Posted by: notsofancynancy | October 17, 2013

World War II, chapter 86, Dad gets his Ticket Home

World War II

Chapter 86

Dad gets his Ticket Home

I have seen this sign in recent times. I wonder where?

I have seen this sign in recent times. I wonder where? Courtesy of the Cain Family

Still in Bad Kreuznach Dad and his fellow soldiers pray for news of their going home.  On 6 July of 1944 these men landed in Weymouth England. It has now been exactly one year on foreign soil and they finally have rumors of going home, there are only five letters left.

6 July, Bad Kreuznach, Germany

My Darlings, Hello Honey. Man I almost missed writing tonight. Ozanne is leaving for the states in the morning and we [have] been bull shitting him. The lucky stiff. Has the same number of points I have only got his name drawn and I didn’t. It was a sure bet. I’ll leave if the next quota comes down. There is only 42 left in the Bn [battalion] with 92 and its [sic] for sure the quota will be more than that. With these men leaving the rest from the Company will probably be here soon. And that means Bob will be over. If he hurries I’ll probably see him before I leave. Gosh Mommie here no one has said anything about me going home and I’m so excited I can hardly write. I got a letter from you the other day but it was written May 29 and that’s a long time gone. It was a good letter though. I haven’t gotten any in over a week now except that one. I don’t know if you still love me. Sure wish your mail was coming through. I got me a cameo ring today. Its [sic] a darn good one and here’s the catch cost me about 20 cents. In the states it would come to more than $25 or $30. The only thing its [sic] in a silver setting and should be yellow gold. I’d like that better. Its [sic] a nice looking ring though. Man you should hear this bunch kidding Ozanne. He is sure taking a beating. And is he excited. Went down to check his equipment in and only got about half of it with him and turned in some he shouldn’t. Turned up with no towels and such as that. Well Mommie its [sic] almost eleven and have to make a trip to Frankfurt tomorrow and that’s a long way from here. I love you my Darling I love you I love you I love you honey. I love you sweetheart. All my love, Lefty

This next letter is addressed and written to my mom’s parents.

5 July, Bad Kreuznach, Germany

Dear Mom & Pop, Well by gosh I haven’t gotten you a letter for so darn long. I guess I better do something about it. Haven’t written to anyone except Vi and for a while and I was pretty busy and didn’t write her as much as I should have. The month before I left the company I drove close to 4,000 miles and of course had little time to sleep. Anyway it was pretty tiresome so have jumped at the chance of standing guard here and not driving. We’ll hit guard about every third night. I was suppose [sic] to go on again last night for the second 24 hrs. But they took me off. Why I don’t know. I’ll go on again tonight I imagine. So far as I know we have today off. At least they haven’t said anything about it and I have been in bed all morning. But we are on the top floor of this building and it takes one about a week to make a round trip up here. They put a telephone in one room and no one will answer that so they have almost given up. The 1st Sgt. Got drunk and mad the other night and I guess called everyone but the General and told him to jam his stripes up their butt. He wouldn’t get up for revile[sic] next morning so we didn’t have it. (Slept till noon that day too) Our last battle star came down last night so I have 102 points now and that’s [sic] makes me eligible to fly home. Now all I have to do is sweat out that time. I sure hope its [sic] soon. Even so if rumors are right [we] will be back in France in a couple of weeks and that’s almost to the coast. Only about 125 miles from it. And we might even move on into La Harve, but don’t hold your breath that long because the Army doesn’t work that way. You always have to waite [sic] a couple of months anyway. If I had had 103 points I would have been on my way home by now. And would have beat this letter to the states. Well the next quota shouldn’t be too long in coming. I was talking to some Jigg [African American Soldier] yesterday while I was on guard. He wanted something and I told him I was a rookie here and he misunderstood me and was telling me about his Army life. Guess he had quite a time. I never did put him straight on the situation he just went his way. I got nothing to complain about I got no medals pinned on me. He had an interesting story though. If you and Vi keep on I’m going to have a personal maid to sew buttons back on my shirts. Busted two off the last letter from Vi (I got my fingers crossed) I do like to hear tales about Mary Lynn though. God how I wish I were home. And they could just as well get me there too. Cause I haven’t done a damn thing for a week and don’t intend too. This is to [sic] big a building for one to be working. Oh guard that’s different. One can get into trouble by missing that. And this is to [sic] late in the game to get into trouble. Oh yes when I left the Company the C.O. [Commanding Officer] wouldn’t even come around and shake hands with me. We haven’t spoken in a couple months. Four Officers were all that were was there. They were pretty good joes and I wouldn’t say good bye to the other so we are all happy. Bob has a chance of coming down this way. How soon I don’t  know or whether he will even get to this Btry [Battery].  But we have hopes of seeing each other soon. Clark will go with the Division he only has about 48 points. Bob has 90 now. Well Mom I’m going to have to shave and clean up and get out of here. They’ll be wanting someone to work and it might as well be me. Sorry I haven’t written sooner but have to be in the mood first. As ever, your son, Lefty

