Sgt Roman F. Klick 36620923
HS 1393 Engr APO 709
c/o PM SF Cal
19 July 1944
The time is approximately nine o'clock and a most hectic and unusual day crammed full of various activities is nearing a conclusion. As far as the work day is concerned, there isn't very much to relate outside the fact that the usual routine checking up on the Morning Reports continued. At three o'clock, though, things began popping. (Correction on that time: three-thirty.) Six of us able men of the Headquarters section volunteered for an extra detail which was to last from four o'clock thru six o'clock. It was a crazy type of volunteering for Lewis came up with the bad news during the daytime and asked for volunteers. When he was asked right back what he meant by volunteers, he said that if he didn't get the men to say they wanted to work, he would pick them. Nice army style propositioning, eh? Well, the work which we had to do for those two hours was amazing but two facts made it actually enjoyable and a lot of fun. For one thing, we knew that every person in H&S Company had to serve out a two hour shift on this job sometime within the next few weeks and, for another thing, we were asked and accepted so that it was a little bit as if we were doing as we wished which is marvelous for the morale. The workers were Lewis, Sackett, Molyneaux, Grauel, Ebner and myself. The job was digging the first couple feet down into the coral hillside for the new company latrine. That is something which just had to turn out to be a project which every man had to take part for this country is not at all like New Caledonia where a huge earth auger moved around on the rear end of a truck was wheeled to the site of the new latrine and within an hour or so the hole was dug some fifteen feet into the ground. This coral is nothing less than brittle rock and the inaccessible spot makes it impossible during rain storms to bring any sort of mechanical devices to the place; therefore, it is a long man-labor job to dig some twenty-five feet into the hill and some twenty feet in length. The implements used were pickmattecks and shovels. It was raining during our entire shift "our experience in Camp White where we had rain for the first two months without letup prepared us for this overseas duty". Ordinarily such a job just wouldn't be to our liking but with circumstances being what they are we had a good time talking, laughing, and working. But that wasn't all to our day's travail. At six o'clock, when this first detail was done, four of us had another job, and that was checking the fellows clothing and equipment in our barracks. Sackett and I were the checkers in our barracks and Molyneaux and Grauel were the checkers in their barracks. That job was a snap though for we knew about this during the daytime and half of our barracks works in the office so we had them done before we even quit work. Mind you, to do all this we had to knock off our real work at three-thirty to eat and then begin these other jobs at four o'clock and keep at them until seven o'clock. Our prime purpose for keeping to such a strict time table in spite of the pouring rain was that we wanted to go to the show which was "Standing Room Only". In the end, it seemed that I was the only one who had the courage to go to the show and sit in the rain to see it. I went well prepared, though, with a raincoat, a shelter half and my campaign hat and didn't get my fatigues (come to think of it, I put on my good khakis to go to that rainy show and not fatigues) wet at all. I congratulated myself too soon, however, for while I was writing this letter, the Major left the office with the new captain from the 353d, Captain Linville, and asked me to come along with him so that I could drive his jeep back to the office after they got off at the officer's quarters. Major Shubat is a very careful driver and I'm glad of that for rain and temporary roads do not mix at all in comparison to rain and concrete roads back home. To bring back the point I was going to make, the seats of the jeep were soaking wet and there I sat with my formerly dry khaki "seat".
The electricians have been playing havoc with the electrical system this evening and it is rather uncertain just when the lights are going to be on and when they are going to go off, so everyone had to have a candle next to their typewriter or writing so that they could continue to carry on when the lights turned off.
We had a regular riot in here for about a half hour as the more hardier boys came back from the show, most of them soaking wet. Jerry is playing his guitar and when he broke into the "Marseilles" the office practically shook from the thunderous ovation the clerks gave it. Ever since we saw that picture with Margo in it singing that song, we feel it is our patriotic duty to break into song upon hearing it. We're nuts!
The show was well worth the rain, for that comedy of wartime Washington, DC with Paulette Goddard and Fred MacMurray was terrific. I laughed all the way thru it for I was in the mood for laughter. Preceding the movie was a March of Time and although I came in towards the tail end, it was still interesting for it concerned music in wartime America in the year 1942. It explained the way Petrillo put on that ban and the way the situation turned out. To me it seems rather pointless and czaristic for Petrillo to use and get away with such tactics. If there is no longer any place in the modern age for such a large number of musicians, why continue to support them. For the sake of prolonging an outdated occupation (the vaudeville pit orchestra and the tavern band) they are taxing the entire record buying world.
O yes, there was another thing which took place today which deserves comment. Seven boxes of jungle rations were delivered to me, personally, right to the doorstep of the Headquarters office. It was rather embarrassing at the time for it was mid-afternoon and I had no place to put it. The result was that we had to make short work of the breakdown of the rations and get rid of the excess and unwanted items. The net gain was 28 of those small cans of Nescafe, 7 cans of powdered milk (4 Borden's and 3 a new type put out by Nestles), three boxes of raisins and 7 boxes or cans of peanuts. My luck seems to hold good for I was out of that Borden's milk and here it was plunked right in my lap.
There are also other notes which I made on my little notekeeper of several things which I forgot to tell you about in yesterday's letters and which I think need telling. One of them was the bet I contracted with Tec 5 Gates in my company. The bet is $5.00 and I pay him that amount if the war against Germany is over prior to October 24, 1944. If the war with Germany is still on, it is he who pays me the $5.00. Although that really is a bet in the sense that no one can be sure just what is going to happen over there, when I look at the fact that the Allies hit Italy a year ago and still haven't gone through that country, it seems pretty safe that Germany isn't going to topple within the next 96 days. Of course, if she does, I'll be glad to lose the bet instead of sad.
One more thing was that our bird, Pete, has flown the cage. The reason is that the fellows were playing baseball and the ball hit the window right next to Pete so scaring him that took it on the wing straight thru the office and out the other end.
The last thing is about smoking a pipe. Definitely my twenty-four hours of pipe experimentation is at an end. I have come to the conclusion that pipe tobacco and smoking is something on the order of perfume. A fragrant whiff, a mere scent scattered thru the air by the slow evaporation of the drops of perfume is fascinating and wonderful but to try to get all the smell by smelling the perfume directly practically kills it. So it is with the aroma of burning tobacco which mixed with a lot of air is pleasant but to have that heavy concentration of smoke in your mouth takes all the enjoyment from the aroma.
Two hours ago I was almost finished with this letter and I got to talking and the only thing which brought the conversation to an end was the truck pulling out for the CB show and taking along all the other conversationalists with it.
So-long, /s/ Roman Roman