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Friday, July 29, 2011

July 29, 1943

Desert Training Center, CA
July 29, 1943
Thurs.  7:00 PM

Darling Mark,

Hello Sweetheart!!!  How ya was today?  What a rugged day I had.  We hiked about 6 miles with pack last nite & slept out.  Got up at 5:20 ate chow & at 7:30 started out again.  We had to climb a 1500 ft. mountain.  It was steep & very rocky.  I sure am lucky, tho.  I ran into 2 rattlesnakes.  It aged me 5 yrs.  Later after we reached the top – it took us 1-1/2 hrs. to get to the top – we went hunting snakes & killed 3 with a 45.  A Sargent got the rattlers off them.  I don’t want any part of them. –

We stayed on top of the mt. till 20:30 & started down.  We got down in about time for chow.  We had to cook our own meal.  Our platoon was lucky – we’ve got 2 ex-cooks in it & they did our cooking too.

It was sultry all day & as usual very hot!

Tired as hell when we got in camp.  You can tell when we’re tired – no one has much to say.

We’ve just finished marking our equipment again – we’re having another inspection Sat.  If it isn’t right this time the whole co. officers & all are going to be in hock a couple months.

Well, honey I think I’ll get some sleep – so goodnite now.  Write soon – I miss you an awful lot honey. XXX XOX
All my love,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28, 1943

Desert Training Center, California
July 28, 1943
Wed.    1:30 P.M.

Darling Mark –

         Hello Sweetheart!!!

Got your 10 page air-mail today – counting the jokes. I’ve heard some & some I hadn’t.

         As you see I found that lapel pin. Every day now we’ve been having inspections & they’ve been gigging us everytime – so this noon we had to take everything out of our barracks bags & mark everything. Well, I found the thing in one bag.

         Honey this letter will have to be short. I’m going to fall out in 15 minutes, & tonite we go on a night patrol problem & I won’t get to.

         It’s been 150° for about a week here now. Even the nights are hot.
         Write then.

         This morning we had 2 hrs. on Judo fighting. 2 hrs on the use of sulfa drugs & morphine.

         This afternoon we’re going on another dismounted problem in the desert.

5:00. I didn’t have time to finish this at noon. We were out all afternoon practicing laying mines & detecting them.

         We’re going out this evening again on a nite problem. We weren’t fighting over a girl – where could anyone find a dame out here? I grant you, it would be a fight if there ever was one.

         We can’t wear shorts out here – the sun would blister you in an hour. Well honey – I’d better get ready for tonite. I’ll write more tomorrow. Bye now. Love Johnny


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26, 1943 (2nd letter)

Desert Training Center, California
July 26, 1943
Tues.    1:00 P.M.

Darling Mark,

         Hello Sweetheart!!!

         Received your air-mail & the one that rode free inside. I got the pictures too. You should have known better than to ask for it back, once you send it to me.

         Another hot day & we’ve got a 12 mile hike this afternoon! Even the nights are getting hotter. Even I’m getting hotter.

         L.A. is restricted to us again now. I guess I’ll never get out of this hell-hole.

         Honey, I’ll have to finish this tonite – we’re being called out early. Bye now.
Back again & tired as hell. We went out on the desert & had a dismounted problem. We were defending a water tower. My buddy & I were together under a greasewood bush – taking it easy. We talked mostly of girls, & decided that you had better not join the Marines. Honey, you don’t know what you’re getting into! All I can say is I hope you don’t. I could tell you not to definitely – but then you’d probably do it just to show me you could. Well honey it’s about time for chow so I’d better close. After chow we have two hours of dismounted drill. It’ll be too dark to write.

         I miss you honey & think of you a lot – but I’d hate to think of you in the Marines.

Bye now – honey                                  x O X
Write Soon.                                 X O X X X X
         All My Love                 Johnny     XOX

I could really go for some of those sloppy kisses any time – anywhere. Honey – think a lot before you join the Marines or any Womens service.
         Bye again – Love                X O X

July 26. 1943

Desert Training Center, California
July 26, 1943
Mon.   7:00 P.M.

Darling Mark –

         Hello Sweetheart!!!

Got your card today – first mail from you since last Wed. You can do better than that honey.

         We just finished another inspection. We had one Sat. this afternoon & again tonite. We had to mark our equipment & clothing again.

         We had a retreat formation tonite too.

         Last Thurs. we traded our Scout cars for half-tracks. We didn’t get back till Fri. nite & some didn’t get back till Sat. nite. They were sure in a mell of a hess. We had a lot of fun coming back. 9 of us from ‘C’ co. were alone together – so we had a race. I could only get 45 M.P.H. out of mine & then I thought it was going to fall apart. There were 25 in the convoy coming back & only 17 made it all the way back here.


