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Old 02-11-2013, 10:48 AM
Robert Thorne MacRae's Avatar
Robert Thorne MacRae Robert Thorne MacRae is online now
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Default War Time Baths and Showers - Joe's Latest

Here is Joe's latest story

We give very little thought to the act of taking a bath or shower. Itís a routine function in our everyday lives. Some people may object to taking a bath every day and there will be some that will object if we donít. I suppose all boys go through the ĒI donít want to take a bathĒ at some time during their youth. I remember as a young boy I would sit on the edge of the tub and slosh my feet around in the water to make those in earshot think I was really giving my body a good scrubbing. For some strange reason, my Mother was not fooled by this tactic. I could have taken two baths during the time I was trying to fake it.

Now there are times when taking a bath is virtually impossible or conditions do not lend themselves to disrobing and submerging our bodies in a tub of nice warm water. Take wartime for example. Stationed at a fixed base presents no problem because military regulations and our fellow soldiers encourage it. But in a war zone, the simple task ot taking a shower can present a problem. Taking a shower is not on the high priority list when bullets, mortar shells and artillery are floating around. Another thing, when everyone around you has not seen water and soap over their entire body for several days, our sense of smell is not as keen as it usually is. We become immune to the scent of BO.

In Europe, we could find a bombed out building and a source of water for a bath. Summer wasnít so bad but winter was an altogether different story. Sometimes we braved the weather to take a sponge bath. Itís amazing how fast we can sponge bathe in cold weather. Most of the time we would get a helmet full of water, heat it a little bit, get as close as we could to a fire or heater and have at it.

Winter in Korea did not lend itself to a bath or shower by any stretch of the imagination. Even a heater in a tent did not provide enough warmth to warrant removing 57 pounds of clothing to wash the body. The longest most of us went without a complete shower was about a month, and we all survived. We had two brave men in out unit who took a bath in front of a mobile power unit (some old veteran will probably remember the PE-75). They kept bragging about their feat but the rest of us had the last laugh because they were the only two in our unit who had lice. So, cleanliness may not be as sacred as we sometimes profess.
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