I Am Arrived

Saturday, February 6, 1943

About noon Pacific Time


Dear folks,

Well I am arrived. After I finished writing that letter yesterday I shaved and then the sgt. collected letters so I gave it to him to mail in Sacramento. Since I left McCoy I sent you 2 folders and 3 letters on the way. Let me know if you got them and also the pillow case and last 2 or 3 letters from McCoy. My last letters there were written Monday but they were a little heavy. I don’t have any idea of how long it takes for letters to get from here to you.

We got into Sacramento after dark last night. From there we rode to a town called Crockett, Cal. which they told us was 33 miles from Frisco. There we got off the train at about 11:30 after an 84 hour train ride. There they lined us up and then we carried our baggage about a block to where 12 or 13 trucks were waiting for us. What I saw of Crockett looked pretty fair. It’s built on hills. We started out in the trucks at about 12 and got to camp at about 3 a.m. We must have gone 60 or 70 miles in which direction I don’t know although I think it was north. Boy that was some ride. This may be Cal. but my underwear and overcoat weren’t any too much. We drove up and down hills and around curves and over and by rivers and bays of all kinds. When we got to our camp we took our bags into a place and left them and then they gave us a snack to eat. I ate a piece of apple pie. While we were eating they assigned us to platoons. I’m in the first. Then our sergeant, a young fellow about 23, got us into our barracks and to bed about 4 a.m.

When the fellows saw the barracks, bunks, and accommodations they all wanted to go back to McCoy. The barracks are wooden, one story affairs covered with tar paper. They surely are different from McCoy although they had some like them at Custer. And the bunks. They are hand made wooden structures [sketch] and there are no springs. We have 2 new blankets and a comforter. I also threw my coat on but I slept plenty warm. I tossed it off on to the floor during the night. Besides all this the toilet, sinks, and showers are in a separate building about 50 feet from the barracks. When they saw all this some of the fellows got disgusted.

We were up at 8 o’clock this morning. We dressed and went and got our bags before breakfast at 9. We had oatmeal, pancakes, syrup, and prunes. Then at 10 we had a general physical exam. Then we cleaned up all the paper and stuff on the ground near the barracks and got a lecture on cleanliness from the sassy lieutenant. Then we ate dinner – creamed potatoes, salmon loaf, salad, peaches, bread and grape jam. That brings me up to the present time.

I don’t’ know what we are here for. This is a new development up here 8 or 10 miles from Santa Rosa. It very definitely is an air base for planes are in the air all the time. As far as I know though we are in the coast artillery. Here is the setup as near as I can get it. We were supposed to have gone to a camp about 30 miles from Oakland and Frisco. But the day before we left McCoy, one fellow was taken out of the other barracks with the measles. This word came through while we were on the train so that they sent us way up here instead of to our regular camp. This morning they found one or two cases of measles so we are in quarantine for 2 weeks and can’t leave our area. Every new case means 2 weeks from the date of the person’s catching it so I hope there won’t be any more. They demand that we be extremely clean in what we do and we are supposed to take a shower every day.

As I said this is a new camp if you can call it that. There are only a few barracks and no P.X. or theater I understand. We are in what was once a cow pasture I think. We are right behind an old farm house. There are no dishes at the mess hall so we have to use our whole mess kit now. Since we are quarantined we can’t leave but the sgt. will take a list of what we need and get it for us. I have got to get some stationery.

The weather up here is funny. We are evidently north of San Francisco and are surrounded by distant mountains on 3 sides. I would guess that we are pretty high up. It must rain a lot because it is very wet everywhere and there are drainage ditches all around. The fog blanketed everything until about 10 o’clock this morning. Now the sun is shining warm and bright and there is a fresh breeze blowing. It’s just like May. The climate seems pretty good if we could only have McCoy barracks and accommodations.

The camp is supposed to be a 2 mile square. McCoy was 12 miles across. There is another group here who came from McCoy a couple weeks ago and they are quarantined with the measles too. It looks like I’m going to spend my time in this army in quarantine.

When I saw this place last night I was pretty discouraged but now that the sun has put some light on things they don’t look so bad. The birds are singing cheerfully and coming in last night I heard several frogs.

I can’t see the sense of ever classifying us at Custer if they are just going to put us in a coast artillery battery. We are evidently going to take over shore installations so the regulars can go overseas. Of course we may just get some more basic training and then go into our regular jobs. Each one of us had a different job number on the shipping order so they may have a spot for us but this quarantine will probably throw off the schedule. Nobody knows how long we’ll be here or how much or what kind of training we’ll get. Maybe it is all meant for the best. There may not be a spot for me out here and they might ship me back east. If I have to stay on the coast I hope I go down south by Los Angeles.

