Sat, May 1, 1943
We had a very quiet day today. Had camera instruction in the morning. Got a pot on the Kentucky Derby & I drew Twoses. It was later scratched. So that’s one dollar I’ll not have to worry about. They let us off at 1:00 until Mon morn at 8:00. I went over to a friend of Bud Sharkey’s and we had a few drinks. I went home at 6:00 & went to bed early. Took home a nice piece of steak and a 1# of bacon. Have it for dinner tomorrow.
Sun, May 2, 1943
Went to church this morning at 11:00 & Mary and I went to communion. We spent a very quiet day at home. She fixed me a pair of trunks out of a pair of Suntan pants. I listened to the radio all day & until I went to bed at 10:00. The steak I brought home was swell & I ate a good dinner. Rosemary was out all eve with friends as she is going to the hospital Tues & she’s having fun now. I hope everything goes along alright with her.
Mon, May 3, 1943
We drilled this morning & played volley ball. In the afternoon we played some more volley ball and at 3:00 we were called into formation & were told we were restricted to the post & was told not to phone or communicate with anybody. I got permission to call Mary up for she was coming out tonite. I told her she could not come out tonite & that was the hardest thing for me to say. I was sure glad I went home over the weekend. God alone knows when we will see each other again. But whatever is to happen I am ready & prepared for it. We saw a show tonite. It wasn’t to bad but it took a lot of things off our minds. I hope they do not worry to much at home. For mother is going to have her hands plenty full with Rosemary’s operation & all & me too worrying her.
Tue, May 4, 1943
We got a big surprise this morning when we were told two of the boys were going to be dropped from the unit. Andrew Papp and Col. Hill. They were replaced by Col. Barker & Pvt. Derault. They both seem to pretty good boys. The others were dropped for not putting their all into the unit. Our advance officer Lt. Culver left this afternoon for Brooklyn on P of E & we should follow in about three days. We had a show tonite & it was was pretty good. I am going to write Mary tonite. It will be my last one for a while. After to bed. Have a lot of work tomorrow.
Wed, May 5, 1943
Well the day was rather quiet. Done some office work & fixed the new men’s records up. After lunch I washed my clothes & called Mary up. I was tickled to hear that Rosemary got along so well with her operation. It sure makes me feel better to know that everything is all set before I leave. We packed our barracks bags today & so time is getting short. They are having a show on the post tonite so guess I’ll go.
Thu, May 6, 1943
The show was really a swell one. Crash Dive, a sub picture. I called Mary up this morning & Rosemary is getting along fine. All morning was spent getting the new men equipped At noon we we were told to pack all our stuff except the clothes we leave her in. The laundry we will wash out this afternoon. We are going to leave tomorrow so may not get to write into this book for quite awhile as we are not supposed to take our diary with us. I will keep mine in the field desk & try and keep it up. We are going to have a beer bust tonite and all of us are going to put on a little play too. It ought to be good. I will call Mary at 9:00 tonite for the last time. That’s my hardest job. Well here goes the diary packed away for a long time. I’ll keep notes to help me.
Fri, May 7, 1943
Got the diary out of the desk today 6-13-43 so will catch up. Arose at 6:30 ate then finished packing. The rest of the day until we left at 5:00 was spent saying goodbye. We fell in and marched up in front of HQ & sang Auld Ang Syne . Then as we marched out Unit E was in formation & stood at attention & saluted us as we went by. It was just at retreat and Unit E marched to the flag pole and as we boarded our trucks we gave them 3 cheers and they in return gave us three cheers. We then departed for the depot and at 6:00 arrived there and at 6:30 our train moved out to where and when only God holds that in his hand. There were a lot of tears in the boys eyes as we left the post. I looked straight ahead for I couldn’t trust myself. As I am writing this we are just leaving Pasadena, CA.
Sat, May 8, 1943
Did not rest very well last nite. They didn’t get my birth made up until 11:30. Then I tossed and tumbled all night. Got up at 7:30 and ate a 8:00, but in reality it was 9:00. Played poker until lunch time & won $3.20. After lunch we continued until 5:00 and I lost 5¢ all afternoon. One of the boys, Cpl Hill, got caught drinking in the Club Car with a girl & was told to leave but didn’t heed the order. They are holding a court martial tonite as I write this for him. The adjutant told all of us that gambling & privileges were out on account of it. And that he would see we caught hell at the P of E with extra training. We just left Albuquerque, N. Mex. as I write this and I am in my birth ready for bed.
