Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Letter 72- February 20, 1944

February 20, 1944
(Camp Abbot, Oregon)

Dear Folks,

Here it is Sunday again and I’m as sore as hell. After going through another week of “apcra” out in the bloomin’ tullies they got us up this morning and took us out on detail. Some of the guys were able to slip out the back door of the barracks, but most of us were hooked. As a result I’ll have a hard time getting my telephone call through this afternoon. Sometimes I feel like telling someone off but my better judgment prevents me from doing so. There’s a lot of fellows here, however, who haven’t got better judgment and so I at least get the pleasure of hearing someone else doing a little blowing off.

Well, “C” Co. made quite a record out on the bivouac. We had 100% security for the entire 2 weeks tactical period. That is, no one ever was able to get through our outguard into camp. This is an enviable record, but it was made at a “hellova” cost as far as the men are concerned. Last week I had 6 hours guard duty every night except Wednesday. That night I was on duty 10 hours and slept 2. You can imagine how tired a body gets with an average sleep of 4 hours out of 24. Anyhoo they didn’t get in and when they were captured—O; it shouldn’t happen to a dog. We treated those officers as if they were real Nazis. It’s a wonder some of our Lieutenants weren’t busted for the way they treated some Capt’s and Majors. Our mess sarge remarked, “You guys don’t give a damn fur nottin’, do you?” Well, they said they wanted us to be tough. They’ve got no squawk coming now.

How do you like the snapshots? The one taken out on bivouac, I think is pretty good. Whenever a fellow has his picture taken around here there must be as many fellows in it as possible in order to conserve film. In that picture, however, I believe I got the best deal.

I received your letters out in camp (it’s a swell time to tell you, I know). I think that those letters of recommendation are very fine and that they may be very useful if I get to go to school. Do you think I should write a letter of thanks to the Bishop and Mr. Hamilton?

Very tactfully you’ve made no mention of the fact that I’ve made almost no statement about my finances lately. Welllll--, things are not too bad but nor is everything too good. During the last two months I’ve collected from the gov’t. $68.72 of which at present I have left $57.39. That’s not bad but I had to sign the payroll out in the woods last week and my hands were so stiff with the cold that I wrote below the line. That’s bad. I may get “red-lined” this month.

I’m going to try and call you up now.

Best love, Bill


  1. I wonder where the GIs kept their money. Did they have company bank accounts or have to keep it in a wallet? It seemes like the money would be a bother, but so would getting money from the company clerk. Of course, the whole army thing is a bother.

    Kudos to Company C for keeping security. That they were stinky to the infiltrating officers reflects the frustration the men experience.

    And what do you suppose the letters of recommendation are for? Maybe Bill needs them for technical school or something.

  2. Bill mentions several times in his letters about having money in the "company safe". In a future letter Bill will relate an episode whereby his company falls victim to a thief. A considerable amount of money is stolen, over $500.00 and Bill is one of the victims. In addition he loses all of his airmail stamps.

    Is seems to be a morale boosting policy to allow the men to "abuse" captured officers, but I can see how this could get out of hand.

    It can't hurt having a letter of recommendation from the Bishop who I assume is associated with Harvard School where Bill went to high school and his dad heads the English Department. Harvard School was affiliated with the Episcopalian Church.


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