Second Return to Normandy and Return Trip to the United States
Our stay in Linz-Urfahr ended about the first, or second (?), week in March. After our thrilling Jeep rides over some unbelievable Alpine roads; our interesting horseback trips to the small towns during January and February, and our wonderful R & R at Ebensee, we were itching to go home and luckily we were finally shipped back to Rouen by train and eventually to Camp Home Run in Le Havre, in Normandy.
On 18 March 1946, we boarded a Liberty (?) ship and, after an uneventful voyage, disembarked at a New Jersey shore pier in the Hudson River, were bussed to Camp Kilmer, had a great, tender sirloin steak dinner and spent the evening talking, exchanging home addresses, calling home wherever possible and telling our folks we were finally home, etc. The next day we were bussed to Fort Dix to be "honorably discharged at the convenience of the government". We had physical examinations, had "exit" interviews wherein I was asked if I wanted to file a claim for service-connected disability for my previously (1943) fractured left ankle. I replied that I was in a hurry to get home and would file a claim at another time! (Note: I finally filed a claim with the DVA for service-connected disability when I retired from professional engineering work in October, 1991; and with the help of the "Disabled American Veterans", eventually received a disability rating of 30% for residual leg and spinal damage, based on my 1943 medical records!) Our discharge papers were typed up and signed by the presiding Army officers, and presented to us in brown, 9" by 12" envelopes; they also gave us the first $100 installment of our $300 "mustering out" pay and our "travel money" which for me was $3.95, to get home from Fort Dix, New Jersey to Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, New York! I remember people on the New York BMT subway smiling at me, as I boarded the train, wearing my brand new replacement uniform, with my Combat Infantryman Badge on my chest, and carrying a duffel bag full of my personal belongings. The day I was personally "emancipated" from the US Army was 31 March 1946, the day that began the "rest of my life"!