Saturday, December 27, 2008

Letter 1-October 5, 1943 (Fort MacArthur)

Oct. 5, 1943
Service Command Unit 1959
Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, California

Dear Mother & Dad,

You asked me to write and tell you what we did on the first day. We sat & sat & sat. However, we did eat and get our bunks. The food was excellent at first, but it’s getting worse ever since. It’s still not bad, however. There’s a total blackout here at night but the shipyards are so lit up that it seems like day.

This morning I woke up about ½ hour before first call (first call is not a bugle call- some bird just yells over a loudspeaker that we “gotta” get up). I made my bed “Army Style” and went and washed up. After breakfast we had our tests. They were 3 hours long altogether and were pretty tough, but I evidentially did well enough that I was offered “aviation cadet” training to become a pilot, navigator, or bombardier. I didn’t accept. This A.T.S.P. deal seems more practical, and even if nothing comes of it, I can still go back to aviation although it doesn’t intrigue me.

After the tests and lunch we had our physical and shots. The shots didn’t bother me-----yet! We had a little Jewish doctor examine us, and he sure was a kick.

As soon as we finished the physical, we went to get haircuts. I didn’t have to get one, but they really tried to take the fellows that did. “Don’t you want a shampoo (.75) etc.” then we got our interviews. I don’t know what decisions were made, but the way they acted toward everyone it seemed as if we were to be put on permanent K.P.

That’s about all we’ve done, and it’s plenty.

In my own humble opinion this place is a hole. About all everybody talks about is when they’re going to be shipped out. In the morning & evening there’s a fishy fertilizer stink that just about turns your stomach. It’s foggy-and all night the shipyards make a terrible racket.

I don’t know where we’re going to be sent but according to the rumors it’ll be a million miles away in some place like Benning or someplace in New England. We really don’t know.

I don’t think you’ll be able to write me until I get to basic training. Things are too mixed-up.

All the Love in the World,


October 5, 1943-4