Archive | October, 2011

We are on ‘C’ rations

28 Oct

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 24, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Hello there Zoot,

I am looking out for that box you all fixed. If I get it while I’m out on our next field problem it will come in good because we are on ‘C’ rations. I got a box of 24 candy bars to take and they will keep me from getting hungry. These problems are really tough. We had to dig in our gun three times last week and we don’t get much sleep.

We will be leaving for Haan before long and I sure will be glad to get back. The night are cold now and sleeping in pup tents is very uncomfortable.  I’ll write again when we get back from the next field problem.

So long for now, Pvt. “Zoot”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoping the war will be over before long and we’ll live like civilized people

28 Oct

October 23, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Dear Mom

The nights are awfully cold here now and it’s not so hot in the daytime. Our next field problem will start Monday. I dread it and I’ll be glad when it’s over. We’ll be going back to Haan then. It will be good to sleep in a bed again. We’ve been sleeping out here on the ground for more than a month now and I’m getting awfully tired of it. It gets dark about the time we finish our work and I have to do all my writing by the light of my flashlight.

I don’t know what we’ll do when we finish our training but I hope we will be shipped back east. I don’t hardly think we’ll be shipped across because we don’t know as much about this business as we should. Our training has been rushed through so fast.

I’m hoping the war will be over before long and we’ll all get home again and live like civilized people. This kind of life isn’t fit for any man to live. I guess I’ll make out alright though, I’m getting so I can take anything. But it would be much nicer if I could be back home and have my car to run around in and get to see my gal once in awhile.

Love to all, Tom

one of the chapels at Camp Haan

28 Oct

October 23, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Dear Pop

Here’s one of the chapel like we have at Camp Haan. They’re all pretty nice and have organs and everything. We just came off our five day problem and I’m pretty tired. I have some more cards of Camp Haan and Irwin which I will send.

Love, Tom

On back: Camp Haan, California, located about sixty-five miles from Los Angeles, in Riverside County, California, is the largest anti-aircraft artillery training center in the nation. When the final battle of this war has been won for the United Nations, a significant part will have been played by thousands of men who first received their training in warfare at this post.

Here are four cards I got in Barstow

24 Oct

October 18, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Dear Dad

Here are four cards I got in Barstow. I am mailing them all at once but I don’t know whether you’ll get all at one time or not.

Precious Gold

from an original oil painting by L.H. "Dude" Larsen

I thought maybe you would like to have them to add to your collection. I have right many I’ve gotten but I don’t have enough time to mail them all. I’ll bring them home when I come or mail them in a package.

Sunset by "Dude" Larsen

I don’t expect I’ll be able to write any when we are out on the field problem. So that will be about four or five days you won’t hear from me. I could have called today but I’m only here

Landmarks of the Desert by "Dude" Larsen

for a short time, about three hours, and I didn’t have time to wait for a call to go through. I’ll try to call you as soon as we get back to Camp Haan.

Love, Tom

The Roundup by "Dude" Larsen

All we do is set up guns as fast as we can

24 Oct

October 16, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Hello Hiker,

I heard about your blistered feet and dad’s. They ought to have you two in the army.

About that army equipment you wanted to know about. I can get those sleeping bags for $10 but you wouldn’t hardly use it much because it’s too big to carry on your back. If there is anything else you should want, let me know, I can probably get it for you. But of course, if you should want a 40 millimeter AA gun or a 50 caliber machine gun it may take a little time to get it.

You say you’re in charge of drilling in the troop now, what kind of movements do you give? “Left flank”, “to da rear”, “right oblique”, “left oblique” etc? We don’t get any drill anymore. This AA isn’t much like the Infantry; we don’t take exercise or drill and while we’re out here on the desert we don’t even stand retreat. All we do is set up guns as fast as we can. They call that artillery drill. Out here we set the guns up along a line in holes and fire on the target all day. Most of the targets are pulled by planes. We have ground targets pulled by trucks and rockets that fly through the air real fast.

Guess I’ll close for now.

So long, Tom

May get to go to Barstow tomorrow

24 Oct

October 16, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Dear Pop

I’m so sorry to hear about your sore feet. Ha, ha. I got your letter with the tag in it and I’ve heard from Aunt Bess too. Most of the mail gets here. I think, once or twice, I know I’ve lost some letters but it isn’t often. I may get to go to Barstow tomorrow. It won’t be so long til we’ll be going back to Haan and then we’ll get our furloughs.

Love, Tom

"Old Baldy", from the orange groves, California

Bombed (with flour sacks) from their planes

24 Oct

October 15, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Dear Mom

I haven’t had much time to write this week, we’ve been doing some firing at night and it takes up about all our spare time. The reason my letters are postmarked a day or two after I write them is because they have to go to Camp Irwin then to Camp Haan before they’re sent out.

I’ve got a pretty good idea I’ll be home in December. We have three or four more weeks out here and two weeks training back at Haan then this period is over and we will be due to get 15 day furloughs.

Helen sent me two of the leaves that had turned and it sure was good to see them. I wish I could be back there and see all the trees and grass again. These bushes around here are turning greener since we’ve had some rain and the desert looks entirely different. The only thing that grows here is a bush about four feet high and a few weeds. Around here there’s nothing but sand and those bushes as far as you can see. Except the mountains make some pretty formations and they are especially pretty in the sunset.

Talking about the way you all imagined Barstow and these little towns to be, well they don’t have hitching posts but the sheriff in Barstow is a big, fat guy and he wears one of those ten gallon hats and looks right much like the sheriffs in the movies. Victorville has the most cowboys in it. I saw several guys there who were wearing guns, and it reminds you a lot of one of those western towns. All our targets are towed by planes from that air corps station there and on our field problems we will be bombed (with flour sacks) from their planes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bill M. isn’t one of those guys that flies around here.

We had a pretty good joke on the British who were here. They were tracking the plane instead of the tow target and by mistake they started firing at the plane and the pilot left the range and didn’t come back.

I guess I’ll close for tonight. I miss you all an awful lot and I pray every night that it won’t be so long before I’ll be back with you. By the news it looks like my prayers are being answered. The war can’t last forever anyhow.

Love to all, Tom