Sunday, February 19, 2017

Lee R. Christensen WWII Diary continued........

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By Way of Explanation

    My Diary ,with photos , covering  the first 6 months of WW 2 has now been posted in full to the Mt Pleasant Pioneer and Relic home Blog and  my Blog (leechristensen.blogspot.com).   It was serialized so the last section starting with May ’42 comes up first but you can scroll  to the first section starting Dec ’41 and then read it thru the four sections.   

Some months down the line I’ll post my week long pass in Paris after stopping the Germans during the Bulge but I’ve posted this first so you won’t think my military service was all “wine, women and song”.   lee

     I started my diary 8th December 1941.  Not because that is the day after Pearl Harbor, but because that was the day the 2nd Battalion 222 Field Artillery Regiment was scheduled to leave for the Oakland (California) Port of Embarkation and the Philippines Islands, code name “Plum.”

     The attack on Pearl Harbor 7th December drastically altered the schedule but it was 3 days before new orders were issued.  In the meantime, we left Camp San Luis Obispo on schedule, motored to San Francisco, crossed the Bay Bridge and spent 4 days at the Oakland Army Base waiting for new orders, unloading our equipment and moving out to a new assignment.

     When this diary starts, I’m a gun Sgt in Btry “D”, 2nd Bn 222 FA Reg. 40th Division.  When the army modernized the Infantry Division in early 1942 Btry “D” became Btry “A” 204 FA Bn-a separate FA battalion.

     Btry “D” (which became Btry “A”) was a Utah National Guard unit federalized 3rd March 1941 and from Mt. Pleasant, Utah.  It was still 65% men from in and around Mt. Pleasant on 8th December.

     I don’t know how good an Army unit had to be to be sent to the Philippines fall of 1941.  But I’ve always thought being selected to go 6 months after going on active duty was commendable recognition.  However, after passing the GHQ tests and being selected, all our over age-in-grade officers were reassigned, one of whom was my father, Major Lee R. Christensen.  We lost the officers’ who made us good.
    The officers we lost went on to lead service units overseas.  The Battalion, at the 204th, regrouped, lost many men to other services, OCS, Air Force, and Cadres but earned 5 battle stars in the ETO.  (European Theatre of Operation.) By then they had modern equipment; radios, jeeps, machine guns and a 155 howitzer that was not a rusting relic of WWl.

Monday, May 11, 1942
They’ve gone and done it.  The worse has come.  We now inspect the trucks be the numbers.  They’re (Duffin) is working on a method of removing dust from the howitzers by the numbers.  God be good to those that cannot count.
The 2nd BN 204 F.A. found this dust haven in the hills today.  After they reach a toughened state we’ll both go to Tennessee.

Sunday, May 17, 1942
Tuesday was to be a “gold bricks” holiday.   Yes, I was going to relax and loaf cause it was moving day.  I didn’t rush my bed to the new area and then., sweet dreams.  That’s what I thought.  It’s true I hurried my bed roll to the new dust bowl and just as soon lost it till late at night.  The second section was assigned to constructing the fire pit and soakage sump. (where the men threw wet garbage and then threw dirt on it) The day was back breaking and hand callousing.   Hell, the digging was tough.
Still in a digging mood we dug fox holes many and deep Wednesday.  Leo Truscott sunk one into the ground four feet deep and five feet long.  It would have taken a direct hit to neutralize him.
Thursday the week begins.  I was called to appear before another Officers Candidate board.  Waved my dusty hand at Camp Dust and was toward Naches pass by 10 am.  Was calling Ft. Lewis home at 3 pm.  “My Favorite Blonde” kept me entertained during the evening.
Some chain smoked.  A few paced the floor.  I chewed gum.  All wondered.  A couple crammed.  Most thought it too late.  Everyone hoped.  That was the lobby scene of the exam room.  It was our day.  Opportunity was at our door.
“Sgt. Christensen A Btry 204 F.A. sir.”
“Be seated Sgt. and make yourself comfortable.”
For the next 15 minutes’ questions on gunnery, ballistics, history and current events were shot my way.  Some I answered, some I didn’t.  I think I got an average score.  Average isn’t good enough.
Chris Madsen and I did the thumbing, Loyd Adams the talking. Result-- Seattle and the Ice Follies.  The Follies are skaters ahead of anything I’ve seen in the entertainment field.  Handball court No 2 Y.M.C.A. listened to my snores.  *(we slept at the Y.M.C.A.)
McCord Field was visited by the three A Btry thumbers Saturday.  Purpose was to investigate why Chris hadn’t been called to the air corps. Found nothing.
It was “thumb up” again to Yakima via Seattle, Washington Lake Bridge and Ellensburg.
Lloyd and I accepted Vernal Christensen’s hospitality and bedded down in Rex Hafen’s hotel room in Yakima.  Early Sunday morning we were rolled out and made to sleep on the floor.
Now its home again.  Home again for a long stay.





