Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Letter 42- December 10, 1943

December 10, 1943
(Camp Abbot, Oregon)

Dear Folks,
This will probably be another very short note because we have to leave pretty quick. I received a letter from you, Daddy, last night and will write more about it later. Since we’re having another of those damn night problems tonight I’m not at all sure I can get my regular letter off, but if I can I’ll write tonight.

It’s been very cold here for the last few days- 0 degrees yesterday. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. That kind of weather is just too much for me. I think my damn cold is going to last forever. Don’t worry though. It’s more annoying than anything else. If they would send me to some camp in California or Arizona or any place warm I’d gladly waive all pay.

There’s still a lot of talk about us moving out and I hope it’s true. From what I’ve heard they’re still undecided. I’m praying that they make the right decision. I don’t know whether I’ve told you or not but one of the cadre here that once one’s six weeks are up he can never be sure when he’s leaving or where he’s going. According to him, one day I might be training as a combat engineer and the next day I might be a clerk bound for Missouri or a baker in South Dakota. God! What a system. I never have seen such a heap of crap in my whole life as the goings on in this army. I don’t know what they’re trying to do but whatever it is they’re certainly making a mess of it. I’ve pretty well decided to put in for the Air Corps. It’s the only branch into which an Engineer can transfer. I’m not crazy about it but I know it’s better than this. As far as A.S.T.P. is concerned I’ve only got one chance to get it and that’s mighty slim. After 17 weeks I would be screened and then maybe I might be taken. The personnel officer himself doesn’t know exactly what that means. However, I’m going to do some scouting around & see if I can find anything out. Everything’s so mixed up here that no one knows what’s really going on, so as a result I can’t find out anything definite. Undoubtedly you can see how disgusting the whole damn thing is. Oh well, one’s got to be somewhat a philosopher and take what comes in this army. Otherwise you’d go batty in nothing flat.

This is turning out to be more of a letter than I thought when I started. Well, today’s Friday. Only one more day until Sunday. Daddy, you know how much Sunday means to a poor struggling soldier: sleep late, loaf, write letters, loaf, go to the show, loaf, sleep some more and loaf. Ah! If the Army was only like that all the time. Lately we haven’t been doing anything on Sundays, thank God, so maybe this Sunday I’ll go to Bend. I’d like to sleep all day, but I get almost enough sleep everyday but I never get enough recreation.

I haven’t yet received the apron but I’ll write a letter of thanks to Mr. Van Vorst as soon as I do. I still owe a letter to Grandma and Jessie, so I guess I’ll quit rambling on to you and write them a note.

Bestus Love,


P.S. Receiving my mail yet?


  1. Do you know what the "night problems" are that Bill refers to? -- wg

  2. In his next letter Bill will tell us that he worked on "combat principals and map reading" but he doesn't give any specifics. His unit is currently involved in a series of "problems" culminating with a 3 week problem before the end of training.


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