‘You’ve got it made’

‘You’ve got it made’

Joanne Palmer’s article about Robert Levine (“The other scarlet letter – H,” July 19) was fascinating. It brought back many memories of my own wartime experiences and the lighter one which follows.

I was wounded in the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest, an ill-conceived operation overshadowed by the Battle of the Bulge later in 1944. After amputation and hospitalization in Belgium, France, and England, I wound up at Lawson General Hospital outside Atlanta, Ga.

On my second day at Lawson I was visited by the Jewish chaplain, a pleasant young rabbi. “What great luck,” he told me. “The girls in Atlanta are all incredibly beautiful and hospitable,” and he would introduce me to them as soon as I was able to get out. “Marty, you’ve got it made”!

On the following day I was in surgery. As I was coming out of anesthesia, there’s the chaplain. “I’ve got bad news,” he said, the worst thing one wants to hear at that moment. “I’ve been transferred.” And that was the last I saw of the chaplain and the beautiful and hospitable Atlanta girls.

Coincidentally, I was an officer in the 8th Infantry Division, which liberated Levine’s camp. I missed that scene, since I was recovering from an earlier gunshot wound received in Normandy.