Posted by: notsofancynancy | July 26, 2012

World War II, chapter 22,Too Many Lieutenants Can Spoil the Troops

World War II

Too Many Lieutenants Can Spoil the Troops

Chapter 22

Don’t Push, I’ll Go!

There are so many letters now and because Dad is writing almost every day he is including a lot of information. It is getting hard to decide what I can leave out and what to keep. The following letters are for the most part the entire letter. It seems like we have been in 1943 for many chapters now but we still have two more months to complete the year. Although it seems like a long time, I cannot imagine how slow the time is going for my dad.

29 October 1944

Dearest Vi. Well here goes. I’m pretty tired and have an awful cold so maybe this won’t be so good. Besides that I have a sty in my eye and can hardly see. We moved out at noon yesterday and believe it or not to the same place we were on Monday. We didn’t have much to do except dig bomb shelters and make our beds. I gathered lots of pine needles and put my bed roll on top of them. That was much better than sleeping in the back of a truck. Well I slept warm but God it was cold getting up. Then the driver of my beep [sic] had driven all night so I let him go to bed in my roll and I drove.

I guess in the Army being sick and having a sty in your eye is not enough to take the day off. But knowing my dad a little cold would not have kept him down. I have seen Dad use the Beep term before so I did some research on it and this is what I found.

JEEP or BEEP

The WC-64 and all other WW2 ¾ton Dodge trucks were often called BEEP’s by the men. There are several stories about the Jeep’s name and it is actually the same story. In 1941 Major E.P. Hogan wrote a history of the vehicle and said, “ ‘Jeep’ is an old Army grease monkey term dating back to WWI and was used by shop mechanics to refer to any new motor vehicle received for testing.” For those old enough to remember the Popeye comic strip, it will be fondly recalled there was a character called “Eugene the Jeep.” Eugene was a “do it all” figure who could solve all sorts of complex problems. The public became so taken with his abilities; a capable person or thing was referred to as a “real Jeep!” The name Jeep finally stuck when the chief test driver for Willys drove a prototype up the steps of The Capitol Building and a bystander asked him, “What is that THING?” He yelled, “It’s a Jeep!” Washington Daily News reporter Katherine Hillyer overheard the remark and captioned the picture with the name…Jeep. Before the Bantam designed vehicle, Dodge produced a gangly, massive Command Car on a ½ ton chassis. It was a 4×4 design and for a while it was called a Jeep. Later, they were called “Beeps,” or short for “Big Jeeps.”

(Information courtesy of “Did You Know” Click here to learn more)

It took a while for me to find it but how about that? I could not imagine why he was calling it a “Beep” but there you go. Now back to the letter.

Dad and his “Beep”

We weren’t out long though. Had the rest of the day off.  Guess what I have been doing. Sewing. I am making a bed roll and doing it by hand. I started about noon and just quit about 9:20 so I didn’t do so bad. Used 2 spools of thread so I have been working. Also have some sore fingers. I’ll tell you later whether it worked or not. I could have had it sewed at the P.X. but didn’t have anything to do myself so I did it. Sure passed a long day too.

Wow he sewed a whole bed roll? That is pretty darn impressive. I knew he learned to knit from his mom when she was sick, but I did not know about his sewing. I sure am learning a lot about my dad.

You say you love pecans. In case I find anymore I’ll send some. I have to find them first though. They seem to be few and far between anymore. Everybody is picking them. We will be out again next week so maybe. Honey you say you are leaving getting married up to me. Well I have been leaving it up to you for some time. I have another idea now. So we will see. I’ll let you know what it is and how it turns out.  Just give me a little time. I promise you though as soon as we finish maneuvers we are going across. There isn’t much more to talk about.  Only I love you. That’s not news though. I have for a long time. I guess I had better stop now sweet. I haven’t written much but that’s good for me. I never do. Nite [sic] now darling, be good. Love always, your lefty.

Well I am not sure who will make the wedding plans. If Dad will be sent “over” (seas) when maneuvers are over it can’t be too far in the future. How will they pull the wedding off before he goes overseas, or do they pull it off?

