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Still haven’t heard when we’re moving or where

5 Jun
May 8, 1944
Shreveport, Louisiana

Dear Mom

I guess I haven’t been writing very regularly lately, but there’s never much to write about. I tried to call you all over the weekend but I never was able to get the call through.

We still haven’t heard anything as to when we’re moving or where. For all we know we may stay here a couple of more months. My furlough is due the first of July and that’s fairly definite.

Love to all, Tommy

P.S. I guess you all enjoyed your weekend up at the cabin. I sure would have liked to have been with you.

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they’ve got a real nice U.S.O. here

3 Jun
May 3, 1944
Shreveport, Louisiana

Dear Mom

I’m in Deridder tonight. This is where we spend most of our time when we’re off. It’s about 8 miles from camp, and they’ve got a real nice U.S.O. here.

I got Dad’s and your letters yesterday. I can’t think of anything I need except I would like to have some of those stencils like they have down at the storehouse. If dad could get them. I just want the letters to make Thomas R Ferguson 33652379, about 1/2″ in size. I usually have a lot of stuff to mark that way and all we have is a card board stencil which isn’t so good.

I still don’t know much about my furlough but I’ll probably get it sometime during July as far as I know. I think that sooner or later I will be transferred into another, but that is just a hunch.

Love to all, Tommy

We’re getting good food now

3 Jun
April 23, 1944
Shreveport, Louisiana

Dear Mom

I spent this Sunday here in camp. It’s not so very long before I get my furlough so I want to save all the money I can.

We are still camped in the same place and I haven’t heard anything about moving yet. We have a nice camp with a Post Exchange and everything. There is even a quartermaster laundry near here and we get our laundry done free. We don’t get showers but about twice a week unless we get a pass and go to town. It’s a nice area here, grass with tall pines, I like it a lot better than the desert.

We took a hike the other day, it wasn’t but eight miles but it was pretty rough. We went through underbrush, waded through creeks and everything. I like to hike though about as well as anything we do.

We’re getting good food now, we had chicken for dinner today and steak for supper. They don’t have a very good stove out here it’s just a field range and they can’t bake or anything like that, but here lately the meals are pretty good.

Well I guess I’ll close for this time. I have my watch and buckle ready to mail and when I get a chance to get it insured I’ll send it on.

Love to all, Tom

I took a hike and found enough equipment to start a quartermaster corp all my own

28 May
April 12, 1944
Shreveport, Louisiana

Dear Mom

I got the clothes today and they got here in time for the inspection. I haven’t had any time to write the last few days, this is the first night I’ve had off this week. Last night we had to go through an infiltration course where you crawl along under machine gun fire. The only thing bad about it was it was pitch dark and there was a lot of barbed wire entanglement to go through. Another thing that made it uncomfortable was you see the bullets and they sure did look close.

Helen’s got me worried again. I haven’t heard from her for a week and I was getting letters almost every day. She’s gonna cause me to have a nervous breakdown.

It looks like we might be here for a couple of months yet. There won’t be any more maneuvers but still I don’t like living in this pup tent, this ground I have for a mattress isn’t like the mattress on my bed at home.

Tell pop to be patient, I’ll send him that buckle as soon as I get a chance. I’ve got an Infantry field pack for Bill, also a canteen outfit and maybe I’ll be able to get a mess kit. I took a hike Sunday by myself (about 2 miles) and found enough equipment that the army had left to start a quartermaster corp all my own. I’ve got gloves, helmet, mosquito net, field pack, canteens, pup tents and almost everything else.

The Chaplin had Easter services here last week and I got to go to most of them. I got another copy of the “Upper Room” from the church. They send me a lot of nice letters and books and things. I’ll have to write them a letter when I get a chance.

I guess I’ll close for tonight, Give my love to everybody.

Love to all, Tom

P.S. Marvin Nuckles that was on that prison detail with me got a corporal’s rating last week. The poor guy’s in the hospital with poison oak now though.

