Friday, April 10, 2009

Letter 51- December 25, 1943

December 25, 1943
(Camp Abbot, Oregon)

Hello Mother and Dad,

Well, I just got through speaking to you on the phone about a hour ago. Since then I’ve had a fair Christmas dinner and have had my picture taken by one of the fellows in the barracks. I sure wish I could have heard you a little better on the phone but there was so much noise in the Telephone Building and I couldn’t hear you so well anyway that it was a little tough. (Daddy’ll say that last sentence is awkward –won’t you?) It was swell to hear your voices anyway. I haven’t received any mail for 3 days and although I know you’ve written it takes the pep out of a body anyway.

If you don’t mind the cost I’d like to call you again when there isn’t such a rush.

As I was telling you over the phone it doesn’t look anymore as if we’re going to get out of here- right away at any rate. They’re shipping in winter uniforms right now and they’re some stuff. Fur lined coats, pants, shoes, heavy wool lined field jackets. Tough coats that are reversible with O. D. (olive-drab) on one side and white on the other. These have hoods too. In short we’re getting all set for a hard winter. I guess it can’t be helped.

I still haven’t been able to find out anymore on A.S.T.P. Transfers are becoming very hard to get for engineers but here’s the lowdown on that transfer I was telling you about. My pal, Blair Hamilton’s father is Naval Construction engineer down at San Francisco, and he has connections with a lot of big Army and Navy officers in charge of the port. Blair wanted to go in the Navy but couldn’t make it because his eyesight is rotten. He then thought he’d be turned down by the Army- but wasn’t. Now for about the last week his father has been trying to arrange a transfer to a small branch known as Shore and Harbor Patrol. It’s more or less an M.P. job—you’re sure to be located near a big city—maybe L.A.—and you’d probably be permanently stationed. Blair said his father might be able to arrange it for two and I told him to go ahead and try. I imagine my chances are pretty slim but I can’t lose anything.

I’m enclosing a note to Mr. Van Vorst. With my usual dumbness I misplaced his address and got myself all messed up.

I hope my coughing over the phone didn’t scare you too much. Everyone up here is hacking the same damned way. I really don’t feel half bad now and as I told you I’ve gained back all my weight.

Best Love, Bill

(sketch here) ---Me in winter uniform


  1. I find the efforts to pull strings for a good posting to be entertaining. Bill will obviously do anything to get away from Camp Abott. But the winter clothing is a bad sign.

  2. I have to laugh at the sketch of Bill dressed as "Nanook of the North" knowing how much he hated cold weather. Nevertheless, it was good training for the conditions he would face in France and Germany during the winter of 1944-45.


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