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Donald F. Rodawig Papers: Transcripts - MS 1048

Donald F. Rodawig - Diary, July-December 1943

Diary

July 1943

July 1st
Our hospital was made into a 500 bed unit.

August 1943

August 1st
My promotion went in with Levinson and Foster. Mine was turned down with Levinson's, Fosters was Okayed some slip in paper work we both out ranked him - was very disappointed for I thought I justly deserved it - Report to be resubmitted in 60 days. Maj. Edwin Thornens (Laboratory) joined the group - Aug 15th Maj. Harry McClain Aug 17th this will cheat some one out of a just promotion - So many ranking medical officers without jobs - they must be placed.

September 1943

Sept 1st
Detached from 5th Army - reassigned to M.BS

Sept 14
Promotion again sent through - under MBS each officer promoted much show his worth and efficiency by spending 1 week of [------] patrol in Oran its headquarters - General Wilson in charge is a strict disciplinarian

July 17 - [sic--September?]
Spent a week in Sadia running a dispensary for 5th Army recreation center - Wonderful vacation.

July 1 1943[sic--September?]
Lt Levine and Grossman [---] unit

July 28[sic--September?]
My notice [quits] - looks like big things are to happen.

Sept 30th
Flew to Fez in an old Anson English bomber with Hugh, Lt Cleaves, Capt Bird. A beautiful trip over dangerous mountains - Did like this to much - we stayed at Hotel Palais Jamie over looking the largest medina in the world. 160,000 people. Bought a nice hassock and sent home.

October 1943

Oct 2 -
Traveled all day from Fez arriving late at nite in Oran to begin patrol duty.

Oct 3
MP patrol through Arabian brothels picking up American soldiers - what a job for a medico. You wouldn't believe what you saw - we broke right into the rooms and pulled off good American soldiers off the worse looking hogs imaginable.

A beautiful retreat parade by the muses in the Oran area - British French and American flags fly in city square at Oran. Soldiers representing each country carried the flags from the field. I met a nice young Lt Dick Page Balty "B" 90th CA (AA) all colored regiment we patrolled together - Had a nice breakfast one morning at his company area overlooking Oran [bartn?]

Oct 11 1943
Returned to Hospital for duty.

Oct 12 1943
began taking French lessons from Madam Le Grand. her husband is a Captain in French Army - She has quite a class - Parsons, Lauly, Wells, Thorsness, Carney, and I.

November 1943

Nov 7 1943 -
Prov Parachute Bn holding a mass parachute jump at dusk.

Plane crashed killing 7 - thought for a while that Maj. McClellan and Palazzo might be aboard, they had gone up to observe from the air - what a relief to find that they were O.K.

Nov 11 1943
Big parade Sengalise, British, French Goumi and American paratroopers. Spitfires and C47 flying low barely missing the buildings

Nov 12 1943 -
Alerted for movement

" 13 1943
All patients evacuated from our hospital to 32nd Station and 46th Gen Hosp at Telemeen and Oran

Nov 21 1943
Hugh, Sgt Ed Lieber, Lentini and Piston went by ambulance to Algiers to visit Lt Ann Pace 175th WAC - Met Hammels sister who is a WAC and brought her home with us for a visit with her brother - Boarded a Liberty ship just over from states had Scotch and Soda, rum - fine chicken dinner - brought home some for Col Wells - Their convoy attacked between Oran and Algiers by German Planes - they lost 6 ships - Met Maj. Stegeman a class mate of mine from Manhattan. Visited Natousa Hdq. Medical Section met Gen Blasse. Visited A7 H9 located in St. George Hotel overlooking harbor. Visit [quanitels?] of ammunition along highway leading to Algiers. Rumor has it big meeting - Roosevelt Churchill, Stalin and Chiang Kasheck meeting in Cairo with Germand envoys for peace proposal.

Nov 24 -
Returned to Oujda a long trip over mountainous country at least a 14 hour journey.

Nov 25 -
Thanksgiving day - lonesome for my family - a huge Turkey dinner with the works.

Nov 27 -
Packed hospital equipment in box cars.

Nov 28 -
Leaving Oujda at 6 PM tonite for the staging area at Oran - 16 hours by train - what a trip - Enlisted men to travel by 40 and 8 cars - we have 2 coaches arrived following day 10 AM

To goat Hill C.P.I. Area 32 near Resi Ben Okba - living in the open with bare necessities of life - beautiful view of Lion Mountain from our area. Spent most of my spare time at O.R.C. and seeing good shows in Oran

December 1943

Dec 6 -
By truck to H.M.S. Havi-Ly a converted Norwegian freighter that ran from Norway to China - about 4000 ton ship. Left Oran Harbor at 7 PM Met a convoy of 3 destroyers to accompany a troop ship and ours - Banage ballon above the troop ship - Our ships are loaded with ammunition - Keep our fingers crossed - Many ships lost recently - by arreal torpedoes - We will have to start ducking for we are getting in the war area for sure!

Dec 7
Troop ship Carnorama a 16,000 ton ship - carries a ballon barrage saw several bodies floating in water - off Phollipville - 2 General hospital and 1 station Hospital and personal lost off here last trip.