Monday, May 18, 1942
The first BN. 204th F.A. got extra duty tonight.  Each and every one of us was marched over to our old camp site and made to police it up.  The band played jolly airs while we crawled along looking for trash.  Kennedy did a hot jitterbug number that kept us from breaking into tears.  Duffin is sort of tough on us.

Wednesday, May 27, 1942
Sunlight minutes crawled hurriedly into Past canyon.  The black hours follow closely.  Time fly’s to my liking.


Rattlesnakes have supplanted apple blossoms in Yakima valley.  It’s a disappointing day if we don’t get five of the buzzing terrifiers.  Nearly everyone can tell if a close strike, fortunately none have yet been better.  The rattlers are not very large here and don’t give much warning.  The rattles are retained and worn on the hat of the exterminator.

The second section was slightly reorganized Monday.  Cpt. John Seely was shifted to the Signal detail while Cpl. Willis Madsen was assigned to the second gun crew.

Del Ray Sorensen has gone home on emergency furlough.  Ralph Hill is pushing Prime Mover over hill and dale.
I seem to have Roy Smitier fixed.  We bet on the Nova-Savold fight with my choice winning.   This makes about the fourth time I’ve collected money from him on bets.
The rains have been present lately.  They keep the dust settled adding a smile to the day.
I’m lonesome tonight—couldn’t get a newspaper.

Sunday, May 31, 1942
I was painting the worn places on Helens dress when the hint was first dropped.  Captain Hatch strolled by and said, “Do a good job your going to be here only twenty more days.”  I didn’t know what he meant tell later Friday evening.
The order read “Sgt. Lee R. Christensen Jr. has been accepted as a candidate for Officers School and he will report to Fort Sill, Oklahoma on or before June 23, 1942.”  I had made one bar now to earn the other one.  Work, fight, work, you will not fail.
The Japs continue to scare someone.  Yesterday being a holiday no passes were issued.  It seems that the Japs are going to attack only on holidays.




Tuesday, June 2, 1942
“Payday! Payday!  What ya gona do with a drunken soldier “payday! Payday!”  That was yesterday.
“What ya gonna to do with a killing headache day after!  Day after!”  That’s today.
Went into town last tonight to get John’s quart.  Saw a show and helped Tiger back to camp.
Went into town today “goldbricking.” (goofing off) Bought me some dark glasses.
Sunset time found me on hands and knees talking to the “bones.”  I must have been convincing as I won fifteen dollars.
Friday, June 5, 1942
Just finished a tour of guard duty.  Nothing got out of the rut.  Mother’s package reached me in non-com meeting.  Nothing to do but open it and pass it around.  The men surely liked the cookies.  Second section has eaten all the rice balls.

(soldier ready for guard duty)



Spirits get lower and lower as the days hotter and hotter.  No one gives a good hoot in hell for anything.  Everyone is trying to get transferred.  Duffin the man breaker.  To hell with Duffin.



Monday, June 8, 1942

“Order Arms.”  Shovels and picks were dropped to order arms in a very military manner.  At that moment Co. Ward ordered Newel Nelson back to the Bty straight for his shovel.  For once a noncom had soldiered too well with his men.  Newel spent Sunday digging ditches.

Our fat covered muscles are being pounded into shape by the obstacle course.  We run around it at a good lope four times a day.  Look out 4 minute mile.

The O.C.S. men are starting to brush up on our work.  A good thing.  Just as well know all we can.

The sweet refrain of cowboy ballads is filling my wigwam.   Tonight the mandolin and guitar players of the BTRY. are here playing.   I prefer this music to any symphony outfit.
Saturday, June 13, 1942
I’m off.  It’s been a man eating week but I made it.  The airplane motors are humming, each turn of the prop taking me farther south.  The pines, swamps and lakes of Washington are stretched and hollow.  Rivers wind and twist still smiling in the otherwise black world.
I thumbed from Yakima Thursday a day ahead of the outlet.  Spent Friday meandering at the Fort trying to get things in order so as to leave.  Saturday, today.   I made it. 
Leaves BN  204th (great outfit) for OCS—class 30.

