Hershey Bars
By James K. Richardson
Co B, 272nd Inf Rgt

     In late November,1944, our regiment (the 272nd Infantry) left Camp Kilmer, NJ to board the HMS John Erickson it was a miserable day. We left Camp Kilmer and arrived at the port of embarkation late in the afternoon. We stood there all day, and finally boarded at about 2:AM.  I recall the wait was for the Red Cross to meet and give us a little packet, containing a toothbrush and razor.  (at that time, it did not endear me with the Red Cross).  I don't know exactly what time we left the New York Harbor, but it was shortly after we bedded down in one of the hammocks, which were four high.  We were packed in there like sardines.  We didn't have much stuff in our duffle bags, as we carried everything we had on our back, so I used mine for a pillow.  We awakened next morning to the movement of the ship, and we knew that we were underway.  I quickly went topside and saw nothing for miles except a huge convoy of ships.  I made a trip to the "canteen" (I will call it that for lack of a better name) and bought a box of 24 almond Hershey bars.  It was probably around noon, before we ate our first breakfast aboard ship, but we had to stand in line for at least 2 hours to be served.  About as soon as we finished breakfast, it was time to get back in line for the next meal.  (we were only served two meals per day).  The sea was extremely heavy, and a lot of the GI's  were getting seasick.  I managed to hang on for three days before I succumbed to this malady. Instead of going to the first meal on the ship on the 3rd day, I pulled out my box of Hershey Bars, and consumed about 5 of them. We were on E Deck, and I referred to it as the "bilge"  and it took quite a time to get to a deck to where you could look out over the ocean.  I was visiting B deck, and was looking out over the rail, when some poor GI, over me on A Deck  let loose with everything he had eaten that day.  I was directly underneath him, and caught most of his 2nd hand chow.  I immediately ran to the showers, and cleaned up best I could, as we used salt water to bathe in.  The stench of the showers and my baptism on B deck was the straw that broke the Camels back.  I still have my meal ticket which had to be punched when you ate a meal.  It was not punched for the 3rd through the 6th day.  Hershey bars did not go well with my terrible bout with Seasickness.  I vowed then that I would never eat another Hershey bar.  A vow I kept for at least 20 years.  I can eat a plain Hershey, but not with almonds bars to this day.