DMH Spotlight - Warrant Officer Carl Henry's letters, February 22-28, 1945 Back
"Somewhere in Luxembourg - Thursday February 22, 1945 - 7 P.M.

Wonderful Wife:
Again, I'll start off with several good ones I heard today, after
remarking 'I love you'. I was eating supper tonight with Lt Col Jeff.
He was cracking wise all supper. After the meal I was sitting
listening to him, with my jaw in my hand, probably looking not too
amused, he said to me, in complete seriousness,'You've got to be
young, Henry, like me, you have to joke and wisecrack, not sit there
looking like your thoughts were thousands of miles away wondering what
your wife is doing, where she is...I'm doing the same thing.'....Later on,
one of the other officers at the table told a good one about the
Colonel. It seems that the Colonel was out with some Army nurses
(alledgedly-all in fun), over here, and afterwards the nurse was
asked what she thought of the Colonel. 'We didn't get along so well,'
replied the nurse, 'too little Colonel and too much lieutenant.' That's
a pretty dirty one, but I thnk the censor will let it pass. Aren't I
getting awful these days???

I read in the paper to-day about the midnight curfew on night clubs.
I wonder whether or not this affects Jack.
[Edith's brother, maitre D
at the Copacabana in NYC] It will probably hurt his pocketbook. But
what a wonderful help to his health - or don't I know Jack? ...Got up
early to-day to mail Jack's cable and also because I had heard it
rumored last night that there would be eggs for breakfast this
morning. Sure enough, there were, and I was one of the first there,
and they were really good. ...

It looks as though I will get a trip to Paris in not more than two
months, perhaps sooner, assuming the war continues into Spring. A
roster has been made up, and I should get there by May, perhaps in
April. Horrible to think of the war dragging on that long, isn't it,
babee mine? And Paris without you would be one heartache after
another. It would only be a variation from this endless grind and for
that reason alone would I look forward to it. Who knows, maybe by that
time there will be some sort of telephone service with the States and
I might be lucky enough to get five minutes with my honeybunch on the
wire. I can dream, can't I? Nothing new on CTP...

Darling, you certainly seem to have had a guilty conscience about
going to Florida. I never saw anyone with such an ascetic streak in
them beside myself as you. We're certainly like two peas in a pod. Its
awfully hard for you to be good to yourself, isn't it? You and I will
both have to learn to get over that- we will have to teach each other
and help each other over these weak spots....

I'm just a little worried about you, darling: 116 lbs sounds terribly,
terribly thin...I note that you're still juicing up instead of steaking
up, and pruning up instead of bananaing up. Try to stretch that little
stomach of yours, honeybunch. Don't be satisfied always with milk and
a dish of prunes. Make a conscious effort to eat just a little bit
more each day, and you will find that teeny-weeny stomach of yours
getting a little bit more normal in size. ...

"I hope that you got hold of a camera and took some snaps. Nothing
quite equals a few bathing suit shots for variety and oomph over here.
I'd like to see my babee in a bathing suit for a change. I'd like to
see my babee period. Thanks for the blossom enclosed in your letter of
the 8th - and thanks even more for the 'big fat kiss' - it was still
hot and wet when it arrived, well, a little damp at any rate....

These months have been an education for both of us, some of it in
common experiences with the amily and with others, some of it in
separate experiences. We have grown during these months, babee, and it
will be to our ultimate benefit, harsh as these weeks have been. Your
reasons for taking up the nursing course were read with interest, also
the techniques you must follow with the disabled. ...
You'll probably been surprised, but I've hardly worn mufflers or
sweaters since the one cold spell of about two weeks we had in
January. The winter has been a mild one. I don't think I've worn my
overcoat a dozen times. It's just rain, rain, rain all the time. ....

There were a lot of interruptions tonight: lights out several times,
conversations with the boys, calls from the battalion, and so
forth....This letter's a little shorter than I had hoped to make it, but
the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglae, as the poets have
it. .....love me as I love you - that is all I ask- for my love for you
is boundless and without end. ..."


"Somewhere in Luxembourg- Friday 23 February 1945 8 :45 P.M.

