Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Bud is a Sargent in Company A of the 309th Engineer Combat Battalion. During February and March of 1945, they are fighting in the Rhineland of Germany. This is a hard fought battle where Bud sees many of his comrades injured or killed. "Shorty, I'm still in Germany. We are fighting alongside the 9th army now. Don't worry sweet. I will come home to you."

As a combat engineer Bud has the job of building roads and bridges for the troops, but during this time he is blowing up more bridges than he builds. They cross a river then they blow up the bridges behind them, or they will blow up a bridge so the German's can't cross to their side. The Allies are making huge gains during this time and Bud his hopeful that he will be home soon. "I won't miss another birthday sweet. I just know I won't!"

Back on the home front Verna is dealing with her father's illness. He is in the hospital full time now battling cancer. While he is there, Verna is in charge of all the kids at home. On March 11, 1945 Verna's father looses his battle.

Bud is beside himself. "If only I was there with you, I could comfort you better. But as things are the best I can do is write you more letters. I know how hard this is for you but he is better now. He isn't suffering anymore. I just wish I was there. "

Bud and Verna are still relying on each others letters to get them through. "I don't know what I would do without your letters, sweet. They remind me of what I am fighting for. I don't know how these boys with no one at home do it hon. I have a reason to fight. I am fighting for us. For our future. Without you I wouldn't have a reason."

Saturday, December 26, 2009


This poem was included in one of Bud's letters home. I'm not sure who wrote it, but it was changed to fit Bud's situation so I know he wasn't the author. There were other poems included but they were less than G rated so I will just share this one! (The words in parentheses are what Bud included to make it his own.)

A Soldier's Confession (I mean this sweet)

When I get back to the one I love,
I swear by God above,
That I'll never gripe and never complain,
About the little things that I fail to gain.

A much needed lesson has been taught to me,
And I've learned how pretty some things could be.
The love of a wife so wonderful as you,
Is the most precious thing that I ever knew.

And a home with all its comforts and joys,
And maybe a family, say a couple of boys. (1 girl and 1 boy, HA)
If I have just these my cup will be full,
And I'll have the world on a down hill pull.

If some little thing jerks me and starts me to rage,
Just haul out a club and this little page.
Just whack me across the seat of my pants,
And remind me of the days that I spent in France. (Germany)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Normandy and Battle of the Bulge

Bud and his battalion have been instrumental in many of the major battles on the Eastern Flank of WWII. As combat engineers for the 84th infantry, they are the road and bridge builders for the rest of the company. Although Bud has been in many of the battles we now remember from WWII he cannot write of war things to his beloved wife. His letters stay neutral and talk only of home.

Verna who hears and reads of war news while at home is sick from worry. If she goes even one day with out a letter, she thinks the worst. She knows where Bud is but she has no idea what he is experiencing. "Honey, I'm in Germany now...I would rather cut off my left foot as to tell you I'm here for I know you worry so, but I made a promise to always tell you the truth. Please try not to worry. I will come home to you. No Nazi can keep me from my beloved. I will write when I can. I probably won't be able to write everyday but know I will write if I have any free moments. Remember I love you. Keep your chin up. Your husband, BUD."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bud and Shorty (Verna)

New York to Europe

The summer of 43 was a good one for the love birds. They got to spend more time together than they had since they had gotten married nearly a year before. They were still separated during the week but Bud was able to stay with Verna on the weekends. They were completely happy.

The beginning of September was a sad time. Bud was finally being deployed overseas. They said their goodbyes on their anniversary September 7, 1943. Bud put Verna on a train back to Oklahoma and boarded a bus to New York.

"The trip was good. I was able to see more country than I have ever before. Maybe when I get back we can come back this way. " Bud arrived in New York on September 10, 1943. There they were able to see some of the sights before they left for Europe. "New York isn't all that great...It seems dirty to me. I climbed the 86 stories to the top of the Empire State Building, went to a Broadway show, and saw Time Square...All I could think about was missing you. It wasn't any fun at all!"

On September 12, 1943, Bud boarded the Alexandria, a war ship captured from the Germans. During this time obviously mail was scarce. Bud did not receive any letters from Verna for nearly a week. "Honey if I don't get a letter from you soon, I think I just die! The Germans and Japs won't kill me but loneliness will."

