Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Letter 109- July 10, 1944

July 10, 1944
(Camp Reynolds, Pa.)

Dear Mother and Dad,

For the last half hour I’ve been trying to write you a letter with this pen. I hope this time I have a little success. It’s beginning to look as if I may be getting out of here before very long. There are supposed to be 2 overseas shipments within the near future. I don’t know exactly where but soon and I imagine I’ll be one of them. We got some of the lowdown from a troop-transport commander the other day and it must be quite a picnic. We get on the train here fully equipped except for primary weapons—rifles, carbines, tommy guns, and go to P.O.E. There we get weapons, any new equipment that may have been introduced and a little training. As soon as the boat (banana boat) arrives, we are dragged with everything on our backs to the ship, given bunk numbers, chow numbers, and introduced to ship routine. It’s just like a post. We get 2 meals a day and have various drills frequently. In wherever we are going they dump us on a train, give us some “K” rations and send us to a reception center where we start training all over again just like we did when we came in the army. How I love it! --------. If I go to Europe I get 12 hours in New York before going to the P.O.E.!

I haven’t sent in my Education form yet but that’s only because I haven’t got to the post office to get a money order. While I’m waiting for my lessons to arrive I’m going to attend conversational classes and try to brush up on what little German I know.

The routine around here is driving me screwy (nuts). They don’t have any imagination at all—every day is the some damn thing. Tomorrow I’m afraid they’re sending us out on another overnight bivouac. Unfortunate, isn’t it? I’ll close now before this gets gruesome.

Best Love,



  1. From what I have heard Bill has left out one aspect of ship's routine - the interminable waiting in line, for chow, for the latrine, for everything. One vet of the war in Europe told me that he does not fear hell, he has been there. It's deep in the hold of a ship on a stormy ocean where the air is stifling and you cannot breathe except for the smell of filthy bodies and vomit.

    That he is not part of a coherent unit suggests that he is destined for an overseas repple depple and the hated-by-all replacement system. Even Omar Bradley condemned the system. But we will wait and see.

  2. On the Queen Mary only two-thirds of the embarked troops could be accommodated in the ships 12,500 bunks so 2500 men were assigned sleeping areas on the deck. The below-deck bunks were stacked 6 high in every available area, and seperated by only 18 inches. Most troops felt understandably claustrophic in such cramped quarters and believed that a man sleeping on deck had a better chance of survival should the ship be torpedoed.


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