Norwood Bunch Can Take It And Look Better Than Anyone Else
It makes you proud of the American kids to hear Ralph Abbott tell about how they fought in Guadalcanal He is just home after nineteen months overseas, most of that time on Guadalcanal He’s back in this country for further training and managed to spend a couple of days at his Washington Street home He had thirteen days to get from the West Coast to his new station at Camp Barkeley, Texas.
They are the best fighters—the American kids, Ralph says. Even against terrific odds, they would send the Japs back on the short end of an encounter even» time. Our. kids were always up there and let them Jiave it, he says.
They are the best-behaved kids In the world too. according to Abbott. Another thing, the “American soldier is a funny egg” Abbott says, because he can get along with the least things and find more ways to have fun than anyone else. Nothing impairs his sense of humor.
One other characteristic that distinguishes the American soldier according to Abbott’s observation Is his education. Leave a Japanese soldier alone somewhere and he isn’t so bright about extricating himself from a difficulty. But the American’s wider natural education and his training in exercising his initiative makes him capable of maneuvering his way out of many a tough spot.
Getting down to cases, Abbott reports on a number of Norwood men he saw and, while he says all the boys looked well out there, the Norwood bunch could take it and looked better than anyone else, he thought In the Medical Department, Ralph was with Lt Col James Collins and Lt. Col. Martin Berezin. Jo Walsh of Walnut Avenue was in his outfit and when fifty volunteers wanted to stay and form a new unit, Jo and Abbott stuck by.
He saw Johnny McCuen, Eddie Smith, Norman Wagner, Louis Prager, and Vic Plosinski, and someone called Jake or out there “Jumpin Joe.” There was another fellow from Chapel street way with whom Abbott came in contact. He just missed Joe Casse, with whom he used to work here, at one point. He also was disappointed to miss Capt. Jack Hartwell.
Abbott doesn’t say much about the fighting or living out there He says living wasn’t too comfortable or the less said about the food the better or the heat was terrific or “that was when things were pretty bad.” He sums all comments along that line up with “Eddie Rickenbacker was right about the worst hell hole in the world.”
Santa Claus in Shorts
What Abbott will tell you about is Christmas, when things were “pretty bad” and no one thought that Uncle Sam could get a celebration through in time But there it was on Christmas day, a turkey dinner with all the fixings. It was not too bad at all, Christmas on Guadalcanal.
They had midnight services and lit candles even if they might be an invitation to a bomb. They had an open-air Mass. And they had a Santa Claus, only he wore shorts because it was so hot. They had a lot of fun on Christmas.
Abbott had a Thanksgiving Day dinner too but he wouldn’t say where he had it. And Easter was observed with the big dinner that spelled holidays out there. Uncle Sam, Abbott says, did his darndest to do well by the boys. Mail day out there was always a holiday in itself.
Abbott tells, too, about the fun they had with the shows they used to stage. There was a good deal of professional talent in the crowd, M. C.’s or comedians or musicians
(All articles originally published in the Norwood Messenger)