Captain Harold F. Kleindienst





"You're to be evacuated to a convalescent hospital where you will continue to take your atabrine pills three times a day, etc." With these words ringing in my ears -- yellowed from a six weeks supply of the bitter yellow tablets wallowing around in my muchly upset inners -- I discarded my wrinkled, battleship gray hospital pajamas for my muddied OD's.

After the preliminary routine of bidding your faithful little nurse and your ailing ward mates adieu, you pick up Army Medical Corps form so and so, llect the valuables you had deposited with a starry-eyed "combat weary" hospital clerk and stumble out in the pouring rain toward a waiting ambulance. Along with the others you are wedged into the back of the hospital chariot and off you go

Atabrine tablets, treatment for malaria

toward the haven of covalescents. Headed for the rear! ..........a wonderful thought indeed. No shells screaming in, no machine gun and riflefire whistling overhead, no mortar shells whirring about,.....out of the mud and slime, the wet and from air permeated with the nauseating smell of the dead. We're headed for the rear! Lucky ---- oh how fortunate are we who are able to convalesce for awhile before returning to, to....what? God, to think of those guys out there left mangled where they crouched, keeping a vigil of trust with starring, unseeing eyes. Bloody pulps of fellows you knew, with whom you shared that canteen full of scalding hot stuff we called coffee. Good Joes all of them. How they thought about the rear and home.......the lucky bastard sitting behind adesk in some rear echelon who everyone cussed but secretly envied,.....the sweetheart or wife who was lost in the confusion of war.......the girl who patiently waited ...the farm.....the office.....that cute little chick we passed three towns back, goddamn rear echelon will take care of her no doubt.

But we're here..... a chance to relax and forget the front. A warm room, a comfortable bed-----Jesus, look at the mattress! Three good meals a day, passes to the nearest town, garrisson caps.....forget the helmet and rifle, we're in the rear! Radio with Bing Crosby drooling out those old favorites and Tommy Dorsey too. Books, games, tables and chairs, Red Cross stationary and, above all, plenty of time.

But forget the war? Hell no! Just listen to that Joe over there boasting about the number of Krauts his platoon knocked off the night of the big attack at Anzio.......


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