June 20, 1944 — Sgt. Norman Mohar writes home from Italy

June 19, 1944 — I was very homesick and the training was intense
June 19, 2024
June 23, 1944 — Where would the final D-Day in Europe occur?
June 23, 2024
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June 20, 1944 — Sgt. Norman Mohar writes home from Italy

Sgt. Norman Mohar continues his letter home about the 3rd Division’s training at Pozzuoli, Italy, not far from Naples. [1]

Pulling guard at night around our training area was a lonely experience. The only thing to make it easier was the abundance of fire flies flitting around. Fire flies are a fantastic study. It makes you wonder how in the heck they can generate ‘juice’ to light up their butts. Time flies too a bit faster trying to catch ‘em till your relief comes to your post. I caught a few fire flies for closer examination. They’re just bugs with a taillight!

While at this training sight we were fed quite well. We even had grapefruit juice sometimes at breakfast but my stomach couldn’t handle the acid. I drank it anyway. The amount in the canteen cup just wet the bottom. I needed whatever nutrients the juice provided.

When we were through eating some of us had scraps so we dumped the mess kit contents into a sort of septic hole in the ground for sanitation. At the perimeter of the grounds were many, many hungry civilians with buckets made out of old ration cans. We were forbidden to give them the scraps. But damn it, I went through the chow line for seconds on purpose and when I thought no one was looking, I’d quickly dash over to a civilian and dump hotcakes and coffee in their bucket. I couldn’t see the reason for not allowing the giving of leftover food to the poor hungry Italians. It looked like slop in their buckets but they were grateful for the food.

GI’s were allowed passes to visit Naples on weekends. … I attended an opera in one of Naples theaters. The prima donna had a beautiful soprano voice which impressed me but the other GIs weren’t very kind to her. We (they) were a bunch of uncouth Americans not ‘into’ opera and ballet.

For me, too, it was the first exposure to the higher ‘arts’. Ours was just mostly Glen Miller and cowboy music. I remember the prima donna being quite irritated at a ‘cat call’ from the balcony. Us ugly Americans! Whew! I am still embarrassed! [2]

[1] Sgt. Norman Mohar’s WWII Story. In: Chapter 5. http://tinyurl.com/kubhod3

[2] Ibid

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