Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Ducks or DUKWs

The discussion at the Fourth of July family picnic the other evening got around to the ducks at Wisconsin Dells, and plans to take a tour on them. I pointed out that the folks at the Dells spelled the name of the vehicles incorrectly and that the correct spelling was DUKW. For the reaction I got, you’d think I’d spelled Wisconsin backwards.

The reason I knew the correct spelling is when I was in the U.S. Army Reserve (Transportation Corps) back in the late 50s and early 60s, we had these strange (I thought them strange at the time) vehicles in my battalion. They traveled on land as well as in water. I know that many of you have longed to know this important information, but the letters DUKW are not an acronym, as is so much the case with the U. S. army. The D refers to a vehicle designed in 1942; the U means “Utility-amphibious,” the K refers to front-wheel drive, and the W means two powered rear axles.
The army used DUKWs to transport equipment and troops from ships to shore—each could haul 2 ½ tons of equipment, or up to 12 soldiers. They are 31 feet long, a little over eight feet wide and 7 feet tall. Not exactly a fishing boat. The DUKW fleet’s greatest fame came during D-Day, June 6, 1944, when DUKWs helped bring troops and equipment ashore during that famous battle in WW II. So now you know.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: (He remembers what someone told him) Those who have a fifth on the Fourth have trouble going forth on the fifth.

CHECK THIS OUT: A new paperback edition of THE TRAVELS OF INCREASE JOSEPH (University of Wisconsin Press) is now available. Check my website:


August 8-14. My week-long writing workshop at The Clearing in Door County. “Writing From Your Life.” The class is full, but you can put your name on a waiting list. There is still room in my day-long workshop, Saturday, October 30. The Clearing Folk School P.O. Box 65 | 12171 Garrett Bay Road | Ellison Bay, Wisconsin 54210 Toll Free: 877.854.3225 | Monday - Friday 8-4


July 10, 10:30-2:30. Bramble Books, Viroqua. New location: 213 S. Main Street, Viroqua. Horse Drawn Days.

July 11, 10:30-2:30, The Pickle Station, Saxeville, WI. In a Pickle.

July 13, 7:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Central Wis. Launch of Horse Drawn Days.

July 29, 7:00 p.m. Brown Street Books, Rhinelander, WI. Horse Drawn Days.

August 4. 10:30 a.m. Flying Farmers Meeting, Holiday Inn, Fond du Lac. Stories from the Land.

August 8-14, The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI. Writing From Your Life Workshop.

August 22, 11:00-3:00, Barnes and Noble, Racine, WI. Horse Drawn Days and more.

August 25, 7:00 p.m. Bailey’s Harbor Town Hall, Door County Environmental Council.
Ames County Novels.

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