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206thmpco

"so long dear I'll be home in a year!"

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Here are some excerpts from Dad's first Army letters.

I don't think people today have a clue what it meant to be drafted.

These guys were all living their own lives when the Army got ahold of them

and the Army did whatever it wanted with you. They OWNED you.

You went where they sent you, did what they told you, and had to

become whoever they said you were.

 

These early Army experiences may bring back memories

for some of you - and give you a chuckle.

 

 

Dad wrote some of these on stationary that says: "The Camels" Headquarters

Co C 181st Infantry (Rifle) Camp Edwards Falmouth Ma

 

3/17/41: "...we finally got settled after a tough day of going here & there. First

we had intelligence tests, then inoculations & injections, and then interviews.

In the afternoon, we got fitted and they rush you through in

short time - giving you anything, no matter how it fits. After we got our uniforms,

they called off the names of those who were to go to their permanent barracks.

You either go to the Field Artillery or the Infantry. I landed in the Infantry along with

most everyone else. The Army is a good place to stay out of, unless you CAN'T.

 

3/19/41 "...The weather is terrible down here, awful cold and the wind blowing a

mile a minute & the sand flying...when the wind goes down, we'll be in fo alot of walking.

We're sort of getting used to it now. Getting up at 5:30 & lights out at 9:30. The group

I'm with now are all strangers, but they are all from somewhere around here. There

are a number of Needham fellows with me, others come from all over the state & hundreds

of new fellows coming into the camp daily. Most of them hate it here, some had good jobs & new cars that they had to leave on short notice. I'm writing this on my noon hour... I hope

everything is allright at home. Tell Joe to check the radiator if it gets cold..."

 

4/3/41 "...Everyone is sick down here or gone to the hospital. That Bill Murray who

called home last Sunday night was taken to the hospital on Monday. He had a high temperature and was in tough shape..."

 

4/5/41 "...the Army is a tough place. You can never figure out anything. You're given orders

for something one minute, and the next they change. No one has any idea what's ahead...

They gave us a gun and a pack & I've been out on the field sighting..."

 

4/9/41 "...Donnie Barry came over monday night with the candy & oranges you sent...

As far as I know, I'm all set to go home this weekend. There's a fellow in my barracks

from Needham and has his car down here & I could probably get a ride with him...

Sunday was a terrible day down here. In the morning it snowed & mixedwith rain & by

noon the wind was so strong you could hardly walk in it...Most of our faces are red

from the sun & wind..."

 

4/17/41 "...we just finished two days of hiking and having dinner out of doors in the woods.

It's quite a sight to see about 2,000 men starting out in the morning & not coming back

till night. All the heads of the regiment are out with us, from the Colonel down to the Lieutenants. It's kind of hard the first day - to walk with your pack and gun over your shoulder... This was the night for our big dinner...it sure tasted good: turkey with stuffing, onions, cranberry sauce, french fries, cookies, and ice cream - for all 174 men..."

 

4/23/1941 "...we just got back from an overnight hike. We camped out in tents & everyone was frozen. Most of the fellows were up all night. I slept on & off till

4, till the noise got so loud that the fellows all started getting up and running around to

get warm. They have these new gasoline kitchens & the boys were all flocking around to get warm. The bed will sure feel good tonight! Even the officers slept out, but THEY had sleeping

bags!..."

 

4/31/41 "...Monday was a funny day here. They made us get up at 5. We were supposed

to go out to the range early, but we hung around till 8:30. Then the notice came around that

our company wouldn't go out till 1. In the afternoon, we left by truck... and all shot our new rifles (they made quite a noise!). The same thing happened yesterday, we were supposed

to go out early, got up at quarter of five, but didn't leave till 10:30...Tomorrow we have to

get up at 4:30 for a big day at the range. They're really planning on an early start THIS

time!..."

 

6/11/41 "...The whole company will have to stay... we're going on weekend maneuvars.

Monday morning, we started on the road to Falmouth & stayed out in the woods along

side Acushnet Pond. Tuesday we marched to a different location & watched manuevars

from some other company, coming back to camp at noon. We marched to Acushnet POnd again in the afternoon to get up in position for night maneuvars...Tuesday night we marched out for the same area - the whole regiment took part. They gave us coffee & donuts about

midnight. Then we started back to camp, getting back about 1am. We certainly had enough

walking that day! ..."

 

7/9/41 "...We started on a hike monday morning at 7:30, coming back at noon. We started

out again in the afternoon with a full pack & 2 sandwiches. We marched all afternoon,

stopped to eat our sandwiches about 6:30, then started out again at 7. After a long hike, we came into a woods & had to get into position for a retreat. About 10, all they fed

us was beef stew & then we started out walking again. We walked & walked, heading back the way we'd come. All of us thought we were going back to Camp, but then we turned off in

another direction. It started raining & we stopped long enough to put our raincoats on.

At 1am, we turned off the main highway onto a dirt road & finally pulled into the woods about

2am. We'd just laid down, and the next thing I knew it was 3:15 and we all had to get up

for breakfast. We ate breakfast in the dark & drizzling rain. After that, we lay down & slept

on the bare ground till quarter of 6. Then we started out back to Camp, getting back at 9.

Boy was everyone dead tired (with sore feet!!)"

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Priceless M2! What a transition from home life to barracks!! :armata_PDT_23: Yuck! But the sad thing is, they had NO IDEA what they were really in for. Made all this look like a cakewalk huh?

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to post those. :armata_PDT_37:

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