CORPORAL CWICKLOWSKI was a fine motor mechanic. He could keep every jeep, half-track and truck we had in running condition. Not an easy job when you consider most were constantly being shot full of holes.
That’s why we hated to lose him when we were charging across France in August of 1944.
He knew all about welding, tuning carburetors and changing tank tracks, but nothing at all about the finer points of consuming French liquors. In fact this Polish-American GI from Hamtramack, Michigan didn’t know a damn thing about wine, Cognac, B & B or Calvados. It was all just alcohol to him, and he could drink a barrel of it.
That’s how we nearly lost him for good.
After a particularly intense counter-attack by an armored division or two we found “Cpl. Cwick” among those missing in action. He wasn’t the kind to desert, but no one had seen him get hit, and his remains were not to be found.
Since all of our vehicles had suffered damage it was imperative that the motor section get busy at once. My jeep looked like a sieve (I hadn’t been in it) and the Colonel’s command car looked bad too.
That’s when we mounted the search at the field hospital and grave’s registration unit. About this time a young Frenchman gave us a clue. “Look in the village,” the interpreter translated. I was ordered to find him quick. (with a Qu)
With two enlisted men and our “Free-French” guide we set out in a semi-intact weapons carrier. The trail led to a roofless and smouldering barn; only the roof had been shot away. There we found our missing corporal.
He and a French farmer were lying on the floor flat on their backs, their mouths wide open beneath the spigot of a freshly distilled batch of Calvados.
He was still alive, but barely, so we did the only sensible thing under the circumstances. We tossed him into the back of an ammunition truck and let him sober up. We hauled him around for a week before he was fit for duty.
A good mechanic was too valuable to evacuate to the field hospital. We’d never have seen him if the Medics had gotten hold of him.
Why Another “War Story?”
Somehow most of the cards and letters received during our brief brush with fame on the hundredth issue of F. V. said: “We love the war stories.”
So, we will do a few more from time to time.
And that brings me to a “word of thanks” to all of those friends who wrote or published in noting Number 100.
Handset in Caslon 540; written and printed each month just for the fun of it by:
Robert Orbach at Oklahoma City, Ok., 73116
Bulletin: Robin’s friend Mia did win Miss New York State. She will be seen in The Miss America Contest in September!