Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Letter 82- March 20, 1944

March 20, 1944
(Camp Crowder, Missouri)

Dear Mudder and Dad,

In the last few days I’ve received 3 letters from you, and they sure have given my old morale a boost. Well I’ve been in Camp Crowder for over a week and to be perfectly frank with you I find the place rather disappointing. Of course it’s been so long since I’ve been home that I can’t really be satisfied wherever I go. The camp itself is really nice, and the weather is somewhat better that that at Abbot but the officers and non-coms certainly don’t measure up. Most of the officers don’t do any work themselves and most of them act rather “superior”. They pick on everyone constantly and yet there is little in the way of discipline. I guess I just ain’t never goin’ to like this here war.

The thing that is really getting me down, however, is this radio school. It’s about the dullest and most nerve wracking thing I’ve ever done. I thought it would be interesting but it isn’t. We just sit in class all day long hour after hour and have that crap banged in our ears. One finally gets so he can’t distinguish one letter from another. It makes me awfully nervous and to top that I don’t have much of an hearing or ear for it, so I have just about twice as hard a time as most fellows. I am working hard though and I’ll get it in the end. They’re now thinking of giving night classes and that will be hell. I guess you just can’t get a good deal in this army. I’d sure wish I could just write one letter to you in which I had nothing to gripe about.

I’ll answer the letters by just taking one and starting in.

The situation with the folks back East is certainly the nuts isn’t it? It appears to me to be a very unhealthy situation. I guess it’s just another one of those things that have been giving us a pain in the neck all these years.

I certainly have missed you of late. I guess even though I knew that I couldn’t get home on furlough I had some forlorn hope of seeing you right up until I left.

You mention the P.W.’s here and ask how they’re taking it. Those dumb Nazis still think Hitler’s going to win the war. Imagine! What can anybody do with saps like that? They stand around and laugh at the rookies here and never realize that it was a bunch of amateurs not so much better than the rookies that licked the pants off them. They all wear their hair long like Johnny Weissmuller and love to flirt with the girls around camp.

I sure like that deal about Higgins wanting me for Major—after all this time. God, the more I see of people the more I love dogs. By the way, how is “her Nibbs”?

That guy, Dude, sure has turned out to be a false alarm. Not saying I should have been Major, but he’s certainly not making much of a showing for an “ex-Harvard School cadet commander” is he? He’s evidently about the biggest pill I’ve ever known.

About Crowder to get back to the dreary side of life, they’re beginning to chicken out on this rating business for radio men. I might have known it. I can see the dirty end of the stick coming my way already.

Evidently I’m not getting payed (paid?) this month end so I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask for a few bucks.

Best Love,
Your pore sad sack son,


  1. Bill likes to send letters Air Mail and Special Delivery. I guess we forget what the postal system once was like. Today First Class letters arrive within a day or two, even cross country. In those days it was all sorted by hand and hauled by by train. I would imagine a normal letter might take a week from Camp Crowder to Los Angeles.

    It would be nice to know who Higgins was. Apparently he was another student at the military school and became a major. That would seem to be a pretty meteoric rise even if he was several classes ahead of Bill.

    I can sympathize with Bill stuck in class listing to code. If he doesn't have an "ear" for it he might indeed get the dirty end of the stick. One would think that even the Army would have run guys through some preliminary aptitude test. But it was war. There was no time for anything of any quality.

  2. Bill lives for his mail, so I guess he is willing to pay the 16 cents premium to speed it up. When he gets overseas the turnaround will sometimes be more than 30 days. That will be torture for him.

    I have no idea about Higgins or "Dude", but Bill had a number of classmates from Harvard who went on to have prominant careers. It was an exclusive school.

    In a future letter Bill puts forth an interesting theory about his assignment to radio school. He thinks that he is part of an experiment to see if lower scorers on the aptitute test can still be made radio operators.


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