May 1944

LETTER 096

Invasion speculation continues to run rampant. The latest prediction is between May 2nd and May 17th. It is the last week of Radio School and Bill says unless “they remove me” he will go out on C.P.X. or as Bill contemptiously calls it “a Boy Scout Signal Corps version of buvouac.”

May 1, 1944
[Camp Crowder, Missouri]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

This has been some Mayday, rainy and windy as hell. I guess there’s not a “hellova” lot to write again tonight. I certainly haven’t been doing anything outstanding so I might as well not try to write much along that line.

I’m still in radio school. I’m very much mystified to say and this is the last week. After that unless they “remove” me we go out on C.P.X. That’s a Boy Scout Signal Corps version of bivouac. There’s only 2 things I don’t like about it. We don’t come in over the weekends and “wood ticks”. There’s no use saying anything about this either since nothing is definite yet.

Murphy, who was to get clerk schooling here went to Ft. Leonard Wood and from what he writes it’s pretty nice. They told him he’d get a furlough as soon as he finds out where he goes next.

Speculation is running high here over when the invasion will come. I hope it’s soon. I don’t like this lousy war. I heard an announcer predict that it’ll come between May 2nd & 17th. Who knows—not me.

What’ll I write now? I haven’t got any good ideas at all. This business of letter writing at night ain’t so hot. I’m always too sleepy to really tell you anything interesting.

I hope I get a furlough pretty soon. I’d like to get home before you forget what I look like.

How’s the bloomin’ lawsuit coming along??

Love, — Bill

LETTER 097

Bill gets paid $23 including a war bond. It’s the last week of Radio School and everything is up in the air. Thankfully for Bill, he has guard duty and therefore is missing “one of those silly night problems” the rest of the company has to suffer through.

May 3, 1944
[Camp Crowder, Missouri]

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Well, I’m off in the damn Guard House again. Woe is me. This is getting to be a nasty habit. I even wish at times that I weren’t in the army. Am I kiddin’? I’m somewhat lucky, however. The rest of the company has got one of those silly night problems and I’m getting out of that, thus killing two birds with one stone.

As I have [said] many times before, things are pretty much [the same] in radio school, but it’ll probably be the last time I’ll ever say so because training ends this week. I may go out on C.P.X. and then I may go out and have a continuation of radio. Still again I may go to [Fort] Leonard Wood, then again I may go to another school here. That’s what I like about the army; one is always so certain of what comes next.

I got paid just the other day so my finances are pretty good. I got $23.00 and a bond came out of that. With the money I have left over from last month I’m doing O.K. I wish I had a little more chance to blow some of it.

As the papers say, we’ve been having a bit of “weathuh” up here. No floods but so damn much rain that on rare occasions I see the sun I feel as if I should worship it like a Druid or sumpin’.

Write me all the details of the trial Mudder. I think the laughs will be priceless. Wot a gal!!

Mudder, I’ve been looking for a Mother’s Day gift for you around here but have found nothing really suitable so I think I’ll just send a money order for $10.00 instead. Is that okay?

Best Love,

Your Brat — Bill

P.S. Please pardon the horrible handwriting.

LETTER 098

It’s the last day of Radio School and Bill receives his grades. He is pleased to learn that “with the exception of code I did excellent.” Bill sends his mother a “Mudders” Day gift of $10 and tells her to “get yourself sumpin’ nice.”

May 6, 1944 (0906)
[Camp Crowder, Missouri]

To: Mudder and Dad,

This is my last day at radio school and likewise my last day in B-37. This afternoon we move and after that I don’t know what. Today I received my grades in radio and am glad to say that with the exception of code I did excellent. I made 96 in procedure, the most important test, and 92 in installation. That makes me feel better.

Happy Mudder’s Day, Mudder. This may be a little premature but I doubt if I could get a letter to you on next Saturday or Monday so this is it. Get yourself sumpin’ nice. Maybe you can get Daddy to chip in a few sheckels too.

