Letter to Barbara

Dear Barbara,

Finally I can write this letter to you – I have been dreaming of this for ages now. So I would firstly like to assure you that your father is doing fine. I am feeling alright, although I long for a good sleep.

Now that the war in Europe is pronounced over, one may think there is no more firefighting going on here. Unfortunately this is not the case. There are groups of Nazis here and there who still fight for Adolf and their Third Reich, refusing to surrender. So I wish my fellow Americans did not continue being killed.

Thus we have to conduct the so called patrols, darling. A patrol is when a group of American soldiers goes around some area in search for Germans, to make sure the area is clear. Veterans hate patrols: the war is over and no one wants to die by an accident. So vets try and find all sorts of reasons to change themselves for newbies if a patrol is organized.

So this was the case with us in the 2nd squad. We were having a rest near the town of XXXXXXXXXX in XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX when we heard we were sent for patrol as a small group of German paratroopers (they call them Fallschirmjaegers) were in the area not far from our positions.

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Sgt. Freeman was leading the patrol. He has just been promoted not long ago, but he didn’t even have time to change his rank insignia from a Corporal.

As every squad going for a patrol we got this new guy White. Our good old fellow Max Olson was inventive enough to get himself out of the patrol and give way to “the fresh blood” as he says. This White is a good fellow. He says he comes from Rockford, Illinois. Though I think he is from Alabama.

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So this White (his name is Robbie) was quite nervous, always trying to adjust his gas mask bag. Sgt. Freeman helped him.

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But that didn’t seem to have calmed him down and he set away alone thinking of the upcoming patrol.

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In an hour off we went. The three of us: Sergeant Freeman, private White and your father.

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We had to move through the forest called XXXXXXXXXX and forests in XXXXXXXXXXXXXX are quite thick with high and big beautiful trees. You would love the nature here: the forests, rivers and lakes. They are just like back in the times when I took you and your mother for a hike in the States. Too bad there are still Germans in these beautiful forests.

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Our way was through the forest and up the hill as the German paratroopers were spotted not far from that hill.

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So finally we were up that hill and White said he spotted Germans on the opposite side of the hill. I personally didn’t see anyone: it all looked calm and peaceful.

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But in combat you learn to stay focused and sharp and cautious. To survive. And you trust you buddys. So we took our positions next to a tree in something that looked like German foxholes. Abandoned foxholes.

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Shooting began and we opened fire back. We recognized the sounds of a German machine gun or two and Sergeant Freeman – given our low quantity – ordered to fall back having marked the German positions on the map.

Nobody was hurt in the patrol and we took our way back to XXXXXXXXXX.

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A way back from somewhere is usually faster and shorter than the way forward to some place. Don’t know why. Probably because you know the way already and you move faster.

So shortly we were back and were dismissed to have rest at remains of a German bunker. I made this picture of myself and private White and I am sending it to you.

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Thousands of kisses to you, my darling and to your mother. I hope to see you all very soon. Take care of yourself and your Mom.

Your loving father,

Chad

May 21, 1945

 

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