With The 22nd Infantry Regiment in World War II

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Back Jacket Cover of A Soldier's Journal A Few Quotes from A Soldier's Journal Part 1 One Year in the Army, Stateside 2/15/42 I just concluded my first session of making up my bed, regulation style..it is sorely tempting to sleep tonight beside the bed rather than disturb the prime success of the effort. 2/17/42 The penalty for desertion and other serious delinquencies is death, as determined by court- martial. Most of us required little convincing to know that it doesn't pay to fool around with the army. 2/26/42..an army function known as "griping," which is as staple as beans. The story goes that if a soldier has the energy to gripe at the end of the day, he is all right. 3/14/42 My rifle is gradully and surreptitiously creeping into my life and consciousness. I all but eat and sleep with it. 4/7/42..we resumed earning our "seventy cents a day" by harnessing ourselves into full field pack and hiking ten miles. 4/12/42 There are rumors about everything..the rumor that has found the most favor is one claiming that the average life of a machine gunner in combat is ninety seconds. 5/8/42 "If a bullet has my number on it it'll get me." This is the popular philosophy expressed by the boys, fatalistic but not morbid; a healthy rationalization that helps them accept their lot. 5/14/42 Re classification tests: A few endowed with resourcefulness, perspicacity, luck, or hard work find their permanent niche in the army and are content. Most leave it to chance and are willing to muddle on. 5/16/42..main difference in attitude between the army and the civilian public, which thinks every war it fights and wins will be the last, while the army, mindful that America has been at war every thirty years since the 17th century, feels wars are destined for all time to come and we should make them as painless as possible. 7/1/42 In army camp towns all over the country there will be the phenomenon tonight of thousands of men, down to the lowliest, walking around, each with $49 or $50 in his pocket he can spend. Today was payday..The recently enacted law passed by Congress authorized $50 per month to be the base pay for soldiers. 7/12/42 On maneuvers: Apparently it is possible to get used to anything. I've been sleeping like a babe in primitive fashion, falling off to the dulcet chirping of crickets and awakened by rays of sunlight shining through the trees. 7/16/42 I say morale is relatively good, that "War is Hell," and I can visualize living in far worse conditions than we are presently--which doesn't stop me from griping as much as anyone. 7/22/42 Our next destination will be 33 miles distant, for which we are now packed and ready to leave. Any of us will soon be qualified as assistant sheik in a tribe of nomads. 8/4/42 Tomorrow..scheduled to march 20 miles with light pack..much better than the 25-miler a month ago with full field pack..it might have been necessary for developing a rugged army, but many a man complained bitterly that his youth was being burned out. 8/11/42 One rumor holds that officers who train an outfit rarely go overseas with it. A precaution: hatreds developed might cause an officer to be shot in battle "accidentally" by one of his own men. 9/3/42 One girl canceled her plans to marry when her boy frield was physically classified 4F. "If he isn't good enough for Uncle Sam then he isn't good enough for me," she declared. 11/19/42 The majority believe war is a lottery in which they want to be winners by returning in good health.
At left: Photographed in Paris, France, August 29, 1944, in front of Notre Dame Cathedral. Left to right: Captain Herbert Brill, Sergeant John Cooper, Corporal Bill Dyer, and Sergeant David Rothbart. See entry of 8/​29/​44--"Captain Brill, John Cooper, Bill Dyer and I got into a jeep and went to look for the Regimental Command Post in Paris. Someone happened to bring along a camera and we took some pictures. 'Paris is verily gay and the women--oo, la, la!!!"
Through the miracle of E-mail, I saw this photo for the first time 56 years later, in the year 2000.

12/​18/​42 No man seems able to picture himself in the thick of a fierce bloody battle. The mind refuses to believe he can in any way become a war casualty.

12/​10/​42 My fellow soldier said to me, "Rothbart, I want you to write in your journal what I said on this date. In 20 years the same thing will happen and we'll find ourselves in war again."

1/​13/​43 Contrary to an impression one may have of army life, soldiers do not cringe before men of higher rank. The lowly private, seasoned and tempered by hard knocks, does not flinch before his platoon sergeant's reproofs, and certainly not at his corporal's.


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