On or around September 18th Bud landed in Europe. During this time the mail was being monitored closely. Bud had to be very careful what he said. He could not tell his love anything about where he was or what he was doing so he filled his letters with questions about home and writing of his undying love.

Finally they got instructions that they could tell more and Verna discovered that Bud was very close to London. He has been trying to find some of his buddies from the training camps. He has found some but not all.

"Honey, I have been all over Great Brittan. I even got to go to Scotland for a while. It seems pretty much the same as home only you can't understand the folks here and they drive on the other side of the road. " Bud finally started receiving more letters from home. On day he got 18 letters from Verna. "I guess they all got stuck somewhere, but now they are here and I am the happiest man on Earth!"

Meanwhile back in Oklahoma, Verna is trying to decide what she will do with herself until Bud gets home. She doesn't know if she will get a job helping Bud's sister in Borger, if she will stay and help her family (her dad has been very ill), or if she will stay with Bud's family. She is still having "troubles" medically. She thinks she may be pregnant but doesn't know for sure. She is having lots of pain however and this worries Bud terribly. "Honey, Just take care of yourself until I get home. There is no way any Nazi could keep me from coming home to you. You just make sure you are there when I get back. If you need to go see a doctor, DO IT!"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


"It seems like 6 months instead of just 6 weeks since I kissed you and told you goodbye at that train station." This is the summary of October and November of 1943. Bud is still on maneuvers in and around Shreveport and Alexandria Louisiana. He is a combat engineer so he is in charge of building roads and bridges so all the other troops can move around. He says "If I have to build one more bridge I think I will turn into a bridge!"

One day after cleaning their rifles, Bud's Sargent came by and said "DeFries, that is the cleanest gun I have seen all day. Take the day fox holes for you today!" Bud was glad at the complement but he said he would rather be digging. "The time passes faster when I'm working. It keeps my mind of what I am missing back in Oklahoma."

Bud has made some good friends during his stay in Louisiana. One "old man" he drinks coffee with is trying to get his wife down to him so he and Bud are teaming up to get both of the ladies a place to stay in Louisiana.

Meanwhile back in Oklahoma, Verna is busy pulling cotton bowls. She is about 4 foot 11 and 80 lbs soaking wet so it is very hard on her. She also has some medical problems that concern Bud terribly. He constantly tells her not to worry about money, but she is as "stubborn as a mule" and keeps on. She has been staying with Mom and Pap DeFries most of the time. She feels safer with them and they love the company.

On November 21, 1943, Bud writes "SHORTY COME! Get on the next train to Alexandria I'll be waiting for ya!" They had finally settled into a camp for a while and Bud had found a place for her and the "old man's" wife to stay. They will be roommates, but most importantly Bud can see his "Darling little Wife" again. This is the end of the letters from 1943.


Bud and Verna were married September 7, 1942. He came to get her early that morning; they drove to Sayre and were married in the courthouse. He took her to live where he was working near Panhandle, Texas. They had known each other for nearly 1 year at this time. They met while Verna was in school at Southwestern Oklahoma State University on September 30, 1941. They immediately fell in love.

Only a few short weeks after they were married Bud received the letter they were both dreading. He was being drafted into World War 2. His first post was in Camp Howze in Texas. Camp Howze was an infantry replacement training center located adjacent to the town of Gainesville in Cooke County, Texas. From what I gathered he stayed here about 6-8 months before he was sent to Louisiana.

While he was in Louisiana, he was stationed at several different camps. Most of the letters just say he is "Somewhere in Louisiana." During his time in Louisiana he was training for active duty. They would dig fox holes, build bridges and roads, and practice live fire drills. During one drill he says they were almost "captured" but they just started drilling them with blanks and hauled a__ out of there!

All the while Verna was still back in Oklahoma missing her love. They were making plans for her to come stay on the base with him while he was in Louisiana, but the plans had not come to fruition yet. They still wrote each other daily but since Bud was in the war it took extra time to get the letters. They would each receive 5-6 letters at a time. Bud said it was the letters from his "Darling little Wife" that got him through.