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Private Carl Ralph Bonde, Jr., US Army Infantry Training

February 10, 2015
Bill Moomey was delighted to see this photo of his platoon sergeant, Irvin Weaver, of the weapons platoon, Company E, 262nd Infantry Regiment, and his friend Carl Bonde.

Bill Moomey was delighted to see this photo of his platoon sergeant, Irvin Weaver, of the weapons platoon, Company E, 262nd Infantry Regiment, and his friend Carl Bonde.

I learned of this conversation (that I admit I filled out with adult language from my own WW II interviews, research, and experience in the military during the Vietnam era) from Carl’s section leader, Bill Moomey, when I first spoke to him on the phone in 2005.  

“What’s your name, private!”

“Private Carl Bonde, Sir!”

“Bonde? Where you from?”

“From the heart of the magnificent Rocky Mountains, poised in the northwest corner of Montana and about an hour south of the Canadian border, sir.”

“What did you say, private?”

“I came from Kalispell, Montana, 7th largest city and the seat of Flathead County.  A half-hour east lies the rugged grandeur of Glacier Park and 15 minutes to the south is Flathead Lake, a glacial jewel, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi and one of the purest anywhere.”

(Flustered)  shut up, or you gonna be in a world of shit!  You got that?”  The infantry platoon sergeant was obviously surprised and confused by this chamber of commerce spiel.

(Silence.)

“What, do you say, maggot?”

“You said to shut up, sir.”

Bonde’s squad leader, Corporal Irvin “Junior” Weaver, wanted to tell this young comedian to cool it.  But more, he hoped the sergeant wouldn’t make the whole squad run the 6 miles around the perimeter of the camp.  He had heard Bonde answer before, but this was the most complete version yet.  Trouble was, he also knew that Bonde’s lip was going to get them all into trouble.  It was March, 1944.  They knew they were headed for the shooting war, but meanwhile they were looking at months of training at Camp Rucker, in the heart of Alabama.  Irvin Weaver was from Ohio.  He had never been to the Western United States.  Bonde was from a town in Montana.  Well, the edge of town.  Bonde’s dad was a grocer, but he did raise a big garden and had chickens.  Bonde had spent 3 [?] summers in a lookout tower — Huckleberry Mountain– in Glacier Park.  After the lookout burned down it was replaced and is still there.

Instead of calling Bonde out, Corporal Weaver simply asked Carl not to be quite such a smart ass.

Bill Moomey, who died last year, was a close friend of Carl's.  He credited Carl with saving his life because the 66th Division had been devastated by the torpedo that struck the SS Leopoldville Christmas Eve, 1944.  The 66th was assigned to the cost of France to contain German submariners in their bunkers.

Bill Moomey, who died last year, was a close friend of Carl’s. He credited Carl with saving his life because the 66th Division had been devastated by the torpedo that struck the SS Leopoldville Christmas Eve, 1944. The 66th was assigned to the coast of France to contain German submariners in their bunkers, not the more lethal battle in the Ardennes in Normandy.

Irvin and Carl were destined to spend many weeks together with the rest of their Company E, 262nd Regiment, 66th Panther Division.  They were destined to die together with hundreds of others Christmas Eve, 1944.  This was documented carefully by Bill Loughborough in a letter to his wife about a year or so after it occurred.  [I have a transcript.]

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