Fort Bragg North Carolina WWII Letter August 1944


Written by a soldier at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Camp Davis letterhead. He was at Hospital #3, Ward 400. He was involved in a reconditioning program. From the letter…..

There’s little to report except conjectures and some minor items of the rehabilitation, or rather reconditioning, program. At 8AM an hour of calisthenics. Then an hour of close order drill. I was drafted for that, and find that my drillmaster’s voice holds up, no matter what the eyes do. It was hot by that time, and there hadn’t been enough rest between calisthenics, and drill. Two men passed out in classes 2 and 3. My group class 1, was comprised of men in better condition and , feeling the sun myself, I marched them over to shade for occasional breaks, so we did all right. I think I explained that, if you’re in need of three full weeks reconditioning, you start in class 3 and work up.
At 10, I inherited a detail, composed of a truck and 10 men, to take metal wall lockers out of empty wards and truck them to a storage place in another abandoned barracks. An army procedure. The reason for the job was that overseas wounded are to be moved into the wards, and the lockers were borrowed ones…….it seems that before a patient leaves he must be profiled. A new term to me, means re-examined physically……..Quite a number of the men here are overseas veterans, and some of their stories are interesting. I was talking to a couple from Guadalcanal yesterday. Their Field Artillery viewpoint of the Marines was informative and I thought a bit amusing. They were willing to give the Marines credit for being good soldiers, but were rather resentful of what they considered over glamorization……..There was a Jap howitzer, surrounded by thickets of machine guns, which the Marines had been unable to dislodge for a month or more. The artillery boys had to pull their gun up to a bare plateau, in the dark, hoping that no flares would silhouette them in the critical digging in hour. There were no flares, and with the first flush of daylight the army gun fired three rounds point blank and the sleeping Japs and their howitzer just disappeared.
They had the story of Washboard Charlie, the lone Jap bomber who came over every night for weeks, dropping just enough nuisance bombs to keep everybody awake. He as a jolly fellow, between bombs he cut in the Henderson Field radio and announced that he was a Columbia graduate, and he was 42nd St.? One night Washboard Charlie (he got the name because his old bobber sounded like a washing machine) slept in and didn’t show up until about 5 AM. It got light a few minutes after his arrival and a fighter plane whizzed out of the upper air and that was the end of Charlie…….

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