Posted by: notsofancynancy | October 18, 2012

World War II, chapter 34, On the Road Again

World War II

On the Road Again

Chapter 34

Camp Butner Postcard

Dad is finally headed out of Tennessee. They are making the trek to Camp Butner in North Carolina. Camp Butner was first established in 1942 and was about 43,000 acres of agricultural land the government bought for training the troops for deployment to European and Pacific theaters.

(Learn more about Camp Butner here>butnernc.org)

19 January 1944

Dearest Vi, See sweet I can even think of you even at this time of the morning (5:30) We got up at 4:30 and by going through the mess line three times got 5 eggs for breakfast. Not bad. Anyway I am driving the 134th Inf again. Bob and I both are. He is just in front of me. We had a time yesterday. His breaks built up and we had to bleed them and I had a spark plug busted and did I have a popping good time. I hope I have it fixed now though because we have some awful mountains to go though today. We saw some awful swell scenery yesterday we came through part of the Cumberland Mountains. We saw a water fall that was really beautiful about a 50 ft fall. The Ozone falls. Then a few more swell places. We were up so we could look down for miles.

Ozone Falls, Tennessee-Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Cumberland Mountains are located in the Southeastern edge of the Appalachian Mountains.  They encompass parts of southern West Virginia, western Virginia, eastern edges of Kentucky, and eastern middle Tennessee. Ozone falls is 110 ft. plunge waterfall also located in the Cumberland Mountains. The highest peak in the Cumberland Range is only 4,200 feet, not really all that high when you compare it with California’s Mount Whitney at 14,505, but then I am not driving an old Army truck.

I guess Calif has that beat though. But they say they have some really good ones for today. We have 167 miles to go and by tonight we will be in N. Carolina. So one more state to my list. Darling I love you very much. I wish we were taking this trip together. It would be so swell then. We got up at one thirty yesterday and left the area at 5:20. That was quite a waite [sic]. Now we have to waite [sic] a couple hours. We leave at 7:15 God that sleep would go good. I was about dead when we pulled in yesterday. Then had to make a new truck out of this. What a life. I did get a few minutes rest before chow and went to bed before 7 last night. So I shouldn’t be so bad this morning. I’, about run down now so I’ll waite [sic] until tonight or in the morning for the next news flash. I’ll let you know if N/C. is pink as on the map. Bye now Darling. See you later.

The Cumberland Mountains, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Old Fort N.C., 20 January (written on the same page as 19 January)

Well honey heres [sic] another one of those morning chats. We were up at 3:30 and didn’t leave until 7:00. Had a good breakfast though. I said at the beginning we were going to have mountains yesterday. Well we sure did. About 18 miles going up and the same coming down. They were beautiful though. I know now why The Smokey’s are called such. (we went through the Cumberland Mts. Into the Smokey’s) They are smoked covered in case you didn’t know.  Bob and I have been having a time. First my truck then his. His brakes locked last night and we had one H___ of a time. Finally we disconnected the hydro valve and now all he has is mechanical braked and they take a lot of man power to run. But they work and are through the worst part of the mountains. People sure are friendly here. I guess they haven’t seen many soldiers. Its[sic] like Arkansas when we first started convoying. Everyone turns out to watch.  Even once yesterday a couple girls were out setting on a log down the road and Bob said when he went by one was waffling her finger for him to come over. That would take guts or a weak heart. I don’t know which. We drove 167 miles yesterday and got into N.C. at 1:00. We are on Eastern time now. One hour difference but that’s enough. We horsed around with Bob’s brakes last night until one so you see we haven’t gotten much sleep. Imagine I’ll be plenty tired again Oh well we only have 97 miles to go tomorrow. So we should get in early. Then we will have to do the whole thing over again. I mean make another trip. Bob was just back and wanted one of our candles. I wouldn’t  give so he said to give  you his love and say I make him so mad he could hit me. Well I told you so—-. Yet again I love darling. I guess I had better quit now and waite [sic] until tomorrow. So good morning Darling I love you.

What a scene that would have been. All of the townspeople turning out to see the Army troops pass through. I bet those young ladies thought they died and went to heaven with all those young men showing up in their town.

Smokey Mountains Courtesy of Wikipedia

Lexington N.C. 21 January (written on the same page)

The final day and what a day. I guess we enter [sic] Butner with a bang. Everyone has to be in tip top shape. Guess how we will do that with about half of the trucks running on 5. I know mine is. And it is even disgusting to drive. Bob had to fall out yesterday and load his load on another truck. Now he is empty at the end of the convoy. Brakes again. After all that work we didn’t get it fixed. Oh! Well we’ll get there. By the way I neglected to tell you yesterday that N.C. wasn’t pink. Just like any other state. Shucks I’m sorry. You see we are near Lexington. Well it’s a little bigger than home and as far as I can see more women. They certainly turned out to wave at the soldiers. I guess the people here think that’s a treat. (so do we) I think darling I’ll close this now and write what I think of Butner in another letter. After all this is getting a little long and I have to think of the poor postman’s back. Then on the other hand it might be a couple days before I can get another chance to write. I love you my darling. Really I do. All my love, your Lefty.

