Edward J. Thomas - World War II

Dear Mom & Harry Monday, Jun 7, 1943

I have three or four days more of bivouac. Never before could I imagine how dirty one could get. We started dirty due to a malfunctioning washing machine. Our fatigues are soaking wet. During rest periods we lie anywhere on the ground. For two or three days we have no water or streams, so no washing or shaving. We are training for the jungle and desert fighting. We are allowed two canteens of water per day. No one uses it for cleaning up.

I have dreams of home with beer, pop, and lemonade. One gets a new appreciation of watery wealth. Yesterday, Sunday one company made rafts from canvas and practiced crossing a large stream.

My job was to get saplings in the woods to make pontoons to hold p a bridge of rafts. The bridge failed as soldiers had to run like mad to keep from sinking. The stream was wide from a cement dam, which I took a bath right below the dam.

Yesterday afternoon we had a lesson in jungle fighting, advancing through the woods in fighting formation. It was very hot and thirsty. I kept looking for black raspberries as they have lots of water and they are plentiful here.

I am getting weak from the heat; there is a stream on our right when it should have been on our left. We were lost!  I took a helmet full of water and cooled off. Some secretly drank, not me. In later wanderings I came to crystal streams and we drank helmets of water and filled our canteens. We found our destination during the evening.

I received your money, candy, cigarettes, batteries and mirror and glad to get them. I received the camera some time ago. I haven’t had time for pictures. Candles would come in handy during bivouac or no bivouac.

P.S. Tell Gertie, Gene, I’ll try to answer them later.

Victory Garden

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