March 29, 1945
Tiefenthal, Germany
No. 24

Dear Folksies,        

       Have been plenty busy the last five days.  As you see by the above, we have hopped again and no sooner got a tent or two thrown up than we were up to our necks in work, and since only part of us were here at the time, we had beaucoup work to do and no sleep until the others got here, several hours later than expected.  Have, as a result, just managed to catch up on sleep today.  The “Gang-Greene” [surgical team of Wally Greene, Carroll Russell and René] is on the nite shift now, you see.

       I again managed to do a good deal of traveling a few days ago. Being in Germany we are no longer able to have our wonderful French Chef along with us — business of crossing borders, visas, safety for him, etc.  So, naturally, he and his family, the other cook, the laundry gals, and their kids — all had to be taken to their homes. They lived at the spot where we spent the majority of our time from October to March.  As it happened, I wanted to go there too because when Jack had picked me up, en route the week before, my laundry had been left behind since I had expected to return there, not expecting Jack to pick me up and whisk me off as he did. So, I planned to accompany the French people down in our truck, pick up my laundry and do some business down there for the outfit, also picking up some things on a requisition on the way back for Fadley.  Bob Escamilla decided he had to go down part of the way also, because he wanted to find out what the score was on his “temporary duty home” deal.

       The only available transportation being a weapons-carrier and a trailer, we had quite a load.  There were 12 of the French in the back of that poor weapons-carrier (seats eight) of whom one was a baby, one a two-year-old and one eight years old. And, on top of that, they had more baggage than you can imagine, including a baby-carriage, etc., etc.  Of course, all the latter was crowded into the trailer.  Clint Green (Sgt.) who was with us on the invasion, was the driver, and we had Escamilla between us. We finally took off after lunch and after the Chef and Henri (the pastry cook) had very weepily said good-bye to all the officers and nurses.  They really hated to go, every bit as much and maybe more than we hated to see them go.

       It was quite a ride.  The roads we had to go on are rough, but with the truck so jam-packed loaded, the vehicle held the road nicely and we didn’t seem to mind the bumps at all.  In fact, the truck was so loaded that it seemed as if the front end was up off the road most of the time and riding in the air.

       We dumped Escamilla off where he needed to go and then went on and took the French home – golly they lived all over the place — and we had to take them to their respective homes.  After that, seeing one of our gals who was left behind in the hospital down there and who is returning in a few days, Clint and I took off again. Got to Lois’ spot about 9 P.M., but tho’ she is still in the hospital, she was not in – being out on pass for the evening!!

       Went over to get Fadley’s requisition filled, with only a faint hope of succeeding, as the place, I knew, closed around 5 or 6 P.M.  We had hoped to get down there by that time but, having to make the circle, leaving Bob off, could not get there by that time and thought we would have to skip it altogether.  But, imagine our surprise and pleasure when, at 9:30 P.M. I was able to talk the “Charge of Quarters” into filling our requisition in view of the great distance we had come and still had to go, etc., etc. (Shades of some of the stuff George Davis and I pulled way back when in Africa!)

       Finally started off to pick up Bob, who we had arranged with to pick up at one of the hospitals in the town where he had been left.  We had no map but, tho’ I had only been on the road once (on return from Paris) and Clint had never been on it, we saw no reason why we should have any trouble finding our way, even at night.  We kept going on the road until we were stopped by an officer who had a small convoy stopped on the side of the road.  He asked us if that was the road to such-and-such — he apparently didn’t think it was for there had been no signs naming that town for several miles.  We said, “Sure it is!” and went on.  But, imagine our embarrassment when, about five minutes later we realized that it was the wrong road at that — at least a road that was not the main one, though it would eventually, we thought take us to where we wanted to go.  We wound around some small towns and soon realized about where we must be and were able to head for the place we wanted – we wondered, however, whether the poor officer with his convoy would be swearing at us — particularly if he didn’t take the correct turns as we managed to do after we left him.

       Strangely enough, we were hailed by some soldiers who wanted a ride just to their headquarters (they were guarding a gas dump) and when they climbed aboard I wondered what nationality they were – they all talked the same, sort of unintelligibly, until I realized the accent. I asked one of the fellows where he was from – and of course he said “Puerto Rico”.

       Picked up Bob and then started out on the real bumpy road that had been O.K. on the way down with the load — but golly what a road it was when we had nothing but Bob in the back of the truck!!  We jounced all over the place and how Bob managed to fall asleep in the back, I know not, but he did. And, incidentally, he told me he is to go home Monday – he gets 45 days in S.F. – probably before he starts back this way the war will be over!

       From the time we picked up Bob (as Clint was tired) I drove – we stopped and picked up the truck we needed to take back to the unit, and kept barreling on, arriving back well after midnight.

                         Loads of love,

rene-transparent

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Watch for more of this letter
March 30, 1945

René in Tiefenthal, Germany

Bob Escamilla rode with René and his driver, Clint Green, on their way to Tiefenthal.

Tents of the 59th with the village of Tiefenthal in the background.