By Tech. Sgt. ROBERT
The Irrepressible Sergeant Geake, of Fort Wayne,
Indiana, who has been amusing the customers from
time to time during the past-few months, has sent us—
by slow boat* apparently—another batch of memoranda, dealing with the vicissitudes of Army life.
Sergeant Ceake is with the 5th Army, which recently
fought its way into Italy, hut these letters were written
while his outfit was still at its North African base. Our
attitude la that If they had been written during the
. Cavil "War they would still he joyous reading..yi
' —The Editors.
) NOT be deceived. 'It m not difficult to be a
J surgeon in the Army. All you need is an inborn
reluctance to let soldiers alone and twenty-nine
signs reading, Contaminated.
-Army surgeons and normal people seldom see eye to
eye. Over here in North Africa, for instance, they
seem constantly to be at odds, with -the Array as to
just who or what constitutes the eueray.. Obsessed
with the happy faculty of being unable to see the war
for^ the germs, they are apt to go bouncing around the
front lines through machine-gun and artillery fire,
shouting, "For heaven's sakes, stop this nonsense and
get your mosquito bars on!" At Kasserine Pass they
answered Rommel's dive bombers by distributing posters depicting a' contented-looking red-blue-and-yellow
mosquito a foot long, and bearing in huge black letters
the somewhat debatable proposition: As Deadly as a
Stuka! Just so the boys wouldn't lose perspective.
In the field, our pill rollers live in cycles. They go on
wild shot crusades and will not rest content until every
lime TNTrVn<»"fWiiii«6Jirijrajjlffi iwiitffl
soldier in the outfit has two sore arms. It's about time
DOW for the teeth-inspection cycle. That will be some
thing. All the dental surgeons of the 5th Array will
rush frantically about with nttle sterilized sticks, looking into the mouth of everything front a cannon to a
Africa has been a windfall for the 'Medical Corps.
In American camps, the docs had to be good to ■cars
us with reports of flies seen loitering around the
kitchen. Here they can simply exploit our own natural
caution about drinking water and malaria.
The policy of our unit surgeons on water is simple.
Briefly, it is: "Go back! Go back! Can't you see?
That's water!" To meet thai.grave emergency, our
doctor hangs a Lyster bag out under a tree whenever
we stop in the field. Tins is a large, canvas-rubber bag
filled with chlorine, to.'which s little water has been
added as a safety precaution. Itis white, bangs within
a foot of the ground and has four nozzles near the bot-
11 in inii i ii iiiii null gia.'llTl'i After agooamng
at the healthy life, drinking n^^rftg but puze'disin-
fectants, most of us are ready to trade a slightly used
surgeon and one Lyster bag foi a good swig of contaminated water.
I think the surgeon is behind this mile-run thing
too. At least it illustrates his policy: "Keep the boys
fit if it kills them." ■ Every morning before breakfast
we bring victory a Btep nearer by double-timing desperately over the African countryside in fatigues. At
-.the head of the floundering column prances the pace
setter—some minor-league Gunner Haegg in Ids middle twenties who can't appreciate that we elderly men
in our late twenties aren't what we used to be. The
only intelligent people out then are the Arabs, who
stand at the side of the road and watch us. go by.
For months Bow the surgeons have been making us
take atabrine. Atabrine has something to do with
malaria—probably causes it. Anyway, it i nines in lit-'
DRAWINGS BY FLOYD DAVIS
tie yellow pills, and no Army doctor can resist a piu, if
someone else has to. take it. -'
In our company we were introduced to atabrine at a
Tunisian cork woods. There; was a kindly speech by
the battalion surgeon and a beguiling talk by our company commander, who held up the. new pill in his
thumb and forefinger so that all might see. We could
hardly wait to take oar atabrine. Finally they let us
line up—" No bucking the fine, men; there's enough
for everybody"—and checked off our names. With the
pill we received a canteen cup, brimful of cold lemonade, after which we all sat around on the ground and
shot the breeze. Never were our relations with the
Medical Corps more cordial.. Corporal Klornp sounded
the keynote of the evening when he observed, "All tine
and no malaria too." ■' | ''?*%.'■
I can, perhaps; suggest the deceit and treachery that
scene represented in point of fact by noting for the
record that today we take our **"^r>w*f* atabrine every
Tuesday and Thursday evening or we go on a ten-mile
hike- * 4 *
One morning this past summer, a mighty troop convoy was steaming over the shining sea toward Africa.
The vast armada was six Say* out of an American
port, enjoying calm weather and an uneventful voyage. Suddenly the flagship ran smack into Private
Chapman. This is the story of the incredible forty-
«%h*!?bour#iil2«yfoaowed;' f" r '"'■ ~~ '--r^"-
- That morning there appeared in the ship's mimeo-
graphed newspaper, of which Private Chapman was
the editor, the following anhouncement: "Sea fltnTripe
will be issued tomorrow morning. Contact your first
sergeant and be will give you permission to get some.
Sea Stamps are invaluable on ocean-going mail."
Immediately, the 8000 soldiers aboard were interested in sea stamps. First sergeants were besieged
with questions and offered bribes. They, in turn, asked
their officers, who were enthusiastic to a man, but as
vague as anyone else. How much do they cost? Row
do they work?' Where do we get them? Let's check
with the editor. '■' *'*.^"■ *'_ v ," "•
With thousands of soldiers clustered around loudspeakers, Chapman went on the air just before chow
and answered most of the questions. The sea stamps
would cost twenty-five cents. You fixed them on your
letters in normal fashion. AH mail bearing sea stamps
would be packed in special Backs and dropped off at"
night at a secret mail buoy, where a fast patrol boat