31 October

Dearest Honey, How’s everything this beautiful evening. Good I hope. If you have a cold like mine it surely isn’t.  I am getting over it a little now but not very much. Besides that I have sewn so much in the last three days my fingers are sore. I had a thimble brake and run a needle in one so it is really sore. Oh well they will be ok in a few days. Probably before you get this. Most of the fellows have come in from their furloughs but Bob as usual is staying as long as he can/ I sure don’t blame him though. He will be here sometime tonight. Gosh when I started I thought I was going to have enough to write about. Maybe I haven’t. We go out to the field again Tuesday for one night. Then again Friday. Tomorrow I guess we work on our trucks. Oh yes we have another 25 mile hike Thursday. Boy that sure sounds like a weeks [sic] work to me. Believe me I’m sure in no shape for a hike. I went to the show tonight and it was sure good. “Heres [sic] to Life” was the name of it. Lots of laughs.

I looked all over the internet and could not come up with a movie with this name or anything similar.

Oh yes if you are interested we got two new trucks with machine gun turrets on top. Our platoon got one and I had to take Lt. Gordon out and give him drivers [sic] instructions. Boy o Boy am I getting my suck ups. Should be a General before long. We might be near a town during this whole maneuver. In other words we might not be moving all the time was we did in Louisiana. I hope so anyway. I guess I love you honey cause I’m always thinks of you and wishing I could see you. But there’s that little thing of 2500 miles between here and there. I do love you though. So for tonight darling. Love Forever Yours, Lefty.

Dad sure is smitten with Mom. I don’t think I had any idea how much he loved her or for how long he loved her before they finally got married. I am lucky I have these letters so not only I know how much he loved her but also my family and family members to come will know.

Mom in Pasadena 1940’s

4 November

Dearest Vi, Gosh am I getting terrible. I haven’t written to you for two days. Can you imagine that. Monday nite [sic] Bob and I had lots to talk about and besides that he got in about 3 Sunday morning and woke me up so we could talk then. And I was tired that night. Tuesday nite [sic] we were again in the field. Tonight well we went to a show. It was good but sad. “Lassie Come Home.” A dog picture in case you didn’t know. It almost had me crying.

(See the original 1943 movie trailer here)

I sure looked for a letter from you today but one didn’t come so I thought tomorrow will be my day to celebrate cause surely it will be here. I imagine you were pretty busy. I sure have been and will probably be a lot busier in the near future. We have a Second Army inspection Friday and Saturday and is that bad. Bob didn’t get married but as soon as we finish maneuvers Madeline is coming to where we are and then the big moment. They wouldn’t get married now because she couldn’t come back with him on account of maneuvers. Bob is sure in the dumps about it anyway. Just think Honey Friday night we have another 25 mile hike, Does that sound rough. Imaging by then it will either be damn cold or hot. It started changing from hot to cold last night and by now it’s almost chilly enough for long handles. Yes it was us who had too many Lts.(Lieutenants)  Now we have two more. But we have one in the hospital. one going to school Fri. and one in school and one on leave. So really we only have the three right now. Even Capt. Randal left for school today. I sure hope they teach them something. Because we surely couldn’t here. Of course they had the rank so that made them super men.

I could not find a Captain Randal on the D-Day Roster I have, so I have no information for him.  It sounds like too many lieutenants could spoil the troops.

Could this be the Jumper Dad is talking about? Mom on the left.

I’ll bet your new jumper is cute. Sure would like to see you in it. I guess I would just like to see you anyway Honey. Oh yes my hair is even getting long enough to comb.  Think of that having to comb my hair again. Oh gosh. Bob and I slept on the ground last night and shortly before we went to sleep it started to sprinkle. Gosh were we worried.  Thought we were going to have to play ducks before morning. Of course we had the trucks but someone was already sleeping in them. Anyway we didn’t want to move. It didn’t rain that much anyway. I slept in my new bed roll. It sure worked nice only it doesn’t fall down around my shoulders like a blanket does and they got cold. Bob and I have finally figured out how we could make some money. We are going to take Guard and K.P. on the weekend for men who have wifes [sic] or want to go on Passes. They usually pay 2 or 3 dollars and that isn’t bad. We haven’t anything else to do. Say honey what do you want for Xmas. Give me some ideas. Darling I do love you very much. Believe me. I don’t know what I would do without you. Love Forever My Sweet, Your Lefty.

It seems like Dad is handling the not getting a letter deal a lot better this time. I hope she is not mad at him for not writing those two days.

