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Friday, December 24, 2010

June 20, 1943

Desert Training Center, California

June 20, 1943

10:30 A.M.

Darling Mark –

Hello Sweetheart!!! Here it is Sunday but you’d never know it out here. I’m just thinking of where I was last Sunday & comparing it with this desert! I just came back from taking a shower & shave. Am now sitting in my tent writing to you. A bunch of us guys are going swimming in the Colorado river sometime today.

I went to Mass this morning right in the middle of the desert – sand & cactus & sun included. I didn’t mind tho. It seemed pretty nice. It was 118 in our tents yesterday & 132 outside of them. I went to the U.S.O. show last nite. We’ve got a stage built out here in the desert too. It was pretty good. Frank McHugh as M.C. Akin Famerioff, Robert Armstrong – Joan Carol Dennison – whoever she is. Pretty cute trick tho. Some bags from NY & Hollywood.

Honey – we sure have some beautiful moons that come over these mountains; wish you were here. I never slept better in my life as I do out here. Used 2 blankets last nite. Honey – I’ll finish this letter when I come back from that swim. Maybe I’ll get a letter from you by that time. Bye now.

12:00 P.M. Hello Darling – I just got your letter – mercy I was glad to get it. It boosted my morale sky high honey. I really needed it too. Well honey – I’d better rush for show now. I’ll write more later – Bye now honey.

Well – I just finished chow. Ham - sweet potatoes - stewed tomatoes - lettuce & tomato salad – bread & butter – pineapple & cookies & lemonade. It wasn’t bad for out here.

The mail clerk just told us to leave – 9th Arm’d Div – off of our return address – so you won’t have to write it on your letters now.

We’re just waiting to go swimming now. It’s about a 50 mile ride from what I hear.

You want In My Arms honey? I’d like to be in yours. I’m not sure of this but here’s what I know. In my arms – in my arms – aint’ I never going to get a girl in my arms. In my arms – in my arms – ain’t I never going to get a bundle of charms. Comes the dawn – I’ll be gone – I just gotta have a honey holding me tight! You can keep your knittin’ & purlin’ if I gotta go to Berlin. Give me a girl in my arms tonite! That’s all I know.

Well honey I guess I’d better mail this letter now – so still get out tonite.

It sure is hot here. You don’t notice you sweat here – it drys right away. If you got a shirt on you can tell it. I’m just sitting here in shorts.

8:45 P.M. Hello honey – we were called out suddenly & just got back at 8:00. We went to some lake about 50 miles away. It was big & beautiful & the water was green as ink. I don’t think I’d like to make the trip again tho. It was too long & hot.

Well honey – I’d better close now – I’m pretty tired. That swim was the most energy I used in a month. Goodnite honey. Answer soon.

All My Love

Johnny X O X

P.S. Leave out – 9th Arm’d Div. & Desert Maneuvers on my address.

Friday, December 17, 2010

June 19, 1943

Desert Training Center, California

June 19, 1943

3:00 P.M.

Darling Mark –

Hello Sweetheart! How you was today? No letter from you yet – but I’m not giving up hopes. I guess it’ll take a little longer to get here than it did at Fort Riley.

Not much happening today. I was on detail for a couple of hours this morning but I didn’t work very hard. We had guns issued to us today – just something else to clean every time we turn around.

As usual – it’s hot as hell again today.

I’ve been made navigator for the 2nd platoon today. I hope I can lead them to L.A. someday.

I’m just laying around this afternoon again – dreaming. Gosh honey – I miss you. Next week we start our problems. I guess they’ll be pretty rough. I hope the hell I don’t lose us on this desert someplace.

They’re having another stage show tonite – I guess I’ll take a chance on it. I couldn’t stand the last one.

Well honey I guess I’ll go take a shower & cool off for a couple of minutes.

Please answer soon honey. I’m always thinking of you. Bye now.

All My Love Johnny XOX




Wednesday, December 15, 2010

June 3 - June 16, 1943: the l-o-n-g train trip

Desert Training Center, California

June 3, 1943

Sat. Eve.

(inside envelope flap)




LOVE – XOX Xa long one too!


Darling Mark –

Hello Sweetheart!!! Honey – I was really glad to get your letter today. It was the first one since last Tues. I was on K.P. today & just got off at 7:00 P.M. Boy am I tired. That’s the most work I’ve done since I’ve been here. When I got your letter at noon tho – I didn’t care how much work I had to do. It was all I needed & it’s all I’ll be needing from now on honey – so write honey – write as often as you can.

