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Friday, April 27, 2012

Our WWII Soldier Is Waiting for the D*** War to End

April 4, 1944
Tues. Eve.

My Darling Mark
Hello Sweetheart!!
I just came back from a show here at camp. Seen ”This Was Paris” – pretty good. I have a lot of letters to write & am going to try & get them all done tonite. We’re going to be pretty busy for the next week, & I probably won’t have much time!
It’s finally stopped raining here – for how long I don’t know.
Honey – I swear I don’t know what to write about! In the first place we’re very limited on what to write, as you know.
I miss you like all hell, honey – I’m just waiting for this damn war to end so I can get back to you.
Well, honey I’m going to cut this short & write home & I think I’ll write Cec. a letter. Bye for now honey – I love you. Write soon.
All My Love Sweetheart      Johnny

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Our WWII Soldier Asks for Cigarettes, Gum, Candy and Cookies

April 3, 1944
Mon.  10:00 P.M.

My Darling Mark
Hello Sweetheart!!
I love you honey – I love you!! I got 2 letters from you today – one of the 14th & one the 21st. Both were post-marked the 21st ????
         We got off guard today at noon & had the rest of the afternoon off. I just came back from a U.S.O. show – it sure was good. It’s been raining here now for 3 days & sure is miserable. Just muddy as hell around here.
         I got a V-mail from Mary today – my sister-in-law. You’ve met her haven’t you? She says Joyce sure is getting fat. I sure miss the little devil!
         Our barracks are sure crowded this evening. There’s a poker game going on beside my bunk – but I’m writing to you. I’ve quit ever since you gave me hell way back on the “desert” – remember?         I never have the time to waste anyway!  I did a lot of laundry today again too!

         I got the medal in one of the letters too – honey. I’ll have the Chaplin bless it Sat. or Sunday, & I’ll wear it for you honey!
         Honey – I can hardly wait till I’m with you again & I don’t know how long it will be till I get to be with you again. I hope the hell its soon tho.
         Honey I’m trying to make this a long letter – but don’t know for sure or not whether I can. If I just keep on writing like this & filling the pages – I might be able to write a few more pages. See what I mean. I just keep talking & writing but I guess you’re getting tired of this huh? Maybe I can do better honey!
         Cripes – I’ve got a couple of guys pestering the hell out of me every time I start to write.
         I can only send 2 of these blue letters a month now honey!
         The way you talk honey – you’ve been doing a lot of eating. Gaining any weight? You’ll probably need it – cause when I get back – I’ll probably wear about 20 lbs off you – hugging & loving you.
         Honey – I hope you do send some more snapshots – that’s something I can never get enough of. Have Lu & Cec. send some too.
         Honey can you send a picture – about a 5 x 7 size? I could keep one about that big!  If you can – send it as soon as possible!
         Honey – you said you wanted me to ask for something so you could send it. How about mailing yourself? That’s all I really want.
         If you want to – I could use some cigarettes (Camels) you can send some candy too & some cookies that you made yourself & I’ll see if you are a good cook.  Okay? I’ll be waiting for them – honey.
         You can send some gum too honey – think you can get that stuff in one box?
         Well honey I tried to make this at least a 10 page letter but I guess I can’t. I’ll write 3 pages tomorrow nite and that’ll make ten – or 5 pages & make it 12 huh?
         Honey – I’d better get to bed now – I miss you darling & love you so very much.
         I’ll try to write more often – ever they ever slow up around here a bit. I hope I dream of you tonite Darling.
         Goodnite Sweetheart!!
All My Love – Johnny

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Our WWII Soldier Has Been on Guard Duty and Hasn't Had Time To Write

April 2, 1944
Sunday    6:00 P.M.