35th QM Volleyball Game

35th QM Volleyball Game, Courtesy of the Cain Family

6 July, Bad Kreuznach, Germany

My Dearest Darlings, Oh Boy got a couple of letters from you today. Sure was glad too. Cause its [sic] sure been a long time since I have heard from you. This damn mail situation over here isn’t what its [sic] cracked up to be. But I guess it will have to do. In one of your letters (June 29) the little gadget at the top says its [sic] high time you wrote and you added and said you were coming home. Remember?  Well Mommie guess I could almost tell you the date I was leaving here and the date I was going to be discharged. But that’s just the way things stand now and they may change before tomorrow and if so it would only disappoint the both of us instead of just me. By Gosh I know how it feels to know the times coming and can’t reach it any faster and then to have a delay would be pretty bad. I made a fool of myself when I wrote awhile back and said it wouldn’t be long. Well I would have been on my way home now had we staged in the XVI Corps but we changed to the XXIII and missed a quota for one month and are just that much behind and it could happen again. Because we are moving to France in a short while and don’t know how things will be there. If we were lucky and left today we’d be in the States Monday or Tuesday and from then on it all depends.  Its [sic] rough in the E.T.O. but in just a few more days weeks or months then honey we’ll have to go to work for a living and even so it will be the three of us and that’s all I want. So you can start figuring out what your [sic] going to do to make a living when I get home. I’m sure glad Pop took that trip back East. It will do him good and it isn’t such a hard trip if they change off driving. Only if Mom would have gone with him. You didn’t say maybe she did. Sure wish I had been on my way home so you could have gone too. Guess I’ll come straight out there when I do come. Unless they discharge me in Leavenworth and then I’ll stop home for a damn few hours. I think they will send me out there though. Man honey had I been here for the occupation I don’t believe I’d have to let you come over. There just isn’t anything here. I’m telling you you’d almost have to be a King to live here. You can’t buy anything to eat or anything else. The Army would almost have to issue rations in those cases and that’s not so good. Its [sic] hard to find a place to live. I guess Uncle Sam would look out for that though. I’ve just seen to [sic] much of how these damn people are and act to have anyone I love around them. Might get their habits and thats [sic] nix good. Gosh Mommie if I answer both your letters tonight I won’t have anything to write about tomorrow. I love you my Darlings. I love you so much honey I love you Sweetheart I love you so much. I love you I love you Mommie. It shouldn’t be long now. All my love Darlings, Lefty

