September 20, 1952
Just a short note with the latest news. We board the ship tomorrow morning at 9:30, and will sail at 2:30 p.m. Instead of ten days, the trip is going to take 13 days because we are going to dock in Southampton, England for two days to pick up the Army Air Force Band.
By the looks of the weather, it is going to be a rough trip until we get through The Channel. It is very cold today. I looked for snow this morning, but nothing but hail.
Almost time for the lights to go out, so I had better close. As soon as I get to Kilmer I'll call.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
September 18, 1952
We're just about ready to start back to the States. We left Giesen last evening at
11:00, got here about 10:00 this morning. It rained the whole way North, and the closer we got to the sea, the colder it got. Right now it's pretty chilly, but no snow as yet. Anyway, our ship leaves Sunday afternoon at 2:00, so we should be in New York City by October 2 at the latest.
This is a pretty nice little camp. It reminds me a lot of Schweinfurt, especially the barracks and all the trees. It was probably one of the camps that the German navy used during World War II. There aren't many troops permanently stationed here, either. Almost everyone I see is waiting to go home.
Almost all of the guys I took basic with are here, even though we didn't see each other during our time in Germany. Most of them were sent to the Infantry when we hit Fort Benning. Ray, my old bunk-mate from Fort Dix, is in the bunk right next to me, and my buddy Joe is on the other side. I heard Bob Nelson's name called today, but didn't see him. I don't think he's going to be leaving when we do; some are being held over for the next ship, and lots of them will be catching KP much of the time while they're here. We all were surely afraid that that might happen to us, but it didn't. It seems that the guys from the 28th Division are the ones doing all the dirty work.
From what we hear, most of us will be processed in Camp Kilmer, New Jersey for two days at the most, then will go elsewhere for separation. We'll be separated from a camp closest to our home; that would be Fort Indiantown Gap, I believe.
I sent three packages out yesterday, so they should get there about the same time I do.
I'm a bit tired from the train ride, and the "hurry up and wait" we've been going through here. I did sleep a bit on the train, though. It was just about like those Youngstown to Cleveland rides I used to take on the Erie. Most of the guys couldn't sleep while sitting in a coach, but it didn't bother me a bit.
I'll keep you informed on what is happening. If you write, I probably won't get the letter.
September 1, 1952
This is a holiday for us, so there's nothing much doing today. I'm going into Giessen this afternoon to finish up my shopping. I found a nice Hoener harmonica for Mr. Montgomery the other day, so that's one less I'll have to worry about.
It's just about certain that there is anothe shipping list for September 18, and there are just four ahead of me on the rotation list. The Captain has been after me to draw up a new schedule as to who and when will be rotating in the next month.
I do believe that the higher-ups are getting worried about not having any people for the jobs in a month or so. No one has re-upped as yet; I must have been a bad influence on some of the ones that were leaning in that direction.
When we do come back, it will probably be on either "The General Patch" or else on "The General Rose." One of the guys has a relative who's son is in the Navy, and this relative passed the word along that both ships are on the way over here with some replacements.
Curly and I went to Kassel to see the motor-cycle races. Quite a few accidents, but nobody got badly hurt. Next Sunday there will be sports car races, but we'll be out on the border again.
How is the television reception now? Do they still show wrestling on Wednesday nights? When will the Youngstown station be ready to broadcast?
Nothing much is happening, really. We now have some new replacements; none have had any artillery training, so that is putting quite a burden on the section chiefs and the officers. I am still in the orderly room, but may have a gun section of my own for a week or so on the border on account of all the guys being rotated. That's fine with me, because I really do like it on the border.
If you happen to get some packages before I arrive back, open them if you want, or else save them until I get back. I'm interested in seeing the condition they are in when they arrive.
Time to eat now, so will close. See you soon, I believe.
Bad Bruckenau, Germany
August 15, 1952
We came back from Baumholder, stayed at Giessen for two days, are now on a three-day maneuver with the infantry. The weather is rainy, but warm.
It looks as though most of us will be home quite a bit before we're supposed to be. Nine of the guys have left this week, and none of them are due to get out untl October. This may be my last field trip in Germany.
Has "High Noon" played there yet? I saw it Wednesday night; very good movie, especially if you like Gary Cooper as I do.
Is "Auf Wiedersehn" first place on the Hit Parade over there? Over here it's an old song. When did it get started over there?
When I get back to Giessen I'll send some of the pictures I took in Copenhagen. If you get "Look Magazine," there is a good article about Germany in the latest one.
Did you get the jeep fixed yet? How are the Dodge and the Plymouth running? Which one do you think is the best?
Has anyone done any fishing this year? Maybe I'll get back in time to do some before it gets too cold.
The paper is still coming about the same as usual. It's getting so that I don't know anyone the paper writes about lately. I must have missed a whole group of people while I was gone to Cleveland and in the army.