         Mercy has it been hot here. 148° Fri. 150° Sat & Sun & 150° today. I can take 135° & 140° but when it goes past that – I wilt.

         Honey I wish you could write oftener. I miss you so much & when I don’t get a letter honey – well I don’t feel too good.

         So how about a nice long letter huh.

         It’s getting dark now – so I think I’ll take in a show. Goodnite now.  Write Soon.                                          X O X
X O X         All My Love                 Johnny

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Scout Cars [Author's Note]

Scout Car

The M3 Scout Car was an armored car in U.S. service during world War II. It was also known as the White Scout Car, after its manufacturer, the White Motor Company. It was used in various roles including patrol, scouting, command vehicle, ambulance and gun tractor.


Design of the vehicle began at the White Motor Company, based in Cleveland, in 1937. It had .25 in (6.4 mm) face-hardened armor, full-time four-wheel drive (with no way to disengage it), four-speed manual constant-mesh (non-synchromesh) transmission (with one reverse gear) and two-speed transfer case, leaf spring suspension, manual steering, and (unusually for the period) vacuum-assisted (power) brakes. The wheelbase was 131 in (3.3 m), tread 65.25 in (1.657 m). The wheels were 8.5 in (220 mm) wide, 20 in (510 mm) diameter, and used standard 12-ply military non-directional tires. Fuel capacity was 30 US gal.

The original order was for 64 units, all of which were given to the 7th Cavalry Brigade. Eventually the Army decided to adopt an improved version, designated M3A1. The new version had a longer and wider hull. In front of the bumper an unditching roller was mounted. The M3A1 could carry up to seven infantry and provide fire support with three machine guns - one .50 caliber (12.7 mm) and two .30 caliber (7.62 mm) - mounted on a skate rail around the hull.
Production of the M3A1 started in 1940 and lasted until 1944, with 20,918 vehicles built.
The design influenced the later U.S. halftrack designs such as the M3 halftrack and the post-World War II Soviet BTR-40. The early M2 halftrack copied the armor layout as well as the skate rail machine gun mounts.

Combat history

White scout car converted to ambulance.
The M3A1 first saw combat in the Phillippines in 1941-1942, and was also used by the cavalry units of the US Army in the North African Campaign and the invasion of Sicily. It was used in traditional cavalry roles such as scouting and screening; also as an armored command vehicle. By mid-1943, the drawbacks of the design - its open top, poor off-road mobility, and poor armament - were evident. During 1943 most US Army units replaced the M3A1 with the M8 armored car and similar M20 Utility Car. A small number of M3A1s were retained and employed in Normandy. A few M3A1s were used by the US Marine Corps in the Pacific theater, but none saw combat.

The M3A1 was also supplied via lend-lease channels to the Soviet Union (3,034; these vehicles remained in service until at least 1947) and Britain, and used to equip Free French Forces, Belgian, Czechoslovak, and Polish units. After the war, many vehicles were sold, mostly to Asian and Latin American countries. In Red Army service it was used primarily as a reconnaissance vehicle, but also as gun tractor for the ZIS-3 76-mm field gun. It remained in wide service throughout the war. In British and French service M3A1s were used as observation vehicles for field artillery observers, as ambulances, and as scout vehicles.
A few vehicles were used by Israel in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. At least one Israeli M3A1 was modified with top armor and a revolving turret.  France employed its M3A1s in the First Indochina War and the Algeria War.

By late 1990, the only country to keep the M3A1 in service was the Dominican Republic.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 21, 1943

Desert Training Center, California
July 21, 1943
Wed.    8:00 P.M.

Darling Mark,

         Hello Sweetheart!!!

No letter today – but I’d better write a short one.

         I’ve just finished shaving & a shower & washing my fatigues. The co. went on an overnite hike – 6 miles. I got out of it. We’re trading our Scout cars for half-tracks. This desert is too rough for the Scout cars. We have to get up at 4:30 tomorrow morning & be ready to leave at 5:30. We have to drive 150 miles to another camp – I forgot the name of it. They figure on 14 hours of driving & we haven’t any assistant relief driver. We’ll probably start back Fri. morning & get back in camp late Fri. nite, so you see honey – I probably won’t have a chance to write again till Sat.

         This morning we had gas-drill & vehicle decontamination & map-reading & navigation. This afternoon we had maintenance & got the Scout cars ready to roll for tomorrow morning.

         I was planning on going to L.A. this week-end but got restricted – over just some trivial thing. This Army is driving me bats.

         Well honey I’d better close & get some rest. It’s getting dark anyway.

