At the induction center brave men fainted at the sight of doctors in white coats armed with needles. We were dumped into a Texas inferno where salesmen, clerks and teachers were transformed into ferocious fighting men, none so fierce however as the cooks who waved their butcher knives and screamed at defenseless K P s. Later we tasted the real hazards of war at an advanced infantry training camp: bullets, grenades, bazookas and forced marches in pouring rains, risking pneumonia in a winter wasteland of mud and slush. In spite of these harsh conditions I won a quarter mile race and was rewarded with a beautiful brunette. Soon we were off, not to Europe or the Pacific but to Arkansas to form a new battalion of Combat Engineers and train for a suicide mission: To slow the advance of charging Panzers. One trainees, on guard duty, managed to slow the advance of a milk truck. We adopted a Little Rock bar as our own and later cloned it in England, France, and Germany. When we finally embarked for overseas we were so tough only one man became seasick on the Staten Island Ferry. Our health was checked as we ran past examining doctors to board a ship. Off to England we went, where some men soon learned about the unique sex habits of the kind of English women who welcome foreign soldiers into their arms. On to France, aboard a truly sickening Landing Ship for Tanks. I witnessed the Battle of the Bulge from a safe distance of fifty miles, while guarding a dark intersection in Picardy. I was apprehended by a trigger happy M P who thought I was a Nazi spy. There were no charging Panzers after that and we sulked in dull unemployment. All this time we hated Warrant Officer Spode but, strangely, no one ever shot him. I encountered a charming angel in a drab mining town who taught me to love France. We crossed the Rhine in triumph, actually in the back of a truck, and soon I almost got shot in the men’s room of a German restaurant. Joe was the shooter’s name, and screwing up was his game. And finally the big wreaker driver, Bubba, discovered that a French woman can give birth to a big, beautiful, baby only six months after the affaire. The dupe actually handed out cigars, but abandoned his potential war bride to return, with his stolen French dog, to Coon Hollow and his remarkable mule. (Lucky for Her!)
The author served with an Engineer Combat Battalion in France and Germany in the closing weeks of World War II. The battalion was attached to the Twenty-first Corps, Seventh Army, which participated in the battle of the Saar, the battle of the Rhine and the Comar pocket (The last stand of the Germans west of the Rhine). He then spent the summer of nineteen forty five with the Army of Occupation in a small German town near Heidelberg. An obsessive writer, even in those days, he wrote many letters home that were destined to form the “notes” for this book. His letters were not about the horrors of war, but about unforgettable characters, amusing incidents and unusual;interactions with natives. Historical notes about the progress of the war itself are included. The author was a science teacher in California for thirty five years then retired to dedicate himself to writing. He now lives with his wife Yvonne and poodle Beau in St Petersburg, Florida.