Dear Ma and Pa and Bib, Vince, Rosemarie, Grandma,
I received your package the other day and I was certainly glad to get it.
Well, I’ve only got approximately 9½ weeks to go and I’ll be out of here. And before I go any further, I want to tell you I am not eligible for officers training. All I can and did do is to apply for it. I have had one interview and I am scheduled for one more with the company commander. After that, if I get any further, I will probably get about 3 more interviews. Then, if I am accepted, I will have to go to NCO school. NCO, by the way, means non-commissioned officer. After I get out of there, if I go, of course, I will go to OCS at Fort Benning, Ga.
We started to get the works a couple of days ago. First, we went through the gas chambers. We also had to sniff some of the world’s most dangerous gases such as mustard, lewisite, phosgene and chloropicrin without any gas masks. Yesterday, we started our day shooting, e.e. getting the correct positions and right pictures with our rifles.
Today, we started our bayonet training, but we didn’t get much of it, only a couple of hours. After the bayonet drill, we hiked about six miles out to the woods with full field pack, gas mask, belt and rifle. We were also issued our entrenching tools. I got a pick, which is only an added burden on our field packs.
When we got to the field after the hike, we ate. Then we went on another six-mile hike. When we got in from that hike, we went over a course we didn’t know by compass to get the lay of the land. Then we ate again and just sat around for a couple of hours until it got dark. Then, simulating actual combat conditions, we went over the course by squads. We had to keep out of the woods, keep as quiet as possible and keep off of the skylines.
After we reached our objective, we waited for the rest of our platooon and marched over to our meeting place where we met the other platooons making up the company. Then, we heard sounds we could make in the woods that were heard at surprising distances. We could hear a man climbing a tree at 150 yards. We also heard a man close the bolt of his M-1 rifle at 700 yards. Then they put off a flare which made the whole area bright.
We got back to the barracks about 10:30 and had hot cocoa and doughnuts. Then we went to bed and didn’t have to get up until 12:30 tomorrow afternoon.
Tell Aunt Mary not to forget to make the cookies.
Well I have to grab myself a few hours or so of sleep so I’ll close now.