Croft Sketches
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Camp Croft, South Carolina
US Army Infantry Replacement Training Center

These sketches of notable Camp Croft personnel appeared in the weekly camp newspaper, "The Spartan", and occasionally in the Spartanburg Journal as well.  By clicking on the image you may bring up a larger version of the artwork that accompanied these articles.

Laura Ellen Abner

Laura Ellen Abner
By T-Corp. Walter Wingerter

  The distaff side is again represented in this column this week with Miss Laura Ellen Abner of Camp Croft's service club doing the honors. A native of Corbin, somewhere in the Kentucky hills, Laura now lives in that "suburb" of Camp Croft - Spartanburg - at 164 North Converse Street and shares a room with the Blackwell sisters, who've been seen around these 'chere parts many times entertaining soldiers. Her telephone number is .... (Ed note .... Wait'll we make use of it first.)

   She's been working in the service club for about a year as chief waitress and dining room hostess. She says she took the job because she loves men, any kind, big ones, fat ones, little ones, officers, and the kind who haven't any money. That's why she took a job in an army camp. Where else could she find so many men in one place? She means the kind who can stand on their own feet without a shot of adrenaline. One of her favorite pastimes is playing with babies, preferably between the ages of 25 and 60. Another one of her weaknesses is kissing bald heads. She has a passion for collecting officers' insignia, and so far has been successful in cornering every insignia except that of a full colonel. Her main worry now is to find a colonel who'd be willing to give her an eagle. (All colonels please note).


  Her hobbies are horseback riding and falling off mules. She pulled that latter trick one day when someone dared her to ride a mule bareback, but he mule was not very cooperative. The mule came to a sudden stop and Laura continued merrily on her way over the mule's head.

  She is perhaps best known in the character of "Daisy Mae", a Kentucky hillbilly character she impersonates while entertaining Crofters. We don't know whether soldiers clamor for her act because they like it or because they like her costume which includes a pair of very brief shorts that improves the scenery considerably.

  Laura's habits are very regular. She doesn't drink and she doesn't smoke. When asked why, she told us she preferred not to go into that. We wonder why.

(Editor's note: We note with the deepest regret, and too late, that @?!;xlb artist double-crossed us by plastering our gal's telephone number smack in the middle of the drawing. Well, nothing left for us to do except call 54.)

Dorothy and Betty-Jo Blackwell


Dorothy and Betty-Jo Blackwell
By T-Corp. Walter Wingerter.

  We're so original we slay us. Everybody interviews people on person at a time, but we do things the hard way. We take them on by the pair, and who knows, before the war's over, we might wind up with a whole platoon at once.

  The two ornamental things that are decorating the above panel are Dorothy Blackwell of Spartanburg, age 17, and Betty Jo Blackwell, who has seen all of 14 summers, and is a charming little heart-breaker in the making. Dorothy is already a finished job. The two sisters are well known to Croft GI's, having participated in the special service variety shows in the various battalion rec halls ever since the activation of the camp. Dorothy is a cut little dancer whose been tripping the light fantastic for the past seven years. She tripped off the stage once, too, but she escaped without any broken bones although her dignity was a bit bruised.

GI's Are Sweet Things

  She's been coming to Camp Croft on an average of four nights a week for three years, and she thinks that the soldiers are just the sweetest things in the world. Her idea of the ideal man is one who is immaculately groomed. He doesn't have to be handsome, but he must be sweet. (The press section is presently engaged in finding out just what constitutes "being sweet".) Her boy friends must be very attentive to her all evening. Not a hard thing to do either. Her hobby is dancing. She'd also like to ride a horse, but that's something that doesn't work. The horse invariably come back to the stable before she does.  Her ambition is to get married.

  Betty-Jo, despite her 14 years has been singing for 11 years having first appeared on the "Kiddie Club" broadcast at the age of three. She's a good singer. She says so herself, and who are we to doubt a lady? During the times she doesn't entertain Croft's dogfaces she croons the tunes with the Louis Clayton orchestra in Spartanburg.

  She assures us that she is very smart. Her likes insofar as men are concerned are exactly the same as Dorothy's, the only difference is that they must be older than 16. Her pet peeve is a very reasonable one ... is she doesn't like work. She does help around the house ... with a little urging by her mother. We suspect the urging takes the form of a hair brush. The thing she hates worst of all is washing dishes ... and that's something she has in common with all you sad sacks who get stuck with KP. She just loves the outdoors, green grass, birds, fresh air, etc. consequently she spends all her time at home listening to the radio.

  Just like a woman.

