Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Letter 59- January 10, 1944

January 10, 1944
(Camp Abbot, Oregon)

Dear Folks,
This’ll be a surprise to you—2 letters in two days. Maybe I’m getting back into the old routine. Anyway there was no good show tonight. Oh! Oh! Shouldn’t have said that that.

Today we went out for bridge building the first time. We learned the ground work for building a 25 ton ponton bridge. The work is pretty interesting, but I’m afraid I’ll never be any great shakes as a pick and shovel man. I ain’t got the talent.

After we did the bridge building we tried out the new embarkation tower. It’s set on pontons and looks exactly like a section of a ship with debarkation nets hung over the sides. We come up in assault boats and then climb up the nets about 3o feet to the deck. Then we climb down the other side into another boat which carries us to shore. All the time this is going on a speed-boat rushes around stirring up waves which rock the whole works violently. We went over it twice—once without equipment and once with rifle, pack and gas masks. I’m all bumps and bruises.

How did you like the picture. Lousy, huh? It was the only one that came out at all. At least I think that I look better than anyone else in the damn thing.

Well, A.S.T.P. is a thing of the past. Why I couldn’t get anywhere with it is “poifectly” clear. Yesterday night they posted a notice that stated that no more A.S.T.P. applications would be accepted in this camp and that those already appointed would have their A.S.T.P. cancelled—period. Ain’t it the craps.

My cold has completely broken although the temperature hangs around 20° even in the afternoon and is down to 0° in the mornings. We’re getting to the point where we walk around in shirt sleeves if the temperature gets above 10°--no foolin’.

I’m getting hungry. I think I’ll go over to the P.X. and get some ice cream.

Auf Wiedersehen


  1. Bill's experience with the amphibious training and bridge building leaves out the cold Deschutes River. Brrrr. That part of military operations in World War II has to have been the most hazardous. I have read much about men losing their grip and disappearing into the sea with 100 lbs. of equipment or falling into a landing craft.

    And Bill still has his ice cream. At least he has shaken his cold. What has it been, three months?

  2. The training Bill is receiving in the Deschutes looks to be well thought out. He paints quite a picture of the embarkation practice. I can almost see the training structure bobbing upon the water like a huge fishing bobbin with motor boats whizzing about. On a more serious note, the training is of the utmost importance. I can't help thinking about the D-Day scene in "Saving Private Ryan". It makes one take pause as the men at Camp Abbot undergo their training.


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