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We had a pretty nice time at our Thanksgiving supper

5 Dec

December 2, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Dearest Mom,

We are leaving Camp Irwin tomorrow and we will bivouac into Haan and get there Friday. I hope we stop in Victorville cause I would like to look up Bill Moundfield.

I’ve been promised a weekend pass when I get back to Haan and I want to get over to see Aunt Bess if I can. Audrey wants me to go to the Palladium with her and I’d like to go there again myself. Audrey’s husband is in Hawaii and she gets mail from him in about three or four days. So he’s not in any immediate danger and she hears from him often; it’s not so bad as it could be. I like it over there and it’s awfully nice to be with them.

I got paid today and I’ve got about $115 on hand so I’ll have plenty of money for my furlough. They are arranging for reservations on the train for us and so I won’t have to worry about that.

It’s too bad pop had to work Thanksgiving. Doggone he kept writing about being off and going to the cabin and chickens, mince pie, and all that. But he had to work too so I got to laugh back at him. We had a pretty nice time at our Thanksgiving supper tho. We sang some hymns and the captain led us in a prayer.

Love to all, Tom

It ought to be a lot of fun

26 Nov

November 25, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Hello Bill

How you coming along? I got your letter and I would have answered sooner but we keep pretty busy out here on the desert. We’re out all day and I usually go right to bed after supper I’m so tired. We have to fire on Monday and Tuesday and then we’ll start back to Haan. We’re going on a problem on the way back. Another outfit is on its 5 day problem and we’re going to attack them and try to take over their gun positions. It ought to be a lot of fun.

You say you want to take a night hike when I get home, well all I got to say is heck with you, by golly! I got enough hiking without you wanting me to go hiking.

Helen sent me a copy of the Jefferson News and it sure was fun looking at it. Makes me kind of homesick though, reading about everything going on around school. I sure would like to be back there.

So long for now, Tom

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day

24 Nov

November 24, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Dearest Mom

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day. We’re going to have a turkey dinner but still we go out and fire all day tomorrow so we don’t get any holiday. I’ve been working since 6:30 this morning and it’s 10:20 p.m. now and I just got off. We fired all day then moved gun positions, then I was working barracks bags this evening. I sure do wish I could be home tomorrow with the football game and everything. I guess I got a lot of things to be thankful for anyhow. I only pray that it won’t be so long before I’m home for good though.

Don’t worry, I’ll have enough money for my furlough. I’ve got $60 now and I’ll be paid again before our furlough. I hope we do get that raise dad was talking about, it’ll help out a lot.

We are living in Camp Irwin in big tents and we have stoves in them. It gets awfully cold here at night, a lot more than back at Haan.

Guess I’ll close for tonight, mom. I’ll be thinking about you all sitting around the table tomorrow.

Love to all, Tommy

Sue must be getting to be a pretty big girl now

12 Nov

November 5, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Dear Mom

We are packing up to go back to Haan today. I’ll be glad to get back to civilization again. I sent you a picture book of Camp Haan and Irwin last night. It has pictures of just about all we do. If you look at those pictures of the infiltration course, they show better than any of the others what the land looks like around here.

I hope Lois will get well ok. I got a letter from her and Bernard both the other day. I guess Sue must be getting to be a pretty big girl now. I’ll be glad to get home and see everybody again. I get more anxious everyday to get my furlough, but four weeks has been added on our training and it may interfere, but then they may wait til we get back for that extra time.

I’m having a hard time trying to take care of Helen’s picture out here. I didn’t know how I was going to manage taking it back to Haan until Dowdy gave me a steel ammunition can (Dowdy works in the supply room.) When we move we have to take everything we have and stuff it down in two barracks bags and it’s hard to take care of something like a picture. It sure is a swell picture.

Love to all, Tom

P.S. Tell pop when I get back I’ll be able to get him some more postcards.

Never dreamed I’d be traveling across the U.S.

11 Nov

November 3, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Dear Pop

I have a very special request to make of you. Without beating around the bush here it is: I want you to cash in my other two bonds and lend me $10. I have $60 here and that would give me about $46 more. That way I can be sure of having enough money whenever we get our furloughs. I think we will get them sometime soon and I want to have the money ready. They talk about a troop train going to Washington but the fare on that would be about $70. I am going to map out a way so I can ride the pass from Cincinnati on in. One of the fellows who went to Roanoke on an emergency furlough made it in 3 1/2 days.

What do I have to do to get the pass on the N&W? Or can I use the annual pass? I used to think about traveling across the U.S. but I never dreamed I’d be doing it. But still, it’s worth anything to get back home.

Love to all, Tom

C rations: they’re pretty good and fill you up

11 Nov

November 1, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Hi Little Zoot,

You had better get on the ball with your lessons, from what I hear you aren’t passing everything.

I haven’t got any more match covers this time but I’ll get some whenever I get to town again. I’ll probably get hold of a lot when I go to Los Angeles again. There aren’t very many in Barstow. Almost every army camp puts out a match cover too and when I meet somebody from another camp I’ll try to get one of his camp.

About the only cooking utensils the army has is all mess hall equipment and that is great big stuff. We have our mess kits that we eat out of but they wouldn’t do much good. On the field problem we had ‘C’ rations. There are two cans a meal: one can has stew or beans in it and the other has hard tack, candy, and coffee. They’re pretty good and fill you up.

Guess I’ll close for now, Tom

Guarding prisoners is a lot easier than walking post

11 Nov

November 1, 1943

Camp Irwin, California

Dear Mom

It’s 1 o’clock and I have the rest of the day off. I’ve been on guard and I’ve finished pulling my shifts. We have two prisoners and I’ve been guarding them. Night before last one of them was a guard and one of them was a prisoner and both of them took off with the Tommy gun and everything. They were caught before they got very far and now they have them handcuffed and guarded. Guarding prisoners is a lot easier than walking post and I get it almost every time I’m on guard because I qualified as expert on the Tommy gun. But if I had to shoot one of them I don’t know whether I could do it or not and the orders on these prisoners was to shoot at the slightest move.

We got paid today and I’ve got about $62. I was paid $43.10 and I had some left from last payday. I have to get a few things next time I go to Los Angeles and the rest will go towards my furlough. From the way things stand now, we will probably go back to Haan the first of next week and our furloughs start about November 22. I don’t know if that is what will happen for sure. In the army they are always changing things.

If I could get my camera out here I could get a lot of good pictures out. It would really be worth the trouble of shipping the camera to get those pictures. If you would, I would like to get you to send it to me. If you can get hold of a couple of rolls of film, too. It would help because film is hard to get out here. Get 35 millimeter, Plus X film. I think I have some already around the house or at Bernard’s. I believe I gave it to him with the camera. Maybe pop could make a small wooden box just about the size of the camera to ship it in and then it would be easier to keep here too. You could insure it for about $45.

I really would appreciate it if you all could do that for me. You’ve done so many things for me I hate to ask for anything else, but some of these days I’ll be able to repay you all for helping me so much since I’ve been in the army. It mixes up a guy’s life so much to have to leave home with debts and everything, but I’ll get straightened out sometime.

I sure will be glad when I get that furlough. It seems like years since the last time I was home but it’s only been about 4 months.

Love to all, Tom