Sun, May 9, 1943
I spent another night of rolling & tossing. Had breakfast at 8:15 and in another hour we have to set up our watches another hour. Played Gin Rummy with Lt. Edwards until church time. Pvt 1st Class Elliot held services in one end of the car for the Protestants and the Catholic boys said our prayers in the other end. I said the rosary. It was over in 1/2 hour & Lt. and I continued Gin Rummy again. We only played a short time when we stopped for awhile & we got out and walked around. The boys were sore because I played cards with the Lt. and I told them if that’s how they wanted it OK but they were surely going about it the wrong way but I’d do it if that’s how they really wanted it. Cpl Hill got demoted to a Private and restricted to the car the rest of the trip. We got into KC at 8:00 & went in groups of 5 up to the station to walk & look around until 8:45. Old KC looked good but I had a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach as I got off. We are pulling out now & I’m going to try and get some rest tonite. We are arriving in Chicago at 7:30 in the morning.
Mon, May 10, 1943
Another nite flopping around. My neck is sure bothering me. I finally got up at 5:00 and read in the smoker until 6:00. I then shaved and cleaned up. We arrived in Chicago at 8:10 and marched into the restaurant for breakfast. We had no more than finished when our train pulled out. We are taking the Erie R.R. out of Chicago. We have been passing thru large industrial districts all day. It’s been cloudy and rainy every since we left Calif. I am beginning to to miss my wife and children. The boys are singing in the smoker. As I write this, they are singing Mary’s a Grand Old Name. It’s 10:25 so I’ll try and get some sleep. We should be in NY at 10:00 tomorrow.
Tue, May 11, 1943
Had a very nice rest last nite. My first one since I left Calif friday. They put on a diner this morning for us. It’s still raining and cloudy out. We arrived in New Jersy at at 10:30 and after crossing the harbor in a ferry left for camp in a bus at 11:00. Old New York looks the same to me as it did in 1916. We arrived in Ft. Hamilton at 12:00 and after given us our barracks we ate. After lunch they gave us a clothing shakedown and issued us clothing to protect us from gas & new clothing for our old stuff. We went to personnel office and I took out a $25.00 bond a month. We had the rest of the day off. The boys that live in NY got to go home. Hussy got to to see his baby for the first time. The rest of us went to the PX & got our hair cut real short & had several beers. After we attended the show for 15¢. At 9:30 we had a black out and it lasted until 10:45. I was in our room called the Sgt’s Nookey & was in bed by 11:00.
Wed, May 12, 1943
Up at 6 after a good nights sleep. My neck still bothers me quite a bit but I’ll not take any chances of letting them look at it. They might keep me here. We made out our bond allotment. I took one a month. In the afternoon at 1:00 we went to gas drill & went thru the chamber. What a trip everybody was crying from the tear gas. It rained all the way back from the chamber & was we wet. We had bunk fatigue until mess call. Our barracks bags haven’t come in yet & no dry clothes. Had a few beers after mess & took in the show. It was a good one, The Human Comedy. A bunch of the boys came in last nite off the Queen Mary. The one Churchill came to the U.S. on. They have been clear around globe. Gunnery for anti-aircraft guns. There here to rest. They are unloading there equipment now and I can’t sleep. It’s 11:30 so I’ll write this then turn in for the nite
Thu, May 13, 1943
Up at 6:15 and roll call at 7:00. Our bags came in at last and we spent the morning taking our cleaning out & I washed my clothes. Before lunch we had a lecture on chemical warfare & had sniff test of 3 of the gases. After lunch we drilled & then went to the theater for a picture on enemy information. I stayed in tonite although I could have had a pass. I wrote three letters & wrote 7 days entries in the diary. After having a couple of beers at the canteen came back & hit the hay at 9:30.
Fri, May 14, 1943
Up at 6:15 and as usual roll at 7:00. After breakfast we drilled and cleaned up our barracks. After lunch we had another lecture on gas & its use and then after the lecture we made our packs for our field bag, tent, blanket, & protective clothing went in the roll. After that we had an hours drill then rifle inspection. That concluded our day. All the PFC have to go on KP tomorrow and are they hot. Geo Barthelmew, Cpl. Wood Becker, Cpl. Zusser and I went to Sid Rosenblatz & had a swell dinner. Her people treated us fine. After dinner we had a few drinks and then had a song fest. We had to be in camp at 1:00 but we had a very nice time. It was good just to get into a home. Although it made me a little homesick.
