15 Oct Bitter, June 1, 1945
Whoa, this letter is downright hostile! Mary hasn’t been following along! I can empathize in some ways, but guess what? I have been following along and at least knew that he was in the 9th Army! His nerves are frayed and he finally speaks openly about being so close to the battle zone that they got some of the fallout. Remember that my Dad joined as a conscientious objector, so his goal was never to shoot a weapon. Anyway, I can begin to see the whole thing unraveling now.
My dear big-dumb wife, got your excited note today re First Army going home. Either our stupid pal Sheldon (the dumb censor back in the 48th) cut some stuff out of my letters way back in October, or else you were not too observant of what I hinted at for some time. We were transferred out of the First and into the Ninth at the time my APO changed from 230 to 339, remember? 230 is the First Army, in which I was from the time I landed in France until sometime in Oct (I have the exact date in my diary that Mona gave me — as (xxxed out) well as many other pertinent dates — but it is upstairs now). Since then (and now) we have been in the 9th. In case you never figured it out, we supported XIX Corps — which spearheaded most of the offensives (with the 29th Inf. Div and later the 30th and since then we have had dozens of different Inf Divs in and out of our jurisdiction and support. When I landed in France, and for the first couple of months (until they broke away across France) we were anywhere from three to seven or eight hundred yards away, and at a few places we could hear the small arms fire. We have sat up many a night and watched the artillery burst over the Jerry lines, but never had any “incoming mail” land anywhere near us, except for the night we watched the Crossing of the Rhine (with the largest barrage in history, if we can believe the “Ninth Army – It’s Role in Victory”, and I think we can). We have never been shot at (as an individual) and so far have not even fired a practice shot of any kind from any firearm since we left England, but have had more pieces of flak than we care to remember fall (and when I say fall I’m using the term precisely —phing, or whang, or fung …. whap describes better the way the stuff comes. The V-1s put more grey hairs on this poor ol’ head than anything else, I think, although plenty of Jerry planes have given us plenty of uneasy moments (lets be casual about it, says he!) Now, what else do you want to know? There are thousands of details which will have to be TOLD, of course.
I hope that you wont be disappointed by the fact that I wont be right home, sweetheart. In fact, I hope that we stick around here for three or four months more, because then our chances of being sent right on to the CBI will be smaller, and in the meantime maybe this lowering of the age limit will get down to my level — I hope, I hop pahope!!!
Gee, but I love you, Mrs. Bee. You be a good girl and try to keep Miss K from learning too many bad words and perhaps we will get the thing that I want more than anything else right now, a discharge so that I may go home, to you and all that it means