Initiation ceremony

Initiation ceremony

It was known that Mooney was getting anxious to shed his virginity. I wasn’t involved. The guys took him on pass to Naples. Some of the GI’s had a ‘nose’ for seeking out women of ill repute. It was illegal but somehow the places known as “Prophylactic Stations” were manned by GI medics who administered treatment to GIs who visited –call ‘em what they are- Whore house. Most times there were no MPs there to prohibit the use. No matter if you did or didn’t pay for a ‘service’, you had to take the treatment which was a thorough washing of the (gee I hate to even write about it) area, then the Medic would use a large syringe of Iodine looking stuff up the urethra and you’d have to stand there with him watching you hold it in till he counted the time off as if for 30 seconds or more, to kill a germ. I got trapped once because I was inquisitive and had to take the treatment. The medic just wouldn’t believe me. I was being loyal at the time. I went with a buddy in to one of these places and I couldn’t convince the medic that I was just peeking through a crack at what went on behind closed doors. (OOOla la what I saw!) When I was discovered peeking, I was ushered out sort of forcefully. I was very embarrassed and became better educated although.

Mooney was told, “today’s the day Mooney, you’re gonna get bred”! Those are the very words they used! When Mooney got back to our tent, he was a changed GI. Up and at ’em! Ready! Fulfilled. The girls were fore warned that Mooney was new as a babe, and in that profession, it is said, the girls like to give special attention to guys like Mooney–it keeps guys from going gay. When asked how it was, Mooney rubbed his hands together as if making a fire Indian fashion, then said, with great glee, “Let’s go again”!!

Passes to Naples was the only entertainment. All GIs going there will remember the small Italian waifs who would be hawking food and items or even pimping. You’d be greeted with, “Hey Joe, you wanna eat?”. We usually would reply, “no’. Then the boy would say, “Hey Joe, ya wanna piece of tail?” “No” most would answer, because VD was ever rampant. “Hey Joe, want my sister?” Imagine that!

Now and then we’d take up the “hey Joe you wanna eat?” We’d ask how far is it? and he’d give us a sign language that it wasn’t far. Following the boys up stairs down stairs and through narrow alley ways. Along most streets was a stall where men could urinate in plain sight of girls and others. Some women would make a comment as you stood there in plain sight. Some women in overhead balconies enjoyed the scenery too. For us it was very embarrassing, but when nature calls you gotta go!

Finally we’d be led up stairs to an apartment where there were probably a few other GIS at a cloth covered dining table almost like ‘back home’. Other GIs were almost ready to eat the spaghetti with cheese and meat sauce. Come to think of it, I don’t remember seeing ANY cats or dogs. There’s no telling what kind of meat was in the sauce. The pasta was usually not as white as ours. Oh well and ho hum, it was a touch of home- kinda like a family dinner. I didn’t dare to partake of the wine. I remembered the warning about some of the liquors being ‘spiked’ with wood alcohol.

On the way back to the training area, we walked through a large highway tunnel which was used by the civilians as a safe air raid shelter. There were no toilet facilities at all in the tunnel. You took your chances walking through and it was very necessary to ‘tippy toe’ very carefully while walking through in the darkness of the tunnel.

I bought a few embroidered items from the numerous hawkers on the streets of old Napoli. One is a pillow case on which has the Third Division Insignia embroidered. I was fascinated by some of their cloths and I wanted my mother to have some memento. I still have those items which she kept as a treasure.

Bargaining was an experience much like the pimps. In the scant Italian lingo we learned we’d ask, “Quanto costa?” then they’d say in their scant English “Hey Joe, how mucha you pay?” When a price would come up as to how many Liras, you’d offer half, and they’d show great dismay, and the hawker would make a counter offer. “You speak Joe, you speak, how much”. “Duo cento lire” “no no” “you speak Joe”. When you’ve haggled them down to a reasonable price, you’d turn to the guy waiting behind you and tell them how much the price was which made the vendor very perturbed, because the Italian wanted to go through the haggling again with the next GI customer. Maybe the new potential customer would agree to a higher amount. On the streets were other vendors selling a ‘fast food’ kinda like a potatoe on a stick–like a pop sickle-. It was made of mashed potatoes into weenie sized and shape, and then dipped into a boiling vat of some sort of oil for a few minutes. It tasted like our McDonald’s French fries. I worried about the cooking oil.

Here’s a picture taken by a roving Photographer on the streets of Naples                        .

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nmnaples

At Pozzuoli training area, the 25 mile hikes were getting rather tedious. It was 12 miles to the sea and 12 miles back plus the activities of loading on ships and climbing down the nets into a Higgins boat and ramming against a beach time after time making fake landings. Many of the GIs from my platoon went AWOL to Naples seeking the quick companionship of the opposite sex. They were usually caught when bed check was made and or when we stood for inspection in the morning in formation outside our tents. All over the camp you could hear the Sergeants yelling, “Companyeep so and so all present and accounted forpe”! Somehow the Sergeants had a competition going on amongst them on which one could garble up the announcement. The word “four” became FORPe–it’s like clicking your heels when coming to attention, to lay on an emphasis. Short and curt and to the point not wasting time. Routine and boring. Those who were reported missing were later ordered to present themselves to the headquarters tent where they would have to face an officer of the day. The miscreants were given a stern address and an “on the spot” punishment! Guess what it usually was. In this case which comes to mind, the GIs from our platoon had to dig a sump hole.  That is- a hole into which we tossed our garbage and waste from the chow lines. The cooks and KPs would mash the cans and toss ’em in forever or until the historians and anthropologists wanted to dig up to inspect our habits in the future. It was still dusk as we had breakfast. The condemned ones had their chow first and then they reported to the supply tent for shovels and picks and started digging the hole. By the time we finished breakfast and got into our pack harnesses, they were down deep enough for protection from the side winds and drizzling rain. We marched past the hole and there they were snickering in glee from the hole! They were in relative comfort in the hole. They were relieved from a 25 mile hike! I can still see a couple from our platoon, (names withheld) kinda leaning on his shovel glaring up and smirking at us as we were marching by. Such ‘awful’ punishment for being AWOL! Such suffering and ‘agony’ for their misdeeds! Ironies of all ironies. We were on our ‘leisurely’ 25 mile hike to the sea again! Crime did pay at least in this case! BUT WAIT!  They had another punishment which they suffered later. There was a “countdown period” immediately after the encounter with the opposite sex–waiting for the infection which could send then to the V.D.ward for treatment. That, though, could get them out of the landing for which we were being trained! It didn’t happen to my platoon, as I remember. I think those in my platoon were that lucky or unlucky at this time. I remember back when I was in the hospital for malaria, there was a very long line of V.D patients in the chow line. They were kept separated from the other patients for two reasons, I thought. To prevent contamination to innocents and also it was a “line of shame”–an example for the rest of us. A “statement” to beware. One other punishment was to be ‘busted’ from whatever rating you had, be it a PFC rating or Top Sergeant.

The day was near that we were to load up on an LCI for wherever we were destined. We only had two guesses. Southern France or Jugoslavia. The interrogation at headquarters of those of us from the ethnic group of Slovenia and Croatia might have been a ruse for German intelligence too. To keep them guessing, if they actually had a spy in our midst.  I actually wished we would have landed in Jugoslavia. I was told to keep my visit to headquarters and interrogation quiet. We were bound to secrecy. I didn’t mention it to anyone until way later when we were in France.

The following is a picture of the Outfit in “Pass and review” formation.

 

pozzuoli parade

This very platform is the stage where I was allowed to sing PAPER DOLL, at the USO show I mentioned in my story