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Volume 6835

Wartime Journals of Correspondent Edgar Rice Burroughs
or Buck Burroughs Rides Again

Written April 1943 ~ Copyright ERB, Inc.
Transcribed for ERBzine by Bill Hillman


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Jan 28/29: Mosquito Head Set ~ Describe Kitchen Truck and Mess Detail
Sleep in Rain and Mud ~ 4 am Break Camp
I tried wearing my head set for the first time. And probably the last. They are hot and uncomfortable, and they add nothing to the pleasure of smoking. Every time you take a draw on a cigarette, you have to take a mouthful of green mosquito netting along with it. I soon discarded it, preferring the mosquitoes.
Always interested in the finer things of life, and with a nose for news, I crawled up onto the trailer hitch at the rear of the kitchen truck and watched the mess detail go into action. Across the front of the truck bed were three large gasoline stoves. Along the starboard side was a work bench. A former baker from Woolworth's New York Stores was slicing Spam. Two other men were working in the truck, and there was still room for several more. All provisions were carried in the trailer.

Several men were digging a pit for garbage and setting up the long, low table on which the chow was to be set out for serving. Pvt. Wilfred Smith of Ticonderoga, NY, was setting up the officers' mess nearby. Smith is a character. He has most of his front teeth missing, has a voice reminiscent of Stepin Fetchit, and was apparently the butt of much of the company humour. But Smith Backfires. He hands back more than they hand him. And gold braid meant nothing to Smith. He would be unabashed in the presence of the Creator.

Our seats around the officers' mess were large milk cans in which water had been brought. They were not comfortable. The chow was good. I can't recall everything we had, but there were corn, string beans, bread, butter, coffee, and Spam. Too much is always served, and much of the food is wasted. I have noticed this at practically every mess at which I have eaten.

It was after dark before we turned in. Brothers' and my cots were set up under a canopy of two shelter halves, supported by poles cut from the trees. Our mosquito bars were beautifully hung. The brief tropical twilight had disappeared behind the western mountains in the wake of the Sun. Only Dorothy Lamour was missing, and it was raining, and the grass around the cots was knee high and web, and there were many mosquitoes, and my shoes and leggins were caked with mud, and there was no place to hang my clothes. I asked Brothers if he was going to take his off. Much to my disappointment, he said that he was. But at last I made it. I tied my clothes around one of the uprights that supported the shelter halves, which left half of them under cover and half out in the rain. Then, with wet and dirty feet, I crawled into my cot and collapsed. And all this in a dense wood, on a dark and rainy night, under strict blackout conditions.

January 29: That was bad but getting up at 3:30 the next morning and dressing in the dark was even worse. My clothes were all wet. I couldn't see to lace my shoes and leggins, and I was damned cold. But I had a swell time. We breakfasted at 4:00. I have read Emily Post's book all through, but can't recall that she said anything about breakfasting at 4:00.

After breakfast, slit trenches had to be filled up, bedding and other camp gear packed and loaded, radios and motors warmed up. And that night and the next morning they were to go through the whole thing all over again in a new bivouac. It is all necessary -- all this work that millions of men all over the world are doing day in and day out, so that they may be better fitted to destroy. If it could be intelligently geared to peaceful production, what a swell war we could have twenty-five years from now;

Smoking in the US Military
Field Kitchen
US Army Kitchen Truck
Spam, The Delicacy That Won The War
A War Won with Spam
Dorothy Lamour: The Bond Bombshell
Stepin Fetchit


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