“I was so convinced in my own mind that there would be some war sometime that involved us,” he said. “And I didn’t want to go in as a private.”
He was commissioned in 1939 and called to active duty on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked. After a big send-off, he went to Fort Lee, Va.
On June 27, 1942, he wrote to his parents from Fort Lee, Va., “At last I am in the Army and no one could be more happy.”
But a couple of days later, he was on his way back home after an Army doctor diagnosed him with high blood pressure.
Determined to serve, Lt. Weil traveled to several Army bases and finally to Washington where he sat in a general’s office all day, every day for a week until the officer agreed to see him.
“He said, ‘I don’t believe you. I spend every day listening to people who don’t want to be drafted and you do all this because you want to get in?’ ” Lt. Weil said. His orders were waiting for him when he got back to New Orleans.
In September 1944, his unit was sent to France, where he slept in a pup tent on Omaha Beach, ate out of his mess kit and bathed out of his helmet.
“I never, before tonight, thought I could get a thrill from a shower bath,” he wrote on Sept. 9, after a field shower was set up.
He also noticed the hardship faced by the French. “Going through some of the towns one can see the destruction brought on by war. Passing by quickly it is hard to realize that with each home went a heart ache, with each store the loss of perhaps years of savings.”