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Letter From Basic Training

Tobias Henoeckl - Sat May 10 18:28:55 2003

A LETTER FROM A FARMER, NOW AT CAMP PENDLETON

Dear Ma and Pa;

Am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine
Corps beats working for the old man by a mile. Tell them to join up
quick before maybe all of the places are filled. I was restless at first
because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m., but am getting so I
like to sleep late.

Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot and
shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to
split, fire to lay. Practically nothing. Men got to shave but it is not
so bad, there is warm water.

Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon,
etc..., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant,
pie and other regular food. But tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit
between boys that live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds you till
noon, when you get fed again. It's no wonder these city boys can't walk
much.

Marches, which the Platoon Sergeant says are long walks to harden us.
If he thinks so, it is not my place to tell him different. It is about
as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys gets sore feet and
we all ride back in trucks. The country is nice but awful flat. The
Sergeant is like a schoolteacher. He nags some.

The Capt. is like the school board. Majors and Colonels just ride around
and frown. They don't bother you none.

This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals
for shooting. I don't know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a
chipmunk and don't move. And it ain't shooting at you, like the Higgett
boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit
it. You don't even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers
get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving daughter, Gail

[Note - been making the rounds in various incarnations for over a year - ed.]


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