|Hello Gang-|| |
October 24, 1943
Well, now it can be told - after much ado about secrecy, we are now allowed to enlighten the folks back home as to our whereabouts, as if you all didn't know, huh? Anyway, here we are in Musso's backyard and I certasinly hope it will not be for very long. Can't tell you a thing concerning the exact location of my division - the 45th - nor can I tell you what we're doing. We're certainly not on one of Cook's Tours, however
Am feeling fine physically and my morale has most certainly been lifted by the excellent mail service. Letters from my folks and you people, including grand lines from Mary Cryan, Julie Wright, Rose Siegel, Gates Hebbard, Betty Forrest and Carol (Hesse) Weil, have made the calling of my name at our regular "mail calls" a frequent occurence. Then, too, the steady arrival of "Stan Bits" has made for many pleasant moments.....just reading about you folks and your very exciting parties brings me ever so close to home - you know, the Winslow, Caruso's, Lonchamps, etc.
|Golly, what I'd give for a Scotch and - or a whiskey sour right now! Incidentally, our Commanding Officer - Lt. Col. Muldoon, came down to our battery headquarters the other evening with a fifth of John Jameson, very carefully tucked inside his field jacket.|
Forget exactly how he managed for it, but nevertheless that was of little consequence. He had it and that was just about all that mattered. Just a drink apiece 'cause it had to stretch for the battalion Officers. I won't say any more about the incident but honestly, the taste of the delicious stuff has certainly lingered.
Last time I wrote believe I was still on that smelly little island (Sicily) and though at the time, I was unable to tell you much on the campaign, suppose since you are all pretty well read on the campaign and the progress we made. It was exciting throughout from the beach at Gela on up through the mountainous passes at Caltanissetta to that expected photofinnish ending at the beach at Messina.
Threading our way through the never-ending maze of mule-drawn carts; kids and old women tearfully shouting "Librato Americano" and at the same time, the Italian equivalent of "what have you got to eat"; and trying vainly to dodge the bouquets of flowers (sometimes flower-pots and all would let fly in the jubilant haste of these poor Latins - helmets be praised!) thrown at us while driving through the towns by the flattering Sicillians; proved the ever-perplexing problem in our mad dash after the "Jerries".
Soap, cigarettes and candy will get the G.I. just about anywhere or anything. However, you can give or barter away some soap and they'll come back looking as dirty or as greasey as they did before, but with a change of clothes.
Bombing, Artillery fire, the accumulation of much sweat and the spilling of blood has positively not convinced these people that we were not American tourists sent over here to spend our "pullenty-a-monee". A day or so after the occupation of a freshly taken town, the unbombed shops would reopen and hoardes of street vendors would appear out of nowhere all with the intention of peddling thier worthless wares not for the regular "cinque lira" but a lusty "two dolla". How do you like that?
||Oh, I could go on and on, but there was the other side - gruesome as hell, yes. One I can't bring myself to write about but one which will remain quite indelibly printed in my mind. Thank God you people have been spared the destruction and the looting and thievery which follow, the killing and the wretchedness of both mind and body which knows no difference between soldier and civilian. I pray God that our workers in thier day and night all-out production efforts let down not a mite in sending that very essential material and equipment our way so that we can complete this chain of victories - and quick!|
Have long since been firmly convinced that our enemies are the dirtiest and most ruthless of fighters. Wartime scruples, as prohibition, have long been forgotten and like prohibition, one was hardly aware of thier existence. Mines, booby traps and the rest of the foul-smelling stuff evolved by the scheming, demented minds of our Nazi friends can't possibly halt that march of Johnny Doughboy with Tommy and Joe arm in arm on that not-too-distant road to the gates of Berlin. Ummm, I can just taste some of that Lager now. See what you guys are missing?
It's been swell reading the letters you publish in "Stan Bits" from the other boys in service. Notice Livingston still handing out his love to the girls - evidently hasn't heard of rationing; see old Dave (Sir!) Eldredge is wearing leaves - Congrats! Don Patone enjoying the Georgia heat and "Peaches"; and Lew Detmering sweating it out between dots and dashes. A far cry from the frenzied crys of the advertising Dept. awaiting their photostats, Lew Npw which do you suppose the most "nerve wracking"? This "Miss" Standard Brands is really a great idea - now, if I weren't so far from home...
Am most happy to see that the "great J.J. Murphy" (just had to use quotes - wouldn't feel honest about it any other way) is still turning out baseball teams. Don't pull a "Durocher", Joe. Guess that between Tobey and Ev Thiele, the women and bread problems are well in hand.
Well, could go on and on but will save some for that visit one of these days and then maybe you'll find it hard stopping me. I'll be a mighty thirsty man too, so be prepared Tobey and Ev - we've got a date.
Thanks for the letters but please don't stop - will beanxiously awaiting more news and more "Stan Bits". Kindest reguards to all.
Harold F. Kleindienst
P.S. Just had to include this. The army issues us a powdered coffe ration, most often Nes Cafe. Well this is fine but a lover of good coffee can't go this sort of thing for long and at the same time enjoy it. Well, combat or no, a package, addressed to one of my men, arrived just the other day. His girl-friend had sent him 4 lbs. of good old C & S , dated August 20. He's one of my kitchen crew and having heard time and again, my sales lingo on coffee, etc., he looked me up, but directly, and pronto, a steaming canteen cupful of that "fragrant goodness". Golly, did it hit the spot! "Famous the World Over" is not nearly so incorrect as it used to sound in copy. Thought Lee Cruse would enjoy this.
See the Sept 27 issue of Time - mentions our Col. Won't attempt writing to all - assume that they'll all get a glimpse of this bedraggled mess.
|For background to October 1943: Naples-Foggia|