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July 5, 2002
I have not changed any of the words in these letters. They are as printed in the OrovilIe Mercury-Register

November, 1944.

“I am in a fox hole. What a creation. Hand made, 6 1/2 feet long and about 4 feet wide. 'The top layer of logs taken by maliciously removing the props from a French vineyard at night.”

“On top of this is packed dirt from the hole, and on top of the hole dirt is our shelter half, and on top of this more dirt for camouflage. We are on the forward slope of a hill. Easy meat for German 88 's and mortars, if detected. So we don I go out of our holes during the day at all.”

“At night we get our next day's rations, water, mail, ammo and what have you. If we move around during; the day, the Heinies shell Hell out of us with 88's, artillery and mortars and we lie there, cussing the guys who moved, and pray. In front of my hole is No Man's Land complete with both American and German mine fields, booby traps, trip flares and all kinds of guards against enemy advance.”

“A 'rest area' is another GI joke. We were led all over No Man's Land by a captain who couldn’t find his way from the Courthouse to the State theatre building and nearly blundered into the enemy lines several times. Finally we bedded down at 2 a.m. and at 8 o'clock they said a up and ready to go back into line. What a rest. I'd rather stay in my hole."
"I'm too far front, anyway, for the brass to come and ask if I'm dressed correctly. My buddy is a Greek boy, who went through the German blitz. This war is a picnic to him and he grins all over when the Nazis come into range of our guns. I don’t think we will be bothered with prisoners with him around. The Germans lined up 75 boys in his village of military age and cut them down with machine guns, so Kamarad is a new word to him.”

1944 editor's notes, by Jack Pank. "Yes indeed, though space precludes printing more of the same in both letters, Thanksgiving for what we have, and including-the foodstuffs as well, seems a little more real. Unfortunately, distance always seems to be an insulator and protective device, and the sacrifices required seem somewhat unequally divided. All these guys have to do is live in a hole, while we are required to use a little less gas - except, of course, during pheasant and duck season, which would be asking too much. "