Dad goes to war Part 4

By Lynn K. Juckett

 

 

 

 

   We left Berlin for Bremen at 6:30 A.M. on the 26íTh of Nov. 1945 and arrived in Bremen about 7:30 P.M. that evening.  It was a cold ride and it took us about four hours longer then the rest of the convoy as our truck driver got lost from the convoy.  I was assigned to the 29íTh headquarters for duty.  Our quarters and office was in another German Kaserne or fort.  It was located in a small town on the outskirts of Bremen called Grohn.  The Kaserne was more modern than the one in Hofgiesmar.

 

After reporting for duty at the headquarters they couldn't find any work for me as they had more personnel than they knew what to do with, I was transferred to the Quartermaster company.  I guess that they didn't know what to do with me as I didn't do any work there either.  The Headquarters Company had a beer garden and the Quartermaster Company had one too.  I had a pass for both of them as I had been in both companies.  They both held dances every night and the frauliens liked to attend them.  The army also took over a theater in town and we could go to the movies every night.

 

 Most of the bunch that I came with was assigned to the HQ. Co... and the bunch that left the 78'th a week earlier was in another nearby town in the 175'th regt.  Most of my old buddies from the 78íTh was now in the 29íTh so I didn't feel lonely.  We got together about every night.     

 

   One of the men from the 29' Div. and I had a date with a couple of frauliens and we took them to a U.S.O. club in Bremen for dinner.  His fraulien got to telling us about the air raids on Bremen.  Her husband had been killed on the Russian front and she had a little boy about 3 years old.  She said that on one raid she sat in a shelter for 3 days on a bench.  Her feet swelled up from sitting so long and her little boy kept telling her not to worry.  She got so despondent that she gave up while the raid was still on and decided that she would go to her apartment and if she got killed it would be better than being in the shelter.  She also had been shacking up with my friend.  She said that she knew it was wrong but she was going to have a man while some was still around.

 

 There were lots of German widows as so many of their men had been killed in combat.   I met another fraulien at the "29 Lets Go Inn", she used to like to set with me when ever I was there.  On Christmas Eve she took me home with her.  I saw the first Christmas tree with real candles there.  She lighted them so that I could see it and then blew them out right away, as it was too dangerous to leave them burning.  Her name was Hilda and I can't remember her last name.  She even came to Bremenhaven when I was transferred there in order to get the ship home.

 

 On Dec. 28, 1945 at 1:30 P.M. we moved to the marine barracks in Bremenhaven.  The barracks was at an old German Navy base and wasn't in to good a condition.  I was glad that we wouldn't be there very long.  This was where we were supposed to get our ship home and our stay wasn't only going to be a night or two.  Our stay there turned out to be 9 days.  We had physicals there and our baggage inspected to see if we had turned in all of our equipment that we were supposed too.  We left the Marine Barracks about 8:00 A.M. on Jan. 6íTh 1946 and went to the pier and boarded the ship U.S. Victory.  It was a merchant marine ship and held about 1500 troops besides the crew.  We boarded the ship at about 9:30 A.M. and set sail around 2:00 P.M.  We sailed into the North Sea and into the English Channel.  I saw the White Cliffs of Dover, while going through the channel.  When we got into the open Atlantic I was placed on a garbage detail and had to dump garbage off from the fantail.  This made me a little sick to my stomach as it was a little smelly.  It had been stored up all of the while the ship had been in port.

 It had been fairly smooth sailing through the North Sea and the channel, but when we hit the Atlantic it began to rough up. After the first day on the Atlantic it stormed the rest of the way home.  The North Atlantic is always real rough in the winter.  Our ship really pitched and rolled.  It was really rough.  When you went to the toilet you had hang on to the pipes or it would throw you right off the toilet seat.  I seen one guy get thrown off the toilet seat and he slid clear across the bathroom floor on his bare hind end.  The floor had about a half inch of water on it so he got it washed as he slid across the floor.  It was also real cold.   The ice would freeze on the rigging and the railings on the deck.  We didn't spend any time outside like we did going over.  The ship had an empty hold and movies were held there every night.  In the day time physical exercises was held there.

 

 The merchant marine people had a regular gambling room set up with dice tables and etc.  They liked to get the soldiers in there and fleece them out of their money.  They didn't get any of mine as I wasn't much of a gambler.  There was one fellow whose bunk was near mine who kept saying that as soon as our ship hit shore he was going right back to Germany and marry his fraulien.  He said that he didn't care if she was a German that she treated him like a king.  We passed the Statue of Liberty about 7:15 P.M. on the 16'th of January and at 8:15 A.M. on the 17íTh we got off the ship at pier 84 in New York.                                From New York we went to Camp Kilmer N.J.

