Postmarked March 15, 1943, from Camp Wheeler in Georgia
Pvt. Frank Mauro
Co. B-4th Tr. Bat.
Camp Wheeler, Georgia
Dear Ma and Pa, and everyone else,
How are things back in Kisco? And how are you all feeling? Everyone down here has a cold and everyone feels lousy.
Right now, I am the barracks guard. I have to stay in and guard the barracks from 9:00 this morning to 9:00 tomorrow morning. I am also on the alert, which simply means that I must stay in from 6:00 tonite to 6:00 tomorrow nite. I just got table waiting the other day and boy, that killed me. Table waiters get up at 5:30 in the morning, go in the kitchen, set the tables and then wait on the soldiers when they want more food, then I go out at 8:30 with the regular company and go through the training. After the third meal, we cleaned, and I mean cleaned, the mess hall until 10:30 at night. I got to bed about twelve o’clock and got up at 5:30 the next morning, and I was really dead at quitting time.
We get up here at a quarter to seven, clean the barracks, eat, and fall out at 8:30. Then we go to the Pecan Grove and train until 12:00. We eat and fall in again at 1:30. We train again at or until 5:30. Then we eat and we’re off.
I just got my rifle full of grease today. I cleaned it for three hours, but it still looks like it hasn’t been touched. I also got my gas mask. We’ll be going through the gas pretty soon, and they use some pretty deadly gases. One of the gases makes you vomit and it takes a stout-hearted man to vomit in his gas mask and still keep it on and breathe through it.
It just started raining here, the first rain I’ve seen in 10 days. it’s always damp down here though and I think that’s what is bringing on all the colds here. That’s what makes us all sweat so much during drills.
I’ll have to take my pack apart pretty soon and put the tent half along the side of my bed. Then tomorrow morning, I’ll have about 10 minutes to roll it again. A blanket, mess kit, tent half, tent pole, 5 tent pegs, underwear, handkerchiefs, toilet articles, raincoat, rope, bayonet, cartridge belt, first aid kit, canteen and 9 ½ pound rifle. We double time (trot) about 100 yards every morning or afternoon with all that on. Then maybe we march about five miles with our packs and rifles or we may just drill. Sometimes we see movies or training films or listen to training lectures on first aid, military courtesy, or other important things.
As I already told you, I am in the radio platoon of the fourth battalion. If I come out of the radio school and can send or receive 12 or 15 words a minute, they might send me to another camp. However, if I hit twenty or twenty five words a minute, I’ll probably get shipped right across. In any event, I won’t get a furlough for about five more months.
I’ll have to close now, so —