2 January 1943
Camp White, Oregon
Dear Aunty Clara:
Now let me see, I was suppose to have dropped you a short note this morning letting you know just what took place around camp on New Years Day. Well, I never did get the chance to write that note so here is a regular letter this evening.
Our second platoon has been restricted to the barracks this weekend while the remaining platoons can go out to town etc. This would not probably have any affect on me and I could go to town if I chose to but I do not have any desire to go in seeing as how I was there Thursday night and I want to make this a good weekend for writing letters.
I don't know whether I told you that we worked on New Year's Day just like any other day but that is what we did. During the last two days I have been turning out a tremendous amount of work which has even surprised me but still I have a great deal that remains undone. Why is this? Molyneaux, the Company Clerk of Company B, just sits around talking and writing personal letters. Well, for one thing, the Orderly Room at Company B is equipped with a typewriter and such things as Company Rosters, Laundry Lists, and bulletins are typed up by the Orderly and not by the Clerk. And that does save quite a bit of time. Then too, Censky did not leave me with the swell system that Molyneaux has of keeping tabs of his Family Allowances. In fact, when Censky left he said that those Family Allowances would keep me busy and they certainly have done just that very thing.
However, the more I work with these things the more I am getting them under control. In time I will be able to understand this thing from A to Z and backwards if I stay at it long enough. Then I will not have to ask other people questions and then too, the student clerk will be able to help me when he knows more about things.
In all there are eight clerks. Already three of us fillers (fillers is the name given to us new fellows) have taken over the job of Company Clerk and of the remaining old clerks two want to go out on the line, one wants to go to OCS, another may be promoted to the Supply Department and only one figures on remaining as clerk. That way I am starting off on an even footing and have just as much chance of knowing as much about the working of the office as any of the others.
* * *
So what do I do just now but go out and buy myself a book. What kind of book you wonder. A book entitled "Company Administration and Personnel Records". I am a dope for buying it but one of those book buying urges seized me so I just picked myself up, walked over to the PX and purchased the thing. So now I will be a Master Sergeant in no time at all.
* * *
When I first began this letter, I had comparative peace and quiet. The radio was playing music. Beaumont and Johnson are both in the office typing letters but that isn't what is so disturbing at the present. It is the bugler who has parked himself at the radio and persists in turning out the music and tuning in drama, quiz programs and the like. It is horrible.
Last night my sleep was interrupted. It seemed as if I had just fallen asleep when the lights were turned on. I looked around and the fellow next to me is all dressed up and the fellow next to him and the corporal is dressed and one or two other fellows are getting up. I didn't believe it could be morning and it wasn't. The corporal had made a mistake and read the time of 1:30 as 6:05. You should have heard those fellows swear when they discovered that they had gotten out of a sound sleep for nothing. Whew!
Nick Amormino is now a private being reduced from Corporal. On the form which must be approved by the Commanding Officer for a promotion or a reduction there was written by the Battalion Commander the words, "Most heartily agree from personal observation". What he was agreeing to was the Company Commander's words, "He has proven he can not handle men under stress". Poor Nick. As far as this Regiment goes he will never be able to get back those stripes after those remarks.
I received three letters today. One from Frank Drews, one from Mrs. Boyer and one from Bob Hesser. Bobbie Boyer is in Miami Beach and is in the aviation end of the signal corps. He is down there with his boyfriend and will receive only 18 days of basic training. Then there is a strong possibility that they may come back to Chicago to go to those Signal Corps schools in the hotels the army took over this year.
Bob Garrett is not working in the office now according to Mr. Drews. He must first take 13 weeks of basic training. Ouch.
I still think I landed the best berth with only 23 hours.
Why even Clarence in the QMC had to take 4 weeks.
Do you know, Aunty Clara, that the Army compels the fellows to go to the dentist? I passed the dental inspection they had about three weeks ago with a "4" which means perfect. But the other fellows who had 1's, 2's and 3's have to get them fixed. And do they complain when they come back. One fellow had three teeth fixed all at one time. I am sure glad that Doctor Kolar fixed mine before I came in. One of the horrible nightmares I keep having is that during the night I started to grind my teeth and I start breaking them and loosening the fillings. As it is I worry over my fillings and always look twice to see that they are still holding up. I hope I get a furlough before the Army decides to work on my teeth. In a half a year or so I am bound to have a few fillings and Dr. Kolar is the man for me.
Last night I stayed up from 30 to 40 minutes just finishing off the remains of those last cookies. And this time they were delicious. They were just the thing for a fellow who didn't eat much at supper. They weren't too sweet and had enough body to fill a person up. It so happens that the fellows in the barracks never got a smell of these cookies. The only ones I distributed were the ones in the office. I must have eaten a good two dozen last night before they were all gone.
Today was a nice clear day for a change. In the morning about 0900, I had occasion to walk back to the Company Orderly Room to bring back a report to Lt. Hanton. That was the first time I had seen the mountains look so nice and peaceful. The valley was clear of clouds but on the other side of the mountains and towering over them were thick white clouds. But the part of the mountains facing the valley were fully visible and seemed so close. We haven't seen that one mountain with the snow white top for over two weeks or more. I want to take a picture of it even if it turns out real small on the camera. It is rather strange walking in a level desert with mountains in every direction you wish to look. It was very warm today and even our light field jackets were uncomfortable. I sure do wish we could roll up our shirt sleeves; but the Army regulations say NO!
The watch is still running in its little lookout drawer. Tonight when I go back to the barracks, I am taking it with me and I am going to see whether it has reformed and will continue to run while being worn or whether it is going to be a permanent fixture.
I was complaining to Molyneaux about Company A's laxity in rewarding its ambitious clerks but he said that as long as Censky held his Corporal rating (which is given for duty 405) they can not award another. So until Cpl Censky gets back and is dutied to another task or is taken out on the line.
With Amormino and Headley "busted" that leaves Company A with only 3 line Corporals and 2 line Sergeants. Such a condition is terrible. There is room for 2 staff sergeants, 7 sergeants, and 6 Corporals. This condition exists in other Companies also but not quite to such a degree. That is one of the reasons the Company Clerks want to go on line duty because they can rise to Sergeant fast with all those openings.
The more I look at the errors and errors and errors I make typing personal letters I wonder and keep wondering whether I am the same fellow who types up those just about errorless military forms and letters. I suppose I have to make up for the tension I am under while working by relaxing when typing these.
All the fellows from privates to sergeants tell me to shave but I don't do it. Today the Company Commander came in and talked to me for a while and then went away. After he left, Sergeant Nyalka came up to me and talked. He mentioned that I ought to shave. Well, I made the mistake of telling him that as long as the Company Commander doesn't tell me to shave I wasn't going to. So what does the bright boy do. He says that I have to come to work Monday morning with a shave or else he sends me back to the barracks to do so. I tried to kid him out of it saying he was violating my personal liberties and rights etc but it was no go. He is just having his fun. That is the trouble. You shave once and before you know it you have to shave again. And it keeps getting worse progressively. Ah well here I am at 22½ and with only one, two or three shaves so far. And not one complete one yet. I should be thankful I wasn't one of those individuals who started shaving when they were 16 or 17.