                                       END
                                        BATTERY OF JUNE 1942

Richard Atkenson                                                ILL.
George Feck                                                          ILL.
Leonard Flavin                                                      ILL.
Joseph Deak                                                         ILL.
Creed McCormick                                                Tenn.
Charles Dunn                                                        Calf.
Ralph Hill                                                               Idaho
Arkly Bilby                                                             ILL.
Walter Goodwin                                                  Utah
Carlton Iverson                                                     Minn.
Samuel Jones                                                        Mo.
Walfred Juntunen                                                Mich.
Donald Kragskow                                                 Neb.
Tomas Kent                                                           Ohio
Estil Kittinger                                                        Mo.
Robert N. Kilgour                                                 Calf.
Lawrence Kime                                                     Calf.
Oliver Laubacher                                                  Ohio
Russ E. Lloyd                                                         Calf.
Melvin E. Link                                                       Missouri
Louis Seal                                                              Calf.
Marrion Modzeldwski                                         Mich.
John Morrison                                                      Calf.
John L. Milner                                                       Ga.
Wesley Mc Shan                                                  Texas
Roy B. Nieker                                                        Calif.
Ernest Noble                                                         Calif.
Thomas Schwenke                                               Mont.
Clyde Tucker                                                         Tenn.
Johnnie Thomas                                                   Tenn.
Vernon True                                                          Calf.
Mike J. Viola                                                         Calf.
Hugh Wiseman                                                    Tenn.
Garvice Williams                                                  Texas
Earl Williams                                                         Texas
William Vesselius                                                 Wash.
Sam H. Whitman                                                 N.C.
Bascum Westmoreland                                      Texas
Armond W. Cowles                                             Ill.
Charles D. Cahill                                                   Mont.
George E. Coles                                                    Or.
Lawrence A. Cooney                                            Calf.
Garner Jensen                                                      Utah
Heber Bagley                                                        Utah
Del Ray Sorenson                                                 Utah
Jim Cloward                                                          Utah
Hayes Draper                                                        Utah
Wilber Baxter                                                       Utah
Spencer Thompson                                             Utah
Vernan Christensen                                             Utah
Larmar Barney                                                      Utah



                                                MT. PLEASANT MEN
William Beck                                                        
Oscar Frandsen
D.H. Christensen
Carole Staker



Gordon Staker 

Dean Staker 



Floyd Syndergard
La Mar Syndergard
Willbur Rasmussen
Paul B. Seely
Boyd Seely
John R. Seely
Rex Hafen
Newel Nelson
Ned Stansfield
Boyd Stansfield
Ben Rasmussen
Mont Rasmussen
Perry Peel

 Lynn Poulsen

Micky Nelson


Leslie Nelson
Tom Pace
Eugene Rosenlof
Willis Rosenlof
Lauren Coats
Melvin Davidson
Delmar Beck
Shirley Madsen
Boyd Hansen
Veron Draper
Quantin Hansen
Mont Christensen
Frank Reusch
Willis Madsen
Earl Christensen
Vel Trascott


Parnell Wilcox

Dick Erickson 



Joe Matson, Charley Wright, Bennett Madsen, Burt Hafen, Bert Ruesch 




Wayne Brady                                                        Utah

Jay Larsen                                                              Utah

Kieth Kennedy                                                      Utah

Donald E. Snyder                                                 Calf.


Loran T. Willhite

John J. Walker

Alan E. Rhen

William Kuieyaboski


J.C. Honty                                                             Utah

Robert Gutierry                                                    Calf.

Joe L. Boutros

Fred Cook

Cliff Anderson                                                       Utah

David Candland                                                    Utah

Friday, February 10, 2017

Lee R. Christensen's WWII Diary continued.....




By Way of Explanation

     I started my diary 8th December 1941.  Not because that is the day after Pearl Harbor, but because that was the day the 2nd Battalion 222 Field Artillery Regiment was scheduled to leave for the Oakland (California) Port of Embarkation and the Philippines Islands, code name “Plum.”

     The attack on Pearl Harbor 7th December drastically altered the schedule but it was 3 days before new orders were issued.  In the meantime, we left Camp San Luis Obispo on schedule, motored to San Francisco, crossed the Bay Bridge and spent 4 days at the Oakland Army Base waiting for new orders, unloading our equipment and moving out to a new assignment.

     When this diary starts, I’m a gun Sgt in Btry “D”, 2nd Bn 222 FA Reg. 40th Division.  When the army modernized the Infantry Division in early 1942 Btry “D” became Btry “A” 204 FA Bn-a separate FA battalion.

     Btry “D” (which became Btry “A”) was a Utah National Guard unit federalized 3rd March 1941 and from Mt. Pleasant, Utah.  It was still 65% men from in and around Mt. Pleasant on 8th December.

     I don’t know how good an Army unit had to be to be sent to the Philippines fall of 1941.  But I’ve always thought being selected to go 6 months after going on active duty was commendable recognition.  However, after passing the GHQ tests and being selected, all our over age-in-grade officers were reassigned, one of whom was my father, Major Lee R. Christensen.  We lost the officers’ who made us good.
    The officers we lost went on to lead service units overseas.  The Battalion, at the 204th, regrouped, lost many men to other services, OCS, Air Force, and Cadres but earned 5 battle stars in the ETO.  (European Theatre of Operation.) By then they had modern equipment; radios, jeeps, machine guns and a 155 howitzer that was not a rusting relic of WWl.



