Army Life – Lad’s Army Life at Camp Santa Anita – August, 1943

Grandpa finally gets a letter from Lad telling of his furlough plans and his daily schedule. Grandpa is happy to get the news.

Camp Santa Anita

Wednesday

Aug. 11, 1943

Dear Dad:

Today I got word to report to the personnel section to verify my request for a furlough, and it is to start on Friday, September 3, and is good for 14 days, which means that I will have to be back at camp here on September 17. It looks as though I will have to travel by train, which means that it will take about four days or a little more to get home, and the same returning. However to make things different, I believe that I can work on one of the dining cars on one of the Santa Fe crack trains, and in that way will not only get to Chicago as fast as possible, but will be paid for going there. Then the trip from there to New York is much easier since there are many trains leaving per day, and the fair is only about $20. So, if things go as planned at present, I shall be home Monday night or sometime Tuesday, either September 5 or 6. I have checked no schedules as yet, but everything points in this direction. If there will be any changes, I shall notify you as soon as possible.

Things here have been going along fairly smoothly, but somebody, probably Washington, decided that we were having life a little too easy, and last week we started getting up at 5 AM. Incidentally, that means that at the same time as you are thinking of getting up, so am I. Along with that change, came a stiffening of regulations here. We fall out for reveille at 0515 and then have until 0630 to eat breakfast, clean house and get everything ready for the daily inspection of the barracks. At 0630 we fall out and March to the drilling area where we spent half an hour doing calisthenics and then an hour alternately drilling one day and listening to lectures on the next, which pertain to some phase of military life. At 0800 we return and again fallout to march down to the section where we start teaching at 0815. At 1000 we have a 10 min. break and then continue until 1145. Chow (lunch) is at 1145 and from then until 1250 we are free to do as we please. At 1250 we again fallout and march to the section and begin classes at 1300. Again at 1515 we have a 10 min. break and then school is over at 1730. Altogether that makes 12 1/2 hours that we are on the go for Uncle Sam. Then of course, we start on our own time and spend until 2200 or 2300 gallivanting around for ourselves then to bed until 0500. What a life, but it isn’t so bad if you don’t weaken.

A few weeks ago you asked me for a picture of Marian, and all that she can find is one taken some time ago, when she was looking for a job and

Lad and Marian, So. Pasadena, CA

Lad and Marian, So. Pasadena, CA

needed a picture to put on employment blanks. The picture is fairly good except that her eyes in the picture are too far apart and it looks as though she can’t keep her eyelids completely open. We are keeping pretty steady company. She is a fine girl, and I like her a great deal.

Tonight I am asst. Bn. C.Q. and apparently that is a better deal than C.Q. in that I get off at 1030 while the C.Q. is on until 1200 (2400). I have been on since 1730, and so far have run four errands and done a lot of talking with various of the other boys who have walked in or some of the guards. There goes the phone, and from the conversation, I guess that I’ll have another errand to run. Yep – just a minute. Well, that’s done.

The bag arrived O.K. and it will suit the purpose perfectly. Thanks Dad, and as usual, things that you do are usually done completely and well. However, I have a suggestion that may or may not be worthwhile. The condition of the bag, due to rough handling by the shipping companies, is in pretty poor shape as far as looks are concerned. I don’t think that the bag is actually hurt very much. But to at least help against being crushed, why not fill the bag quite tightly with crumpled newspaper. I think that the procedure will prevent a great deal of the crushing that occurred.

That diesel course that I was supposed to start teaching never did materialize, and at present I am instructing in a new course called “Engine Tune-up”. It is all right, but not as interesting as the diesel course would have been. Art Lind tells me that the diesel course has not yet been thrown out of the window, but I’m beginning to think that it has gotten just about as far as the frame, it is waiting for some wind to either blow it back in again or on out. I hope the wind blows from the outside. I’m really not too interested in this present course that I am connected with.

Well, I seem to be running out of thoughts, and since I do not have any of your letters with me here, I cannot look them over for further suggestions, and therefore I shall call it quits, and with love to all, I’ll sign this as

Laddie

In tomorrow’s post, one more letter from Grandpa to his sons.

On Saturday and Sunday, the two final posts from the Autobiography of Mary E Wilson. I have enjoyed sharing this story of the parents of Bev, a childhood friend living in the neighborhood. Her parent’s story is rather unique and inspirational.

Do you know of anyone who would like to take a trip down memory lane and relive what a family was going through during the late 1930’s and 1940’s? Why don’t you pass along this link so they can enjoy the stories also?

Judy Guion

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