Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Old Soldiers

Today marks the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack that brought America into World War II. Remembrances of that war are slipping deeper into history, and as the people who remember it die, their stories die with them. However as I was thinking about that this morning, I remembered some stories my daddy wrote about his experiences in the war. I got them out and decided to post one today.


I remember very well my last month in the Army. It was at the Naval Base in Norfolk, Va, and at that time of year it was very cold. We were assigned to a one story barracks. We were furnished an Army cot, two woolen blankets and a bucket for coal to be used in the potbellied stove, which was at the end of the barracks. The shingles on the roof were withered and shrunken as were the walls of the barracks. It seemed we had snow most of the night and during the day. The snow blew into the barracks and in the morning someone was detailed to sweep it out.
I remembered a tip that veterans of the Battle of the Bulge gave me: newspaper is good insulation. I got some and put a sheet between the cot and under the blanket I slept on and a newspaper over my body and under the blanket on top of me. I got a little chilly but not as near as cold as before I learned my little trick.
I spent only a week and a half there but it seemed much longer. All we did day after day was sit on the bunks and play casino, poker, bridge, or black jack.
I was put aboard a train at Norfolk and was sent to Camp Grant, Ill to get discharged. I remember seeing a lot of "Kilroy was here" signs. It was hard for me to sleep at Camp Grant. What was civilian life like? I was a professional soldier. Could I get a job after discharge? Would I join the Mafia or the 52-20 club? Goodbye U.S. Army. You gave me many interesting experiences.

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