Marvin Cain and John Levonyak on the Regiment Bridge

Marvin Cain and John Levonyak on the Regiment Bridge

The last two letters are in the same envelope

8 June, Bad Kreuznach, Germany

My Dearest Darling, Well believe it or not I’m writing again tonight. Boy had this been a lonely place all day. I’m the only one here. It’s my fault though because I was supposed to go on a trip today and let another kid take my place. So here I am all alone. But I have been busy. Played solitaire all afternoon. (Couldn’t even beat him by cheating). And now I’m on guard. So I’ll have something to do for the next 22 hours-two have passed. I imagine if Bob is coming over here he’ll be here tomorrow at least the big change is then and boy am I hoping he gets here and not the 106th Div. He won’t be home for 6 months if he gets over there and it’s a lot more work I haven’t done anything here but stand guard. Have done that three times though. That’s enough. But we have men all over hell right now and have to waite [sic] until they get back. I don’t mind guard so much at least your [sic] not being beaten to death by a G.I. truck. Say Mommie do you think its [sic] a good idea if I come home to go into a War Job. I don’t myself because the War isn’t going to last to [sic] long and if by the time the GI benefits or help thereof run out and if I can find something that will last after wouldn’t it be better. I want to be somewhere so I can go to school too. Guess if I can I’ll go to night school then I think the Gov has upped the ante to $100 a month while going to school so maybe it would pay to take a good course while I’m at it Huh. Just something to think about. Your [sic] going to have to do your part of the thinking too so lets [sic] begin. You said you hoped I didn’t decide to live back East. Well honey I don’t want to live there anymore than you do so if we can possibly get along out there. That’s home. But of course we can’t starve. Well Mommie I’m going to have to waite [sic] until tomorrow to mail this I seem to be out of stamps. Get some then. No one here or I’d borrow one. (ha ha) I love you my Darlings. I love you so much honey. I love you I love you Mommie I love you so much I love you sweetheart. All my love, Lefty

9 July, in the same envelope.

My Darlings, Well honey I couldn’t get any stamps or envelopes today so I’ll just waite [sic] another and send it along with the last nights [sic]. Have to be down at 8 in the morning to get them. The Mail orderly is out tonight and has been all day. I guess anyway I have been able to find him. I have to write tonight cause a lot of things happened. Namely Bob hasn’t come here and I’ve heard rumors that he has gone to the 106th Division. That means I won’t see him before I leave Germany. And that’s bad. Although we expected that and said goodbye and all of those things before. I was hoping he would get over here though.

Mom and Mary Lynn, Mary wearing the baptismal dress

Mom and Mary Lynn, Mary wearing the baptismal dress

I did some research on the 106th Division. It was an Indiana based division. I am not sure why they transferred the men to all the different divisions but if it gets Dad home any sooner I am all for it.

In case your[sic] wondering whats [sic] the oil on this paper is I just took a bath and oiled my hair and was to [sic] lazy to put my shoes on and walked back into the bathroom to wash my hands. I got a letter from you today and two pictures. They sure are good and that daughter of ours is sure growing up. I showed them to Sgt. Sill and he sure though she was ok. You know that baptizing dress of Grandma’s sure must have taken the material to make.  I looked at the pictures and was wondering why you had a blanket hanging down like that. Then I read what was written on the back. I sure like the other one where your [sic] holding Mary. I can’t realize she has grown that much until I see the pictures. Don’t let her go out with any men until I get there. Sure am glad you don’t have to go back to the Dr. But keep that appointment open honey cause I’m a coming and perhaps it won’t be long who knows. If this move doesn’t ball things up again I hoping they waite [sic] another week for the move than I’ll know for sure and will write you. F.T.S. – Figure that out. Say you know that ring I was telling you about me getting. I believe its [sic] going to turn out to be better than I expected. I really believe now its silver and not just plated. Goes good with the watch anyway. Its [sic] bed time honey and this is my allotted three pages am using so my paper will last out the stay here. I love you my Darling. I love you so much honey I love you sweetheart I love you Mommie I love you I love you. All my love Darling, Lefty

Worn by my Grandmother, Mother, Sisters and one niece.

Baptismal dress worn by my Grandmother, Mother, Mary Lynn and our niece.

And just like that the letters end. I am not sure what I thought would happen but they just end. Dad’s discharge papers say that his “Place of Separation” was a Separation Center in Leavenworth, Kansas on 10 August 1945. That is one month after the last letter. There are two telegrams in this last bunch of letters. The transcription for the first one reads:

5 August 1945

DARLING ARRIVED IN THE STATES EVERYTHINGS SWELL PLEASE WIRE $25.00 TO CAMPKILNER NJER AT ONCE, LEFTY

5 August 1945 Telegram

5 August 1945 Telegram

This first one came with a receipt that Mom did send money:

Receipt for money sent

Receipt for money sent

The second one is dated one day after the separation date on his discharge papers.

