No letter from anyone today, but I’ll try to dash off a line or two anyway. As you can see from the typewriter I’m on that well-known C.Q. today. I had nothing better to do so it’s just as well. It starts at noon today and ends at noon tomorrow, so it’s a pretty long haul. Always before it started around six at night till reveille the next morning. I can’t see any reason for a guy hanging around here in the daytime but it isn’t up to me. Lots of things would be different for me if it was.
I sent you the negatives to the pictures I took coming up from Nice. I had sent you the snaps before. As you probably noticed they were enlarged. I had that done at the Special Service when we were at Barnesville. It took long enough for me to get them but they did nice work on them didn’t they? What do you think of the one of me? Don’t I look like hell? It was coldern hell, and riding in an open box car is a long way from comfortable.
(The owner of the typewriter had to use it so there is a slight pause here)
I spent my New Years night sleeping in an old French hotel that had been gutted by demolition work by the Jerries. We arrived in Barnesville on that night. While there I was under some shellfire from an island off the coast there one night. It sure surprised us as we really hadn’t given the Jerries much thought out there. We knew of course they were there, but everything seemed so peaceful around there that it didn’t seem possible that we could be shelled. They made us a raid on Granville that night and shelled us to keep us from going there. Nevertheless, we were alerted and put in our vehicles to go. Before we could take off, the Jerries had gone. They shot up a few G.I.s and took some prisoners, but it really never did them any good. I saw Le Haye de Fruit, or however you spell it. Also Cherbourg, St. Lo, and most of those places in the vicinity.
That was sure a hell of a section of country. It reminded me a lot of Italy. The houses were all stone and clay and big awkward looking affairs. The people there didn’t care a whole lot about the G.I.s, in fact, they acted like they would have rather had the Germans there. They couldn’t understand why the Americans and English had to blow down some of their houses. That’s what made them mad. Also cleaned out quite a few of their towns. This war has certainly been confusing for us in spots. A guy don’t know whether some of the people have been really as glad to see us as they let on. I know in Italy, it was a well known fact, that they Italians would wave and give flowers to the Jerries as they left a town, and then do the same thing to us when we would come in. That was one of the reasons we dislike them so much. We just got so we mistrusted any and all of them. The French included.
I think one of these days I’ll send home a package of odds and ends I’ve collected and sort of get ready for better days. I have about a thousand pictures you have sent me, and I just can’t bring myself to destroy them. Also my lanyard and buttons from the old Force. We are supposed to each get a copy of the entire history of the Force one of these days when the thing is all done. It should be nice to have.
Honey, I sure have high hopes of seeing you before Christmas but you know how the army is, it can always disappoint you. Therefore the day I walk in and you see me will be the first time you’ll know I’m home. Who knows, I might catch someone running out the back door. Now, ain’t that a hell of a thing to say. That’s one thing I haven’t been worrying about at least, and I sure am thankful for it.
I should write a lot of letters today, but I sure ain’t in the mood for it. This is another one of those rainy days. It sure does enough of that around here. I feel like sleeping the whole afternoon, but I had plenty of sleep last night. I didn’t even get up for breakfast this morning.
What do you hear from Chick? They must like him so well that they want to hang on to him. I expect to get a letter any day now from you saying he is either home or on his way.
Well, honey, I’ve about run out of talk so guess I’ll stop for now. I sure love you like everything and miss you with all my heart. Hope I see you soon.
So long now,
The books above were the two histories of the Force that Snook owned. The first is the iconic Burhans’ history with the (mostly correct) Force roster in the back. The second is the original 1968 publication of Adleman and Walton’s history of the group.
I have to admit, some of Snook’s letters home are tough to read, particularly through a contemporary lens. While I hate seeing such negative generalizations about the French and Italians who Snook and the Force encountered, a little empathy about the ridiculously tough situations that all involved had just lived through and continued to face, as well as acknowledging war fatigue on both sides, makes the attitudes, perceptions, and frustrations expressed a bit easier to understand. Still, I do worry about offending any readers from France and Italy, and hope you will not take Snook’s antique criticisms to heart.