Well – as far as I know, I’ve got tomorrow

Hear about the moron who felt so low, he got his face slapped! - oh nuts!

to rest up. I might go into Needles for a while – just to get away from here – cause there’s not a darn thing in there. One beer joint & it’s always so crowded, you’re lucky to get a drink. So you finally got my picture – huh? But I don’t see how it could be as good as you say! Too bad about Fairyland burning – but I never went there a great deal anyhow.

Sweetheart, I think I dream about you always. I keep wondering when I’ll be able to see you again & hold you in my arms. Boy I can almost feel it now.

Honey, I’d better sign off now, it’s getting a little dark & I’m tired as hell. I’ll dream about you. Bye now,

All My Love



How ya was? Boy – what a dreary day. It rained like hell last nite.

We were supposed to leave at 1:30 this afternoon but now it’s postponed till 4:30 & then it’s not definite. I don’t like this waiting around & doing nothing. Now if you were here we’d probably leave in nothing flat! Honey, I miss you so much.

I won’t be able to mail this letter here – the first chance I get – I’ll drop it off somewhere.

As you see I’ve put a stamp on this letter & no return address. They might try & stop it if I didn’t – 9:15 P.M. – as you were honey. We can’t mail any letters along the way. It’s been 5 hours since we left camp and are now just pulling out of Topeka. I’m laying in my berth now trying to write – so bear with me if you have a tough time reading this. Manhattan was flooded & the water was over the tracks so we had a slow drag thru there. I’m wondering where we’ll be in the morning. I’ll keep writing this letter till I get to Cal. honey. This berth would be nice & cozy if you were along.

Gosh honey, I sure miss you & I’m getting farther away from you every minute – only in miles tho honey. I’ll close for tonite honey & continue in the morning. Good nite sweetheart. I’m thinking of you always. I hope I dream of you.

June 16, 7:30 A.M. – Morning sweetheart! Well we’re still in Kans. Breakfast is about ready. Train is kinda bumpy. I’ll write more after chow.

8:00 A.M. – We’re now in Colorado about 60 miles. Nothing but flat land & sagebrush. I’m going to quit now – I’m having a tough time of it – as yo can plainly see.

9:30 – We’re now in La Junta, Colo. We stopped for exercises. We’re going to pull out pretty soon so I’ll close again. Hope you can read this. Bye now.

11:20 – Here I am again honey. We’re now stopped at some town between the Rocky Mts. I don’t know the name of it but I’ll try & find out. I found it – Trinidad. We’re moving out sweetheart so I’d better close now. We’re getting ready for chow now too. We’re about 80 miles from La Junta. I just sent a kid after a pint of ice-cream. I hope gets back before we pull out. I'd hate to be stuck in this place. The kid got back but no ice-cream. We’re pulling out soon. Bye for now honey –

12:00 P.M. – We’re now going thru a 3 mile mountain tunnel.

1:00 P.M. – Hello darling we’re now in Raton N. Mexico Just another town stuck between these yar hills. There’s some kids selling candy & potato chips here. Prices are sky-high. Donuts 50 c dz.

4:30 – Hello again honey! We’re in Las Vegas N. Mex. now. We got out & took a walk around town for exercise. All these towns out here are mostly Mexican. We’re pulling out again honey. I haven’t seen any town yet I liked. The air is thin here – I have a hard time getting enough of it. I’ll write more later honey.

Hello honey. We’re now in Albuque N. Mex. It’s 9:45 P.M. We’ve been here since 9:30 & are still waiting. This is the first city that’s really nice.

I bought you a hat & pair of shoes from some Indian woman. Send them first chance I get. We’re moving out now honey so I guess I’ll get some shut-eye. About 700 miles along the road – Indians live in adobe (mud homes). Kinda quaint. Goodnite now darling.

Morning honey – we’re now pulling out of Flagstaff, Arizona. It’s 8:00 A.M. There a lot of Indians in this town too. Mostly mts. & hills covered with pine trees outside the city. Not much of a place – I’ll take K.C. It’s about time for breakfast honey so I’ll close again.

3:30 P.M. – Well here we are in Needles Cal. honey. They say it’s not very hot today – 105. It’s a pretty nice town – the streets are lined with palm trees. I’ll finish this letter when I get into camp honey. We got a little ways to go yet. Bye now.

Well, darling, here I am in camp. Ain’t much to say about it. Just desert & more desert & mountains. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty rugged life. I don’t think I’ll mind too much but we’re sure a heluva ways from nowhere. I’m going to miss you an awful lot honey! I was in heaven when I was with you. I can see now.