Honeybunch:....So far this month, ....I've had an average of more than a
letter a day. ...And how's your mail, dearest wife? Do you have all my
January letters yet? ...Fresh oranges for breakfast this morning-really
beautiful oranges - must have been from Texas or possibly from
Florida. ....

Lt. E was up today. He makes so many mistakes, at some times its
almost pathetic. And, instead of being grateful to me for not noticing
them or for covering them up, he maintains an apprehensive coolness,
even though he's trying to be friendly. He's not smart enough to
distinguish his friends from his enemies. We had two battlefield
appointments at once dropped in our laps to-day, which kept us rather
busy. We'll be even busier in a week or so from now when the actual
appointments, as contrasted with the applications, come through. Cap
had a bad piece of news today. The Red Cross and a letter from his
wife simultaneously notified him that his Mother had died of a heart
attach on Feb 15. ...Only 50 years old, she had written him a letter,
also received to-day, only one day before she died. He feels terrible
about it. We had services today in the mess hall, led by one of the
sergeants, These were regular Friday night services, but we said
kadddish for his Mother. These services are not really regular, but we
are going to try to make them such. They lasted about half an hour and
were attended by about a dozen of us. I note the dates of Passover
...Conditions permitting, I'll send Mom [Edith's mother] and also my
family a cable...

I was interested in your dream in which I seemd to be very tired. How
true babee, for, no matter how fresh I seem to be, I know that, under
it all, I am really very, very tired. But there are a lot of other
tired people in this world, like the doughboy in the foxhole, the
prisoner in the German concentration camp, the family in the USA that
will never see their son or sons again. So, what's a little fatigue
against those greater exhaustions?...I like the buoyant faith with
which you woke from that dream, and the sincere encouragement you write
to me:....'our love and our faith is watching over us- keeping us safe
for each other.' Verily, Mildred Smoot [a Christian Scientist with
whom Edith stayed, more about that!]
had a great effect on you - or did
she bring forth something that was always there?...

Don't believe that Len Brooks will be an eligible husband for several
years yet. The Navy's still got a big job in the Pacific...However,
sometimes I believe there is a great deal of propaganda in our
constant official statements that the war will be a long one...After
all, the Germans have successfully exploited our tendencies toward
over-confidence, Perhaps we are trying to make the japs
over-confident in the same way....

And now, how is my babee tonight?...Does she love me as I love her?
I hope so. Would she turn over and say that she was too tired, if I
weren't too tired? I don't think so. Not any more, Maybe she would
before - not anymore. Would she let me fondle her and kiss her and hug
her and squeeze her and pet her and pet her and pet her? I think she
would be willing, maybe even eager . Ok, then I better see what I can
do about ending this war and getting home fast, because "'Barkis is
willing"-------

[ in David Copperfield, 'Peggotty laughs off the proposal when it is
first made, but accepts after Davy's mother dies and she is left
without a station. She and Barkis live happily together for many
years..." http://lessisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/barkis-is-willing/]



"Somewhere in Luxembourg, Saturday, February 24, 1945 [mn time]

Good evening, sweetheart
My won't that be something, when I walk in the door once again and
calmly remark, 'Good evening, sweetheart'??? The answer is yes, in
case you were wondering. And so another day has passed, and how is my
darling babee?....

I , also, received today a letter from Aunt Rose Erlick Columbus Ohio [Rose was Carl's maternal grandma Flora Huttenbauer's half sister - they had the same father but a
different mother, because Flora's mother died and her father, Ferdinand Stanfield remarried]

postmarked February 14, and a letter from a distant cousin [Gaston Levy] of whom I
have never heard before, from paris, dated February. Evidently, Dad
must have written to this cousin and told him I was over here...they
want me to look them up when and if I visit paris. I'll have to find
out from Dad when I next write them who these people are. The envelope
is from Gaston Levy, but I can't read the address too handily....