Sunday, April 19, 1942
The week in review.  Monday morning R.S.O.P.  Afternoon 37mm firing.  A welcomed rain settled the evening dust.  Tuesday morning Bn. R.S.O.P. with its camouflage nets and fox holes.  Military courtesy and map reading ever bored into us while we shivered in a cold breeze during afternoon.




 Wednesday R.S.O.P. (can’t you see we have one every morning).  Following dinner lectures were given by trained non coms. Thursday mid-day saw us firing 37mm guns again.  Second section fired 19 rounds.  The first section fired a round that was very unusual.  On pulling the trigger a weak blast was faintly heard.  No projectile came screaming from the tube.  It was plainly a misfire.  They waited ten minutes then tried extracting it.  The shell came out but the lead remained in the tube.  Even the mighty Col. Duffin has tried to dislodge it but it still remains firmly and disobediently in the 37 mm. tube.  Friday afternoon saw a return to lectures.  Saturday, ah sweet Saturday.  It wasn’t the second sections day.  Mrs. Prime mover (the truck) was in bad shape, disagreeable and put puttering.  Col Daniels had reason to complain to the section for not following fire commands.  Guess the Chief of Section is slipping.  Lastly, the camouflage net was knifed to allow simulated fire.  Saturday, hell I wish I could of slept.  Sunday no R.S.O.P. and bore talks.  The hot cakes were exceptionally good this morning.  It might have been the blue plum jam instead of the thick syrup that we so commonly use on them.  Baseball came into my schedule at about 9 am.  It was a good workout.


After a Sunday dinner of turkey I showered.  The water certainly felt good and the dust removed.  After seeing the dust in the air it’s easy to see why we get so dirty here.


Wednesday, April 22, 1942
Wind, dust, dust, and wind, a monument to April 22, 1942.  The wind came strong and the wind came weak.  Always the cold and the dust were with it.  The cold chilling, the dust blinding.  We will be well trained for meeting the enemy in a Sahara sandstorm.  Blow on ye dust winds.



It’s apple blossom time in Yakima valley.  The trees are proving to God that not all is bad on earth.
They’ve snowed forth with miniature angel wings giving to the mad mad world a baby kissed perfume that’s lost in gun smoke.  Man will again be man when he can enjoy an Apple Blossom Time.

Helen Howitzer worked out yesterday.  She spit four lead pellets into the air.  She belched flame and smoke.  Her innards were black with burnt powder.  She wore a gun smoke perfume.  Helen was in her glory as an old maid shooting gossip to the world.

 Sunday, April 26, 1942
The second week at Camp Dust has been blown into eternity.  The days have been long and dusty.  The nights short, too short and cold. The wind, ill as it may seem to be its doing good by fertilizing the apple blossoms.  Yes, it is a truly bad wind that does no good.
I made a brief appearance in Yakima Thursday night.  My mission was to buy flowers for mother.  I telegraphed her a dozen red roses.  Filmland held my attention for a couple of hours.  It was a Western mining camp show with a new setting, Alaska.
Most my nights are talked away near the one sided heat of camp fire.  I vow every morning to retire early but it’s always late when I reach the “don’t leave meekness” of my bed roll.
We had a salad of apples and raisons that tasted extra delicious for dinner.  The only meal I can pick about is breakfast.  (my spelling getting bad.)







Monday, April 27, 1942
The tent shook.  The earth shuddered.  The stars trembled.  There it was again.  Snoreblur.  Then deathly silence.  Had the “squinteyes” come?  Was that their heavy artillery laying down a barrage.  Once again.  The moon turned pale.  The stars blinked.  My heart double timed.  Why had they raided defenseless Camp God Forbid?  Snoreblur closer and closer.  The clouds did number one in their pants and fled.  Still Snoreblur.   Come, come Jensen wakes up and get a new start.  No need of causing a black out in Los Angles.
BTRY. “A” had test day today.  The weather was wet due to Jensen scaring the clouds.  He couldn’t scare the wind and cold.  Both were with us till retreat.  The long lost sun then made a brief appearance.  The test problem went over in a fair way.  Coalminer Feck was unable to pierce the rocky ledge chosen for our fox holes.  Let’s go to bed.

Tuesday, April 28, 1942
The air was cold.  The rubberized raincoat was colder.  Goosebumps puckered up on my ice blue skin.  I unsuccessfully attempted to shrink so small the raincoat wouldn’t touch me. I shivered for the monthly physical. (another short arms inspection-about every 90 days or less)
It was a good ballgame.  Hard fought and close.  The score was 1 to 0 favor B Btry.  The bases were loaded.  Creed was winding up his fast ball.  The O.D. (officer of the day) intervened, stopping the game, order of Col. Duffin.  To hell with Duffin.