My Darling Mark
        Hello Sweetheart!!  I got your V-mail today so I’d better answer now. I haven’t had much time to write lately. I’ve been on guard since Fri. & I’m on again tonite & tomorrow. It seems like I’ll never catch up on my letter writing. I got a letter from Mom today that I’ll have to answer tonite, or maybe she may think I’m dead by now.
         The weather is back to normal around here again – cold & rainy. It rained all last nite.
         Honey – I don’t know really what to write about. I miss you like hell & wish I was back with you tho. If I ever get back to you – I’ll never leave you again honey. Are you still working nites honey? What do you see of Cec. & Lu? How’s your Mother & sisters & Dee Dee?  Have you sent that big picture yet? I haven’t had time to have one taken as yet.
         Well honey I’d better close for now & write home – by that time I’ll have to go on duty. I’ll write again tomorrow honey. Bye for now. Write soon honey!
         All My Love Darling – Johnny

Monday, April 16, 2012

Our WWII Soldier Dreams of His Sweetheart, and Wants to Spend Quiet Evenings At Home

March 24, 1944
Friday 5:30 P.M.

My Darling Mark
Hello precious!
I got two sweet letters from you today & was very happy to get them - just coming off K.P.
         It was another nice day here again. I hope it stays this way.
         I’ve still got my laundry to do that I started to do two days ago.
         Honey I had a dream about you the other nite while on guard. I dreamed I stopped off in K.C. (I don’t know where I was going or doing there but) I stopped in a cafĂ© for some coffee & you were sitting at another table. I was awfully happy for some reason – but all I done was said “hi” to you & let it go at that (whats the matter with me??) then they woke me up to go on duty. I wish I could have dreamed on – maybe I’d have got to kiss you & honey how I’d like to do that! Honey I can almost feel a kiss from you – but I’d like to have a real one. The more I think about you the more lonesome I get for you.  Honey – I miss you like hell!  Its an awful feeling to miss anyone & want to be with someone as much as I do you, darling. I have you on my mind every nite when I go to sleep – hoping I can dream of you!
         Having a hard time reading this – I’m laying on my bunk & its kinda uneasy to write. Just lazy or an excuse?
         Honey – after I do get home & we’re married & I do want you – we’ll spend a lot of nice quiet evenings home. I don’t think I’d want to do much reading tho when I could be doing a lot of loving.
         Were you kidding when you said if you could get me to go to bed.
         I’ll probably be wanting my “dinner” in bed, & I don’t mean potatoes!
         Ralph & Dora got married at Olathe & Dora isn’t Catholic – that’s why Mom took it so hard.
         Honey – I’ll try & get a picture taken – but I haven’t seen any quick photo shops yet & the photo shops I have seen are only open about 3 days a week & are closed when I see them. Honey you can send me a picture of you every week if you can. I got a letter from Ralph Mitchell’s mother today - you know her? him? I guess Cec. gave it to her.
         Well – honey – I guess I’ll write Mom & do a little washing & go to bed & hope I dream of you. Darling I miss you & love you more every day. Honey I love you. I love you.
Goodnite Darling!!
Please write soon & often.

         All My Love,       Johnny

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Our WWII Soldier Says Things Are Different Than They Were In The States

March 26, 1944
Sun.  1:00 P.M.

My Darling Mark -
Hello Sweetheart !  How’s my honey? It’s a beautiful day here this Sunday. It has been this week. I’ve still got a lot of letters to answer yet – but I want to write to you first. I’m on guard tonite so I’ll have time to write a few more. I’ll bet its pretty nice in K.C. huh – honey? If I was only back there now honey I’d be with you every minute. Kissing you every other minute.
         I slept till 10:30 this morning honey – it sure felt good. I went to 11:30 Mass this morning.
         Honey – you can send me that picture you intended to a while back – I’d like to have it.
         Are you still working nights honey? Do you see Lu & Cec. much?
         I don’t know what to write about honey – I could just keep writing how much I miss you & love you & how I’d like to be back with you. Honey that’ll be a wonderful day when we’re together again.
         Well – honey I should be washing clothes now but its too late for that – so I have to shave & get ready for guard.
         Honey I’ll be thinking of you constantly & waiting for your letters. Please write soon & often. If you don’t get a letter for a day or two honey – remember its not that I don’t want to write, things are a little different as they were in the states. We’re pretty busy & honey you can see why can’t you? I love you Darling don’t ever forget!
Bye for now Darling  I Miss you.
All My Love forever     Johnny

