WWII Letters | Background | 1st Letter Home | Training at Croft | Hurricane | Shipping Out | To Bastonge | Battle of Bulge | News From Home | Prisoners Captured | VE Day | Still in Europe |

Hurricane at Croft
Written while at Camp Croft in infantry training.
October 22, 1944
Anne Darling,
Well here is a letter at long last. I just got back from Mass. We had it out in a large field and the chaplain used the hood of a jeep for an altar. I went last Sunday too, so I am still able to go to Mass out here. I received your package and it was really swell. There is so much to tell you about I don't know where to start. So I'll start with Thursday night.

We left here about 5pm to march 14 miles to the C3 problem. This problem is to take a hill away from the enemy. While we crawl up the hill firing at the enemy, the artillery shells are buzzing over our heads and exploding 100 yards in front of us on top of the hill. Well, about 7 o'clock we were halfway there, so we had chow.

When we resumed our march it was dark already and it started to rain. It rained all the way there for the next three hours. We walked these three hours without stopping a minute because it was raining so much. It wasn't just plain rain but a hurricane. It was cold and very windy.

When we arrived about 10:30, we put up our tents and tried to sleep but nobody could. We were soaked to the skin. All the blankets were soaked and we were freezing. Mud was up to our ankles by this time. Small streams were going right through our tents; no matter how big a ditch we made all around our tent.

When morning finally came, which seemed like 24 hours, we were still drenched and had to pack up our tents and blankets. It was so cold and I was so wet that it seemed as though I was a solid cake of ice. You know how your fingers shrivel up when they're in the water a long time, well our whole bodies were shriveled up like that and I was shaking so much I just couldn't stop. We had hot coffee and oatmeal but as you ate it the rain filled up in the mess kit and it was cold in no time. Everybody just huddled together to keep warm, which was just impossible.

Well they decided to call off the problem and just show us a demonstration of how artillery helps in an attack. We sat in a grandstand for 1.5 hours while the guns got their range. Then we went down to the bottom of the hill and they fired the cannons over our heads. Finally there were two duds that landed about two hundred yards short and one hundred yards behind us. The General called and told them to cease firing before they killed us all, including himself.

Then we had lunch and started home. That night is a night I'll never forget and I don't think the other fellows will either. The tents wouldn't stay down because the wind caught them and blew them away. Even the captain and the lieutenants' tents blew away. They were just as wet as we were. I never prayed so hard in all my life and they were answered because everything worked out fine in the end. I'll tell you why.

We started back about one o'clock and just as we started it stopped raining. We got back early (about 5:30) instead of about 11 o'clock at night. When we did get here the sun was out. So we were able to dry out the tent and blankets before we put up our tent to go to bed. And last of all, we got out of doing the toughest problem on maneuvers.

Right now the weather is fine but it is still very cold at night and in the morning. You probably read about the hurricane in the Friday's news. Well that is what hit us Thursday night. We have off all day today so I have done a million little odds and ends.

Yesterday I spent about 5 hours trying to get the rust off my rifle and last night we had a night problem from 8 till 12 o'clock but we finished about 10 o'clock and came back to go to sleep. We had coffee served to us then so I had coffee and finished the cookies, peanut butter and crackers and dates. All I left is the figs and a few of those toasted cheese sandwiches, which by the way are very good. I also have the can of frankfurters and 1 can of sardines. The other fellow that I sleep with got 2 cans of beans, so we'll have franks and beans some day this week when we have K rations. The K rations are good, but you don't get enough to eat.

In our tent we have six blankets (3 each), so we put two on the ground under us and three over us. We use one to cover up the front of the tent to keep the wind out. That really makes it nice and warm inside. Right now the sun is out and it is nice and warm. Everybody is just lying around writing or just resting. It is just the kind of day I would enjoy with you out in the country, darling.

I was just looking at the calendar and there are just 12 more days of training and approximately 12 more days before I get home. I think we'll be leaving here about Nov. 8th, but I'm not sure. I don't think it will be any later than the 9th though and it could be the 6th or 7th if you know what I mean.

Gosh darling I miss you a whole lot and just the thought of being able to see you soon makes me able to go through these two weeks much easier. You asked me about OCS. Well I saw my first Sergeant and we had a long talk. I think I'll do what he says. That is wait until I am transferred to a regular outfit when I get out of Camp Croft here. That way I am sure to get my furlough in a few weeks. The fellows that go from here, he said, probably won't get any delay in route but go directly to Fort Benning for OCS training.

So what do you think about it. I think it is a good idea because I sure do want furlough to see you sweetheart. It's funny I just got a letter from you yesterday in which you said you hope it doesn't rain so it won't be so miserable here right after we had such a terrible rain storm. I think the men in actual combat could not go through anything worse than we did. It was truly miserable. Conditions could never have been any worse than they were Friday morning. We walked 50 miles in just 2 days on the C2 and C3 problems, and that sure is a lot of walking with a full field equipment on your back. My feet sure did hurt, but they are OK now. About 20 fellows went to the hospital yesterday with the grippe, flu, or pneumonia. As for me, I feel fine. I really do. I have no cold or no aches and pains at all. I really surprised myself. I guess I've built up my resistance a lot here in the Army, but I'd still rather build it up at home than here. Well darling, I think that is all I can think of right now. I just want to say that I'll be able to write probably every day this week, so you'll probably feel better. I can just imagine how you feel not getting any word for 3 or 4 days, and then only getting a postcard. I only had time to scribble off those few short notes last week. This letter will kind of make up for it, I hope.

Don't forget how much I love you sweetheart, which you can bet is plenty. I love you more than anything in the world, darling, and miss you terribly. By the sound of the war news, which is very good again, I think this mess will be over sooner than we dare to think, and we'll be together again. Just the three of us in our own home.

With loads of love and kisses, and many more when I get home,
I remain, Yours forever,

Next Page

Anne holding daughter, Helen
Anne and daughter, Helen
(Photo sent to Joe in April 1944)