July 4, 1945 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

July 4, 1945
Ellwangen, Germany
No. 40 (conclusion)

Dear Folksies,

       Returned here to find another bomb-shell had dropped!  All members of the 59th, including officers and nurses, who have over 85 points are being transferred out to the 108th Evac. Hospital, and all personnel from that outfit who have under 85 points are being transferred to the 59th.  What a screwy deal!  Why it couldn’t have been vice-versa, so that the smaller number could be transferred out of here and the 59th remain the 59th, no one knows — but that is the Army!!  Unless they want to keep the name of the 59th, despite the fact that darn near all of the unit will be swept clean of the original gang.  Some 220 men leave, and all but five officers leave.  Cohn stays, as he is classified as “Chest Surgeon” and such specialists are “essential.”  Waugh likewise stays as he is an eye specialist.

       It is all a screwy deal and we don’t know what the score is, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that the “59th” gets home long before we who will be in the 108th get there.  Of course, the 59th will then go to C.B.I. [China-Burma-India Theater] pretty pronto, but the 108th, gosh knows, will probably be sitting over here for another year.

       Frank is staying on as C.O. of the 59th until a new one arrives.  Whether the one from the 108th will come here or not we know not — it may be still another person and by the time things are straightened out here Frank may go to an entirely different outfit.  Everything, as you see, is up in the air right now.

       This new outfit is way the hell and gone in another part of Germany — up near Braunschweiss (near Hanover), so you see we have a long trek ahead of us in the next few days. We turn over all our equipment to the gang coming here and trade with them, as we understand it. Such is the way the Army works – here most of our equipment is unfit for more than a matter of months of operating over here – certainly not in condition for any China trip or work there – most of the things are well worn – too, we know what we have and how everything works, our vehicles, etc. and yet all that gets left behind. What we do with our overages – extras we have picked up in the past 3 years, we know not…confusion reigns and rains, and rains!!!!!

       Having a party here on the night of the 4th — invited the 51st over (the Sacramento gang) and it will probably be quite a party — the last for the 59th as a group!!

       Golly, we certainly hate to leave this place just to go somewhere else in Germany.  We won’t find a better place and better quarters than we have here, especially after two weeks of working like dogs to get this place in nice shape — figuring we’d be here anyway a few months or until we sailed for the U.S.  NUTS!!!

       Oh, yes, don’t think I told you that a couple of days before Mattie left, the Col. presented three medals – “Legion of Merit” to Mattie, Bronze Star to Eckie and one to Nelson Bell.

                        Loads of love,

rene-transparent

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Watch for my next letter
July 10, 1945

With Colonel Bolibaugh on his way back to the States, Frank Gerbode is temporary Commanding Officer of the 59th…as it prepares to be split up.

Roy Cohn is staying with the 59th – one of the few officers not getting reassigned to the 108th Evac Hospital.

René, who will be relocating, is sorry to leave their current comfortable quarters in Ellwangen.

Before the Colonel left, he awarded Nelson Bell a bronze star.