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Catalog Number 1996.51.136FD
Object Name Letter
Accession number 1996.51
Description Full transcription of text follows:

jhenschel_0122_0001

Motor Transport Co. 831, Motor Reception Park #3, APO 927. June 22, 1919 Dearest of Mothers: This old world certainly is full of a number of things, and not least among these is changes. These changes have come and gone and come again so rapidly during the last week that one's head fairly swims. First, due to the pending (or impending) date of the signing of peace, it has been necessary to get ready for service all available motor transportation, and of course all available personel to operate said transportation. Hence one bright and balmy summer eve, at about six o'clock I find myself the proud daddy of a family of forty Packard trucks, the theory being that a motor transport company should be able to operate forty trucks without other notice than having them wished off on it. Which is quite correct. The next morning at 6:00 you could have found us all winding up these trucks, and starting to two different towns, Neuwied and Montabaur - about twenty to twenty five kilometers from Coblenz, the main idea being that in the event of "Necessity" we could carry troops north. The half that came with me to Neuwied are all set; the half that went under one of my best sergeants to Montabaur - a total as nearly as I can figure. They reported all perfectly fine to the office known as G-1, 1st Div. and from there I have not been able to find them. This office seemed to operate on the basis that a truck is a truck and driver a driver, no matter from what outfit, and so assigned them out to different infantry units in the 1st division, without making any record of their names or organizations. Only having about 1500 trucks in the division now (the doughboys aren't going to walk the rest of the way to Berlin, if they go), and having no record as to which truck is who, and not more than a single one one of my trucks going to the same organization - you can rather figure the sort of job that I have ahead of me to find them again. All because of some beautiful piece of brainwork, that decieded that things could be done quicker without a record being kept. If there is an advance into Germany, I probably never will be able to find the half of my company, nor 21 or the trucks for which I have signed and if we don't move, it will take days to find them all. You see the division is so scattered around in small towns, that one has to visit all of the towns in order to find which unit has any one truck. AND when one arrives at a town where his truck is located, it may be out on a trip at the time, and the infantry officer doesn't know what the driver's name may be, nor his organization, nor in some cases, the make of truck. When one asks, they are not particularly anxious to find out, for they all figure that they may lose the truck. It's a sweet mess, and I'd cheerfully murder someone. Outside of that, life is one continual round of joy and tugging at the leash these days. These boys of mine are working like good ones, getting their voitures polished up and in shape. The outfit that had them before were not very particular, and I am - and the boys too, strange though it may seem, are all anxious to have everything first rate. And this is the outfit that wrote a petition, wanting to go home, too!

jhenschel_0122_0002

In alot of ways it all reminds me of the Reserve days. I like trucks anyway, and to have a full oufit of them has always been on of my dreams. I've got them now, if only perhaps for a short time, and if needs be, I sure am going to run these wagons. My boys are not all expert truck drivers yet, but they are all willing, and darned good workers, and that is all that anyone could want. In fact, outside of the Reserve, I've got the best outfit in the world. (Not at all conceited.) Strictly speaking, my address has changed, but as I may be back at Neuendorf before you get this letter, don't use any other. We are now under the 3rd Army Corps, and if we go into Germany further, it will be under Col. Purington to MTO of that Corps. Please, you all mustn't think that I am staying over here because I want to. Of course, if a move ahead is made (and tomorrow night should decide that) I'll be mighty glad they did not see fit to "inspect and condemn" me before now. However, we are motor transport, and as motor transport, it is only safe to predict that my company will furnish the detail that pulls up the last gang plank, and that Neddie late of [Kansas City], is liable to be the last sojer to climb that gang plank. That is, of course, if I don't get sent home for "inefficiency" - like Charley. Au revoir. Next week's terrible may come from en route to Berlin, or from Neuendorf. Or another extension may be grated, in which event, the wail will be written at Neuwied. Love as ever. Ned.

From the service of James E. (Ned) Henschel, Co. B Reserve Mallet--French Army, American Field Service, Quartermaster Corps, General Hdgts., and Motor Transport Co. 831.
Date June 22, 1919
Year Range from 1919
Year Range to 1919
People Henschel, James (Ned) Edward
Subjects World War I
Letters (Home)
Trucks
Recording & registration
Writing
Homecomings