Friday, July 3, 2009

Letter #12

Pvt. E. Cowley 42025054
7th Co. 5th Regt. ASTP
Fort Benning, Georgia

The Cowleys
35 Woodside Ave.
Buffalo N.Y.
Zone 20

Postmarked November 8, 1943

Dear Folks,

I’m in the middle of a detailed inspection, the lieutenants have just gone thru our barracks and we’re waiting for the majors and colonels. Everything has to be in G.I. order. There can’t be dust on anything at all, from the tip of our shoes to the top of the rafters. We’ve been shining things and cleaning since retreat last night. I think we’ve got the best looking and neatest hut in the Company. I printed the numbers on the gun rack and mess kit rack. It looks pretty snappy and the sarge thought it was “dandy”.

You’ll be pleased to know I passed all the exams and I’m sure going to college at last. The kid I go around with down here, Dave Coulter from Williamsville, flunked out on the 5th exam. He’s trying to get in the air corps. The air corps has priorities on A.S.T.P. candidates and anyone that washes out of this automatically goes into the air corps, providing he can pass the physical, which I can’t. The A.S.T.P. is the highest rated division of the army. We’re rated above Officers Training, air corps, and everything else.

I’m sending home my insurance & war bonds at last. Also my admission to A.S.T.P. for you to put in my book.

Received a swell letter from Miss Mulholland, my English Teacher at state. She gave me all the dope about the school events and wants me to continue writing. It seems funny writing to one of my teachers when usually I try my hardest to avoid them.

I ordered 2 boxes of A.S.T.P. stationary and hope I get it very soon. Mother I think it would be a good idea if you would send me 5 more dollars as I have a million things to get before I’m settled. It would be swell if you would also send maybe 1 or 2 of our big bath towels white or blue preferred, 3 or 4 T shirts, and as many of my jockey shorts as there are around the house. I have to buy some more woolen socks down here, I’ve got plenty of the brown ones. When my money arrived, I already owed $2.50 and I bought a carton of smokes, large toothpaste, 2 face towels for display only, 3 bars of soap and some candy bars.

The day before yesterday I was on K.P. from 6 in the morn till 10 at night. K.P. is really all they claim and then some. We have all our equipment now and we’re ready to begin our basic Monday. Our Company’s gonna be tops in the outfit. At least we’re trying damn hard to make it so.

I’m back again after a lecture and posing for a photograph, of course the rest of the company muscled in on the picture. Remember when I said I wouldn’t write home for anything, guess I was quite mistaken but then I didn’t think V-12 meant anything at all. In fact I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it if they hadn’t called for it.

You asked what bivouac is, well, it is an abbreviated form of maneuvers as it only lasts 2 weeks. During those 2 weeks we live in the hills and sleep in our pup tents. Naturally we sleep right on the ground. During the day time we fire rifles, machine guns & mortars etc. besides all types of marching and tactical lessons. We have 2 bivouacs coming so I’ll tell you a lot more later.

Trying Army exams is quite different from the exams I’ve tried so many of in school. You know if you miss your out and out for good. There’s no excuses allowed and no second chances. It’s something like a life or death exam. When I took the last 3 I felt quite unprepared for them and wasn’t too sure of my chances of making the grade. My year at state didn’t help my math, physics & chemistry any but if I ever get a chance (which I should) to study, I’m going to know as much as I can hold when I began.

Well I’m going over and try to find room to take my compulsory daily shower. (and do I need it!) Would you call up Ray W. and give him my address. I wrote to him from Upton & told him to get my address from you. I’d like to know if his brother is down here. The camp is about 10 times the size of Buffalo in area so there isn’t much chance of running in to him. I could write and have him meet me someplace. Sounds kinda strange doesn’t it. Best of health to all the Cowleys and let me hear about that fudge soon.

Love to all
Eddie Jr.

It really was a great year for music: Stormy Weather sung by Lena Horne

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