(Camp Abbot, Oregon)
I have in my pocket at this moment 4 letters: two from you Daddy. This being Sunday I have plenty of time to write so I plan to get off three letters: This, my regular letter; one to Mother; and one to Pappy-A pretty ambitious plan if I do say so myself.
Yesterday and the night before were the most interesting periods I’ve had since I’ve been in the Army. The night before last it snowed out of a clear sky. I have never seen anything like it before. There was no moon but the stars were so bright that they reflected on the falling flakes. It was about the first pretty thing I’ve seen since I’ve been here. The next morning, believe it or not, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and a large extinct volcano, The Batchlor, shone brightly about 20 miles away. For about the first time since I’ve been here, I felt like a human being. After breakfast, we had about an hour of close order drill in the snow with our gas masks on, and let me tell you that’s not very pleasant-my face was sweatin’ at the same time my feet and ears were freezin’. Some fun, eh? As soon as we got finished with that they took us to the gas chamber. First we had to put on our masks and go into a little room full of tear gas. That was swell, but then they told us to take off our masks and walk not run to the door. Phooey! I thought my eyes and nose were burned off. After we got out of there, they said that we would then go into the clorine chamber and then they’d turn on the gas and we’d have to put our masks on but quick. The only thing wrong was that we found out the chamber was already full of gas when we got in there. I got my mask on pronto but Remington couldn’t get his on and damn near passed out before he got out of there. After that we were given a lecture outside on the various types of gas, and they shot small doses which we walked through in order to find out how they smell. I stepped into a cloud of phosgene and wow!! We learned some pretty interesting things too. The Germans have a gas now called Nitrogen Mustard. It can’t be smelled and 4 days after getting it you drop dead. We got the same stuff, and we’ve got a new protection against it.
We have a new gas called Adamsite. It depresses the mind so that people affected with it want to commit suicide. Hot stuff, huh? After being gassed, we went to the show and there I learned that the Engineers must learn how to disembark from ships like the Marines.
In the afternoon we had inspection followed by Judo. Honest to God, we’re going to be tough babies when we finish this training.
Last night we got our hats back and they had the red & white piping on them. I went to the show.
Best Love, Bill