August 13, 1942 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

August 13, 1942

Dear Folksies,

       First stop was Belen, New Mexico around 10 A.M. Then we found out the Col. had relented and allowed us to visit the nurses. Bob Treadwell and I spent the afternoon there, taught the gals contract bridge and even had dinner in their car.

       A good part of the afternoon it rained, but was hot and muggy at Clovis, New Mexico at 3:30 P.M. Time change there. In Amarillo, Texas at 7:00 P.M. Stayed with the gals until 8:30 P.M.

                    Loads of love,

rene-transparent

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Watch for my next letter
August 14


Train yard, Belen, New Mexico

by Jack Delano via Wikimedia Commons




Bob Treadwell, MD



August 14, 1942 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

August 14, 1942

Dear Folksies,

       Kansas City 9 A.M. pouring rain! At 4 P.M. Bob and I went back and taught the gals some more bridge. Crossed the Mississippi at 6:20 P.M. Had dinner with the gals again.

       Arrived in petticoats of Chicago at 10:45 P.M. We were shifted on various tracks all over, ending up on B & O line where they broke the train in two, as it was too long to service it in the station otherwise. Didn’t leave Chicago until 2 A.M.

                    Loads of love,

rene-transparent

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Watch for my next letter
August 15

B&O Chicago

B & O Chicago, Illinois



August 15, 1942 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

August 15, 1942

Dear Folksies,

       Willard, Ohio at 9:15 A.M. Akron 10:45 A.M. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 1:40 P.M. Went to see the gals at around 3 P.M. and played cards for a while. Around 9 P.M. we had a party in gals’ car. The Colonel came around and we expected to get the devil, but when he was invited to join the community sing he condescended and stayed a few minutes.

       Washington D.C. 10 P.M. Baltimore at 11 P.M. Philadelphia around 1 A.M.

                    Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for my next letter
August 16


Train Station, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania



August 16, 1942 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

August 16, 1942

Camp Kilmer, New Jersey

Dear Folksies,

       Arrived at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Out of the train at 6 A.M., now in barracks, as at Ft. Lewis not rooms as at Ft. Ord.

      Weather: hot, wet, and sticky.

                           Loads of love,

rene-transparent

P.S. Do not put Camp Kilmer on letters you send to me. Be sure to address letters like this:


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Watch for my next letter
August 17

August 17, 1942 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

August 17, 1942

Camp Kilmer, New Jersey

Dear Folksies,

       Sorry the connection last night was not as good as it should be. Hope it will be better later in the week and I can at least say “hello” to all of you.

       We are at Camp Kilmer, a camp that has existed only one month. It is a “Staging Center” from which units being shipped out are equipped and shipped. Final shots, etc. are given. It is not supposed to be known just where we are and the 59th is not supposed to be connected with this camp – we go by a special number here. Therefore, for information of all others, we are in a  camp by New York.

       Visitors are allowed here between certain hours and I hope to have Alain here today if I can reach him, as the Post is going on the “alert” tomorrow and during that time no visitors are allowed, no wires, phones or letters will leave the Post.

       After whatever outfit that goes out is far enough out to sea, then the Post can come off the alert – and not until then. When the alert goes on, the units here don’t know which one of them is going out until the last minute. The unit commander, of course, knows 24 hours ahead anyway. We are not scheduled to go out during the alert as far as we know or the Col. knows.

       When we are the outfit leaving, the only way you will be able to know is if I get a chance to write just before – the letter being mailed after we’re gone a few days. Most of these alerts, I understand, last from 3 to 7 days, so you can figure from that. I’ll try to write every day that we can.

       When not on the alert, and after the first three days of “processing,” we will be allowed 24-hour leaves every other day.

       We are not far from from New York – about 1 mile from New Brunswick, which can be transversed by bus; and New Brunswick is 40 minutes from New York by train. Morrisville, where Alain is, is only 25 miles from here.

       Yesterday we spent quite a while giving the third Typhus shots. Today we have to give the enlisted men another tetanus shot and begin another Typhoid series, as they had theirs over 6 months ago. Bert and I are running the immunization show with the aid of Russ Klein, Armanini and either Cy Johnson or Roy Cohn.