Sat, May 15, 1943
Well today is my wife’s birthday. God bless her. She is sure doing her share towards bringing victory our way. I sent her a message although restrictions would not allow me to say much. I also asked for $10.00 and in 6 hours it was here. What a sweet woman. We had it easy today nothing to do as all the men were in KP & the NCO had a swell time looking the camp over. All the boys that live near here got until Monday morning off. I got a pass from 5 until 1 and went to New York with Bobbie. We visited the Stage Door Canteen & walked around looking over the city. It hasn’t changed a lot only dirtier looking. We went to a stage show & saw Junior Miss. It was a honey of a show & we had nice seats. We caught the subway at 11:30 and was back to camp at 12:30. My feet were killing me for I had worn my new GI’s to town.
Sun, May 16, 1943
Slept until 9:00 and when I awoke it was one of those dull dismal days & I think before it is over I’ll have a good case of the blues. Geo Band and I went to the Club & had breakfast then went to writing room and I sent letters home. At 12:00 we went to mass and after that to the Club again and had a sandwich. I slept until 4:30 and Cpl. Wood let me have his pass and Sgt. Barthelmew & I went to N. York. We visited the Stage Door Canteen, Grand Central Terminal, then went to the USO on Park Ave. and got 2 tickets to the Corn is Green with Ethel Barrymore. It was a swell show and we enjoyed it very much. We saw Radio City and spent 15 min in the St. Patrick’s Cathederal. What a breath taking place. I said a few prayers for the family & walked around & looked at all the altars. They have about 15 altars for saints there. We came back at 12:30 well satisfied.
Mon, May 17, 1943
Well we had a field demonstration of the poisonous gas today. We had to run thru the cloud without masks on, several of the boys got excited and breathed in some of the fumes & were pretty sick boys for awhile. All the Non Coms went to McGovern’s home in NY or rather the Bronx for dinner. We had a swell time and met Mack’s 5 sisters. They sure were swell & had fixed a nice dinner for us. We consumed a gallon of whiskey during the evening. We danced, sang & had fun in general. Our passes were good until 6 in the morning so we didn’t get until about 3:30 in the morning. It was worth it tho.
Tue, May 18, 1943
We got orders today to pack our barracks bags. We should be leaving here soon. The sooner the better. Had a very quiet day. The men except NCO were put on detail so we laid around all morning. We could use it after last night. The afternoon was spent much the same way. In the evening Geo B., Bill W. and I went to the 6:00 show and it let out at 8:00. We went to the Service Club and they were showing a movie there so we stayed and saw that. We were in bed at 10:00. Full moon out tonite.
Wed, May 19, 1943
Well diary I have to close you once more as we are now packing and getting ready to ship our bags and Field Desk out. We are all busy packing and have to be ready by 5 o’clock. I’ll continue in this when we reach our destination. My God have mercy on our trip and if it is his will may we all return safe.
Thu, May 20, 1943
Geo Barthlemew became a Catholic today. If I never do any more good things I’m happy that thru me he converted. Lt. Dugas was Godfather & I and McGovern, Besby, Zelinski, Mullens, Hussey were honorary Godfathers. Lt. gave him a box of Hersheys and us boys gave him a purse with a St. Christopher medal & a crucifix. His wife is a Catholic & bet she’s happy.
Sat, May 22, 1943
We are all set for something today for all our stuff is to be packed and standing by at 5 o’clock. We load into trucks & were off for somewhere. We wind up at the pier in Brooklyn & are marched to the gang plank Docked side by side are a liner & a smaller boat. We all hope & pray it’s not the smaller one. Sure enough we load into the big one & what size. It looks very dreary in its battle colors. As we march to our room we notice it is the Mariposa. We unload our packs from our back and hit the bunks. Man what a load we have to carry.
Sun, May 23, 1943
When we awoke this morning we were moving when we came on deck. We passed the Statue of Liberty this morning & I knew then I was in the war for keeps. It was a heart rending feeling knowing your family is being left behind but another feeling came over me that left me in the right frame of mind. No other country was going to take over. Our US boys would see to that. I was lucky in drawing the day shift upstairs on the promenade deck. 1/2 of us have to sleep at a time. There are 6 of us in one room and boy are we crowded. Overhead a blimp is escorting us out of the harbor. There must be at leat least 10,000 soldiers aboard. We eat two meals a day & boy what meals. Hard boiled eggs and Spam & boiled potatoes & coffee. Spent most of the day looking the deck over. Boy what a ship. Most of the other boys I see are AC boys.
Mon, May 24, 1943
This is all written after the trip so days don’t mean anything. I’m just giving a birds eye view of what I saw and did & remember. One thing I found out is that everyday at 3:00 we have church service & from the second day out until the end of the voyage I attended & went to communion everyday. We had a crowded service & everyday we had to call the boys down on the deck to keep them from cussing while we had mass. It was held in the ship’s library and it was pretty small considering all the soldiers aboard. There were two priests aboard.
