Friday, May 15, 2009

Letter 63- January 20, 1944

January 20, 1944
(Camp Abbot, Oregon)

Dear Mother & Dad,

Boy! Does time fly in this bloomin’ army. It seems that the weeks are flying by like rabbits lately. Only 5 more weeks to go including bivouac. I wish the first 6 weeks had gone by like that. Oh well! That’s past history.

This is the damnedest country around here. This morning it was so bitter cold I almost froze in spite of a mountain of clothes, but by afternoon the temperature was up to 70°. It’s the first time I’ve seen warm weather since I left good old California.

Today we finished floating bridges. About all we have left in our course is one 23 mile hike, fixed bridges and rigging—that’s not counting the bivouac which is really not part of our regular basic.
I tried again to see whether or not I could get those pictures for you but they seem pretty damned unconcerned down at the studio. Talking about pictures I’m having a “hellofa” time getting my film. Another thing, I noticed was my camera doesn’t have a spool in it so I won’t be able to reset the films even after I get them.

I sure wish I could find out what my future is in this army. They do everything in such a highhanded manner that it burns me up. When the war’s over and I’ve got my discharge there’s a couple of noses I’d sure like to punch. By the way, you should hear some of the sentiments expressed by the boys around here on how the country’s being regimented. No wonder Roosey doesn’t want the soldiers to vote.

That orange bread sure sounds good. In fact anything you can send—even white bread or a bottle of pickles I’d really appreciate. One kid’s folks even sent him a loaf of rye bread and a little jar of peanut butter. Don’t bother to go to a lot of trouble to get candy, however. That situation is much improved and now I can probably get it easier than you. And for gosh sakes don’t you use a lot of ration points to make stuff for me.

I’ll write again for sure tomorrow night. We’ve got Guard Duty and can’t leave the Company area.

All my love,


  1. If Bill is getting any war news he will know that the Allies are locked in desperate battles in Italy on the Rapido River and at Monte Cassino. In the Pacific the U.S. is landing troops in the Admiralty Islands. After two years in the conflict the U.S. is hitting its stride militarily and the overwhelming advantage in ships, planes, and tanks is beginning to have an effect. On January 22, the Allies will land at Anzio for four months of bitter combat (to little effect).

    Bill's identification with the Corps of Engineers is troubling to this reader well aware that his military career is due to change course.

  2. Before Bill finally winds up as an infantryman his army "career path" will take another unexpected turn. He will be given a new assignment in a field which could not be less suited for his skills and abilities. To Bill's credit he will give it his all, but it is obvious that it is a poor choice by the army. Stay tuned.


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