Honey – if hell is this hot I’m going to start being a good boy. If I had a brother in hell & one out here I’d get the one off the desert first.

Well honey I guess I’ll start closing now & get ready for chow. Write very soon honey. I miss you so. Goodnite now.

All My Love







Sunday, December 12, 2010

Desert Training Center

Johnny begins the long train trip from Fort Riley, Kansas to the Desert Training Center in Needles, California.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

June 14, 1943 (later that same day)

Fort Riley, Kansas
June 14, 1943
3:00 P.M.

(inside envelope flap)

Darling Mark,
Hello Sweetheart!!!

I’M WRITING AGAIN – I JUST GOT A LETTER FROM YOU THIS NOON. The one you wrote at work. I t was a pretty long letter honey – that’s what I like.

There were about 20 of us that came in late this morning. We’re catching all the last minute details around here now. I don’t care what they do to me – it was worth being with you that much longer.

They had us loading the kitchen cars this morning. I gold-bricked most of the time tho. I took off at 2:00 & now I’m just laying on my bunk, writing to you. There’s a crap game going on at the foot of my bed – but I swore off.

We get our meals served to us in our seats on the way down. If you’re asleep – no eat. Today is our last day to get mail here – so if you wrote a letter today to me here I probably won’t get it till I get to Cal. -

Let me know when you get my picture – I ‘m going to call tonite & see if they mailed them yet – if they haven’t – I’ll go up & mail myself.

This waiting & doing nothing around here gets on my nerves. I won’t mind the details so much – they make the time go faster.

You told me not to be blue honey – so I won’t tell you I am.

Honey – I hated to say good-bye to you last nite. I knew then how much you mean to me honey. Oh – I miss you so much. I wish I could have taken you with me. You’d be nice to have around out on that desolate desert! Thanks again honey – for that prayer-book. I’ll always carry it with me & you’ll always be with me in my prayers.

Honey, I’d better start closing now. I guess I’ll probably see you in a couple of months – I hope.

Bye now – Darling. ANSWER SOON

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

June 14, 1943

Fort Riley, Kansas
June 14, 1943
6:30 A.M.

(inside envelope flap)

Darling Mark,
Hello Sweetheart!!!

How are you today. I got back in camp at 4:00 this morning & got up at 5:00. I’m not sleepy tho – but I’m sure thinking of you a lot.

I just finished packing my bags this morning. I didn’t think I had accumulated so much junk till I tried to get it all packed. I don’t think they’re going to do anything about us guys coming in late as long as we were here for reveille. I think he told us 12:00 just so we’d be sure to be here this morning.

Honey – I sure hated to leave you last nite. I wanted to tell you a lot of things but I guess I was kinda choked up.

Well sweetheart I’d better close & get ready to fall out. Please write soon darling!

All My Love XOX

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

June 11, 1943 (later that same day....)

Fort Riley, Kansas
June 11, 1943
7:30 P.M.

(inside envelope flap)

Darling Mark:
Hello Sweetheart!!

I did get a letter from you today. I’m so happy to get them honey – even if they are short.

Baby – did I have a soft day today. I got up at 6:00 ate breakfast – went back to sleep till 10:00 got up & ate dinner at 10:30. At 11:00 we fell out & the guys that didn’t fire before fired today. Six from our platoon had qualified in shooting so we went back & scrubbed the barracks! We finished that in an hour & the rest of the we layed around. I have to get up at 4:30 tomorrow morning & go to the target pits. We have to have all of our equipment packed by morning. There’s a rumor going around that we don’t leave till Tuesday now. If it’s true I’ll try & call you Monday nite.

I just came back from getting a G.I. haircut again. He really peeled me!

I wish I could have been with you on that picnic honey – but when I get back just you & me are going on a picnic by ourselves – I want you all to myself with no interruptions. Honey I miss you so much – if I ever get ahold of you again I’ll never let you go.

Well I’ve quit playing craps again, maybe I’ll learn someday.

It sure is hot & sticky here tonite. I guess Cec is (on) maneuvers – I haven’t heard from him for quite awhile. Gosh I miss that guy!

I feel half-naked with my hair cut this short.

Honey – I’m going to Riley again tomorrow to see about my pics. They’ve been in there 18 days now.

I’d better close honey – I have to write home & get to bed. 4:30 comes awful fast.

Please answer soon.
X O X All My Love X O X
XXXXX Johnny X O X
P. S. 4 kisses per hug!