Fresh eggs again for breakfast this morning, and yours truly was there
bright and early to collect. Worked steadily all day....Darling, I've
had another brainstorm, Instead of wasting my time studying Bridge in
the evenings, I've enrolled for a self-study course offered by the
Army over here in bookkeeping and accounting. I've decided that I may
never have another opportunity like this again to engage in study and,
if I go into business after the war, I should know a great deal more
about bookkeeping and accounting than I do now, which is practically
zero. I want to be able to understand thoroughly all types of
manufacturing and corporation accounting, so that whatever I get into
after the war, I can look a balance sheet or a set of books in the
face, and thoroughly understand them readily. Also, knowing this may
enhance my chances to get into the CTO or to go ahead once I get in.
The total cost to myself is two dollars, The Division Orientation
officer will send for the texts. I know a lot about economics and
philosophy and a few other things but not enough about such a
bread-and-butter subject such as this....

In this letter [from Edith] of January 22, you say that...you are dead
tired - then you proceed to bang out a nine-page letter to me. Wonder
what you would do if you weren't tired! I'm glad to know that you think
I got a good price for my Hamilton, Darling. I wouldn't buy a diamond,
because I know nothing about such matters,....I'm sorry, babee if you
thought it was a diamond and had high hopes accordingly. Don't worry
darling wife, we'll fix that matter up when I get home, anything your
little heart desires....

So, you're saving it all for me, sweet one, I never worried about that.
And I'm saving if all for you, darling mine, and don't want you to
worry, I don't think you will. Darling, I don't have a tummy, anything
but. The life over here doesn't encourage that, However, your advice
that I stand up straight is entirely in order, for I never do. That
too, the life over here does not encourage. I'll need plenty of
gymnastics when I get home, and some of them won't be at the gym, if
you know what I mean. (Ain't I the hungry wolf? Woof, woof)
...Darling, I would send more snaps, but there are practically no
facilities over here for the development of films, ...we took some snaps
of our section at our last location about two months ago and have not
been able to get them developed yet. ...Boy, did this envelope smell
good must have scented it it before you sented it! ( Pure corn!)

Darling, recently efficiency reports were prepared fo all officers in
the army on a new efficiency report form. We typed them all in our
offices after the men had been rated. These were for the six months'
period ending December 31. My company commander gave me a rating of
Superior, and I stood third in the battalion in numerical rating,
directly below a West Pointer and another officer. These reports go
directly in to the War department from our headquarters. Probably
means that I'll be in the Army for another six years or so- you know
how these things go. The report also included mention of the Bronze
Star, so that is now a matter of record in Washington...Later on I'll
tell you what my C.O. said of me, just so you won't get too
well-headed by hearing it all at once. Aren't I a tease? I've not
heard from Howie. What sort of work did he go back to in Trenton?


I think Dad was right in his enclosed letter when he said that Howiehas too much to do. ...Darling, do you remember Sgt. Jeffreys, with whom
I would ride back and forth at Salina and in the desert? He has justwon a bronze star for meritorious service. Lt. Col Cheston goes on
winning bronze and silver stars and clusters at a regular rate- areally outstanding officer.

Babee, I must close now although if I had a choice I would write on through the night.
...I look at the calendar on which I keep a record of the letters
received from you, and the days that passed look like a staggering
number whoen one stands back and looks over the whole period. We
marvel at the stupidity of the German nation to continue this fight
when it is, for them, completely hopeless. If they want to continue
it, however, they will pay for it in a country which will be so
pubished that it will never rise again....

Good night, wonderful YOU, good night till the night when we'll never
say good night again but be together forever and ever and ever. Won't
we have funnnnnnnnn??????Ouoi. Carl

Put on some weight!!!



Somewhere in Luxembourg - Monday-February 26, 1945 11 P.M.

Wonderful YOU: Little late to be writing to my honeybunch, but this
has been a busy day. Ill start with the mail- as well as the usual but
not matter-of-fact 'I Love You"

V-mail- dated February 7 -19 days
AIR MAIL- dated February 14- postmarked February 15- 11 days.

