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Sunday, June 20, 2010

December 1, 1942

Fort Riley, Kansas
Dec. 1, 1942
Tues. Nite

Dear Mark:
I received your letter this noon. I had just got back from that overnight hike, I sure was glad to get it. I needed something like that to bolster my morale. I hope I never have to spend another night like that.
We marched five miles to the camp site & then pitched our shelter tents. Boy, it was cold! After that was done we had “chow”. Then we built a big bonfire, and gathered around & sang songs & told jokes. My buddy & I decided to turn in so we went to sleep, or, I might say, try to sleep. We only had 2 blankets, to sleep on, and two to cover with. That ground was hard & cold.
About 9:00 I got so cold I went out to the fire. Most of the fellows were sitting around it. One side of you would roast & the other would freeze. So, I went back & got 2 blankets & wrapped around me. I looked like Chief “Sittin Bull” himself. Well, we stood around the fire the whole night & morning till 8:00 A.M. Boy, I was tired & sleepy. My eyes were burning from smoke & I smelt like a smoked ham er sumpin. At 8:30 we ate breakfast & then we striked tents & headed back for camp. We arrived back at 11:00. Then till 12:30 we studied & dissembled the Thompson 40 cal. sub-machine gun. A neat piece of iron. Well after that we had dinner again, & was I starved.
This might be boring you but I don’t know what else to write about. Well, to continue, after dinner we had a first aid lecture. We had to learn to put broken legs & arms in splints. After the first aid we went back to the barracks for a ten-minute break, to smoke & stuff.
Now we have gas mask drill. We practiced donning masks & then we went into the gas chamber. We stayed in about 5 minutes & then took off our masks & walked out. My eyes were burning & watering & I was coughing like H___. I really trust that mask now, which was the purpose of the whole thing. It was snowing when we got out of the gas chamber, but it only lasted about 1 hour.
Well – (I use “well” a lot don’t I?) we’re back in the barracks & still practicing with the gas-mask for another ½ hour. I have just taken a shower & shaved & am ready for “chow” again. After we get back from Chow, we have to scrub the barracks, - every Tues & Fri.! I duck around till they’re finished so I get out of the work. I’m learning fast, to get around here, believe it or not.
We are now being interviewed by the Lt. He wanted to know if I spoke any foreign language. I told him no, except for a few ox!z words. I don’t want to be a spy anyhow. Well – I’m about out of Army dope, besides I written 4 large pages – now say something! Do I think I’ll go overseas? Listen Honey I don’t expect to see June in U.S.A., unless something turns up. They’re shortening our training period from 12 wks to 8 wks.
Goodnight honey, I’m pretty tired & I’ll think I’ll turn in. How about your picture? When you coming up?

Buck Johnny

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