Just By Accident

Thurs. April 20, 1944

5:25 p.m.


Dear folks,

Another day’s work done. Oh how good it is. I wonder how long it can last. Last night after I finished writing to you I decided to go to the show instead of writing letters so I took off. After standing in line ½ hour or so I got in. The picture was “Follow the Boys.” It had a lot of stars & bands to make it worth seeing but the story itself was sort of lousey. It was an attempt to play up the part of the movie & radio stars in entertaining service men. I got back at nearly 11:00, shaved and got to bed. We were up at 6:00 again this morning. It seems so good to sleep a little later than 5:15. Back at 8:45. We dressed and fell out for reveille. Then we made our beds and swept and mopped. For breakfast I had eggs, bread, jam, bran flakes & milk. After breakfast we had to lay out our G.I. equipment to have it checked against our records. At about 8:00 I reported at Br. Hdqs. for work. I was supposed to be on K.P. today but the personnel sgt. at hdqs. fixed it up for me. So far as I know I’ll get out of K.P. and guard. That’s worth it if for nothing else. First I made out our morning report. We had quite a time with it but finally we got it done. I have to fall back on the others as much as possible because I don’t know much about it. We studied all this stuff a little back at school but I guess I didn’t learn much. After I got that all set I worked on service records until I finished them. I’ve got all the dope on myself. In order to get a good conduct ribbon a person must have a rating of excellent in character and in efficiency as a soldier. At Custer & at McCoy they put unknown on my record. Then while I was in Calif. in the AA I got Excellent for character but only “satisfactory” for efficiency. But since May 21 I had had excellent in the A.S.T.P. and over here in the 393rd. They recommended me for a ribbon when I left school. I Co. didn’t but if I can keep a rating of excellent here I’ll be eligible for one in another month. I’d like to get one just on general principles. People wonder why you don’t have one. They don’t realize how easily some officer can write “satisfactory” on your record & spoil it. At 12 we quit for dinner – potatoes, salad, bread, butter, jam, and pumpkin pie. At 1 I went back to work. The other clerks went someplace else but I am not up on it enough yet so I stayed and typed up pay books all afternoon. I have to keep everything in order for my Co. There are only 21 now but there will be about 170 later. My typing is coming back fast I find. At 4:30 we quit. I brought some stuff back and stayed in the orderly room until after retreat. Then I ate – potatoes, peas, bread, butter, jam, pickles, cocoa, & peaches. After eating I took off. Helle was moving so I went over to the P.X. & got some Engr. braid put on my hat. Then I came back & helped him & we went over to the 393rd to see Ferd & the boys. Ferd made expert with the rifle. Incidentally I’m an expert with the bayonet according to my records. We were over there awhile & then came back & here I am. Crisman has disappeared. None of the boys know where he is. So that’s today. No mail yet from you. Tomorrow morning I have to take a 10 mile hike with the rest. This morning they ran the obstacle course but I missed all of that. I really have a good setup but I don’t think it will last long. Two things can interfere. One is they have been getting men from other outfits in and I’m afraid they’ll stumble on to an old company clerk who knows the work and is already a Cpl. Of course that may not happen. But once the company is filled I’ll probably have to take basic training with the rest so I may lose out that way. You see it was just by accident that I was lucky enough to get this. In the cadre of non coms sent here, each company had a clerk who was a corporal. But the one in this company was made Br. Mail Clerk so an opening was made. So I have a job that should be held by one of the cadre. I don’t know if I can hold it or not. I’m trying to catch on as fast as I can & everybody is pretty decent. If I can make it stick it will be a good deal. It means two stripes as soon as any ratings are handed out. Right now I’m the only pvt. over there. The other clerks are corporals who came in with the cadre. I’ve got about 10 months service on most of the cpls. & sgts. in the cadre but it doesn’t mean too much. I’ve got my fingers crossed and I’m going to do my best. The Engineers is plenty rough & if I can soften it boy I’m going to do it. Next Tues. I’m Charge of Quarters at Br. Hdqs. We get no guard or K.P. but we pull C.Q. about every 6 days. That’s not too bad though. Maybe I’ll get my mail caught up for a change. So that’s all there is to tell for today. I ought to get your San.-Sun. letter tomorrow as you probably mailed it before you knew I was moving a little. So for tonight I’ll sign off.


Be seein’ you,



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