Passed Bagute yesterday then to tip of Sicily and straight across Trigham Sea and this A.M. Dec 9th coming in Naples harbor passed the Isle of Capri and Mt Vesuvius overlooking the harbor - The trip as a whole was excellent - sunshiny days, moonlite nites and a clear sea - It would have been a wonderful cruise in peace time but we were all tense especially knowing that we were sitting on 2 million lbs. of ammunition. Above us most of the way were patrol planes. The harbor is functioning well, the surrounding buildings were gutted and useless.

Many sunken ships seen in the harbor - down town streets are full of people winding in and around the wreckage - was taken by convoy to the Termete Aganano hotel a marvelous building which had been practically ruined by the bombings - it is nestled in hills overlooking a valley which was formerly a swanky race track like Hialeck Park - Hot sulphur water used to be piped into every room and now the plumbing is practically all destroyed - but we can go to the springs below and take hot baths. No electricity or window panes in the building. This was is a costly thing. I moved into a bath room moved in some wicker furniture and have covered the window with a rubber mat and am very comfortable - There is no trolley car service and we walk 2 miles to our meals in a gorgeous fair grounds that is practically destroyed by the raids but here remains evidence of gothic architecture built with a splendor of old - the buildings are built of a marble veneer and was said to have been built to celebrate the beginning of the new Roman Empire. here in this area is the hospital center composed of the 23rd Gen Hosp, 182nd Station Hospital, 225 Station Hosp., 3rd Com Hosp. The town where we will set up eventually has not been taken 40 miles south of Rome so most of us will go on detached service with other hospital groups until we can be established - Visited an old Fort over looking the harbor - it had been hit and much of the fine paintings on the walls had been destroyed. In the basement was the old dungeon and the sealed caskets had been broken open and we could see the skeletons of prisoners buried in the 15th century Am sure that not many have seen this for we have taken there by an English soldier who described this while investigating the building. The [5 Corps] [S Carfo] theatre had not been touched and the musical opera season is in full swing. The Neapolatian people are quite short in stature. beautiful olive skins and black snapping eyes - There are many beggars on the street, many of them appear to be hungry and poorly clothed. You can see a tenseness in their faces - and are war torn. There seems to be plenty of wines, jewelry and clothes but a definite lack in substantial food stuffs. Have been looking for a good cameo broach but have been unable to find one worth the money. Prices have tripled since our visit here. Bought two pair of Barra gloves to send home to my sweet -

Dec 12 -
Rained practically all day - One year overseas - Had a couple of high balls of Scotch to celibrate -

Dec 14 1943
MrLain, Tandy, Black Murphy, Palozzo and myself on detached service with the 225th Station Hospital in the fair grounds - a 500 bed unit with 1500 patients and God how they need help - battle casualties galore. trench foot, [gos gu-pers] infections they are taxed to the limit - Was assigned a ward set up beds and received 80 patients immediately busy in the O.R. -

Capt Hanson - Jefferson Iowa in the group - enjoy his company.

French Gourm troops - very poor medical care.

Dec 24 1943
Scrubbed the wards. bought wine for the boys and had a nice party for them. They really appreciated this. I hope that I have made some one happy for I am mighty low today -

Dec 25 -
Red letter day - to the front visiting the most forward hospital installation - saw formations of Spit fires over head and heard the big artillery duel - 11th Field Hospital only 8 miles from the front - next to 123rd Cleaning Co. - only most recent cases [Px] here - Surgical teams of 2nd Auxiliary Gn work here. then strung a buck for the net 15 miles [wine] the Evacuation Hosp. 38th, 8th, 6th, 10 Field, 94th, 95th, 15th, Surgical teams attached to all these - they are the boys who get the work 2 ½ hour to the front from Naples. Aversa, Capua, out route 7 to Riarto close to St Pichto and Vencho - conditions up there are bad. mud up to their ears No mail since Dec 4th - Xmas packages did not arrive. but somehow the ambulances get through - Xmas dinner with Chaplain Sutton Boon Ia at 94th Evac - he had just transferred back from the 34th Division Most of the towns are in shambles. the roads filled with convoy - marring up and supply trucks Ralph Logan Capt with 45th Gen and Hugh was along. Friendly spirit all along - nurses and men doing a grand job. no complaining. Col Wells made a full Col for a Xmas present Would consider it a break to get with the Auxiliary group -

Dec 26
Contacted Col Forsee Co. 2nd Auxiliary Gp. - favorably impressed. Hdq. at [Marcin---] out from [Avelia] a little.

Ammuniton dump (German) exploded in Naples - entire city covered with smoke - shells exploding all the time - sounded like you were at the front. Visited 3rd Med. Collecting Co - mired down in the mud - M.Ps are terribly low no med work for 18 months - jumpy - Litter bearers carry wounded from mountains some of them take 8 hours to get one wounded out. Have lost a lot of men. This was wont be over so soon - the Jerries seem zeroed in. 27 German Div. is winning the war - they fire twice - Americans return 150 and so on. Naples off limits to all military personnel Tyhpus fever spreading.

Dec 31 1943. New Years Eve -
attended 5th Army party at Kings Palace Cozerta - a good time but so lonesome without my honey. Saw Fred Jarvis Maj. 2nd Aux Gp he likes his work fine. New Years Day 1-1-44. Worked at the hospital all day a fine Turkey dinner.

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