5 November

Gosh the Celebration is sure slim. No letter. Guess I’ll have to waite [sic] until Sat. now. Cause I won’t be here tomorrow and that makes Sat. the big day. Sure hope I get one then. Bob and I are about in the same boat now. I mean in the dumps. We went to the show again tonight. Gosh we were both feeling so bad at that time if we hadn’t we would probably be over the hill by now. There were lots of laughs and it took our bad thoughts away for awhile. So now we can get along. We have to. There isn’t anything else to do. The show was “Crazy House”

(Watch a clip from the movie “Crazy House” here)

GEE IT’S RAINING I’M GLAD I BROUGHT MY PARACHUTE!

 

We have some good news. Our 25 mile hike has been put off a week. Out of a Co (Company) of 186 we only had 31 who were not on detail tomorrow so that wasn’t enough. Gosh I could have gotten out of it too. Our new Lts. sure started out with a bang. They have made a couple of fools of themselves already and we have plans for more too. One leaves for Tennessee Monday so he will be gone for awhile. About 3 days. What a heaven. Waite [sic] until we all get there. Oh yes Lt. Gordon is now Acting Company Commander and does he ever think he is big. It won’t be for long though. Lt. Buenger will be back soon. Gordon goes to school tomorrow. Hope they keep him. 

Lt. Gordon is Claude R. Gordon from Bakersfield, California and Lt. Buenger is Walter Buenger from Plainview Texas.

Now where was I. A kid just brought in some material for me to make him a sleeping bag. Gosh I’m in the business now. I like it though. And with some hard work I can make $5 so I am not doing so bad. We are sure going to need them on maneuvers. It’s going to be damn cold. We’ll take it though. I must quit now darling. I guess I still love you cause[sic] I sure feel bad when I miss your letters Guess I shouldn’t say anything though. Should be thankful you even write once in awhile. Nite [sic] my darling. I love you. Love forever, your Lefty.

Three days of work and sore hands for five dollars does not seem like a lot now but back then it certainly was.  Just think, one more soldier will have a sleeping bag and Dad will have an extra five dollars in his pocket.

Dad is worried that he will be sent overseas as soon as the maneuvers he is on are through. Will Mom and Dad get together one last time before that happens and if so will they get married? I guess only time will tell.

©2012 notsofancynancy

 

Robert Winter, Claude R. Gordon (Bakersfield, CA), Walter Buenger (Plainview, Tx.) Capt. Randal (not listed on roster)

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Responses

  1. Thanks so much, I could read this again and again…

  2. Wonderful. I read every word, and wait in suspense for what happens next.

  3. You’ve got a novel in the works here!

    • Thank you just does not seem like enough for all the great comments. Some day’s it is so hard to open that suitcase and get back to writing up the story then I see how many letters we have left to go and get overwhelmed but when I remember all these great comments it is a gets me past the initial shock of how many there are.

  4. It’s unfolding at a lovely pace. Please do keep at it!

    • Thank to comments like that I certainly will! Thank you!

  5. Your father’s letters are remarkable…so moving…real and raw. I love the letters. Thank you for sharing them. I wonder what he would have thought if he had known all those years ago that his love letters reached more hearts than one!

    • Thank you for your kind comment. I can only hope that he can see what I am doing and be proud. I am not sure I could have done this while he was still alive.

  6. This is an absolutely beautiful tribute to your father. I’m planning to read all your posts from the first day. My dad was pretty quiet about his WWII days until the last few years, when he began to open up more. I found out that he served with the Rainbow Division and found a lot of information about them on the Internet. I joined their society and started receiving their periodic newsletter, which I would give to Dad. As soon as he hand it in his hands, he went straight to his chair and read it cover to cover.

    • My dad did not say much about the war either. I am so glad he left his letters so I could get to know this side of him.

  7. “Lassie Come Home”… What a classic today but for your father, it was out in the theaters. The movie was star studded with Roddy McDowell and of course, a vivacious Elizabeth Taylor. I’m sure she swooned many a young GI although she was quite young. If I know my facts correctly, “Lassie” was actually a male collie. But to this that, that last scene makes my eye plumbing bust open.

    Thank you for continuing to share the “backstage” of WWII and from a personal and unique view.

    • And thank you for adding a little more color to it. I may have seen Lassie when I was younger but these day I do not watch anything when the dog gets hurt, or that shows a lost dog. It breaks my heart and could cause flooding. lol

  8. Excellent history there about the goings on at that time. Jeep!

    • I though the Beep/Jeep was very interesting. I never heard dad call his truck a beep. When I first read it I thought dad had made a spelling error. When he continued using it I though I needed to research it. Glad I did.

  9. I’ll be thinking of your father now every time I get into my Jeep!


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