These two together are one more illustration of the well-known fact
that Air Mail is quicker than V-mail.
[ Carl describes food items received in package from Edith and from the folks
including a scarf from Fanny Huttenbauer, the wife of Carl's uncle
Sam]

I think I forgot to acknowledge the receipt several days ago of one
rubber stamp 'Last paid to include, etc.' ...Darling, I never received
the typewriter ribbon...put a few of them in....
We got a telegram last night to discharge one of our boys and
commission him today, and he was up early this morning for us to work
on his papers. Simultaneously the boys arrived at our office who are
on their way to Paris this week. Simultaneously we got word to move (at breakfast), and so we had a sort of three-ring circus to-day. The
boys going to Paris always stop in at our office to change their
currency and to assemble from the different companies before
proceeding on. ...We waited all day to move, as is the usual
procedure...About noon.I stole a march by commandeering one of the
battalion's vehicle and sending an advance party of three men to our
new location ahead of the rest of the echelon to make sure that our
section waws assigned adequate quarters in the new spot and to set up
our office and have it running by the time the rest of us arrived. I
gave them the telephone, wires, lights and all other key equipment and
when the rest of us pulled in tonight, everything waws set up an
running, morning reports prepared for signature, and so forth, and a
really good place secured.

We are in a vast 200-year old chateau, and our office is a large room
on the second floor, with sleeping quarters on the third floor for the
boys. I ahll sleep in the office as usual.
Also gave them one of our stoves along, and so when we arrived the
stove was set up and burning furiously....great confusion had been
avoided by these preparations.

We prepared supper in our old location. The people were sorry to see
us go, at least they said so, but no doubt they were not
grief-stricken....We tried to keep it a secret where we were moving,
but you can't keep a secret from these people. They knew shortly after
they heard we were moving just what town we were moving to, and I
don't know where they got their information....I may have mentioned
before that, when we left our camp in England, our section had room
to spare on one truck. However, since that time, we have slowly
accumulated a great deal of records, office equipment, shaires, stove,
personal clothing and other items, so that now it is impossible for us
to move in one truck alone, so we must either have a trailer in
addition or shuttle-move, as we did to-day. Like many other sections,
when we pull out of a location we resemble a motorized version of a
composite Sears-Roebuck mail order with everything under the sun piled
up to the figurative eaves of the truck with everything. One of the
items, for instance, is two 18"x24" mirrors which we acquired
somewhere along the route and which are absolutely invaluable for
shaving and cleaning up. Here are a few of the items we carry: 2
stoves,pipes for same, coal for same, 2 Coleman lamps for emergency
use, lighting wire, telephone wire, light reflectors, light bulbs,
telephone, shovels tent, tent poles, chairs, field desks for 6 men,
duffle bags for 7 men, bed rolls for 8 men, individual miscellaneous
item boxes for each man, typewriters for each ( and we need every
typewriter we have) mimeograph, battalion fiolm, 6 months supply or
administrative forms, brooms, dustpan, duster, water heater, emergency
C and K rations for three days, 5 gallons of water, gasoline, office
supplies, service and all other personnel records, squad stove,
overcoats, individual pup tents, guns [handwritten addition] pluus a
hundred and one other things. ...Everytime we move, it is with fear and
trepidation lest the new location be unsuitable for efficient work,
but so far, knock on wood, our fears have been groundless. ...
I am wondering where you are and how you are- my favorite indoor sport
for now many months....


 


[METTENDORF-Rhineland, Germany hdqrs. location] Commendation 28 February 1945 to: Commanding Officer, 305th Engineer Batalion 9 thru Commanding General, 80th Inf. Div, US Army.

1. I desire to commend Company "B", 305th ENgineer Battalion, for its outstanding performance suring the period 10 February-25 February 1945.

2. DUring the initional phases of this Regiment in Germany, this company rendered magnificent assistance in the construction of Bridges, removal of mines, and clearance and maintenance of roads. The thoroughness and speed...in utter disregard for the continuous ennemy small arms and artillery fire...tactical soundness...mainenance of complete liaison and cooperation...

8 March...You and your unit have more than once demonstrated outstanding qulities of leadership and aggressiveness. The fine Engineer support you have rendered for the 318th Infantry is a credit to the finest tradition of the Engineer Corps...



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