Ruth Bradley

Ruth Bradley
By T-Corp. Walter Wingerter

  This week's victim of the "Croft Sketches" ghouls is Miss Ruth Parrish Bradley of Vernon Street, Spartanburg, telephone No. 3198. (O.K. boys, we're always glad to oblige. The next beers will be on you). She's not exactly in the army, but her eligibility for representation in this column is based on the fact that she has been attending GI dances ever since the service club opened for business back in 1941. She doesn't know why she attends them either. Now we don't want to start anything, but a possible reason is because she thinks these "damnyankees" can show the boys South of the Mason-Dixon line a thing or two about hopping the light fantastic.

  Her opinion on the dancing abilities of Northerners excludes those Broadway hot-shots who imitate a nervous bat every time the band plays anything faster than a waltz. She definitely does not like jitterbug calisthenics. Pet hobbies are dancing, playing bridge, and collecting phonograph records. The romantic South Carolina moon gets her, too. Secret ambition is to be a private secretary and sit on her boss's knee provided the boss is as cute as the one she's got now. Her idea of a man is one who's tall, manly, and has curly hair. She doesn't intend to get married until after the war's over. When she settles down with her husband, she would like to have three children. If it turns out to be more, well ...

  We don't want to commit ourselves as far as to say she has a regular habit of it, but we did spot her smoking a pipe like a veteran in the service club one night. To get back to her likes and dislikes in the field of men, she emphatically states she favors white men. The kind who wear shoes.

Hester Brown


Hester A Brown
By T-Corp. Walter Wingerter

  When we call Miss Hester A. Brown "GI", we believe she is fully entitled to the term even though she does not belong to the Army. She has been at Croft longer than most dogfaces stationed here, having first come to the "rezavashun" two years ago.

  A little trick from Gaffney, "Bub" Brown is employed by Camp Croft headquarters. How she got the nickname "Bub" is another one of those universal mysteries, unless it's because she's always bubbling over with a lot of energy like a kitten who has just discovered the fascination of a ball of yarn. All that pep of hers is a little embarrassing in the AM when we drag our dissipated carcass into the office and watch her buzzing around like a freshly charged storage battery.

   "Bub" Brown just about touches the five foot two mark, is single, not bad to looks at, and can be reached by calling telephone 455, Gaffney, anytime between 5 and 7 p.m. She tells us that she hasn't got a steady boy-friend. That's a poor reflection in the sad-apples around this neck of the woods. What are they waiting for?

  "BUB LIKES SOLDIERS just a little better than civilians, possibly because everybody under the age of 40 is a soldier. The glamour of the uniform, however, is secondary. She's interested in the thing that fills out a uniform. Her ideal man is one not too tall; is distinguished looking; must have enough money to get along on, and must not be fat. She was very emphatic on that last point. We assume he must also be able to make love.

  Her most embarrassing moment was the time she was at the beach with a recalcitrant bra which was part of one of those two piece bathing briefs that make the beach scenes interesting. It seems all those intriguing little ribbons that are supposed to hold things up suddenly didn't. Anyway, the bra took a swan-dive to the sand, where is definitely didn't do "Bub" any good. A bath towel saved the situation somewhat, and Brownie made her way back to the "cabana" wearing a slightly mauve complexion.

Sybil Humphreville
Sybil Humphreville
By T-Corp. Walter Wingerter

  THE NEXT TIME you put in your long distance call home and find that you've completed your basic training before your call goes through, this woman is the one who is partly responsible for the SNAFU'd detail.  She is Sybil Humpreville, Camp Croft's telephone hostess in the service club No. 1.

  That bright smile that shines out at one from behind the switchboard was imported to Spartanburg from Asheville, which is directly opposite to the way the soldier travels, to Asheville from Spartanburg.  Sybil's been giving out wrong numbers at Croft for the past two years.  She likes her job too.  She worked with a bunch of women before , but she is very emphatic when she says that she'll take men any day.  Well, why not? She's a gal, isn't she?  Her love life is a very settled one.  She decided not to fall in love with any mop slingers here at Croft because her husband may object to it.

Plays Ivories

Her happy is playing pocket billiards with her husband.  She shows a sharp sense of originality when she nudges the ivory spheres with the cue stick. She plays the darn game on the floor.  Anyway, that's where the billiard balls usually winds up.

  It seems that all Southern women ride horses without staying in the saddle a hell of a long time.  But Sybil is even original when it comes to falling off horses. She was riding along merrily one day and didn't see a wire strung across the road.  The wire was just high enough for the old grey mare to amble past.  Sybil's moveable body came into contact with the immovable wire and she did a three point landing that would have been the envy of any aviator had he seen it.

  Her ambition has been achieved.  She married her husband.  She didn't tell us how hard a job it had been to finally land him, but that's neither here nor there.  She doesn't dance.  She thinks its much nicer to put her arms around her husband while sitting on the sofa without a band blaring in her ears.

  We've tried to convince some women of that same thing before, but we usually wound up with snake-eyes on the first throw.

