Letters from the Good War

A running series of World War II letters written by a Navy Seabee who served in the South Pacific theatre taking the reader through the entire war experience.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

LETTERS FROM BOOT CAMP - 1943

Camp Peary, Virginia, July13, 1943

Dear Dad,

I'm very busy. We're still drilling and attending lectures about rifles and hand grenades, navy laws, and Japanese and German fighting methods. You'd think I'm in the army. I often wonder myself. We are given this training so that we can defend ourselves, if we have to, against the enemy while on a construction project. It's really good. The Marines that generally accompany Seabee outfits do the fighting. I doubt whether I'll ever see combat, but the training is worthwhile just the same.

Remember how strict the Army Air Corps was in the Clark Gable movie “Hell Divers”? Well, they're just as strict here. Shoes cannot extend beyond the side of the bed; blankets must be folded in just the right way and our duffel bags must hang only so far from the floor. And it's a MUST that our barracks pass inspection.

After receiving three shots in the arm yesterday, I felt sick all day: a headache and a swollen arm. Since none of us were fit to shoulder a rifle, we drilled without one. Today I learned about the latest U.S. carbine. Quite a piece! The enemy has nothing like it.

Just got back from a USO show. Boy, was it swell! Some of the performers were stars from Deanna Durbin's latest picture. I'd like to see more of this.

I'm so busy that I haven't had a chance to get homesick. Still, I'll be glad to get home. Please write. I'd appreciate getting a letter every day. I feel dejected when no letter arrives. We all feel the same way.

Camp Peary, Virginia, July 21, 1943

Say, Dad, its sure swell of you to send me a card, even though Mother and Ronnie wrote. I got a great kick out of it. It's your grand sense of humor that keeps my chin up.
P.S. #1: I don't swear yet
P.S. #2: I don't smoke yet
P.S. #3: I don't drink coffee yet.
P.S. #4: I still like your food better, Mom.