Robert Friederichs

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An American Soldier in WWII

Text of Robert Friederichs

  • Days spent in the Army: 1

    ROBERT NORMAN FRIEDERICHS:

    An American Soldier in

    WWII

  • Days spent in the Army: 2

    Reference MapsUSA

    Oakland

    Camp Abbot, OR

    Walla Walla, WA

    Fort Lewis, WA

    Monterey

    Camp Howze, TX

    New Orleans

    Direction of Travel

    Camp Shanks, NY

    West Coast

    South

    Northeast

  • Days spent in the Army: 3

    Reference Maps

    Europe (WWII)

    Le Havre Charleville

    Bruxelles (Brussels), Belgium

    Germany

  • Days spent in the Army: 4

    Important Documents

  • Days spent in the Army: 5

    Important Documents

  • Days spent in the Army: 6

    Important Documents

  • Days spent in the Army: 7

    Important Documents

  • Days spent in the Army: 8

    Timeline of Events Contains significant events both from Roberts time in service and WW2

    1944: February 2nd Robert graduated High School

    1946: April 30th Robert left the U.S. Military Service

    1945: Sometime between mid-March and late-April Robert went overseas to Europe

    1941: December 7th Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; U.S declares war on Japan; Germany & Italy declare war on U.S.

    1944: April 1st Robert sworn into U.S. Army at 1:30

    1944: June 6th D-Day 1944: June 1st Robert had appendicitis surgery at 12:30 am

    1942: The German concentration camp Auschwitz starts receiving and killing tens of thousands of Jews

    1945: April 30th Hitler dies

    1945: May 9th Victory in Europe Day

    1945: January 27th Soviet troops invade Auschwitz and release approximately 7,000 prisoners

    1945: August 6th & 9th The U.S dropped two atomic bombs on Japan 1945: August 15th Japan surrendered to the Allies

    1945: September 2nd Japan signed Instrument of Surrender, officially ending World War II

  • Days spent in the Army: 9

    Introduction By the Editor; Paige E. Johnson

    World War II started on September 1st, 1939 when Germany in-vaded Poland spurring Great Brittan and France to declare war on Germany. The United States of America did not enter the war until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. On this day not only did the U.S. declare war on the Empire of Japan, but Germany and Italy declared war of the United States. Exactly one week after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a young high school sophomore from Oakland, California turned sixteen. His name was Robert Norman Friederichs. Bobs high school had already been practicing an accelerated program in order to provide the U.S. military with additional recruits in minimal time. Un-der this program, Bob graduated from high school on February 2nd, 1944. Bob had registered with the Selective Service at the end of that previous year on December 15th. Thirteen days after graduation, he received an order to report for a Preinduc-tion Physical Examination in the mail. And on March 17th, his order to report for induction arrived via post as well. Robert Friederichs was sworn into the U.S. Army at 1:30 on April 1st, 1994; one day shy of two months after his high school graduation. One month into service, Bob contracted appendicitis and was separated from his original unit when he remained behind in Camp Abbot, Oregon to have surgery. He was then sent to Walla Walla, WA along with all other soldiers who had an operation due to the large military hospital at that location. From there he went to Fort Lewis, WA, a new camp at the time. While this appendicitis can be viewed as a setback from a military perspective, it served as a [blessing in disguise] for Bob. His first letter home after the surgery was dated June 6th, 1944; a day that many people all over the globe remember as D-Day. On this day over half a cen-tury ago, thousands of U.S soldiers lost their lives; Robert Friederichs however, was just beginning recovery after an emergency operation to remove his appendix.

    Many soldiers felt pangs of guilt about escaping death when their friends died, a

    phenomenon known as survivor guilt. Francis ODonnell of the 1st Infantry Divi-sion survived the carnage of Omaha Beach on D-Day in June 1944, but asked him-

    self, Why was I chosen to make it when men with wives and children didnt? Mary Broadus, mother-in-law to Roberts oldest son Brad Friederichs, reported in an interview that her brother cried when he found out that he could not serve in WWII. A childhood bout of scarlet fever had left him with hearing prob-lems and he was labeled as a 4F when he tried to enlist. This classification was given to a registrant who did not meet the physical standards of the military. Mrs. Broadus recalls that at the time many 4Fs were cruelly teased for being unable to enlist, despite their strong desire to serve their country. Robert however manages to maintain a generally positive attitude throughout his time is service, regardless of the fact that he never saw combat. These letters take the reader through the normal range of boredom, anxiety and homesickness that can be found in nearly every other soldier who serves their country.

    A PRAYER FOR PEACE Lorraine Moore

    Dear Lord - - give us rest From the rich red flood

    Of our boys blood! From the bombing

    Of children pleading, From the killing Of the unwilling,

    Give us rest, give us peace. Amen.

    Oakland High School Creative

    Writing Classes 1945-46

    Mark D. Van Ells, a history professor at the City University of New York, wrote the book To Hear Only Thunder Again: Americas World War II Veterans Come Home. This article originally ap-peared in the August 2005 issue of America in WWII.

  • Days spent in the Army: 10

    Saturday, April 1, 1944

    Dear Family, We were sworn in at 1:30 today. We still havent got our uniforms or dog tags as yet. We will probably get them tomor-row. The food is swell. I eat twice as much. We had a small physical today plus about 5 different mental tests; boy were they hard: mostly math and a cou-ple of vocabulary tests. We saw some movies of Military Disci-pline and sex hygiene. Tomorrow we have more tests and get our uniforms. I havent got my hair cut. I will phone the first chance I get. Love,

    Robert

    (SHOW THIS TO JEAN)

    Presidio of Monterey, CA

    1

  • Days spent in the Army: 11

    Dear Sis, Thank you very much for coming down Sunday. I know it must have taken Cliff a lot of gas, thank him again for me. I havent opened your box of candy as of yet, I think I will wait until I finish the other food. I hope maw (mom) can get that bag for me because it will be larger than the one I have. It isnt necessary to have a zipper. Thanks again. Your Brother,

    Robert

    Monday, April 10, 1944

    Presidio of Monterey, CA

    10

  • Days spent in the Army: 12

    Dear Mom and Family, There isnt much I can say because there isnt anything new. I think the train will go through Oakland, I hope. I have to go now. Love,

    Robert

    Wednesday, April 12, 1944

    Presidio of Monterey, CA

    12

  • Days spent in the Army: 13

    Tuesday, June 6, 1944D-Day.

    Camp Abbot, OR

    I sat there with a chill and my stomach paining to beat heck.

    Dear Mom and Family, I guess you received a telegram saying I was operated on for my appendix. Thats why I havent written for so long. Wednesday, May 31st, I went over to the infir-mary with a bad stomach ache; at least thats what I thought it was. This was about 9 PM. The guy took my temperature which was 95 degrees. The guy said it might be my appendix. He said to walk over to the hospital, which is about a mile away for a checkup. I waited for about an hour and a half so they could see what was wrong with me. I sat there with a chill and my stomach paining to beat heck. They finally decided my appen-dix was bad. The Major and Captain operated on me. They had to get the Major out of bed. He is really a swell guy. Hes from San Francisco. I was pretty scared. They gave me a shot in the left leg. This makes

    67

  • Days spent in the Army: 14

    Tuesday, June 6, 1944

    Camp Abbot, OR

    ...your legs feel kind of heavy. I waited outside the operating room for about three minutes. One of the nurses said they would send a tele-gram home if I wanted it so I guess they sent it (I hope!). In the operating room they gave me about four spinal injections; a cou-ple of them hurt. After these

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