Segment 12


Baldwin didn't have much to do with Capt. Fritts, but he liked him alright. Fritts knew he was a Captain, knew he was in charge, knew he had 4 Lieutenants under him, 4 platoons, they answered to him. Baldwin remembers Bob Carlson [Annotator's Note: Lieutenant Robert "Bob" Carlson] . He brought the book with him [Annotator's Note: he did things by the book]. He was assigned to review and censor the mail being sent out. Baldwin saw him recently and he apologized for cutting things out of his personal letters. Baldwin said that it was ok; he never put anything in his letters about what they were doing. Carlson said he got a lot of static for it, but that was his job. Baldwin appreciated that. When Carlson first got there he was like a lot of 2nd Lieutenants in that he came in wanting to win the war. He went to college and OCS and was a "90 Day Wonder" and eventually adapted. He was in intelligence a long time after the war and stayed in [Annotator's Note: Carlson ended up working with the CIA]. Baldwin heard he had made Full Colonel, but he wasn't sure if that was true. When Lt. Siegfried was killed on the beach, Baldwin thinks Carlson took his place. Baldwin remembers that the Siegfried line had staggered concrete blocks and tank obstacles to prevent tanks and troops from moving through. His friend from home, Wade, asked him to tell his family if he didn't make it home where they last saw 1 another. Baldwin never did. Baldwin recalls that to knock out a pillbox was difficult. You could drop a grenade down the air ventilation shaft. He heard that the Germans let Wade walk closer to the pillbox before opening fire. He heard the rounds went through him and through the pack. Baldwin said the difficult thing would be taking prisoners after something like that. He was so glad that he wasn't a rifleman. Lieutenant Worthington was unorthodox. He never cared how his uniform looked, never bloused his pants over his boots, didn't care how he looked. Baldwin heard he stayed about 30-something years in the Army. [Annotator's Note: interview interrupted by Baldwin's wife] When they got to Belfast, Ireland the people crowded around the dock as the Americans came in. The people there loved oranges and actually had an orange festival. They had plenty of oranges on board, so some GIs through them down to the crowd and people would scramble to get them. Baldwin remembers loading trucks from there and moving along until they got 4 miles out of Newry, Ireland. They had a castle there and a rich couple had several girls that would come visit Jack and the company. George Kepner, a married GI, got pretty close to 1 of the girls. Their family had cows, horses and lots of land. They let the US put Quonset huts on their property. There were about 20 of these huts and each had an old stove heater. They would build a fire at night to keep warm. If you slept on the end of the hut nearest the heater then you were warm. Those furthest away were cold. There was a barn there that they went and got hay from. They'd get a bag and fill it with hay and sew the end up. They would do the same thing for a pillow. Jack remembers each soldier got 3 4x4 boards, 3-foot long and then 3 1x12 pieces of lumber. They would put the 4x4s down 1st close to the ground. Then they put the 3 boards on top of them and then the mattress and the pillow. You got 2 blankets and that was it.


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