Posted by: notsofancynancy | November 29, 2012

World War II, chapter 40, Carbine Marksmanship

World War II

Chapter 40

Carbine Marksmanship

Rifle and Carbine Sharpshooter Medal

The next letter is the first letter my father wrote to my mother as Mrs. Lorens Woodside; it seems Mom and Dad rented a room in Durham North Carolina where Dad is now stationed. Amazingly enough with Google Maps you can check out the street view and see what this neighborhood looks like. It looks like a nice place to live in with green all around. Maples and birches line the street and dot the neighborhood. I do not know if the houses there are the same ones that were there back in 1944, but it is the same area my parents lived in as newlyweds. I love the fact that our technology allows us to see actual pictures of the very street they lived on.

It seems Mom is settled in to the place in Durham and Dad is on the move. He has traveled about 150 miles and is in Wilmington which sits on the Coast of North Carolina and once again training. My father has now been from the Coast of California, to the beaches in Florida, and has now landed on the beach of North Carolina.

Mom and Dad

12 March 1944, Wilmington, North Carolina

Dearest Wife, Hi honey hows [sic] everything tonight. It’s quite wet here. Boy as Ben and I were talking it rained all the way down here. But you can’t prove it by me cause all I got was the drippings. I slept all the way. And the tarp leaked and I was underneath it. They were on the ball though we left about 7:00 and was[sic] here at 3:00. Besides being lost a couple of times we made the trip in good order. This is a dump. Man we are about 100 yrds from the ocean and as it is in Calf its foggy. But much warmer than at Durham. The streets are just sand no improvements. I guess we can stand it awhile though. Bob and I went to the show here and had to set down in about the front row. I guess it was raining there too because we had our feet in water about 1 ½ inches deep so you can see the way it is. I guess it would be good if we were use (d) to it. They have a man telling wild stories. Boy was he a mean civilian and I believe even he believes his stories.  Well Darling I’ll go to bed now. We haven’t done anything to write about so you see I’ll have to waite [sic]. I love you my Darling, I love you, I love you, all my love, Lefty

Mrs Lorens Woodside

13 March, Wilmington, North Carolina

Dearest Wife, Hi honey Hows [sic] my wife tonight. We are in good order I think anyway. Had a very boring day though. We sat 8 hrs listening to an instructor who knew less about a machine gun than we.  Only thing he knew was the names of the parts and I guess he read that in a book because he took it apart this morning and couldn’t get it back together again. So since then he has called on an enlisted man to assembly [sic] it again. We gave him the “he knew it” too. He seems to be a good egg though. I guess we can survive the issue though. Only 1 ½ days of classes yet then we are suppose (d) to know it all. Won’t he be fooled. I sure wish I were back cause I certainly don’t like this place. Although it is warm. I had my feet in the ocean today just think that is two of them (the Atlantic and Pacific oceans) Bob and I had to go down. Its [sic] about the same as the other only a little more sandy the water I mean. Cold too. I love you my sweet. I guess I better quit. I still haven’t anything to write. Only I love you very much. I hope you get my letters Darling we are taking a chance on getting them out. Sending them with someone’s elses [sic] mail. We haven’t a mail man of our own. I love you, All my love, Lefty

14 March, Wilmington, North Carolina

Dearest Wife, Hows[sic]  my honey tonight. I just woke up. I laid down after dinner and guess I slept cause it is after nine now. Do I feel tough like I had been sleeping [sic] What do you know? We watched some Anti Aircraft firing last night. Boy was it fun. And would I hate to be a pilot and have someone shooting me like that. Wish you could have seen it. We get some firing in tomorrow. Guess we fire a 30 Cal. (caliber) Also then the 50. We were also told we had so much firing to do and we would do it even if we had to be here Sat and Sun. So we have to do some damn fast shooting but we will be there. As we were looking around today we found a couple exam papers that were left here by someone before us and are we ever studying now. Just like school cheating.

Oh no he didn’t! My dad did not just tell us he was cheating did he?