Almost time for supper, so will close. Write soon, please.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
August 3, 1952
The weather has turned warm again after three days of rain and cold winds. We came in from border patrol on Wednesday afternoon, will leave for nine days of shooting at Baumholder tomorrow. I think I will go out with one of the gun sections at least one day next week for service practice just to see if I remember how to gun. I sure hope I do, because I hear that some of the officers will be checking things pretty closely this time.
Yesterday evening a few of us went to Marburg, and had a good time. Marburg is one of the prettiest little towns I've seen in Germany. It seems to be a very old town; the Church of St. Elizabeth in the square was built away back in 1202. It's a very pretty little church. The town itself seems to be built on the side of a mountain, and it seems to have no actual main street. It would be very easy to get lost, even within sight of the market place. There are lots of little alleys and streets cutting in and out between the buildings. I took some picures of the town, and will send them along.
Rotation has started at last. The first one left yesterday, and five more are due to leave this month. I sure will miss some of them; we've been together for quite awhile, and most are good guys. I guess I will be leaving in late August or early September, if things go as scheduled. Things are looking better and better every day.
I am sending along a few pictures that have been lying around much too long. The colored ones are the ones that were taken during our air-lift back in April. I think they came out very well.
That's about all for now, so will close. Please write soon.
Posted by Old Bill's Attic at 4:33 PM
July 26, 1952
We're still on the border, and having a very good time of it, too. It rained the past two days, and was a bit chilly, but the weather has turned beautiful today. We will be out here until the 29th, then go back into camp.
On August 4 we're heading for Baumholder again for a week or so to shoot. This will probably we my last time for that trip. I may go back into my old section as asst. gunner for awhile, since there is not much for me to do when we're at the range, and some of the sections are short of man power due to rotation. I usually get lots of reading done, but that gets a bit boring at times. I really do enjoy shooting the 105, and his may be my last chance to do it.
We have a shortage of drivers right now, so I have a jeep of my own until our regular driver gets back from wherever he's been.
Yesterday I went back to camp to get some supplies at the PX, and guess who I ran into? I just walked out the door, and met Rollie Emmett coming in. I didn't recognize him at first, since there is a fellow in Headquarters Battery that could be his twin, and I see him quite a few times during the day. It was Rollie, all right. He's stationed right across the parade ground from our barracks in the 18th Combat Engineers, and has been in Giessen about as long as I have. I sure didn't know he was here, or I would have looked him up. He looks good, but seems a bit thin.
This location where we are now is a pretty nice place. We're away back in the woods, about 30 miles north of Giessen. The German foresters really know how to take care of their forests. The trees are thinned almost in rows, with not much brush lying around. In fact, we usually have a hard time finding enough wood to keep our fires going, and we're not allowed to chop down one of their trees. Our spot is flat as a table, which makes sleeping good. The nights are a bit cool, which makes things even better.
That W. P. description you asked about means white phosperous. Jack must really have a bad burn if he got mixed up in that stuff. We have some W. P. shells in our truck, but have never shot any yet. I've seen it shot, though, and it's mean stuff, and pretty hard to put out. Jack was lucky it didn't get him worse than it did. I saw it shot at night once, and it's quite pretty to watch. Almost like civilian fireworks.
I'm going to try to get to Frankfurt next month for some last-minute shopping. I still have some things I want to get, and send back by mail so I won't have so much to carry with me.
I read in "Time Magazine" that Youngstown has permission to build a TV station. You'd probably get better reception from Youngstown compared to Cleveland. Is your reception any better than it was before I left? Did the conventions come in clear?
That's about all for now. Please write soon, and I will do the same.
Posted by Old Bill's Attic at 4:11 PM
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
July 22, 1952
The weather has been pretty nice this week, not too hot, and a bit chilly at night. We're still out on the border, but we'll be going in on Wednesday.
When did they put in the drinking fountain in front of Penn High? I didn't know anything about it. Did they ever fix the dam on the river?
I won't be taking another leave before I come home. Too many of the guys want to go in August, and I've had two already, so I'll settle for a three-day pass once in awhile. I would like to get to Munich one more time before I leave Germany.
What's wrong with the jeep? Is it motor trouble? When does Wayne get out?
This evening, three of us are going fox hunting for awhile. This forest if full of them; we hear them barking almost all night long, and they don't seem to be too afraid of us. I left my carbine back in the barracks this time, but can borrow a .45 Colt from one of the sergeants if I keep it clean, or clean it after I shoot it. If we can get close enough to a fox, I just might be able to hit it with the .45.
The mail has slowed down quite a bit over here. We have mail call about four times a week instead of every day as we used to.
That's about it for now. Please write soon, and keep sending me those newspaper articles. They are very interesting.
Posted by Old Bill's Attic at 4:16 PM