Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Was closed and everyone was shipped to Combat units. I was assigned to the 12th Armored Division medical batallion in Camp Barclay, Texas. It had long been fully organized with all of the major positions filled. Four of us ASTP soldiers were assigned to the very lowest level. The platoon sergeant was very tough and uneducated except in military discipline.. He seemed to want to make it difficult for his newest wards. The next months in the Texas summer were the most difficult in my entire life. The climate, the dust, and dealing with tasks well below my special training. combined to make me quite miserable. We had three doctors, two of them right out of med school and the company commander older and more seasoned. There was a dentist and his assistant. My two best friends were George Thalman,, a sergeant who understood my plight and Irvin Sternlicht one of the ASTP assignees. We went to town together on week end passes. My most pleasant memory involved a three day pass to Dallas. We soldiers hitch-hiked because drivers were very attentive to give us a ride. I was standing by the highway in a small Texas town with the heat bearing down. On a hot Saturday, a little girl brought me out a glass of ice water. I was grateful with many thanks. I toured Dallas spending the night at a USO center. I was getting educated about the availability of girls but I was afraid of VD. My most pleasant visit was to Southern Methodist University..During this period of time I wrote letters to two girl friends - Margaret Berryman in Bon Air and Dorothy Belk in Talladega. I corresponded with several of my friends in the old Boy Scout troop Mail Call was a very pleasant time.
In the Fall our division shipped out to New York to go overseas. While waiting in New York I was able to redo some of the experiences I had with my brother Mitch as a teenager. Our staying New York was short as we went in a convoy on our way to England. Our unit was together on one Liberty ship. My most pleasant memory on the ocean was viewing a number of beautiful sunsets on the water. In England I worked daily in a local army hospital but managed week end passes to go to London to the USO and Red Cross centers.I learned to play pool and developed some skill in Ping Pong. My friends were the same ones I had in Texas. We liked to do the same kind of activities. Opportunities for girls were plentiful but we did not participate. We toured the famous buildings of the day.