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

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The 567th is having a big party

30 May
April 19, 1944
Shreveport, Louisiana

Dear Mom

I got your letter yesterday and the box day before. Thanks a lot for the box. I sure did enjoy it. We’ve been pretty busy the last few days. We had to fire rifles and throw hand grenades and a lot of other stuff.

The 567th is having a big party May 10th. It’ll be one year then since the Battalion was put into use and we’re going to some town in Texas and have parades and a party and a big celebration. The Battalion has been named the “Allegheny Aristocrat” cause most of the men are from up in Virginia. We have an insignia too.

I hope Bernard won’t have to come in the army cause it will be pretty hard on them with Lois being sick. If he should have to go, I’d get in the Navy or Coast Guard if I could. He’d be a lot better off than in the army. I sure wished I had gone in the Navy. One thing about it is you always have a place to sleep and food. Lots of time we don’t have either.

Love to all, Tom

I like it here except for sleeping on the ground

30 May
April 19, 1944
Shreveport, Louisiana

Hi William

Just be patient, I’ve got a lot of camping equipment for you but I haven’t gotten all I want to get yet. I have been turning in the stuff for new stuff and it takes a little time cause if I turn it all in at once they’d get suspicious. Here’s what I have: a canteen outfit, cup canteen and cover; an infantry field pack, a pup tent (brand new); and a few other little things. Let me know if you need a mess kit and I’ll get one of those too. I don’t know whether you’ll want to use the infantry pack or not but it is good to carry your bedding in. We’re still camped here in the same place and it might be some time before we pull out.

I get my furlough in about two months, it’ll probably come about the last of June. I hope we don’t move before then unless its closer home. I like it here except for sleeping on the ground and I’m getting used to that.

Guess I’ll close for this time.

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

April makes nine months I’ve been in the army

26 May
April 1, 1944
Shreveport, Louisiana

Dear Mom

The beginning of April makes nine months I’ve been in the army. It doesn’t seem long but I hope I’ll be out before nine more months. The weather sure is swell down here now, most of the trees are out and it feels just like spring.

We are starting the second day of this problem and so far we haven’t had to set up our gun or dig in. We had to get up this morning and walk about three quarters of a mile for our breakfast. We just got back and the sun’s coming up now.

We are going into a bivouac camp near Leesville after the maneuvers to wait for shipment. They are going to have an inspection to find out what clothes we’ve lost so send my wool pants and shirt as soon as you can, also that khaki shirt. Keep the officer’s shirt there. Send them as soon as you can because the inspection will be coming up in about ten days.

I got your letter this morning. Having to go through an army Post Office like Shreveport makes the mail a lot slower. I am glad to hear Lois is better.

Love to all, Tom

Starting on the last phase of maneuvers

26 May
March 30, 1944
Shreveport, Louisiana

Dear Mom

We are starting on the last phase of maneuvers tomorrow. It will be over the 4th of April and I expect we’ll be shipping out pretty soon after. I don’t know where we’ll go but I don’t think we’ll stay in Louisiana any longer because the maneuvers are over for good down here.

We have come back into Louisiana now. We worked back about a hundred miles into Texas and now we’re back close to Alexandria. It’s a little cool here now. It rained all night, night before last, and then turned out cool.

Earl’s letter was ver interesting. I guess he must still be in Sicily, and I see from his address that he is in the same kind of outfit that I am in, only his are probably 90 millimeter guns.

I’m glad that I’ll be able to go back to work for the N&W when I get back. I expect there’ll be a lot of men without a job after the war and a lot of confusion when they start coming back. It would be hard to get started unless I could get that job back.

Guess I’ll close for this time.

Love to all, Tom