Vi and Lefty

I guess I better quit cause I’m sleepy again. Have I ever been catching up on some sleep.  Boy early to bed late to rise. Hope you are doing the same honey. I also hope Junior is in better shape and also your back. I’m fine sweet and now ever hoping for an early return. I love you my sweet, All my love Your Husband.

Junior? Who is Junior? Now that I think about it I am not sure I want to know.

15 March, Wilmington, North Carolina

Dearest Wife, Well this should be the last letter I have to write on this excursion. We will finish our work and be back sometime on Sat unless of course the weather turns bad and then we have to stay longer.  The planes won’t go up even if it is cloudy. But with the weather the way it has been we should worry. Have you written anyone this week. Gosh I haven’t. Only to Elmer and Harold (Two of Dad’s brothers). I have really been sleeping though. Boy will I be caught up by the time I return. We had our hopes up that we might return Fri but due to circumstances we won’t make it. Boy were we happy for awhile. We had a class at 7:30 tonight. Not much just a little observation and that was interesting. Say you know how I have been in this camp almost a week and can’t even get outside the door until I’m lost. Boy this is worse than Durham. We are actually less that 1 block from the classroom and if you don’t know the way over there you find yourself walking for hours. Bob and I got lost one nite [sic] and ended out in an open field somewhere. Since then we haven’t been able to find the field. All we can find now is trees. What a place. All my love, Your Lefty It’s legal now!  

Carbine Sharpshooter on Dad’s Discharge Papers

According to my father’s discharge papers he earned a carbine marksmanship medal on 16 March 1944. It seems a carbine is an automatic rifle that has a shorter barrel on it making it a little more compact. It is interesting to find documents to back up these letters and now we know exactly what this trip away from his new bride was for. He was getting ready to fight.

© Copyright 2012 notsofancynancy

Truman “Ben” Howard, Robert Winter,



  1. Absolutely love what you are doing here. I vist often and don’t comment but want you to know how much I enjoy your parents story.

    • Thank you so much. I cannot tell you how much it means to hear someone say that!

  2. Congratulations to the newlyweds! How wonderful it must have felt to them…

    You mentioned your father’s marksman badges: rifle and carbine.

    The rifle badge is likely with the M1 Garand; it fired the 30-.06 round and had a lot of stopping power. It had an maximum range of something like 3,000 meters. It had a real good kick to it but it weighed over ten pounds.

    The carbine badge is likely with the M1 carbine. It fired a smaller .30 round and as a result, had less stopping power. It was issued more for officers later in the war and to troops who moved around, like mortar crews. It was smaller and lighter and the soldier could also carry more rounds.

    • Very interesting! Thanks for the interesting info

  3. Besides the wonderful sentiment that’s evident in your father’s letters, I’m also struck by the penmanship shown on the envelopes. Straightforward, but with a touch of class. Most men today, myself included, couldn’t write legible cursive to save our lives. It really is remarkable how our culture’s definition of what it means to be educated has changed. With computers, iPhones and such, fewer and fewer people possess handwriting of any beauty. I greatly respect people who have made the effort to write well.

    • Dad being left handed worked hard on his penmanship. He talked about how the teacher at first, made him write right handed. But he was a lefty. I know his Mom was bedridden for a couple years before she passed when he was 16. I also know how important it was to her for him to finish school. My guess it she had a big hand in his penmanship.

      • I hear a story like your father’s – mother passed away at 16 after a lengthy illness, survived World War II, probably came back and didn’t have a whole lot when he and your mom started after the war – and I’m tempted to tell the whiney “millennials” who complain about life today to thank their stars they’ve alive today and not a century ago. I remember stories my grandparents used to tell me – and they weren’t the type to exaggerate, and it made me grateful for the blessings I had then, and have now.

      • My great grandparents on both Mom and Dad’s side homesteaded in Kansas and Nebraska. They did not have much and lived in sod houses. I know how hard their lives were and am thankful that we have it so much easier than them and my parents. I think we are blessed.

  4. I agree with Cottonboll and you Nancy, they were truly the greatest generation and their parents and grandparents before them where of good strong pioneer stock. We are indeed blessed because of their sacrifice to make the next generation better. Too bad so many don’t realize that anymore.

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