From the Woolner Family
© Leslie Woolner Bardsley
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Frank Woolner
Journalist, Headquarters, 3rd Armored Division


EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first of three selected letters written by Woolner to his younger brother Dick, who was also in the Army in Europe in WWII. The third letter, written in May, 1945, was addressed to a military hospital in England, where Dick, an infantryman, had ended up with a serious leg wound from a enemy mortar round inside Germany in the spring of 1945.

Company "A", 703rd Tank Destroyer Battalion
A.P.O. # 230, United States Army

20 August, 1944

Dear Dick:

I don't have your address yet, excepting for the one at Devens, and I know very well that you won't be there long. So I'm sending this letter home to be sent along to you wherever you are. The other day I received your letter mailed from Devens. I knew that you were supposed to report on the 1st, but I hadn't heard that you had actually been inducted until that letter arrived. You say that you find yourself laughing yourself sick most of the time FINE. To tell you the truth, as long as you're in the Army you will find something to laugh about. There's always someone to crack a joke and do something silly. Even over here in France in combat, the GI's find plenty to laugh about. One day when we were having a hell of a fight the German machine guns wee going bbbrrrrrp! bbbrrrrrp! bbbrrrrrrp!, one of the guys waited until the Jerry gun made a long, wicked sounding BBBBbbbrrrrrrrrrp! and then he yelled, "Sold American!" It sounded funny as hell to the rest of us. We have a lot of fun even when the going is tough.

There's nothing much I can tell you about how to take care of yourself in the Army. You'll get along all right as long as you do what you're told to do and do it well. Try to soak in all the dope you can, because it's the right stuff. If you can do something well, let people know about it. Don't be shy, because it pays to advertise. Of course after your advertising, you've got to produce the goods, too. But you can do that. I hope you get into the photography line, but I'm afraid you won't there are so many photogs in the Army now. At any rate, if you don't buck the Army, the Army can be a lot of fun. It's an education in itself. Personally, I hope you never get into combat, but if you do, you'll find that combat isn't all hell. It's a great experience but I like to keep experiences like that for myself, not for my kid brothers! It's so noisy, you know.

Well, Sir, enough of the lecturing. I have been working my way through France, or maybe I should say digging my way through. So far I am a healthy Joe and if I'm lucky I should remain healthy. Frank Miller and I one day captured thirty Jerry prisoners. We took ten pistols away from them, so now I'm strutting around with a luger on my hip, and the air of a rough character. We also captured two new typewriters, several Headquarters wagons and five horses. I'm no Piker, Dick, I gave away the five horses! You ought to see the Frenchman I gave those nags to. He thought he had a fortune!

This afternoon we've been swimming. We have no bathing suits, and it's a rare sight. The local mademoiselles walk around the pond and look us all over. FINE. We look them all over too! And most of them are pretty no lister bags with legs on like Jack goes out with. We have plenty of cognac and vin rouge over chere too. It really aint bad at all. Tomorrow I'm going to negotiate for a couple of roasting turkeys. Best war I ever fought. But I don't like it.

Be lucky now, and let me know how you're getting along.

/s/ Frank

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