         Bye now.   Write soon.
    X      X      X      X
                 All My Love                 Johnny     XOX
    X  X  X  X  X  X  X      X      X

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 20, 1943

Desert Training Center, California
July 20, 1943
Tues.    1:00 P.M.

Darling Mark,

         Hello Sweetheart!!!

I just got your letter of the 16th & the picture. I do like it honey – very much – must be the “wolf” in me. Honey – I promise not to get drunk or gamble. Don’t give me any more hell. I planned on sending it home for my furlough too. It’ll take a little more to come home from here than it did at Riley.

         Pins & Needles is a pretty nice song isn’t it honey. I hope I can remember the tune.

         We’re going on a three-day problem this week. I’ve got to think of a way to get out of it. I don’t mind them so much, but most of the time they’re just a waste of time – but come to think of it – what’s time out here.

         Honey, I did buy something from that Indian woman but I’ve misplaced it or somebody made me for it. I’ll try & find it tonite if I have time. I’m writing now, cause we’ll probably be in late tonite.  Mercy – we’re getting up at 4:30 now – how I hate it.

         I still don’t think you could beat bumps on my head, honey – unless I was sleeping.

         Bye now honey – maybe I can get this in today’s mail.

Answer Soon,

All My Love                 Johnny     XOX

Monday, July 18, 2011

July 19, 1943

Desert Training Center, California
July 19, 1943
Mon. Eve.

Darling Mark,

         Hello Sweetheart!!!

Got your card today. It helped me out a little. Boy – was I disgusted today. Blue Monday I guess. This morning we were out for driving instruction. This afternoon we had maintenance. Most of the time I sat inside a Scout car reading Liberty. Time out honey a guy just brought me a cake.

         I’m going to have to finish this – but fast. We had to stand Retreat tonite & by the time that was over & ate chow & finished shaving & taking my “Lux” shower it is now getting quite dark. I guess by now you’re trying to figure the pictures out. One is of the desert as you can see, That mountain is about 15 miles from where I took the picture. Nice country?

         The other two are me – which you can’t so plainly see. I guess you can figure out which is the Scout car & which the tank. The tank is the M8 assault gun which I used to be in. Glad I’m out of it now. It gets pretty hot inside there out here.

         Well, honey I’d better close now. I’m going to the show tonite. I’ve probably already seen it – but!

         Goodnite Honey

         Write Soon                                  X X X X
XOX  All My Love        Johnny     XOX

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 18, 1943

 Desert Training Center, California
July 18, 1943
1:00 P.M.

Darling Mark,

         Hello Sweetheart!!!

         Just came back from chow. At mail call I didn’t get a letter – but 10 min. afterwards he comes around with your air-mail of the 14th. So I’m happy again.

         Catching the flu, eh? That’s what you get from swimming in the rain. Do you think for one minute that would stop me from kissing you?

         Friday nite, the first Sargeant came up & relieved me of guard so I could go to the beer-party. So naturally I had to drink a little beer to stay off guard. A wild time was had by all. After the beer was gone – the fights started. Noone was hurt seriously. Kabonic – as usual got a shined eye. I got off with a skinned knee & shin & an 8 in’ cut on my left arm. Someone called the O.D. & the fights stopped. I went back on guard Sat. morning & slept a couple of hours, then the O.D. came around & dismissed us. I sure felt rough the rest of the day. I wasn’t drunk tho, honey.

         It’s nice & cool today for a change. The clouds have been hiding the sun all day & I wanted to get a sun-tan today too.

         I would go swimming this afternoon if I wasn’t so tired – or lazy.

         I haven’t heard anything about the little boy that was burned – but I guess he’s okay, or I would have heard about it.

         Honey – I don’t worry about anything – not too much, but I do think a lot of you & the folks home. That’s about all I can do out here. Honey – I do think about you as much as I say I do & what makes you wonder about it?

         @%*!!  I just dropped my pen in the sand!

         Honey I was kidding about being plastered, I knew you’d have something to say about it. I just gotta tease once in awhile. I’ve stocked up on “gum” too honey. 10 packs of Dentyne!  I’ve got to do some washing (wish you were here) today yet. I should sew up my cot too. I found out they won’t take much rough treatment. Must be those women I chase in my sleep. Damit _ never can catch them.

         Well, honey, I’ll close for today – I’m going to play ball now & they’re waiting. I’ll wait & tell you the score – bye now.

         Back again – no score. It wore me out. Now I’ve got to shower & shave. I haven’t shaved for two days now – think I’ll raise a mustache.

         Bye now honey.
         I’ll be good!

         All My Love        XOX
X X X X      Johnny     XOX