Tue, May 25, 1943
To really have been some place you should hit the chow line on board a transport. You are given a no. on a tag, A.B.C.D.E. The A’s eat first and etc. You line up hour before & finally get to the mess. You’re hurried thru the food line with every KP & cook and Mess Officer howling,”Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go”. After you get your food, hard boiled eggs & everything else thrown into one mess kit you go to a long table & stand up & eat it. (If you can) After the 4th or 5th day the room smells like a garbage truck and every man stinks too. When you finish you go to wash your mess gear & screaming in your ear are about 10 officers yelling, “What are you doing taking a bath, let’s go, do you want to melt that gear, come on move on”, so as a result your mess gear is greasy & if you don’t get the GI’s your lucky. In 15 minutes by the clock you have eaten, washed your gear & are back on deck. How’s that.
Wed, May 26, 1943
Well we have a little fun on this tug anyway. Our unit put on several programs over the loud speakers. One on every deck and you broadcast in the chaplain’s office on B deck. We gave them lots of laughs and all seemed to enjoy it. We got so we put it on twice a day, once for the boys above deck & then for the boys that were sleeping. There was something going on everyday & each shipping no. vied to see who put on the best programs. Our call was 4961A is on the air. It helped pass away the time. It was about this time that we saw the last of our escort plane & we were on our own now. It seemed rather lonely even if there was 15,000 on board with nothing in sight only water. Some of the boys are pretty sick. Bart a friend of mine was down for 4 days & the poor guy had to go to the hospital. I have been pretty lucky. I haven’t been sick a day.
Thu, May 27, 1943
We have heard almost every kind of a rumor. First a pack of subs trailed us all night & we had to run for it & that one surfaced right near us and shot at us and we missed another’s torpedo. I let them go in one ear and out the other. Have done very good playing poker. Don’t win too much but everyday 2 or 3 dollars. I was $15.00 ahead when we docked and it sure helped until we got paid. We have fire & boat drill everyday & it’s sure a mess getting us all to our stations. It don’t take long tho for we never undress except our shoes & we have to wear our life preservers whenever we leave the stateroom. We turned north about six days out & boy did it get cold & windy. It rained one day all day. It was spread around we done that for extra precaution for we were now in waters where wolf sub packs roamed about.
Fri, May 28, 1943
When they issued us our canned rations we were told under no circumstances could we eat them until given orders. Some of the outfits started eating there’s & we had been sitting around our room talking of the good things to eat we had at home & different places. We got so hungry we went around and offered $2.00 for a 8oz. can of pork & beans & even offered one fellow $1.00 for 1/2 can. But no soup. I offered a KP who was mopping the halls 50¢ a piece for any kind of sandwich but he could not make the grade. One morn the KP’s was unloading oranges from the hold next to us. As they wheeled them by we would grab an orange if we could get one out of the cracks. Then on of our gang would kick in the side of the box and as it went by we would all grab. The officer in charge soon got wise altho the KP didn’t care and we had to stop. I had almost a dozen by that time. One nite we sneaked into the officer’s mess for someone had forgot to lock the door & stole all the ketchup, chili sauce, & beef steak sauce we could find. In fact that’s all we could find.
Sat, May 29, 1943
One morning during fire drill a Sgt. was either thrown or fell over board. We couldn’t stop for him but I heard later the English sent a flying boat out after him. We never did find out the truth about it. We saw an English plane circle our boat this evening our 7th day out. It went around several times & then disappeared. After that we saw them regular & acted as escorts for us. It was a good sight to see. Also saw another boat pass ours in the distance. It was lots of fun watching the porpoises play along beside our boat.
Sun, May 30, 1943
It was some sight when we went up on deck to see land. Boy did it look good. It was the coast of Ireland. We had quite a time getting to where we could see it for everybody had the same idea. We went around the northern end & then entered the Irish Sea. It was good to see boats & land on both sides of you. We went on down the coast & the afternoon we stopped & laid out in the channel for 24 hours before we moved then we docked at Liverpool about 3:30 in the afternoon. There was lots to see & there was an English Soldier band playing for us but the boys broke it up when they tossed cigarettes to them. What a scramble. Took our first bath tonight. Fresh water & hot. I laid in the tub for almost an hour & did those clean clothes feel good. We are to leave the boat some time tonite. That is our last day & our 9th day.
Mon, May 31, 1943
The thing that struck me the most was at 10:30 it was as light as day almost. They gave us 2 sandwiches and an orange as we left the boat. We were loaded into trucks & taken to the Depot where we loaded all our barracks bags & equipment in the baggage car & then we climbed into our car with our field equip. The coach had an aisle down the side & you could just make it with your pack on.