Wednesday, April 29, 1942
We’ve trained on the 155 howitzer for 13 months.  We’ve worked hard through dust and cold.  We’ve fired in daylight hours, simulated fire at night.  Now we have really fired them at night.
The problem was a high burst adjustment.  Howitzers were taken to the firing ground after dinner and made ready to shoot.  The sun was well down when the fun started. “ No. 1 adjust”, “shell shrapnel”, “correction 100”, “time 2-1”, “base deflection”.  “No 1 one round”, “quadrant 3-5-0”. The precision working of the gun crew echoed through the night, “cut”, “ram”, “set”, “fire”.  For a quivering instance the place was alight.  The shell was on its way.
21 seconds later, far out into the night, the sky gave birth to a ball of light that lived oh so short.  End of problem.  March Order.



 Thursday, April 30, 1942
Cpl. Seeley is well on his way toward Utah and home by now.  He has been trying since last Monday to get granted an emergency furlough today.  This is a blitz army.
The rains came.  They have made short work of the dust.  I hope they don’t make a nuisance of themselves.
The boys of the second section tried drowning their section chief this morning.  It seems that he threw water on them from the safety of his cab.  They foxily waited for him to emerge, then let the water fly.  The odds were too great and the Sgt. got wet.



Sunday, May 3, 1942
A very extraordinary day.  I have written four letters.  Who would have thought it possible for me?
Most of the men are in town drowning their sorrows.  Those that are still here have been sleeping their sorrows away.
We were paid Friday and given the afternoon off.  You guessed it, Duffins away.
Last night I happened into a dice game.  I put one dollar aside that I’d give to the game.  With beginners luck I won eight dollars.


 The rumor around now is that Col. Duffin is looking for a guard duty assignment for the am.  It might be that we will pull before too much longer.
An artic wind is blowing tonight.  Open those blankets here I come.

Monday, May 4, 1942
The second section has been very much in need of some camouflage poles.  Leo Truscott and I noticed some piping that looked cut out for the job.  Late Saturday night, we removed them to the safety of our prime mover.  On examining them this morning, I found them to be chromium steel of very high grade.  So good and much too expensive for hold up our camouflage net.  So tonight under cover of darkness I will return them.
The men were all tired today.  Joe Bautros slept through one class and a rest period while the class enjoyed his slumber.


Sunday, May 10, 1942
Tough week that last one.  Tuesday and Thursday were normal.  Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday were some of labor.
Wednesday umpires peeked from behind every sage brush.  It was 1st Bt 204th FA test day.  Airplanes, from their perch above, scanned the earth surface for us.  Stop watches ticked away the seconds as we went into position.  Everything was watched, nothing went unnoticed.  First section fired 15, second section fired 3 rounds.  It was a good test and one weaker outfits had failed on but not 1st Bt 204 F.A.
Friday was showdown.  Uncle Sam checked up on what he had issued his fighting men.
Saturday!  “Let’s get those guns to shining men.”  “Wonder where the hell my clean socks are.”  “Lend me soap Bill.”  The back of this truck looks like a madmans nightmare, slick it up Jensen.”
Saturday inspection!  Helen passed.
The baseball team played a game with a town team today.  They took the band with them and plan on having a bar-be-que.



I explained some of the secrets of Helen’s mouth to Lt. Sharp this afternoon.  He hasn’t had any experience of a 155 before but he’s willing to learn.
Capt. Staker has gone and Lieutenant Nickanecky has taken over C.O. (commanding officer) duties.
The biggest rumor in months has us going to Tennessee about the 10th of June.  Sounds like a good go.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Lee R. Christensen WWII Diary


