Saturday, April 4, 2009

Letter 47- December 18, 1943

December 18, 1943

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Well, it’s Saturday night and another enjoyable week at beautiful Camp Abbot has faded into memory, praise the Lord! This really has been a tough week. We’ve been working like dogs and I feel lousy-not sick, mind you but just all pooped out. Boy, this Camp sure gets a man down.

Yesterday afternoon, however, we got off to go to Bend for Christmas shopping. It was the first time I’d been in during the day & it sure was a lot better. I walked around all over town trying to find something to buy but had little success. I saw a fur-lined coat costing $75.00 that I’d damn near give my right arm for up here. I bet it would keep a man warm at the South Pole. Seventy-five bucks. My tastes would have to run in that bracket. Oh well, it was a civilian coat anyway.

In Bend I found a swell malt shop. For 15¢ a person can get a malt that would put Curries to shame. Also they make doughnuts in the window. I got 3 for a dime while they were still hot. They were the best I’ve ever had---Ummmm.

I got some of those little golden outhouses, but they’re nowhere near as nice as the ones I had in mind.

There’s still evidence that we’re going to move out, but if so it won’t be until sometime in January. Over at the hospital they’ve received a lot of new equipment but they’re not going to unpack it until they know what the score is.
I’m beginning to wonder if anyone knows what’s really coming off.

The 51st. went off on a 27 mile hike today and had to be brought back on trucks. They get their 3 weeks problem starting next week and they’re scared to death. If they can’t make (it) the rest of us are supposed to go to Needles for our 3 week problem, as I believe I’ve told you already.

I received $10 from Jessie and Grandma today. Pretty good for a poor rookie, huh? I’ll have to write and thank them very soon.

That package they sent me before didn’t have any peanut butter in is as far as I know but it did have some peanut butter cookies in it. Maybe that’s what she meant.

I’m awfully sleepy right now so I think I’ll finish this letter tomorrow.
good night

good morning

I just picked up a cute poem I think you’ll like. Here it is:

“After the Engineers”

Oh, the infantry is the first to land-
after the engineers

Marines get things so well in hand-
after the engineers

And when they sound the mess call
you can bet a round of beers-

The Cavalry’s the first to eat-
after the engineers

The tanks are always out in front-
after the engineers

The paratroopers bear the brunt-
after the engineers

And when the war’s all over but the shouting and the cheers-

The boys will all go running-
Before the engineers.

I like that.

Well, it’s Sunday morning and everybody’s taking it easy. We’ve got another radio and it’s playing Christmas carols. That’s about all that’s gone on all morning- just lazy loafing and boy do we need it. The longer I stay in this camp the more pooped out I get. When I get my furlough I’m going to lie down and sleep for a week.

I don’t know but I have a feeling big things are about to break so far as this war is concerned. I have little access to the news as compared to you, but I just have a feeling. Maybe my hunch is just wishful thinking but I’ve still got a feeling that the war’s nearer over than most think.

That’s enough prognostication for today. You asked me about my laundry, mother; so here it is. We can send it out once a week and as much as we want for $1.50 a month. They do a very good job on wool socks.

I’d better close now.

Best Love,


  1. A 27-mile march in December! That's pretty tough. I can see why they sent trucks out for the GIs.

    I think it's great that Bill's definition of a great visit to town is a good malt and three fresh doughnuts.

  2. The persistant rumor about moving to Needles, California is appealing, if not accurate. According to Wunderground the average temps for Needles in December is (H)62 degrees (L)43 degrees. It's a veritable tropical paradise compared to Camp Abbot.

    As Napoleon said, "an army marches on it's stomach." This is apparently true in Bend as much as on the battlefields of Europe.


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