We didn't have enough food to eat so we complained to the battalion commander. He said that they said they were sending him food for a company and he had a whole battalion to feed. Some of the men felt that our food was finding its way to the Balck Market. One day I passed the mess tent and heard the Mess Sergent cussing so I poked my head in the tent and asked him what was the matter. He said "Look in that G--D-- bag of beans." I did and they all were wormy. He said "That is all I have to feed youse guys with".
The French with U.S. soldiers uniforms on would come into our camp. We could recognise them because all the soldiers wore fatigues. The French also had long underwear on. They would buy anything or steal anything they could and line their underwear with it. The Black Market was big business in France. Most of our men would not have anything to do with them. The Army exchanged our currency at the rate of 10,000 francs for ten dollars but one could get 20,000 francs on the Black Market. I did not have U.S. currency or francs either as I hadn't been paid in several months. After a couple of months the time came for us to leave for Marseilles and we were issued C & K rations as it would take several days for us to get there. We first went to Paris and got some old worn out buses and went across town to another train station. We had to wait several hours at that station. While waiting I went to the men's room. As I approached the door I saw a woman come out of it. I thought I was headed for the wrong place but I saw men going into it so I went in and found out that they had char-women to service the area. The train that was to take us to Marseilles was made up 40 and 8 box cars, meaning that they could carry 40 men or 8 horses of World War I fame and very old passenger cars with straight back wooden seats. It appeared to me that it only went about 20 miles per hour and every bridge that we went over was a temporary wooden bridge, as the original bridge had been blown up. Every so often the train would stop for several hours near a French town. The French would gather in droves to look at us. They would bring anything they could find to trade with us for our C or K rations--grapes and wine especially. The battalion Colonel decided that we should not drink any wine so he had all the officers trying to confiscate it. I don't believe they found any at all. It did not bother me because I did not drink it. We couldn't sleep and the worst part of all the whole battalion became ill with the "GI's" food poisoning. It was terrible. We were on the train with no place to go to the bathroom. We had terrible cramps in the stomach. The train stopped at a station and I got off to look around. I saw the French running around very excited and they were buying newspapers and reading them in an excited way. So I bought one. I could not speak French but I could almost make out what the articles were about. IT was about the U.S. Air Force had dropped some kind of new horrible bomb on Japan.
When we reached Marseilles our "GI" illness had gotten worse. We got in trucks that took us to a place near a little town called Aix. Land near the Mediterranean Sea had been bulldozed for miles. Not a tree, grass, or anything was to be seen, only red sand. We had to put up tents and then we went to the infirmary. They handed each one of us a little bottle of