Booby traps - or IEDs as they are called now - were a very big deal to the U.S. Army. When the Allies occupied Naples just a month or two before they found that the Germans had wired the city with bombs set to go off with timers and trip wires. Hundreds of soldiers and civilians died and the city's sewers, water, and power systems suffered badly. Epidemics raged as people suffered from contaminated water. Engineers worked for months to clear the port of mines and wrecks and make it a major Allied supply base.

  2. I've always felt that disarming booby traps has to be the most nerve-racking job imaginable. I greatly admire the men who performed this critical task during the War.


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