May 18, 1944, evening: Arrived at Fort Meade, Maryland; spent time being
processed for overseas duty.
May 20, 1944:
Got a three day pass. Enjoyed these last three days at home with
family and friends. (This would be my last visit at home until
my discharge on December 7, 1945.) Among my friends I spent time
with were Tom Rubritz and Fidler Hetzlein; both buddies I grew
up with. It would be my last time to see Tom Rubritz. He was
killed during the battle of St. Lo. on July 17, 1944 (fifty-seven
days after our visit). Fidler survived and died on November 11,
May 24, 1944:
While at Fort Meade paid Helene and Marge Ruth a visit. (They
were working in Washington, D.C.)
May 27, 1944:
My brother John came to visit me. He was stationed in New Jersey.
I felt great walking with John because everybody saluted him.
He was a First Lieutenant. My diary says "it was a happy
day for both of us. John gave me twenty dollars as he was leaving."
John stayed with me until the last minute. At 10:00 p.m. he left
me and I boarded a train for a port of embarkation.
May 28, 1944:
Rode train all night and at 10:00 a.m. arrived at Camp Miles
Standish, Massachusetts (outside Boston). I spent the next four
days getting processed for overseas.
June 1, 1944:
Boarded a train which took us straight to the pier. We boarded
the ship, the U.S. Mount Vernon. It was a converted luxury liner,
the former U.S. George Washington. It was a beautiful ship. We
slept overnight and on June 2, 1944, Mary Ann Ruth's birthday,
we shipped out for the mighty voyage across the Atlantic.
June 2 through 13, 1944: Saw nothing but water, a few sharks and whales, icebergs,
and played a lot of pinochle with Adolph Sienkwicz and Skarbak.
It took us this long because the troop ships had to take a zig-zag
pattern to evade the German U-Boats. There was one frightening
experience when the ship dropped a few depth charges. It happened
on June 6th (D-Day). I was fearful of the U-Boats.