I’m a little stumped on this letter writing business by now. I don’t know whether or not I’m going out. I don’t know just what kind of mailing facilities they’ve got out there. From what I hear it’ll be more like a picnic than a bivouac (mobile PX’s and all that), but we don’t get in on weekends so I don’t think I’ll be able to do much writing. However, I hear that they do deliver mail out there.

How’s everyone and how’s the lawsuit coming?

— Bill (0925)

Don’t send mail ‘till you get another note from me.

LETTER 099

It seems that Bill is going out on C.P.X. bivouac “whether I like it or not.” He doesn’t see the point ” if Ican’t send and receive code over the radio.” He is confident that he is in line for a furlough and 12-18 days at home.

May 7, 1944
[Camp Crowder, Missouri]

Dear Mother and Dad,

About now you are probably wondering just where in the hell I am. Well, it seems that I’m going out on C.P.X. whether I like it or not. I guess they still think they can make a radio operator out of me. If so it’s all right with me. It seems like a big waste of time but on the other hand time is something I’ve got loads of.

This C.P.X. as I’ve told you before is supposed to be pretty soft. I’ve found out that I’ll have no trouble at all writing or receiving mail so that’s OK. I don’t know exactly what they’ll do with me out there but I can’t see what good I’ll be if I can’t send and receive code over the radio.

Along with this note I’m sending another note I wrote yesterday in school.

From what I make out this furlough business is really going to be swell. I’ll probably be here in Crowder for another 3 or 4 weeks and then go to [Fort] Leonard Wood where I’ll get my furlough. These new furloughs (they call them “delays in orders”) allow a minimum of 12 days at home and a maximum of 18. Oh Boy!

That’s about all I can tell you right now.

Best Love, — Bill

LETTER 100

Bill writes from “a little sandbag shelter about 8 miles out of camp.” The men are writing letters and operating a 284 radio. He ridicules the C.P.X. bivouac saying, “there is about as much similarity between this and bivouac ‘ala Camp Abbot as there is between Wall St. and the Kremlin.”

May 11, 1944
[Camp Crowder, Missouri]

Dear Mother and Dad,

I’m writing this note from a little sandbag shelter on the side of a little hill about 8 miles out of camp. I’m completely surrounded by trees and whatnot. In the shelter there are 5 of us. Two are operating a 284 (radio) and the rest of us are writing letters by the 25 watt bulb which is the only light for miles around. Hot stuff, huh?

This C.P.X on bivouac or whatever it’s called is really a laugh. We might as well be back in camp. There’s about as much similarity between this and bivouac ‘ala camp Abbot as there is between Wall St. and the Kremlin.

May 12, 1944

At the end of that last line we had a power failure so I went to bed. It’s now nine o’ clock in the morning. In two hours I go on shift. We’re on 6 hours and off 18!?!!! It’s really very nice here as long as you watch out for snakes. I’ve never got so much sleep since I’ve been in the army.

I’ve got detail, sorry, must close now.

Best Love, — Bill

LETTER 101

Bill is “in the bush.”  He writes that after 30 hours without sleep the men took tests and “of course everyone flunked, including me.”

May 23, 1944
[Camp Crowder, Missouri]
“In the Bush”

Dear Mother and Dad,

Well, now after all this time I can finally write you a letter. I don’t know what kind of a letter it’ll be but under the circumstances it’s about the best I can do.

I’m now almost finished with bivouac. It’s been very nice in some way and not so hot in others. The work has been easy but it hasn’t given me any free time. It hasn’t given me any more respect for the Signal Corps. I don’t know but I’m coming to think less and less of this army all the time. Just SNAFU all the time. When one thinks of the high stakes and cost involved in this war it doesn’t make pleasant thinking.

Today after not getting any sleep for 30 hours we took tests and of course everyone flunked including me.

The mail service out here smells. I haven’t received anything from you for over a week.

Love, —  Bill

“Hell of a letter,” —  “huh!”

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