October 31, 1942
Camp Pickett, Virginia
Here I am about 10 miles out from camp, in a four-cot tent, living semi-rugged. Paul Stratte and I were sent out here yesterday to run a dispensary for four outfits that are here on bivouac for supposedly 10 days. So you can see, apparently the 59th isn’t moving for at least that long.
We got the news on Thursday at about 5 P.M. that we were to pull out by 7:30 A.M. Friday. Paul and I had been selected because we were the only Lts who hadn’t been off on some such duty before. The only difficulty was that Paul was in the midst of having Chappell make a bridge for his teeth and I had spent all of Thursday in bed with a bum cold. But Chappie worked on Paul until 1 A.M. and somehow I got rid of my cold by morning – so that both of us felt fine when awakened at 5:45 A.M.
We took two chests full of medical equipment, some Thomas leg splints and four of our own men – all good boys, including our favorite sergeant – and we went over at 7:20A.M. to the headquarters of the 2nd Army to meet the bunch we were joining. We had our equipment and bed rolls in our truck – transferred the stuff to their trucks and at 8 A.M., with musette bags on our backs, proceeded to march out with their four companies that were coming here to camp.
However, around 10:30 A.M. Col. Arnold came alongside the Company we were marching with and told the Capt. that some supposed para-troupers were landed in the neighborhood and we were to play “war” and capture them. As a consequence everyone dispersed – we camouflaged ourselves to some extent and then proceeded to fall sound asleep – the whole medical detachment of 6 men.
There was nothing for us to do but keep quiet while the rest searched for the “enemy” so we managed to sleep until our stomachs growled at about 1:30 P.M. The Capt. came around just about then and he and Paul went in to the camp site to see what the heck was going on. They came back about 2:30 P.M. finally and brought the food truck along with them.
After eating we convinced the Capt. that we should go in and set up the dispensary in case of any casualties from the “war.” So, at least we got off the cold ground and come into camp. The rest of the “war” went on until about 9 P.M. but by that time we were snug in our tents and trying to sleep.
We had really expected to see nothing but pup tents — to be sleeping on the ground — and consequently were somewhat pleasantly surprised to find these four cot tents already set up. Each tent has a little stove that really can give off heat if wood is kept around to keep it going. Paul and I had one tent assigned just for the two of us and one tent for the dispensary. Our men were all supposed to sleep in the dispensary tent, but Paul and I got smart and invited our Sergeant – Sgt. Roy Housely – to come live with us so there would be more room in the dispensary tent for the dispensary set up and for the men. I say “we got smart” because this way we have someone to watch our stove and to get up a few minutes ahead of us in the morning to get the fire going. Besides that, this fellow is a good kid and good company. We know how Col. B. would shudder, however, if he knew what we were doing — but do we care, heck no!!
Got up at 6 A.M. – breakfast at 6:45 A.M. and then started getting patients at 7:45 A.M. Paul went back to Pickett with the Capt. to see about our men and ourselves getting paid – as today is pay day. I may be able to go in this afternoon for a little while, as there are some things we need for the dispensary and very little for us to do out here.
Well, here we’ll sit for 10 days. If it doesn’t rain, it won’t be too bad…but knowing this country!!!
Loads of love,
Watch for my next letter