September 14, 1944
Carpentras, France

No. 51 (continued)

Dear Folksies,

          The Old Man has been awarded the “Legion of Merit”. Who actually was behind that in higher headquarters, I know not, but the citation sounds as if he or Collie might have done the writing themselves. In the citation he is given credit for organizing the systems of crating for an Evac Hosp. which has saved a great deal of time, shipping space, etc. for other outfits. True enough our outfit did do that, but there were many others who had a hell of a lot more to do with that than he did – if anyone Gerbode. The citation also goes on to compliment the great work in North Africa done so efficiently under the Col’s supervision and due to his organization of the unit (ha, ha, ha!) Also, he is commended for so masterfully organizing the unit under a time of stress and strain in Sicily so that the unit efficiently carried a hospital load of double its capacity. The only real reason that was possible there was because Mattie and Roy, being the rear echelon, arrived in Sicily first and picked out the site for the hospital – large buildings that made the perfect hospital. Had OBB [Oral B. Bolibaugh] and WC [William Collie] gotten in first, we would either have landed in some stupid buildings or even in tents. (That is a fact, for that is what the headquarters had picked out for us before Roy and Mattie talked them into the other deal.) The fact that we were in those good buildings is the only reason that we were able to handle that many patients with pretty much ease.

          Well, that’s what some of these medals mean – an undeserved pat on the back for the regular Army officers who have to have a bunch of ribbons adorning their blouses when they get back to the U.S. to retire. They can have them!! If the Col. were the only instance of medals given for that type of thing, I wouldn’t kick, but there have been numerous such instances where a guy from headquarters (or Patton’s personal doctor in one case) got the same medal. It’s really a joke. And then there are plenty of guys who really deserve medals who do not get them. Well, in that kind of a league, I think it is far more distinguished and far more praiseworthy NOT to have a medal! Them’s the sentiments of all of us, too.  Oh, well!!!!!

                                                                                        Loads of love,

rene-transparent

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Watch for the conclusion of this letter
September 15, 1944

René tells his parents that, much to René’s dismay, Colonel Bolibaugh (painting above) was awarded the “Legion of Merit” (below).

René said that if anyone should have won the medal it would have been Frank Gerbode.

He also lauds Roy Cohn (above) and Mattie (Carleton Mathewson) (below) for making things run efficiently in the 59th.