It is a beautiful day out now and I wish I could play a set of tennis or some baseball or something. If it’s always like this I won’t kick a bit. We are lucky. We have a radio in our barracks. This must be one of those places where it’s cold nights and warm days. It is damp in the morning until the sun gets up. Well that’s about all I can think of to say now so I think I’ll go clean up a little. Those trains were pretty dirty.

Back again. I didn’t go wash for fear we might be called out. These boys up here aren’t kidding. They were too easy with us at Mc Coy. Some of the fellows don’t know enough to stand at attention when they are told. When these boys give an order they mean it. The Lieutenant is a pretty cocky individual.

The air field is about ½ mile from us I guess and a lot of planes fly around. If we are in the coast artillery at an air base it must be anti-aircraft.

The mail setup here isn’t so hot I guess. I don’t expect to get any mail for awhile and just about the time it gets here maybe I’ll be on my way. It’ll catch up eventually though. Well I guess this is all I can think to say for now. I’ve done my best to think of everything of any interest.

Back later. Well we just got a lecture by the Captain. He gave us orders on how to dress, etc. He ways we will be assigned to an anti-aircraft battery and will get special technical training as soon as we get out of quarantine. He says the anti-aircraft is interesting but requires a great deal of technical training.

I have made out a list to give the sergeant so I can get some stationery, cards, and airmail stamps. The only way to get my letters home in reasonable time is to use air mail. Our mail is going to be stopped up for a while I’m afraid. As soon as the quarantine is lifted we will probably go to our intended camp and after more training we will be shipped from there.

There’s not much doing this afternoon. Every once in awhile they call us out and tell us some more things they like or don’t like. The fellows are all writing letters. I think I’ll start with the beginning of my list and write short letters or cards to everyone who has written to me. Then someday I’ll get a lot of mail all at once probably. I owe letters to Walt, Nate, Julius, Frankie, & Kircher. Well I guess I’ll quit for now and wash up for supper. I’ll be glad when I can get to a city and get my watch fixed so I can know what time it is.

I gave the sgt. my list and thought of having him send me a telegram but he had too many already. I missed getting this letter out tonight so I don’t know when it will go out. I don’t know if they collect mail on Sunday or not. Gee by the time you get this it will be stale news.

Back later about 8:30. I had supper about 5 – salad, bread, biscuit and jam. Not so hot. They had baloney stew too but I didn’t eat any. I was one of the first to eat and I got my dishes washed and got out in a hurry. Then I took a shower. I got back in the barracks and was putting on my tie when I was picked to go on mess hall detail with 3 other fellows. I had to put on my fatigues. We cleaned the floor by pouring on water and sweeping with brooms and we wiped off the tables. That was all and it took only about an hour. Then I came back and changed to my O.O.’s and cleaned my teeth. After that I straightened out the junk in my barracks bags a little and tried to shine my shoes. The combination of the mop water and the mud didn’t help but I got a little shine on them. That brings me up to the present when I have just finished making up my bed. I got a top bunk and it’s so high its very hard to make. It’s hard to get in and out of too. We don’t dare jump to the floor too hard. Twice today when we have been gathered in one spot in the barracks the floor has groaned and settled a little.

I wanted to get this letter off today but they collected the mail before I finished it. I like to get as nearly a complete day in each letter as possible.

The address on the envelope is not quite right. That is the first one they gave us but now we have a second one. I tried to change what I could there on the envelope. Write to me as –


Pvt. Arlington A. Forist 36,416,037

101st C.A. Brigade (A.A.)

Training Detachment #8

Santa Rosa California


For gosh sakes write. These quarantines are a pain in the neck. It looks as if they are going to keep us busy and anyway if I can get stationery, I can write and read some of the many books I have now. We are going to have regular turns at K.P. Tomorrow we have to get up at 6:15 and on Sunday too. We are going to have a medical inspection after 8 o’clock. They keep close watch for more measles. One good thing. I’ve had plenty of measles so I ought to be immune. I don’t know when I’ll get the stuff I ordered. I don’t see how the sgt can get all that stuff and keep it straight. We didn’t pay. He said some arrangement would be made. They may take it out of our pay.

Maybe you can find me on a map. We are supposed to be north of San Francisco. The sunset behind the mountains here tonight was beautiful. I saw it just as I was coming off K.P.

Well this is just about the end of another day. Lights out here is about 10:00. They do have a day room where fellows play cards, checkers, and work jig saw puzzles but one fellow said there weren’t enough tables to go around.

A lot of people are kicking about this place and it isn’t any bed of roses but I still find myself liking it. Maybe it’s because I like spring. The birds surely sound pretty. A few more days like today and some of this mud and water will be gone.

Well I guess I’ve said all for today so I’ll call it quits. Write and I’ll hope I get some mail while I’m here.


Lots of love to every one of you



I took a chance and changed to my shorts. I’m still wearing the winter underwear shirt. My summer shirts are too big. I don’t miss them much and I knew if we did much drilling I’d sweat and might catch cold quicker that way than by changing. I hope I’m right.


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