By Way of Explanation

     I started my diary 8th December 1941.  Not because that is the day after Pearl Harbor, but because that was the day the 2nd Battalion 222 Field Artillery Regiment was scheduled to leave for the Oakland (California) Port of Embarkation and the Philippines Islands, code name “Plum.”
     The attack on Pearl Harbor 7th December drastically altered the schedule but it was 3 days before new orders were issued.  In the meantime, we left Camp San Luis Obispo on schedule, motored to San Francisco, crossed the Bay Bridge and spent 4 days at the Oakland Army Base waiting for new orders, unloading our equipment and moving out to a new assignment.
     When this diary starts, I’m a gun Sgt in Btry “D”, 2nd Bn 222 FA Reg. 40th Division.  When the army modernized the Infantry Division in early 1942 Btry “D” became Btry “A” 204 FA Bn-a separate FA battalion.
     Btry “D” (which became Btry “A”) was a Utah National Guard unit federalized 3rd March 1941 an from Mt. Pleasant, Utah.  It was still 65% men from in and around Mt. Pleasant on 8th December.
      I don’t know how good an Army unit had to be to be sent to the Philippines fall of 1941.  But I’ve always thought being selected to go 6 months after going on active duty was commendable recognition.  However, after passing the GHQ tests and being selected, all our over age-in-grade officers were reassigned, one of whom was my father, Major Lee R. Christensen.  We lost the officers’ who made us good.
    The officers we lost went on to lead service units overseas.  The Battalion, at the 204th, regrouped, lost many men to other services, OCS, Air Force, and Cadres but earned 5 battle stars in the ETO.  (European Theatre of Operation.) By then they had modern equipment; radios, jeeps, machine guns and a 155 howitzer that was not a rusting relic of WWl.



February 5, 1942
Hollywood revealed.  That is the title for today.  I saw a picture being made.  It was a cheap western (three day wonder) but for a beginning it provided plenty of amusement.  They shot a singing scene and one with some tough cowboy dialogue.  In the finished movie these are night scenes but they were shot in the bright daylight.  (movie was “Roy Rogers and Sons of the Pioneers’)
Mayor White took me for a “jeep” ride that would have killed a horse.  It seemed like the hills we tackled were straight up.  Some cars those jeeps.
I worked after supper fixing a winch that had slipped.

February 8, 1942
I’ve been too busy being a Hollywood playboy to tend to my diary.  Two nights in a row I took in Hollywood.  I would like to have taken in Earl Carroll but my buddy was afraid to tackle anything so glamorous.



 (The Earl Carroll was a famous nightclub at the time located on Sunset Blvd.)
Today saw me tramping over to Uncle Ralphs.  The family was quarantined for scarlet fever for the second time.
I have to get up an hour earlier (going on war light savings time) in the morning so I’m hitting the hay early.

February 10, 1942
Singapore Doomed; Philippine struggle near end; Japs advance in Burma; Germans progress in Lybia.  Headlines, soblines.  That’s the story tonight.  Hell what a tragedy.  The two great democracy’s tasting defeat today for a war they won’t fight till next year.  Sacrificing a few men (brave men) today so they can better fight tomorrow.
Why should Mc Arthur’s men die with their eyes still searching the sea for a sign of reinforcements.  Why does the Alamo need repeating?  Why with a half a million men, trained willingly, straining to go.  Why, why, why.  What couldn’t a hundred thousand men do now.  Why will a million men have to die gaining it back.  Why Washington, Why Roosevelt, Why Marshal.

Let’s fight now, today.  I’m ready, give me the go ahead sign.  My chances of getting through aren’t too good at best.  Why make me charge into established machine gun nests when I can prevent their being emplaced by being sent now, today.  Let’s hold the Philippines today, to hell with winning them back tomorrow.

February 11, 1942
Every time I hear a news release my blood boils.  What the hell is America doing.  They certainly aren’t fighting.  Every soldiers in the war zone is clamoring for airplanes while the aircraft factories build them and ship them to a vacant field.  I’ve seen many a lot full of completed planes lacking only the order to send them into battle.
Surely this country has some men they can send to Mc Arthur.  I don’t approve of the policy “let the Japs have the islands now we can win them back in ’43” In my thinking (by no means expert) it takes less men to hold the islands than to get them back.  What the hell Roosevelt isn’t interested in the blood that going to be shed winning back land that could have been held.

February 12, 1942
Went back to work today.  Drilled “shavetails” (a new lieutenant) during the afternoon ending a four-day vacation.  The class was cut, there being just enough men for one-gun crew.

February 16, 1942
I’m pulling an Abe Lincoln tonight, writing by candle light.  I pulled into this canyon camp yesterday.  Today has been rest day as yet I haven’t restarted army life.  The life I left three weeks ago.
Feeling in need of a short conditioner before tomorrow’s hike leads me to climbing hills.
Half way up I found what sleeping till noon, what riding and what missing meals accomplished for ones wind.  I hope I’m in better shape before I grapple with the Japs.

February 18, 1942
I’ve been back in the harness two days.  The second section is slowly being organized again and should be ready for the Japs in no time.  The rumor still persists that we’re going to get 155mm rifles and be transferred to the corp. troops.  I’ m not a gun man myself and should this rumor find ground I’ll try and transfer.

February 20, 1942
Great interest is being aroused in the Chris Madsen/ Jay Larsen climbing the Rocky Mountains.  They have placed numerous bets that they can scale to the summit in two hours.  From here it looks like a tough grind but I think they’ll make it.
The Btry.  celebrated a big occasion today.  We were taken to town for a bath.  Bathing has taken on the aspects of a festival as we only get one once a week.
Yesterday the 2nd 222 FA was transferred to the 1st Battalion, 204th FA.    We are to get 155 mm guns and be corps troops.
More 28 year old’s discharges coming back every day.


