Monday, June 1, 2009

Letter 66- January 26, 1944

January 26, 1944
(Camp Abbot, Oregon)

Dear Mother and Dad,

This is a “hellova” time to start a letter, but I thought I’d better get at it before you massacre me. Yesterday we went on a 12 mile reconnaissance (I wish you would spell that for, Dad) march. Of course, we ran all the way and I was so tired that when I had finished dinner I went right to bed, and that’s all I remember until 6:00 this morning. It makes me mad since we only go at such a terrible speed so that the lieutenant can get home early, and he doesn’t have to lug a rifle and pack.

This is our big training week. I should say it’s our last training week. Next week is mainly review and getting ready for the bivouac. This Friday we get our 23 mile hike. If it’s as icy along the road as it was yesterday I’ll never make it. With that one weak ankle of mine I just have a devil of a time walking on the ice and snow.

I’m sure hoping for furlough when I finish my training, but if I get sent to a specialist school I won’t get one. Otherwise I get one automatically. I should get 7 days at home and possibly 10. I hope so. We sign up for furloughs at the end of next week.

If I get out of this camp no one will ever be able to get me back here not even at the point of a gun. The way I hate this place is phenomenal. If someone told me I could come home I’d not even take the time to pack my things. I think the only good word in army language is demobilization. Oh well, maybe I’m just down in the dumps today. The only trouble with that philosophy is that I always feel this way.

Well, I have something interesting to tell you, but I’ll let it wait until tomorrow when I can tell you the whole story.

Bestus Love,


  1. Wow, Bill's morale is at a low ebb. Why not? He is out of the ASTP track and spending the war as a combat engineer does not seem to inspire him. And he certainly doesn't care for Camp Abbott. But we have to remember that training is not supposed to be a warm and fuzzy experience. The Army of 1944 still regarded men as interchangeable parts, not as components to cohesive military organizations. A couple generations later, leaders came to understand that people deployed as units performed better. They know their officers and fellow soldiers and develope a sense of belonging.

    But Bill is of a different era. If he is to "belong" it will come in a different unit.

  2. Things are definitely not going Bill's way and they are not going to get better in the foreseeable future. Dispite numerous setbacks Bill remains remarkably resilient. I believe much of this has to do with his ability to "blow off steam" in his letters home.


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