Mary H Little
2LT Mary H. Little
By T-Corp. Walter Wingerter

  The future calling of Second Lieut. Mary H. Little, a nurse in Croft's station hospital, was graphically foretold years ago when, as a little tot, she had a passionate desire to nurse the stubbed toes of her boy playmates.  She wasn't interested in nursing the girls ... they had to shift for themselves.  They shouldn't have been so awkward in the first place.  As the wheels of fortune had it, Miss Little is still nursing the boys, only this time they a little bigger.

A native of Pacolet, S. C., Miss Little graduated from the Spartanburg General hospital in 1933, and after several years of private nursing duties, she came to Croft as a civilian nurse in May and served to June of 1941.  Then in March, 1942 she was commissioned and pinned on the gold bars of a second lieutenant.  A very charming lieutenant ... take it from hundreds of GI "sadapples" who found themselves hospitalized in her ward during the year and a quarter of her assignment here.

Wrestling around with a lot of 160 pounders who insist on cutting off fingertips with bread-slicing machines needs plenty of stamina, and Miss Little gets it by doing calisthenics every morning at 5:15 a.m. when most of Croft's dog-faces turn over to get a few more winks of sleep.  And to help limber up muscles, she and her fellow nurses do close order drill twice a week in June.  Although she doesn't intend to remain in the army after the war, she wouldn't think of quitting now, felling that she can do most good for her country by remaining an army nurse for the duration.

 Miss Little likes to go horseback riding and swimming, although the last sport almost cost her life when she was on the verge of drowning at Rainbow lake near Spartanburg.  The handsome lifeguard might have had something to do with it, but Miss Little assures us that she was thrown off some spinning gadget in the middle of the lake and was stunned.

On her personal life, she was about as eloquent as an undertakers assistance.  She'd only commit herself so far as to say that a girl in the service should not get married until after the war.  She also likes to go dancing and attend the movies.  The most adroit questioning of this department could not unveil the fact whether she likes to go to the movies alone or not.  Her secret ambition is to enjoy a nice quiet life with a swimming pool .. and with these South Carolina summers, so would we.


Evelyn Sanders
Evelyn Sanders
By T-Corp. Walter Wingerter

  THE NEXT TIME you find yourself entirely ignored in the Sixth regiment PX with your tongue trailing on the counter for that soda you asked for a half hour ago, its quite possible that the gal who looks through you as if you weren't there will be Evelyn Sanders of Jonesville, S.C.

Evelyn is sweet and doubles in brass between her PX job and her high school study. She's been filling Coca Cola glasses three quarters full of ice for the past eight months at Croft PX's. After she graduates from H.S., she intends to attend a business college so she can learn to take shorthand at 100 words a minute, and then drive her boss nuts when she can't decipher her own hash marks ten minutes later.

_________ sure us, however, that she'll take a brown-eyed Adonis too. Her heart is color blind.  She definitely favors soldiers, and she has a favorite son of Uncle Sam right here in camp. He's a second lieutenant in the 35th battalion. Evelyn says it isn't that serious, but she secretly wishes that it was.

HER SECRET AMBITION sort of reverses an old, established rule. Ninety per cent of the male species would like to go to Hawaii and watch scantily clad damsels doing the hula.  Well, Evelyn also would like to go to Hawaii and see a lot of handsome native men do the same thing, and she'd prefer to have them dressed in brief loin clothes.

Her most embarrassing moment was when she opened a bottle of milk. She used the good old tap and poke method, and the cover went into the bottle kind of suddenly causing a tidal splash all over a poor GI waiting to be served. 

We'll bet a dollar to a do-nut the dogface who took that milk bath wore his last clean uniform, with the laundry not due for another four days. 



T/4 Howard F. Coffey
By T-Corp. Walter Wingerter

  The "F" in Technician Sergt. Howard F. Coffey's name stands for "Felix". Maybe that's why he's always smiling.  A guy with a tag  like that has to have a sense of humor.

  A native of the borough that produces "them lovely bums", Brooklyn, Sergeant Coffey won his first lottery 14 months ago, and Uncle Sam gave him, as a prize, a complete wardrobe, free lodgings, and a steady monthly income.  After receiving his basic training at Croft, they decided that it would be a better idea if he worked in an office.  They wanted to win this war.  Presently he is stationed in headquarters company, IRTC.

 Reads Dorothy Dix

  His taste in reading matter is a bit peculiar.  He reads Dorothy Dix 's lovelorn column.  We saw him do it.  He says he corresponds with her, too.  If she were younger, he wouldn't waste time writing letters.  One of his biggest problems is how many chowhounds he can ship.  Headquarters company table commandos seriously cramp his style.  Its getting so he can't wolf down more than four pork chops at a meal.