February 24, 1942
Chris Madsen and Jay Larsen made their climb today.  “A” Btry. Took time off and with every available scanning instrument followed their advance.  From rock to rock and limb to limb they went.  Every second of time elapsing gave the “can’t be done” gamblers more hope.  As they neared the summit we lost them.  Just as the “you’ll never make its” were getting ready to crow, a upset appeared on the crest.  Larsen had made it.  Shortly after Chris made his appearance.  The official time was 1 hour and 17 minutes.  Chris and Jay shouldn’t worry about Japs when they can walk the legs off a mountain goat. 


 
(the mountain they climbed.  
Chris Madsen became an officer with the 1st Calvary and Jay Larsen was killed in Europe)



The training still goes on here.  We as yet haven’t received our 155 mm guns.  The men don’t care much for basic nor the concentration like atmosphere of this camp.  It is hard to get to town but that has always been one of my small problems.  I still take a short hike each night.  I’m anxious to get to some scales and measure my weight.  I weighed 156 last week.


March 1, 1942

My diary has certainly been neglected since I came to this camp in the hills.  I miss more day than I hit.
Today I visited San Diego Zoo.  It just made me vow anew that if I ever get enough money I’ll buy a large tract of land and plant every species of animal on it.
Why I make such vows I can’t imagine.  Anyone with as little a perseverance as I’ve displayed needn’t worry about ever being rich.
Good night.

March 5, 1942
I try and try maybe I’ll make it someday.  Today I wrote Major Brunger, tomorrow if that fails I’ll try the chief of staff.  The secret of my ambition is a trip to the war zone.  I’m getting “basic” shocked.
Last night I asked the first Sgt. to “break” me and put me on the instrument section.  Tonight he tells me to report to the instrument section as a private.   The catch is, I’m to remain a Sgt. but work as a private.

Sunday, March 8, 1942
This beautiful Sunday has been spent inking in my diary.  I half accomplished the job.
The camp is quarantined with “A” BTRY being confined to their battery.  It has served one good purpose, namely we didn’t have to go on guard.  It’s a scarlet fever quarantine.
As yet I haven’t transferred but I desire more to every day.  I’m “fed up” with close order drill, chemical warfare and other basic drills.  An outfit that has soldiered for a year surely can be used somewhere.  I wish they would ask for volunteers for China, this lad would be the first.

Sunday, March 15, 1942
A very interesting week.  It went along regular lines for four days.  Then it suddenly took a dramatic turn.It was late Thursday night when someone awakened me.  I mumbled a curse and went back to sleep.  However after persistent shaking and shouting I was aroused.  My waker informed me that Lt. Moore wished to speak to me.  I wondered “what the hell” as I fell into my clothes.  The Lt. informed me that I was to be dressed in my “going to meetings” clothes and to be at the flag pole at 6:45 pm.  It all lead up to the examining board.  I spent a somewhat “storm tossed” night.

I woke Johnny at five am and we started shining our boots for what was to be an eventful day.

At 6:45 am, with mirrored shoes and high hopes, I assembled with the other candidates.  BTRY. “A” was represented by Sgt. Loyd, Cpl. Madsen, and Seely and myself.

Major Urel gave us some tips, then we were off for LA and the board.
My turn came at 3 pm. I walked into the room, saluted, gave my name, rank and outfit.  Col. Merrit then asked me to take a chair, I did.  A number of routine questions were shot my way.  I sensed each one, and fired the answer back, shooting as straight as I could.  The problem being completed I arose, saluted, about faced (sloppy) and left the observation post.  Only time will reveal my score.
The trip home was uneventful.

March 22, 1942
Some progress has been made in my instrument studies.  We’ve had a number of problems that gave me an understanding of “whats, what” at the OP (observation post—where you adjust fire) I’m enjoying my new work.
Helen Howitzer donned her new spring suit today.  It is very drab. Not nearly so showy as in other springs, but then this is a war spring.  Tomorrow she will perform in a Btry. test.

Monday, April 6, 1942
I’ve come a long hike since my last entry.  At the conclusion of my first day back in the basic harness.  I’ll try and catch up.
El Monte Oak Park ceased being home on March 28th.  The days previous to pulling were labored away striking tents and packing.  The last night there was dreamt off under the now familiar canvas of my pup tent.