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Our WWII Soldier Gets His Tea Leaves Read and Was Told He'd Be Married Inside a Year


March 24, 1944
Friday 5:30 P.M.

My Darling Mark
Hello Sweetheart !  Yes, I’m still living – but I told you I probably wouldn’t be able to write. I just got back today & I found 6 letters from you. I sure got a lot of writing to catch up on now. I’ve got to write Mom tonite too.
         Honey I sure have been missing you an awful lot. Mercy – how I’d like to be with you!
         I was up to Whitby about 300 miles from here – I can’t tell you what I was doing. It was like a vacation tho honey. This town was a summer resort before the Army took it over & it really had some beautiful sights. I’ve got some post-cards I am going to try & send them home. We lived in hotels right in town! It had about 53 “pubs” in town. I bought a few pieces of Whitby jet & will try & send it home too. Honey – I’ll send the post cards home & I want you to go out & see them when you get a chance. Alright? I got a letter from Cec & he said he bought a car so he could take you out there sometime!
         It’s a beautiful day here today. The sun’s been shining all day – its just like summer – but it’ll probably change tomorrow.
         I had my tea leaves read one nite- just for the hell of it - & she told me I’d be married inside a year. She also said I’d be leaving England soon by plane. Sounds pretty good huh? Honey if you can’t send the medal without me asking for it – well I’m asking you to send it now & slip a pack of gum inside it.
         Just came back from chow & now we’re having school here in the barracks. I’m going to keep writing till I’m stopped.
         Darling – I’d never change my mind about you. I know you’re the one I want to love. Honey I’ll try my best to be worthwhile your waiting. You asked what I do on my time off – well honey when we do have time off – they have shows 3 times a week here in camp – mostly old ones. Writing letters takes up a lot of spare time. We can have passes to town – but there’s not much to do in town & it’s usually late when we get in & everything’s closed. Then we have a lot of our laundry to do quite often. So you see honey – there isn’t a lot a guy can do. I’m just waiting for the day I can come back home & just talk about all this, & let it just be a memory.
         Honey I’ll have to write home now – they’ll probably think I’m dead. I love you Darling & someday we’ll be together forever. I’ll close for tonite & write again tomorrow. Goodnite Darling
Write Soon & often             All My Love        Johnny

Monday, April 2, 2012

Camp Clipper, Desert Training Center Commemorative Plaque outside Needles, California

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(wording on plaque)

Camp Clipper was established at a site that reached from Essex Road to this location in the spring of 1942. It was one of twelve such camps built in the southwestern deserts to harden and train United States Troops for service on the battlefields of World War II. The Desert Training Center was a simulated theater of operations that included portions of California, Arizona and Nevada. The other camps were Young, Coxcomb, Iron Mountain, Ibis, Granite, Pilot Knob, Laguna, Horn, Hyder, Bouse and Rice.

A total of 13 infantry divisions and 7 armored divisions plus numerous smaller units were trained in this harsh environment. The Training Center was in operation for almost two years and was closed early in 1944 when the last units were shipped overseas. During the brief period of operation over one million American solders were trained for combat.

The 33rd and 93rd Infantry divisions were trained here.

This monument is dedicated to all the solders that served here and especially for those who gave their lives in battle, ending the Holocaust and defeating the Armed Forces of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan.

Plaque placed by the Billy Holcomb Chapter of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, Cal-Trans, Essex Maintenance Station and in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, Needles Resource Area.

October 13th, 1991