  Elucidating on his eating habits, there are some uncharitable souls who say that he eats as if there were no tomorrow.  The talk is rife that he came darn near being limited service by reaching there places over for the butter somebody else was using.  Sergeant Coffey, however, says this is all very unfair.  The little he eats wouldn't even fill a GI washtub.

  One of his favorite sports is swimming.  The first time he went swimming at some lake with an unholy name somewhere near Chimney Rock everybody thought the Army was launching a new submarine.  When he did the swan-dive, belly first, the water level rose four inches, almost drowning two kids.

  His suppressed desire is to be an orderly in an old ladies' home with the service club's Sergeant Daily as cook.




Sgt. Vincent J. Hanlon
By T-Corp. Walter Wingerter

  Sergt. Vincent J. Hanlon of headquarters company IRTC graces this page of "The Spartan" this week, misplaced eyebrow and all.  (We're referring to the strip of victory garden on his upper lip).  A native of Chicago, he was caught in the terrific draft that swept all over the country and found himself blown pell-mell into the OOESSAY army, and has done an heroic job of fighting the battle of Camp Croft ever since.

  Sergeant Hanlon is the gentleman who puts the jingle-jangle around the swan-like throats of America's warriors.  He's the guy who misspells names on GI dogtags.  He is still normal, that is to say unmarried; but lest any eligible young ladies hereabouts get their hopes too high let us add that he intends to remain in his present happy state until after the war. He has a chick waiting for him in Chicago and he's true to her.

A Promoter

  He is a promoter par excellence which probably accounts for his unusual hobby of hitching rides in the scientific manner, and when we say scientific, we don't mean anything else.  When old sarge wants a ride, he doesn't wear out his thumb doing it, but promotes himself some free time on the radio station and lets the world know that he wants to chisel a free ride somewhere, and it usually works.  But there is one time he didn't do so well.  He got a ride all right, but what happened afterwards shouldn't happen to a dog.  It was an open truck, and a few after the ride got started, old lady nature puckered her lips and let out a terrific Bronx cheer in the form of a hail storm and got the sergeant's disposition slightly on the icy side.  He usually pays off for his rides by telling the story of his life, which is one of those yarns that could easily beat the 1001 Nights by about 24 hours.

  Former manager and coach of the headquarters company softball team,  Hanlon copped the state championship last year. After listening to him, however, we're not at all sure that he didn't talk the powers that be into awarding his team the championship without even bothering to play any games.

  Although his gift of gab could put the sale of the Brooklyn Bridge to New York's mayor entirely in the realm of possible, he found himself on the negative end of the deal when he started picking on a Greek.  He was selling candy to stores at the time and did a colossal job of it until he hit the gent with the Hellenic profile.  We strongly suspect that not only didn't he sell and candy to the Greek storekeeper, but most likely the Greek sold him half the store. 

  We, too, have had experiences with merchants of Greece.

Private Marden Bate
By T-Corp. Walter Wingerter

   WHAT WE'D LIKE to know is what Broadway is doing for acors.  All celebes seem to be on the army's KP rosters.  The guy we snared this week is Pvt. Marden Bate of New York who was the featured singer with Fred Wrings orchestra.  His star studded career includes association with Leopold Stokowski, Frank Black's Orchestra, Kate Smith, and Gladys Swarthout in the "Prudential Hour."  But it took the army to give him a speaking acquaintance with Maggie's drawers.

  Presently Marden is warbling sweetly in the spring-time while swinging a mop in D-31st's latrine.  The army plucked him from the leading role in the Broadway production "Rosalind" to give him star billing on the gig list May 31.  He thinks the army is a marvelous thing to make a man out of a mouse.  Marden would rather have remained a mouse.  At least a mouse has a hole to crawl into where he can be alone.  The only privacy Marden gets now is at 3 o'clock in the morning when he creeps under the covers.  There's no guarantee that he wouldn't find a first sergeant even there.

Had Own Program

  Before he got into the army Marden also had his own radio program on the West coast running shows for the Fisher Blend Flour program.  He had experience conducting glee clubs, and has conducted the Midshipman's choir at Columbia University in New York, an outfit consisting of 80 men.  His secret ambition is to conduct the best army chorus that ever dodged a barrage of vegetables. 

AFTER THIS OPERA in Europe is over, Marden wants to go back into show business, but this time to work from behind the scenes.  A pretty astute decision, sez we.  A mess of scenery between oneself and the audience affords excellent cover and concealment in case some disgruntled customer starts heaving tomatoes that have reached the twilight of their existence. 

Marden is married to the understudy of the star part in "Roselind", the Broadway show.  He's been married for nine years and still likes it.  He doesn't mean anything by it, but he likes to give gals the once over, and if the subject deserves it, he'll even go over the terrain twice.  His wife is dying to get away from New York as soon as possible to be with him. 

She probably wants to keep her eye on him while he keeps his eye on the South's femininity.