Sunday, July 12, 2009

Letter 83- March 26, 1944

March 26, 1944
(Camp Crowder, Missouri)

Dear Mother and Dad,

Today I received two letters from you in which you quite rightfully bawl me out for not writing. It just goes to show you what code is doing to me. I don’t even know whether or not I’m coming or going. Believe me, I’m sorry. I guess I’ve been spending too much time at the show and P.X. lately. I’m now copying code at 7 words a minute but have not started sending yet. We have 7 hours a day receiving that code so you can imagine how refreshing it is to get away in the evening. You were right about code though; it doesn’t bother me anywhere as much as it did.

Things are pretty much the same here, however. We follow an easy routine day in and day out without much change. However, today we got schneidered. Today is Sunday but we had to go to school anyway because a bunch of big shots from England were here on a tour of inspection. They’re holding some sort of a conference here and there’s a rumor going around that Roosie is going to be here too. Anyway I worked all day. No generals came around, however. They were probably all somewhere hoisting a few.

Gee! I really don’t know what else to write. We haven’t been doing anything remarkable of late. Yesterday we went on a hike. The Signal Corps thought it was tough stuff—The Corp of Eng. almost died laughing. I’ll write more regularly from now on. It may not be much but I’ll write.

Best Love,

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  1. That's cute. I suppose Bill's dad took the letter to school and found some radio ham to decode the message for him.

  2. It's much easier to decode today using an automated Morse Code Translator, but probably not as much fun.

  3. Back when I was a Scout, they tried to teach us Morse Code and if I had stuck with it, it would have stuck. But then I have a skill with languages too. You start with simple letters, then add more and more. There are even Morse code trainers on the Internet.

    But I think in 1944 that the volume of communication began to demand automated sending and receiving. Can you imagine someone tapping out something between FDR and Churchill? They also automated the encryption and decryption process.

    Voice radio was more reliable and tactical communication was that way. I wonder if the Signal Corps put everyone through that training as a matter of tradition.

  4. Bill spends a total of 5 weeks on code in radio school. Then about 4 weeks in radio procedures and installation, so code is the biggest part of it. That seems to be too much emphasis for "tradition". He has no problem with the other areas of instruction, but code is a continuous struggle for him.

    After having read Churchill's history of WWII, I can't imagine having his communications with Roosevelt sent in code. He was far too verbose!!

  5. It pains me to see Bill getting "bawled out" for not writing home during his training. I'm ashamed to say that when I was in basic training and AIT, I don't think I wrote so much as one letter home. We were just too tired most of the time and didn't really have any spare time. My folks must have been fit to be tied. -- Griff

  6. I'm sure the "bawled out" part comes from Bill's mother. She could be quite demanding of her only child. Bill certainly loves to write. I recall one letter where he describes writing a letter from the latrine late at night as it was the only place with a light. That's dedication to writing! Bill certainly blows off a lot of steam in his letters. He is particularly frustrated with radio code. Bill is a high achiever and is not used to struggling so. Describing his struggles in the letters home seems to be cathartic for him.


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