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Mess Line During a Brief Break in the Rain | Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs

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Title:
Mess Line During a Brief Break in the Rain
Date:
1944 February
Description:

My most vivid memories of this period were the rain, the mud, and my spare driver. He had recently arrived and was assigned to me. He smoked cigars, said he had joined the AFS in order to get himself killed and become a hero. These were not my goals. But I did smoke some of his cigars and enjoyed them.

Through the rain and mud, we made a lot of "meat wagon runs", (as we called our routine ambulance evacuations of wounded). We weren’t in any great danger; there was nothing heroic. When it was raining at night, if we were off duty, we slept in the back of my ambulance.  Being the senior, I got to sleep in the upper stretcher, he in the lower. We left the rear door open a crack for ventilation.

Before going to sleep every night, he would smoke a cigar in bed and then throw his cigar butt on the floor by the door, where the rain would put it out. I can still vividly remember the disgusting sight and smell of his wet cigar butt in a puddle of brown water on the floor, when I would wake up each morning.

He didn’t succeed in getting himself killed, nor did he become a hero. He did get assigned to an ambulance of his own, and I lost track of him. The Kiwis didn’t succeed in driving the Germans out of Monte Cassino, and eventually, we went back to the somewhat better weather on the Adriatic Coast.

Location: Presenzano, near Monte Cassino.

Phys. Desc:
Available as 200 dpi JPEG or 600 dpi TIFF.
ID:
Italy33
Repository:
Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs
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Publisher:
Scanned by John C. Cobb or Picture Perfect ca. 2002-2004.
Rights:
This image cannot be reproduced without the advance permission of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs.  In the event that this digital image becomes a source for publication, a credit line indicating the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs as the source and a credit line for the photographer are required.  Please contact us if you would like to purchase a high-resolution digital copy of the image.
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