       Yesterday we gave the whole outfit, except the nurses, their typhus shots in 1 hour. We had to do our own filling of syringes, putting on clean needles, sterilizing needles, etc. Bert, Russ and I fixed up everything and all Armanini and Johnson had to do was shoot. It was like a factory belt – remember the old Charlie Chaplain picture – well that was us. More today!

       The weather yesterday was fierce!! Hot and sticky as the deuce!! Three showers weren’t of any help. It poured for quite a while, hard, with thunder and lightening. Clean clothes were shot to heck in no time.

       Last night slept o.k. as it had cooled off somewhat. Slept with all windows open and no pajamas or sheets or blankets.

       ‘Tis all for now.

                    Loads of love,

rene-transparent

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Watch for my next letter
August 18


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Camp Kilmer, New Jersey




Russell Klein, MD




George Armanini, MD



August 18, 1942 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

August 18, 1942

Camp Kilmer, New Jersey

Dear Folksies,

       I phoned Alain at noon yesterday and he drove here by 6:45 P.M. He is only about 25 miles away. He has a nice, rather new, Ford coupe. He has changed little, except in his viewpoint towards the Germans. He was most jovial, and in fact, got quite a kick out of our troubles last night when, in a drenching downpour, when the whole Post was a mass of large puddles, he drove into a 2 ft. deep ditch by the Nurses House, where we were going to pick up Lois.

       We couldn’t get the car out of the ditch until we waded out of the car and bumped into one of our sergeants driving a truck. He pulled us out of the ditch but the motor was so wet we couldn’t get it started.

       We decided to let the engine dry, so we went into the lobby of the Nurses House where Alain was most informative and not too reluctant to talk about some of his experiences. Most of what he told us was in his letter to you, but he added considerable concerning the German prison camps, the food, treatment, etc. – which, of course are considerably different from the concentration camps.

       Alain said he got out of Paris by having Raoul disguise him as a brakeman on a train and he was perched on top of a tank car, waving a lantern for 250-300 miles. But, how his grandmother ever got out (of Paris and made it to Nice) is beyond him. He said that David Salomon is also in Nice.

       Alain finally got his car started after we were shoved a few times and left here about 10 P.M. He will probably be with us, or vice versa, another day this week.

       Today we got our helmets – the new type that are in 2 parts – inside for protection against sun, and outside steel for protection against bullets, shrapnel, etc.

       It looks pretty much as if we’ll be going pretty soon – within a week, possibly and the chances are probably 9 to 1 that we will be seeing the U.C. unit in the near future.

                    Loads of love,

rene-transparent

P.S. Start numbering your letters so I can know if I get them all. I will start numbering after we leave here.

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Watch for my next letter
August 20

Alain Dreyfus – René’s second cousin, born in Paris. By the time René meets up with him in New Jersey, Alain had been drafted into the French army, captured by the Germans, escaped from a hospital where he was being held, and had made his way to the United States. Shown here (left) with his cousin Jean Pierre Baumann in 1938.




1940 Ford Coupe




“New Garb” Camp Kilmer



August 20, 1942 – 75 years ago in a WW2 M.A.S.H. Unit

August 20, 1942

Camp Kilmer, New Jersey

Dear Folksies,

       On the night of the 18th, there was a dance given by an outfit next door to us and it would have been lots better if the hall hadn’t been so hot. How the Col. was able to dance every dance when most of us were in a lather after one dance, we do not know.

       Yesterday was a rather nice day – not too darn hot. We loafed and played volleyball most of the day.

       Last night the gals gave a dance for the officers – only about half the bunch were there as Group I was allowed their 24 hr. leave beginning yesterday. Our Group goes off at 5:30 P.M. this afternoon. Plans still a little indefinite.

                    Loads of love,

rene-transparent

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Watch for my next letter
August 21


Nurses in Helmets: Charlotte Bambino (Bam), Frances Trembley (Fran), Lois McFarland, Gert Brazil