Thursday, June 11, 2009

Letter 68- January 30, 1944

January 30, 1944
(Camp Abbot, Oregon)

Dear Folks,

Well, here it is Sunday night and I’ve nothing to look foreword to except another week of slavery. I haven’t gotten any mail from you for several days so I can’t exactly answer any questions or anything. No, I shouldn’t say that. I did receive all that reading material which I’m eating up with great gusto. I also received a box of cookies from Grandma and Jessie as well as a letter from Horton Grant. So you can see I have been getting mail.

Well, (I’m getting so I can’t say anything without starting off with “well”) all my required training is over. If I were to go to the hospital tomorrow for 2 weeks they couldn’t set me back. Mind you, I’m not contemplating it.

Yesterday we had our toughest bridge, the Bailley (Bailey)) bridge. It’s an English type and very good. The only trouble is that it weighs over 36 tons. Panels weigh 600 lbs., transoms weigh 400 and so on. As a result today I’m paralyzed from the hips up. That makes me completely paralyzed, doesn’t it. My brain was paralyzed when I turned down the Air Corps and my legs were paralyzed by that 25 miles hike.

You’re probably wondering where in hell the money order I was supposed to send home is. It’s still in the company safe—at least $35.00 of it is. I figger that since tomorrow is payday I might as well wait and send the whole business at once. I’ll be able to make up for the extra money I spent this month because with the bivouac and all I won’t be able to spend much money next month.

Best Love,


  1. The real life of the combat engineer: lifting and digging. Tell us about the Bailey Bridge, Greg.

  2. The Bailey bridge was designed by Donald Bailey, a British civil servant who built model bridges as a hobby. It was adopted by the Corps of Royal Engineers and first used in Italy in 1943. The Bailey bridge was of a unique modular design that could be assembled by army engineers without the use of a crane or other heavy equipment. All parts were interchangeable and much like an erector set the bridge could be made as long and as strong as required for the purpose for which it was to be used.

    The Bailey bridge provided an excellent solution to the problem of German and Italian armies destroying bridges as they retreated. By war’s end, US and British troops had built over 3,000 Bailey bridges in Sicily and Italy alone. In 1947 Field Marshall Montgomery wrote,” I could never have maintained the speed and tempo of forward movement [in Italy and Europe] without large supplies of Baileys.”


If you receive an error message when posting a comment or preview please hit "Post Comment" or "Preview" a second time and it should go through.--Greg