Just an 8 Hour Sit

Private Arlington A. Forist

Saturday April 24, 1943

8:15 p.m.


Dear folks,

I’ll start this now but I’ll probably finish it on the job tonight as I have to go to work at midnight. There’s not much to tell tonight. I finished yesterday’s letter there at the stock exchange and after I mailed it I left. I met the sergeant from the radio shack on the elevator so I got a ride back to the battery in the radio truck with him. I got to bed at about 12:45. I was pretty sleepy yet this morning and I slept right on through reveille and also breakfast. Nobody said a word about missing reveille. They can’t keep track of us special duty men to know when we work and are entitled to sleep. As for breakfast, I hear it was beef creamed on toast again so I didn’t miss much although I could have used a little filler. I got up, dressed, and made up my bed. By the time I was all ready, it was time to go to work. We rode again this morning. Oh what a day. It was a nice day and the usual run of things kept us pretty busy. Then to top it off the big flight of bombers and fighters was up this morning. There were 100 B-17 flying fortresses, 66 B-25s, 4 B-24s and over 50 fighters. In all there were 200 planes. We all supposed this flight was secret. Then this morning we heard about it over the radio. It was a huge display of power. I didn’t see a single plane. The other two fellows dashed to the windows when they heard them overhead so I stuck with the phones. I handled my job O.K. so far as I can see. I think that in another month’s time I’ll really know the job and I’ll feel qualified for a rating if there ever is one. I got pretty mad once. There is a complicated setup for tying in interceptor groups and everybody. I got it all set and then some woman didn’t know which switch to use and gummed us up for about 5 minutes. I guess she was new but in a case of the real thing 5 minutes is a lot of time to waste. In all, everything went off swell and I guess there are no complaints. The planes flew over town, went out to sea and then came back and were attacked by fighters over Frisco. It gave me a pretty busy morning up to dinner time. For dinner I had potatoes, creamed asparagus, onions, bread, butter, and lime jello. That wasn’t very filling. I had a half bag of those little hershey bars so I ate them during the morning as breakfast. This afternoon after dinner, things were quite busy. We thought for awhile we were going to have the real thing. A report came in last night that a sub carrying a plane was off shore and everyone was put on the watch. Then this afternoon a report comes in that a sub was seen and that the navy is firing at it. We thought maybe they’d get it. Finally we get word that it was all a mistake. Instead of a sub, they say the coast guard had dropped a smoke bomb and was using it for a target. That’s a pretty good alibi for not getting anything anyway, but then maybe its’ the truth. There were a lot of navy planes down there for just a smoke bomb but then I don’t know. We were pretty glad to get off at 4.

Back at 11:40 at the stock exchange. I rode back to the camp from work and hunted up a guy who had a message for me from my battery at Benicia. It seems he is from the battery too and went up there on his day off. He brought back word that my package is up there. It seems they sent it up there from here. They said they couldn’t find me here. You see I don’t make but one mail call a day when I’m working and they couldn’t find me. I don’t know where they think I was. I’ve asked the dope the last 2 days if he had any packages and each time he said no. Now I don’t know if they will send it back or not. They told this guy to tell me to come after it because I have to go up there and get a helmet and rifle. I don’t want to get the junk but I do want my box. They should forward it back here but they may hold it to get me to come after the other stuff. I think it’s time somebody who is awake started to handle the mail. Supper tonight was lousy. I had potatoes, bread, butter and fruit salad. After supper I started in and shined my buttons, my belt and buckle, and my shoes. I got my letter written Mon. tonight. I got the Tues. letter yesterday. When I got through with the polishing I washed and shaved. Then I read the rest of “My Sister Eileen” and started to write this. I also did a little snoozing. We all left early at about 9:00 and walked to work. I got a cheese sandwich and some cocoa after I got here because I was pretty hungry. The meals I missed and what I did eat didn’t last long. That brings me up to now.

Now to pop’s letter. You give a pretty good picture of things but you don’t ask anything that will give me something to write about. You will be pretty short handed in a few more weeks at the rate you are losing your men.

I have a couple letters I could answer tonight and also a book to read, but I haven’t much ambition to do it. These night shifts are just an 8 hour sit. We don’t have much to do unless it’s the real thing. I don’t know what to do about that box. The fellow in the office here said it will be sent back so I’ll wait a couple days. If I get the box O.K. I’m not going after the rifle until my day off in 2 weeks. I might not be here by then. The one kid left tonight for Salt Lake City to go to the Univ. of Utah. There are 2 going but as yet I’m still as ever. This fellow hates to study. I’d like to but that’s the way it goes. The person who would appreciate & make the most of things doesn’t get them.

Well this is it for tonight I guess. How about a family letter?


Love to you all


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