October 2, 1943
No 58 & 59
Palermo, Sicily

Dear Folksies,

            About 12 days ago, Gil Bishop came in to eight of us and said that the Colonel wanted us in his office at 6 P.M. for a meeting. We all wondered what it could be about. Gil told us what we already knew, that many officers and men were being pulled out of such outfits as ours to fill in vacancies in more forward positions. He told us that the Colonel had had a request to fill a couple of such vacancies from our gang and consequently we were all to get together and decide amongst ourselves, by drawing lots or any other means, who would go. Naturally, some of us got pretty much het up about it, and by the time we all met in the Colonel’s office, there was considerable sweat pouring off of most, and it wasn’t so terribly hot that day, either.

            After we were all seated the Colonel said, “Well you know that men are needed for Aid Stations, and I want to know who will volunteer to go.” There wasn’t a sound from any of us. Bill Newsom happened to be missing from the meeting as he was giving an anesthetic at the time, and when Eddie Welles finally came out with, “We’re not all here, Colonel,” everybody howled. Then the Colonel got a funny grin on his face and said, “Well that isn’t really what I called you in here about. I wanted to congratulate you all on your promotions.”

            We were all so dumbfounded at the trick that had been played on us that we couldn’t utter a word for a full minute, while the Colonel and Collie and Bishop laughed at us. We all knew that the promotions were due to come through, but with the build-up for the meeting that Bishop gave us, all thought of the possibility that it might be the promotions was knocked out of our heads. The whole thing was Bish’s idea and it certainly was the best practical joke that had been pulled in this outfit. We fixed him, however, for, as he is still a 1st Lt. we had him saluting us every time he saw us for days.

            The extra money I get amounts to a few cents short of the amount necessary to get a $50 bond every month, so that is what I have done. So, now I am getting a $50 bond monthly in my name with Mom as beneficiary – the bond to be held in Washington and the receipt to be sent to Mom – deducted from my pay.

Loads of love,

rene-transparent

.

Watch for my next letter on
October 6, 1943

Colonel Oral B. Bolibaugh – shown here on the left, watching a baseball game in Palermo with Mattie (Carleton Mathewson).