USO Logo From Dad’s Stationary

21 January

Hi Honey, I guess I’ll write tonight. We are in camp and I know damn well I’ll be tired tomorrow nite [sic] and beside will be packing again I suppose. Have to start back again Sunday I guess. This time we will have assistants that can drive. I drove all the way here and I am worn out. N.C. is really a pretty state. What I have seen even beats Calif. They have better homes and the country homes are certainly well kept. My God I was so surprised. We hardly saw a thing that didn’t look like new. Besides every home had a beautiful yard. They are sure an improvement over Ala. That’s the worse state I have ever been in. I believe I am going to like it here but we have too good a set up to stay here long. I imagine in a couple months we will be off again. The camp is about the best. Anyway the only thing that isn’t close is the Motor Pool. The Service Club is just across the street and the P.X. is even closer. The camp itself is painted O.D. (Olive Drab)  but it isn’t bad. We have lots of pine trees and do they ever look good. We have the (unreadable) floor and they are considerably higher than we are. I believe it will be OK.  I made my bed. Sheets and all today. It sure looks inviting. In a little while I’m going to make a mad dash at it and crawl into my bed roll which I rolled out underneath. What a sleep I’ll have. Bob and I were just out looking the camp over. I guess this is better. The Service Club is all decorated and everything. They have  even used a little paint on the inside of the P.X. and such. Man everything is so much cleaner. I know very well that I am going to like it here. They have dances at the Service Club two or three times a week. What a break.  They are playing “When you wish upon a star” on the Radio. What a song.

Wish Upon a Star was written for Disney’s 1940 version of Pinocchio. Over the years The Disney Company used it as its theme song.  This is a good example of a song standing the test of time as most of us have heard it updated and played for many years now.

(Click here to listen to Kate Smith’s 1940 Version)

I’m back to pencil. Are you surprised. I’m not. I couldn’t write with that damn pen. One thing about camp you can’t buy anything here. Not even a pillow tag. Oh! I guess I don’t need anything to remember this camp by. I guess there are lots of W.A.C.’s here. I haven’t seen any as of yet but probably will tomorrow if I get out of the (motor) pool long enough. I have hopes of seeing the camp. But Eddie (Ed Williams) is on the rampage and I don’t know. Got my daily chewing for sleeping today and wasn’t. He was really mad. Said we had to be on the ball or else. If any of our trucks fall out on the next trip someone will be burned and as he said he didn’t mean maybe. You should see the laundry I have to do. I’ll bet its [sic] about like a months [sic] laundry out there. I have one whole corner full. Boy oh Boy!

Seven weeks of laundry is a lot of clothes. I am sure these men did not change clothes every day while they were out in the field. That is something I have never thought of. How did they do laundry while they were out in the field and how much clothes did the Army provide them with?

You asked what it meant by coming to a training camp. I don’t know just yet. Only we have more training to get to maybe more men to train. Here is where they train. A staging area is where you are prepared to go across and a P.O.E. (Point of Embarkation) is your last place. There are a few more but we are by them now. I have a couple letters to send. So Darling I have to stop. I love you my sweet. So for tonight sweet I’ll dream of you. All my love, your Lefty.

They finally made it out of field maneuvers and into camp where they got their first shower in over seven weeks. I can’t imagine how nice that first shower felt.  I bet Dad is enjoying being in camp but not happy about being sent out once again to haul more troops.  It seems like things are getting more serious around the camp. Maybe this is because they will be going overseas soon.

The next letter was written with great joy. You can see the excitement in his handwriting and the words he uses. I transcribed it to be part of this chapter but it was such big news I had to put it in a chapter of its own. Until next time.

Robert Winter, Ed Williams,

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Responses

  1. Thanks fo this wonderful post and for sharing the song!!!

    • I love listening to songs Dad mentions while reading his letters. It really takes you back to his era. I had no idea that this song was that old! lol

  2. Your posts are great! So many letters home, they’re interesting to read.

    • Thank you for reading them and commenting! It really means a lot!

  3. I so enjoy reading these love letters. Been to Ozone Falls and through that area several times…neat! Keep the transcriptions coming….

    • Very cool that you have been to the falls. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. It is what keeps me going.

      God Bless

  4. I’ve just found your blog (thank you for visiting mine) and I can’t wait to read more! The WWII era has always fascinated me and it’s so special to be able to read someone’s real experiences in their own words.
    Kristine

    • Thanks for the return visit. I am glad you found something interesting on mine and let me know! lol Hope to see you around!

  5. You are a wonderful daughter if I did a story on my Dad it would be us turning wrenches and being ON THE ROAD AGAIN!

    XO
    Eunice

    • Thanks! You traveled a lot when you were young?

      • To western PA and South as far as VA or West Virginia from MA
        Ran cross country back in 79-82


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