jump to navigation

Dry Fire in the Pouring Rain April 15, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Humor.
20 comments

Dad enlisted in the Army and reported for duty on June 27, 1946, at age 18.

His enlistment, at the end of his first year at Northeastern University, coincided with the end of World War II, just before the Korean War.

At first, mile-long hikes alternated walking and running.  With improved stamina, the recruits ran with guns and packs on their backs.  Officers kept the company company:

“Lieutenant Knoll and the other officers run with us every day.  That is one thing about the infantry, the officers ask the men to do nothing that they won’t do themselves.”

Everyone in the barracks rose early.  When asked about his schedule, he shared the following:

“We have to get up at 5:30, wash, make our beds, and fall out at 6:00 for reveille.  We police up the company and have breakfast at 6:30.  7:30-8:30 First Aid class.  8:30-9:30 Military Courtesy.  9:30 – 11:30 Rifle mechanism and cleaning.  12:00 Dinner.  12:45 Fall in.  1:00-2:30 2 shots and 1 vaccination.  Also examination of eyes and teeth.  Mine were OK.  3:00-4:00 Physical Training (slap boxing and mile run ~ they still let us walk and run alternately).  4:00-5:00 Drill.  5:30 Supper.  6:30-7:00 Rifle inspection by platoon sgt.  7:00-9:00 “G.I. Party” (remove all beds and equipment from barracks to mop and clean it).   9:00 Lights out.  Perhaps this will give you a little idea of our schedule.”

Some days were better than others.  In a letter to Margaret, his step-mother, he wrote:

“Monday it rained hard here.  We were out on the range having what they call dry fire (without live ammunition).  It seemed [other than] dry to me.  The showers here are regular cloudbursts.  We were all soaked to the skin.  We had to walk back to the barracks about 1 1/2 miles through 3 inches of mud.  While on the firing range, we had to lie down in it.  We were really a mess.  They let us change our clothes.”

“A lot of the fellows have been sick here on account of the heat, etc.  A few have had pneumonia.  Some of the others were taken to the hospital after having their shots.  So far I have felt perfectly O.K.  I don’t expect to be sick much while I am in the army either.  That is one thing that I am very lucky in.  I have only been sick once in the last five years and that was chicken pox.”

Dad teased his younger sister Marjorie for taking advantage of his absence:

“Do I have any clothes left and is my radio still working?  I haven’t heard from you much so you must be spending half your evenings at Marshal’s and the other half taking things from my room, namely clothes.”

“The fellows drink a lot of coke here.  We sweat so much that we are thirsty all of the time except at night when it cools off.  It cools off enough at night so that we can sleep comfortably with one army blanket over us and one under.  They don’t issue sheets here.  We have pillow cases though.”

“I suppose that you are rich now that you are working.  If I were you I would try to save all I could.  You will never be sorry.  The money that I saved got me started in college.  Without it, I probably wouldn’t have started.  Now that I am started I can see my way clear to finish as long as the government is going to pay part, or should I say all except for clothing perhaps.”

“This letter is too long for me to write.  I might collapse from shock so I will stop.  Daddy mentioned in his letter that you were going to write so I had better hear from you or else.”

“P.S. Tell Daddy that in an emergency, I could get a furlough if the local Red Cross notified the Red Cross here at the Fort.  I think a doctor has to say that you are needed at home.  I don’t want you to think that I am trying to get home because if I did I would have to take basic training over again from the start.  One fellow got a furlough already because he broke both his wrists the first day on the obstacle course.  Enough said.”

_0001d

Aah . . . that’s better!

Continued tomorrow . . . Can’t Stand the Heat?  Get IN the Kitchen!