11 August Telegram

11 August Telegram

11 August 1945

DARLING RECEIVED DISCHARGE TODAY. WILL BE HOME SOMETIME TONIGHT AND WILL PROBABLY BE OUT THERE NEXT WEEK. LEFTY          

And that is it. Those are the last two letters that Mom had saved in the suitcase. I am sure there was a lot of celebrating once he got home and from the telegrams it seems as though he was discharged from the Separation Center in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas which meant he probably went to visit his family in Nebraska before making the trek to Pasadena, California where my mother and sister waited for him. Finally Dad will meet his baby daughter who turned six months old on the 11 August 1945 which is the exact day Dad was discharged, kind of ironic.

Discharge

Discharge Papers

According to his discharge papers my father served three years four months and 25 days in the “Continental US” and was overseas one year two months and 23 days making it a total of 4 years 7 months and 23 days in the Army. Let’s also remember that he served in the National Guard from 5 September 1940 until he mustered into the Army on 23 December which makes it just a little over five years he served his country. I can now see why he was such a proud American. Five years training and fighting to defend it shaped him into who he was.

His regiment participated in the followings campaigns; Normandy, Rhineland, Ardennes, Central Europe, and something called GO 33 WD 45 (General Order 33 of the War Department  issued in 1945) which pertains to his participation in the “Battle of the Bulge” He was awarded the Good Conduct medal as well as the American Defense Ribbon. He also earned both rifle and carbine sharpshooter medals as well as five battle stars for the campaigns he was in. I have never been more proud of my father than at this moment, at this moment I see clearly why my father was who he was.

Allen Ozanne, Robert “Bob” Winter, Harmon E. Clark, Sgt. Joe Sill,

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Responses

  1. Those are beautiful happy telegrams. Thanks for sharing this journey.

  2. What an incredible story. You can feel you dad’s excitement building in these last letters. I think the letters helped keep him alive during the toughest times, and I think they fell off so suddenly because he was so suddenly done. No need to write when you can actually live!

    • So true Will and well said! Thanks for your support it has really meant a lot.

  3. I wanted to celebrate too!! What an awesome story. His letters are a legacy to not only to your family but to all of us readers. Thanks for sharing them and I look forward to the book when you have it published. Great job!

    • Thanks Patty! I will post an Epilogue next week so you will know what happened after the war. Thanks again for your continued support!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing all of this! It has been an incredible journey.

    • Thank you so much for joining us Renae! It has been my pleasure!

  5. I am very grateful that you shared your father’s story with us. It was an amazing story, and you should indeed be very proud of your dad. The baptismal gown is simply beautiful! I look forward to the Epilogue…

    • Thank you sweet friend. I could not have done it without your support. I am so proud of my dad. I had no idea what he went through. I just wish he was still alive so I could tell him.

  6. So happy to read those words of his: “Will be home sometime tonight”!

    • Thank you Darla. I felt the same way when I first found that telegram. It had been a long road to get there. Dad thought when he enlisted he would only serve a year and a little over five years later he finally got home.

  7. Your heart must be overflowing with pride, admiration and love… Not just for Lefty but also for your mom. We will NEVER see such patriotism and sacrifice ever again by a generation – unless aliens attack bringing the world together this time.

    Having followed your progress, Nancy, and while I certainly cannot feel what you and Lefty felt, the trauma endured by him (and your mom from “not knowing”) would drive any man crazy… And the most ugly thing he may have physically endured would perhaps have been his duties relating to retrieving the remains of fallen men.

    But the fact remains – and consistently so… They canNOT talk about their traumatic experiences at length or in detail, even with their own wives or off-spring. On a rare occasion, a soldier may talk with his father if his father were also in a previous war. That must be gnawing at you fierce – even down to why he got busted…

    Wonderful job, Nancy. Your dad is proud of you. Take care of your treasures… They are priceless.

    • OMGoodness you made me cry this morning.

      I am in the process of trying to get this published without someone screwing me out of the story and I can honestly say I am scared. I don’t know which way to turn. I pray I can do it to ensure their story takes it’s place in history.

      Thank you dear friend I know you understand how important this is to me.

  8. ps I don’t know how serious you were with your first photo caption above… but the sign was put up on the LUDENDORFF BRIDGE. Here are two links to supporting images (US Army):

    • Thanks! I did figure out where I saw it. It was in the Patton Museum located in Chiraco Summit here in Ca. We stopped there on the way back from Arizona last January. I did some research and it told me that they have one there.


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