December 29, 1944
Mutzig, France

No. 75 (conclusion)

Dear Folksies,

           There are a lot of screwy things going on at present, as a matter of fact, and I have only heard snatches of things here and there, getting some from Wally when Carroll and I finally pinned him down the other nite. It seems now that Bob Escamilla is not going home, nor is he going to get his Lt. Col. You ask me why? I ask you! The Red Cross has investigated and found Bob’s need at home legitimate and O.K.’d it. Then, after that, Bob told OBB [Colonel Oral B. Bolibaugh] about it. One version is that then OBB blew up, Another, however, has it that Bob was just told not to wait for his promotion before going home for he wasn’t going to get the promotion anyway. Well, being Chief of Medicine he deserves the promotion for the prestige if nothing else – and Bob is definitely doing a good job as Chief. He’s doing it better, as far as organizing, etc., than did his predecessor. Bob’s application went through O.K. but without the Old Man’s endorsing it one way or the other – it may, of course, actually get approved higher up, but the chances are, of course, against that.

            Next, in screwiness is the news that recommendation for promotion to Lt. Col. went in from Hdg. to Higher Hdg. for Gerbode! What the idea of that is, I know not. If OBB thinks he deserves something for his work on moves, planning, etc., (despite the fact that Roy has been in on these same deals and has gotten things running fast more than Frank has – and despite the fact that many others of us have disagreed with Frank’s great plans in many respects). If, as I say, he feels Frank deserves something, then give him a Distinguished Service Medal, but not a promotion above the other two Majors who out-rank him and who are not only older men but better trained, better surgeons, i.e. Wally & Roy. If OBB is trying to get Mattie out and Gerbode into that job, boy what a blow-up there will be if it comes about!! If that happens you can expect anything. Incidentally, Roy and Wally are both liked very much by the men whereas ‘tis definitely not the case with Frank, ‘tis the reverse! Yes, we’re a puzzled bunch – sort of sitting on top of a keg of dynamite.

                          Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for my next letter
January 2, 1945

René tells his parents about the “screwy things going on at present,” but he’s not referring to Louise Moon lying on a gurney in surgery reading a book.

One of the things René thinks is “screwy” is that the Colonel Bolibaugh seems to be blocking Bob Escamilla (above) from getting his promotion to Lt. Colonel.

René says that if the Colonel promotes Frank Gerbode (above) and puts him in the leadership position currently held by Mattie (Carleton Mathewson) (below), “what a blow up there will be!!”

René thinks that Majors Wally Greene (above) and Roy Cohn (below) are much more deserving of a promotion than Major Gerbode.