 

 I seen a bunch of my old 78'th Div. buddies there. I saw Edlemann, Roper, Dauhiemer, White, Sasnett, and bunch of other ones there.  They were all complaining about how long it took them to get home. It took them 18 days on the John B. Smilzer.  They left a week earlier then us and arrived at about the same time. 

 

People were always complaining about how inefficient the army was, but Camp Kilmer didn't waste any time and got us out of there real quick.  While we were at Camp Kilmer they gave us a lecture urging us to reenlist.  Only about 2 men of 500 responded.  Everyone else was in a hurry to get home.  On the 18íTh all of us 78'th div. men was transferred to a post nearest to their home town for discharge.  It was kind of sad breaking up with your old buddies that you had been with for over 3 years.  Never the less we were all anxious to get home. I was sent by Pullman train to Camp Atterbury, Ind.

 

 I arrived there about 5:15 P.M. on the 19'th of Jan.  I called home from there and told my folks that I would be home shortly.  I got my discharge about 4:30 on the 21'st.  I met Robert Beglin and Omar Lorenz and rode on a bus from Indianapolis to South Bend Ind.  From there Bob Beglin and I rode home on the Grand Trunk railroad to Battle Creek.  We arrived in Battle Creek about 4:00 A.M. on the 22'nd.  My Dad and Mother met me there.  It was a real joyful moment and the tears welled up in my eyes. 

 

   As I look back I have to thank the Good Lord for being so good to me and getting me through the war without being harmed.  I never volunteered for anything I just went where the army wanted me and when they wanted me.  It was an experience that I will never forget.  I seen things and did things that I had never done before.  When ever men of my age get together it is still one of the main topics of our conversation.  

 

 

 

 

 

     Here I am going to comment on some of my observations on army life that I didn't mention in my previous narration.                                                                                                                                                                                  ARMY FOOD                                                                                                                 The food that we had in Garrison that is the food that we had while I was in the States was generally good.  Most of the time we had our own company mess halls and our cooks did a good job of cooking.  An officer generally ate with us to see that the food was cooked right.  Most of the men ate better in the army than they had at home.  We always had chicken every Sunday and that was a luxury in those days as chicken was very expensive in those days, not cheap like it is now. We always had turkey and all of the trimmings on thanksgiving and Christmas and our cooks went out of their way to make it good on those days.  When I had to eat in consolidated messes the food wasn't nearly as good as in our own company mess.  Field rations like K rations would satisfy your hunger, but you got tired of them real fast.  The K rations came in a box one meal for one man.  They came in 3 different meals breakfast dinner and supper.  The breakfast consisted of a small can of bacon and eggs, a fruit bar, a packet of powered coffee, 4 cigarettes, some candy, and toilet paper.  The dinner was about the same except instead of bacon and eggs it had a can of corned beef hash.  The supper had a can of cheese, which was pretty good cheese, and powered lemonade instead of coffee.  We also had 10 in one rations in the field.  They came in a large carton and had rations for 10 men for one day some of the stuff in them was pretty good the jam in them was good the pork and beans was like any canned beans and it had good cheese in it.

 

 

                    FUNNY INCIDENTS OF ARMY LIFE                     

 

 

     Life in the barracks wasn't all humdrum there were lots of pranks and funny incidents.  I am going to narrate a few of them, as I remember them.

 

     We had one fellow in Division Hq. that came to us when he was 18 years old.  His name was Walter Daunhiemer.  He was good looking and very athletic, in fact he had been a star athlete in high school.  He had a short temper, but was mostly all threat.  Every one liked to play tricks on him.  One of the things that was done to him was we would take his girl friend's picture and hang it over the girl's picture on the V.D. poster, which hung in our barracks.  The poster had a slogan that said "she make look clean but," The poster implied that just because the girl looked clean it was no sign that she wouldn't have V.D.  When Walt would come into the barracks and see his girl's picture hanging there, he would go into a rage and threaten to knock the guy's teeth right down in his ass if he could find who did this.

 

Another prank that was played on him and also made him just as mad and had the same threat was that, some one had thrown a snapshot of Walt in the urinal and everyone was urinating on it. I don't think that he ever found out who did these things.  He might have had suspicions, but never did anything about it.