The Captain’s gone to try to find the Battalion

28 May
April 2, 1944
Shreveport, Louisiana

Dear Mom

The maneuvers are over and we are on our way to another camping area near Leesville like we had when we first came here. We’ll be there for two weeks for sure and then I don’t know where we’ll go. Right now ‘C’ battery is lost from the rest of the Battalion and they can’t get communication through ‘cause we are about 100 miles apart. We’re camped near Many, Louisiana now and the Captain’s gone to try to find the Battalion.

The last phase of the maneuvers was a lot of fun. The enemy got within about 50 yards of our gun and the umpires marked it destroyed and we started crawling along with the infantry, firing our rifles.

Our changing might make a change in the system of furloughs. I hope we’ll get them sooner. I’m anxious to get home again. It sure was swell those four days I was there. Everything was just like it was when I left it seems almost like I hadn’t been gone hardly any time. I’ll be glad when it’s over. It’s a lot harder on some people than it is on me. I’ve got used to it and I stay happy here. I hope Bernard won’t have to go cause it will be hard on him.

Love to all, Tommy

I’m anxious for the war to get over so I can start planning

23 May
March 18, 1944
Leesville, Louisiana

Dear Mom

We finally got to Leesville but we haven’t been able to find our outfit yet. We had a pretty nice trip down here. We had some layovers but I didn’t mind that ‘cause I got to see some towns. We had a few hours in Pittsburg then about 10 hours in St. Louis and 5 hours in Shreveport. Pittsburg was a pretty nice town but it’s smokey just like they say and you don’t see the sun ‘til about 11 o’clock. We got there about 9 in the morning and left that afternoon about 3. Our prisoner has been easy to handle. Last night we got a room here in Leesville and we all went to sleep but he was right with us when we woke up.

We had a nice time in St. Louis. The U.S.O. gave us some tickets to a show and we enjoyed that very much. St. Louis is a right pretty town and pretty large too. That was the first time I’d been to Shreveport too, and that’s a nice town. I guess it’s about the size of Roanoke or probably a little larger.

You know of all the places I’ve been, there ain’t no place like home. It sure did feel good to be home. The maneuvers are going to be over soon and I may get my furlough sooner than it is scheduled. I hope so anyhow, that was a nice sample I had while I was there but now I’m more anxious than ever to get home. I want more than anything else for this war to be over. I talked to several girls coming down here on the train to see their husbands. One girl came down to Leesville on the same train we did. She had a baby and she couldn’t find any place to stay after she got here.

I’m anxious for the war to get over so I can start planning. I’m nineteen now and I’m gonna get a late start. I don’t want to get married for a good while but I want to get ready to get married and get my own home and everything but I doubt if I can now. If I could get a good job back with the N & W I’d be alright and I hope that’s what I’ll be able to do.

I guess I’ll close for this time.

Love to all, Tom

P.S. Tell dad that I rode down from Shreveport with that Mister Good that he was telling me about.

Being in the army is getting mighty tiresome

14 May
February 26, 1944
Shreveport, Louisiana

Dear Mom

We are on a rest period right now. We have a pretty hard time keeping clean because we never get a chance to take showers, but today I took a bath in a creek. It was cold but sure did make me feel good.

These maneuvers are getting mighty tiresome. In fact, being in the army is getting mighty tiresome. I’m pretty sick of it all. I hope it won’t last so much longer. I’ve kinda gotten used to being away from home but still sometimes I get mighty homesick. For the last couple of days I’ve just about stayed homesick. It’s just gonna be the happiest day in my life when I can dress up in a white shirt and all my old clothes, step out the front door into that old terraplane and take off for a date just like old times, and forget about guns and tactics and stuff like that. I hope it won’t be long, I pray every night it won’t be long. So many people are getting it a lot harder than I am.

I got the Sunday paper you sent and I sure did enjoy it. I got a letter from Bill today, tell him I’ve got a whole pup tent for him and I’ll send it as soon as I get a chance.

Guess I’ll close for this time.

Love to all, Tom