Well, I’m back in the 127th now, dammit!
My beautiful vacation is over and I can’t say I’m glad. No more going to town, no more movies, no more dates with Mary (Fletcher, Army Nurse), no more drinking, no more electric lights, no more driving my jeep, no more barracks, no more sleeping late – it’s all over now. Back to work – and I mean work! – although I was pretty busy in the 5203rd.
I am in a rifle platoon now, the 2nd – temporarily, I hope, Lt. Zacur seems to be second in command, although before we left we were told we would have our old jobs back if we returned. (Zacur) is certainly on the ball, but it looks as though I am washed up.
I wonder what it is that I haven’t got? A good many men who have had malaria three or four times have gone to Rockhampton to a reconditioning center. I wonder if I’ll go or if I will have to have another attack first? Right now I feel like saying, to hell with everything.
I just want to get back home, and to Mary (Emerson Jenks). I got her photos Sunday, and they are swell.
Well, maybe I’ll get over this blue feeling soon. It certainly isn’t doing me any good, feeling this way.
Tuesday, 28 September 1943
About two weeks ago I went to see Colonel Howe to find out why I haven’t had a promotion yet. [Elmore has been a second lieutenant since he joined the Army.] (Colonel Howe) talked quite a while saying that he had seen me put out instruction only two or three times and what he saw, in his opinion, was pretty poor. Since he hadn’t seen me put out anything he considered good, he formed his opinion from what he had seen. He ended up by saying there were three openings left in the first battalion for a first lieutenant, and he would agree to my trying any one of them. He said ads soon as I showed him I could do the work, he would be glad to recommend my promotion.
I wish I had asked him if the reason my promotion had been turned down three times was a result of what I had said in New Guinea. [In later entries, Elmore records he complained to a colonel that some “damn fool” had given orders to guard useless and abandoned equipment. The “damn fool” turned out to be the colonel himself. See this entry for details. -P.E.J.]
Lt. Colonel Boerem, the regimental executive officer, gave me quite a spiel on preparation. The openings were in B Company weapons platoon, which I had for a week, and company executive, which I had off and on for four or five months. The third was machine gun platoon leader in D Company.
On Saturday, 18 September, I got orders assigning me to D Company.
I went to Brisbane Saturday afternoon with Captain Lewis in the C and R and had dinner and saw a show with Mary (Fletcher). We got in at 1 a.m. and Sunday I moved to D Company.
At noon on Wednesday, just after I got back from one of the outlying combat ranges, I was called to go before a medical board. It was because of the malarial attacks I’ve had. The board consisted of Major Shields, Captain Gamso, and Captain Dick. I was hot and sweaty from the hike and had a little temperature, and Saturday my name came down from regiment on the boarded list.
On Sunday I heard I was being shipped out to Rockhampton. Lieutenants Colter and Dwyer took the company out Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. fore the start of a three-day, 40-mile hike to a jungle training area. I’m glad I missed it.
I got up at 2:30 a.m. Monday to get the trucks to the train, and finally arrived here at camp at 5 a.m. this morning. I’m in the 2nd battalion of H Company, and it seeks pretty nice. The men are starting to get the company area all prettied up. At present, the officers in the battalion are together in one group of pyramidal tenths. I’m in with Lieutenants Ensign and Roberts, OCS from the 41st. We put up our bunks and mosquito bars this morning, and I took a cold shower and it felt good. It gets pretty hot here. After lunch, we have to hit the sack until 2:30 p.m.
4 October 1943
Monday evening. It is 9 p.m. and I just finished a letter to Mary (Jenks). Now I’m drinking a bottle of forbidden beer and reminiscing, The officers around here must be on another bender. They’re pretty noisy. I have the bad luck to have Captain Odie Cook as commanding officer of H Company. He is about as dumb as they make them and he sure looks and acts it and he’s drunk most of the time. Goodrich, the exec, is just as bad and is a brown noser of the first water. It is a rotten mess and I am trying to get out of it.
Norgaard is the supply and athletic officer and he’s OK. I’m the mess and atebrine officer. I have to supervise the mess and kitchen. We take five tablets every three days.
[What is atebrine? I asked. “It was a treatment for malaria,” Dad said. “It was supposed to prevent it, but it didn’t seem to work after you had gotten it once.” – P.E.J.]
God, what I wouldn’t give to be back in the states, and with Mary.