Yankee Division "Selectees" Arrival & Basic Training
#1

Inducted into the Army at Columbus Ave Boston March 15, 1941, my father was in one of the 1st groups of "draftees" sent to Camp Edwards. The following accounts drawn from mostly from the YD Historians (101st, 104th, 181st, and 182nd regiments), were of that same time period and match many of Dad's letters.

 

You can see how some of these experiences would eventually turn a group of civilians/strangers from all walks of life into comrades.

 

"During the trip from Cape Cod, smoke and cinders from the locomotive had seeped into the passenger cars and covered the men's skin and clothing. Before retiring, the recruits assembled in the washroom for a required 90 second shower en masse - 30 seconds under the taps to get wet, 30 seconds outside to soap up while another group went in, and 30 seconds back in to rinse off. Non-coms stood by with watches to time each shift and then blew their whistles when the allotted time was up. The measure was necessary to ensure there was enough water for everyone."

 

(Anyone who has ever been to Cape Cod in March knows that 30 seconds OUTSIDE

naked must've felt like an ETERNITY!)

 

 

"After breakfast, the group was off to the station hospital for medical tests, chest x-rays, and a series of inoculations. Standing by were a group of medics, mostly inexperienced, ready to try out their recently acquired 'needle techniques.' The men received shots to prevent every disease imaginable - typhoid, diptheria, smallpox - and several others they never knew existed. The Company M 104th historian wrote: 'We were inoculated against everything except slipping on the soap in the shower room and breaking our necks. ' That night , the barracks resounded with a chorus of moans & groans as men rolled over on their sore arms. Some of the men suffered from acute reactions to the shots. In a few cases, those with very high temperatures returned to the hospital for treatment. For days afterwards, the men suffered from stiff arms and had to help one another putting on their field jackets and packs. One witty young man

from the 104th quipped "that he had to give up drinking beer :drinkin: because he leaked from all the places he was jabbed."

 

(My father wrote home at that time: "Everyone's sick down here. Lots of guys taken to the hospital with high fevers." My father continued to receive these "injections" throughout 1941 and 1942 - almost every week. What were they all for? I often wonder about that because both he & his brother Joe died "young" (at 70 & 56) from cancer (and neither of them were ever really sick a day in their lives). It just makes you wonder if all those shots had any adverse effect.)

 

m1

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