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Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight. If they will face death, there is nothing they may not achieve.

-- Sun Tzu

World War IIApril 29, 1945

Dear Mom,
This is the beginning of that long letter I promised you many moons ago. Today's Sunday and for the first time in the same period of time I've been to church--if you call the grassy section of a pig pen a church.
One before--Good Friday--I believe the Battalion was scheduled to have services but we moved to soon--this time to cross the Rhine. I'll never forget that beautiful moonlit night when we crossed. Crossing familiar rivers seem to fall in our lot. I still don't think you appreciate the beauty of this country when you see those tattle-tale gray photos of U.S. columns moving on a country road--bordered on each side with blooming apple trees. Millions of golden dandelions are polkadotted against the brilliant fresh fields. There are mountains in the distance and at their foot flows the Rhine. Such a scene must be similar to the one which inspired Strauss. When I play the music box you gave me for graduation I'm sure this will be the scene that will be recalled. Even the somber G.I, trucks tried to add to the color with their brilliant yellow and red paneled which identified them as front-line vehicles. We are moving quite fast these days. Sometimes the Krautheads have just moved the last of their belongs out when we take off again. This even mean is one of fried eggs and potatoes. They were good but ugh! the coffee . Ersatz!

These German prisoners are just a nuisance. You park them on the hood of your truck and drive until you find some one with less than you and dump them in his lap. When we were in Thuringen Forest we captured our youngest ones, 15, 16, on up.

Yesterday we had captured German food for chow and the one particular article which made me forget about these due packages from home was a piece of Swiss cheese, as big as a tractor tire. Was that good! We had some sprouts that tasted somewhat like asparagus that wasn't bad at all.

Altho I can't tell you how tough we have it slugging it out with Jerry 88's and mortars, our casualties have been light and our chief concern is neutralizing gun positions. At night a Jerry reconnaissance plane or two teases us--he's known as "bed-check Charlie." So this is a letter to end all or any worry--except perhaps you worry anyhow. In fact as I wrote my honey, Ruth, I'd rather be here than some other spot, since I cannot see any of you. What a thrill it was going through the small villages even tho they were blacked out on the way to our first camp.

I think I suddenly came to realize that Luther hasn't too much time for himself.

Say, I sent some souvenirs on the way--military of course. They aren't hard to find but boxes to send things in are.

Hoping to write more such letter again.

Your Jack-son. PS I hear German planes coming after us now.


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