The mid-day sun of the 29th saw us chug into North Hollywood.  The late blinking stars saw us leave.
Fresno bedded us down the second night.  The second section demonstrated their art by erecting the latrine. *(I still remember the formula “2 ft. per man for *%8 of the command”)
The third day was spent rolling through orchards.  God kissed in the early spring.  Blossoms of white and pink erased the crimson of war from our minds.  How can men fight when such beauty abounds.
Marysville was slept through in our one-night stand.  Then north to Yreka and on.

The fifth sun up heard good-bye California, hello Oregon echoed up and down the convoy.  It was a wet sun that saw us drip into Eugene, Oregon.  But “what the hell” is rain when you’re having payday.  I slept sound on the sawdust and horse dung of a show barn.
Centralia floated open her dripping fairground gates and 1st Btry. of the 204th swam in.  Cement floors aren’t bad mattresses.

The seventh morn and home again.  Col. Duffin, band and 2nd Btry. welcomed us in.  It was a pleasant trip, but its back to basic again with nothing the worse but the seat of my G.I. pants.  

Tuesday, April 7, 1942
Awake and dressed at 6:40. “Second section all present or accounted for” and pigging army issued hotcakes by 7:17.  Grub grabbing over, mopping begins interrupted only by scavenger call.  Eight fifteen “deep knees bend” takes over followed in fifteen minutes by “Column right.” (marching)  After a smoking break “Chemical warfare” gets our attention.  Sixty minutes later we hop from mustard and lewisite to cleaning material.  The morning ends at 11:30. Dinner is scrambled after at 12.
A whistle rouses us from our midday naps at 12:50 and it’s back to cleaning material at 1.  Howitzers are greased and daubed at till 4.  We polish ourselves for an hour then give Old Glory five fingers and call it a day.  Yep, a normal day.

Thursday, April 9, 1942
Our stay here wasn’t long.  We’re rolling out Saturday for Yakima valley.  Three weeks will be “cannier hopped” away shooting live ammo.  Rumors as to where we’re going after that show to much Marco Polo to be recorded here.
The papers are blood red with lines of war destruction.  The radios blot forth tales of ruination.  Men are being killed.  Men are being torn open.  Ships are being drowned.  Cities blown skyward.  Booms, screams, thuds, death.

That’s war black side.  That’s the pessimists view.  War isn’t all hell.  Science progresses.  Men under the stress of winning the war invent and perfect mechanisms and theorize that are lost on the golf courses 
in peaceful days.  Because they have to improve, airplanes are made better.  Engines are developed.  Medical science, because men must be saved to fight again, discover remedies, tries new theory’s.  We build better behind the lines, so as to destroy better in the front lines.  When the shootings over the progress in technical science is ours to adapt to civil life.  Does it out weigh that lost in the gun smoke?

Friday, Aril 10, 1942
The schedule read “9 to 12---R.S.O.P.” (reconnaissance, selection, occupation, position) At 8:15 I marched the 2nd Section to their howitzer and we made ready for the problem.  Captain Staker told me to take charge of the BTRY. and bring them to the front when so ordered.  The BTRY. being ready, I sat down to await the command.
At this time, Bennett Madsen came running to the gun park with the message that John Sealy, Chris Madsen, Loyd Adams and I were wanted at Headquarters. Suspecting that it was something to do with Officers Candidate School we lost no time “lolly dollying.”  We were at Hq. shortly after ten only to find we were too late for riding with battalion.  Finding our own transportation, we soon left for Fort Lewis Camp Headquarters.  On arrival there we learned that 1 pm would be the examining time.

The ordeal started soon after lunch period was over.  First came blood pressure and heart beat.  The dental clinic yanked me from there.  No sooner had I risen from the dental chair when a pointed ten inch pipe was jabbed into my arm (left) and a quart of blood taken.  They call this test a Wassaman.  It should have been named “Killerman.”  The secrets of my ears, nose and throat were revealed next.  Then came the big one.  The one test I was afraid of, the eye test.  Hurrah, I passed it 20/40.  I give credit to a piece of paper with the chart on.  I passed that test 10 min before I took it, when the doctor turned his back.  The memorable line is:  P.E.C.F.D.  I went on from the eye man to the x-ray man to the joint man.  Everything was o.k.  Second Lieutenant here I come.  Thanks eye doc. 

Sunday, April 12, 1942
Raging rivers, star high pine and snow topped mountains were the treats for my eyes.  The convoy trail led up from Ft. Lewis, over the Cascade Mountains and down to Yakima valley.  It was truly a scenic drive.


        (Yakima Valley)

Camp Dirt in your food was a stomach turner after Ft. Lewis.  Sage brush and dust are the two majority elements.  We’ve pitched double tents making four men under one shelter.  If the dust don’t get us the Jap never will.




Under the watchful eye of Mt. Rainier, I nothing’d away this Sunday.  My “fart sack” held me long enough for two letter to be written.