Arthur L. Buchholtz

Engineer Unit in France Solves Its Laundry Problems
HEADQUARTERS, ADVANCE SECTION COMMUNICATIONS ZONE, France--Working around three Hercules motors, turning out oxygen and acetylene for the engineers, ordnance, and hospitals is a dirty chore at best, but members of an Engineer Gas Generating Unit in France have solved their laundry problems with a single homemade, portable washing machine.

With a 220-volt motor, a water pump for a pulley, and the transmission from a French bicycle, the gas boys supply power to agitate a 55-gallon oil drum full of dirty fatigues, GI soap, and water. The oil drum is held in place on a frame welded together from scrap iron and is heated by a burner formed from copper tubing. Heat is furnished from a cylinder of acetylene which the soldiers manufacture in large quantities. 

According to Technical Sergeant William J. Carroll of Trafford, PA, the washing process takes only a few minutes and the clothes are dried by the hot air forced from the engines in the generating units.

Since arriving in France in August, the generating unit has furnished oxygen and acetylene for joining pipe on the line running from the coast to gasoline distributing points all over France, besides providing material for repair of army vehicles and machines by engineer and ordnance outfits. 

The unit was activated at Fort Leonard Wood, MO in April 1942 and moved to Camp Claiborne, LA for engineer basic training. After personnel completed training in generating procedure at O'Fallon, IL, they kept Camp Claiborne supplied with oxygen and acetylene. 

Composed of less than a score of enlisted men and one officer, the unit is attached to a larger engineer unit for rations and quarters. 

First Lieutenant E. Abbott of  Falmouth, MA is Commanding Officer of the unit. Other members of the unit include Staff Sergeant Arthur L. Buchholtz of Eau Claire.