Saturday, July 4, 2009
Pvt. E. Cowley 42025054
7th Co. 5th Regt ASTP
Ft Benning Ga
35 Woodside Ave
Nov 14, 1942
At last I got my 1st pass. I’m writing, as you probably noticed from the U.S.O. As far as I’m concerned the USO is a very good organization. We (Dave Coulter, Harry Cook and I) came into town yesterday about 5 o’clock. We bought a few things to send home and a new garrison cap, which is ultra snappy. Then we got ourselves a very good meal and which tasted so different from army food. Sleeping is quite a problem in Columbus Ga. But we went to the USO there and they sent us to Alabama, which is just across the Muscogee.
The towns, Phoenix city and Columbus, are miserable but the USO’s are fine. We paid 35 cents last night for a cot, (clean sheets and blanket) which was set up in the auditorium for us. When we got up they furnished soap and towels for a shower and then fed us coffee and doughnuts. Stationary is provided in quantities for all soldiers.
Enough about the USO, I think you should know more about the filthy towns. All you have ever heard about the South is true, except that I haven't run across any of the “Damn Yankee” type as yet. The bars are all lousy, you never saw such dirt in your life. We wanted to get a couple glasses of beer and we had to walk for 2 hours before finding a half way decent place. The best saloon down here can’t compare to the poorest in Buffalo. The girls aren’t just right either so we avoided them completely, I’ll be very much pleased to get back north to school, I hope.
Well, our 1st week of basic is completed, only 12 more to go. It was quite a week. We worked like slaves constantly and I never learned so much in such a short time. We had instruction on; the disasemblege and assemblage of the M1 (garand rifle); military courtesy and sanitation, both on post and in the field; interior guard duty, incidentally I’m on guard duty tomorrow night. Hope something exciting happens so I can get a commission. We drilled and drilled &and then drilled some more. According to the corporal I’m the slowest, dumbest, most awkward soldier in the army, of course he flatters everyone with those fragrant terms. We went on 2 short marches with full field equipment and pitched our tents up in the woods. Also we learned how to handle the rifle in the strict military fashion. I think I’m improving the art but its slow progress as I still keep knocking my helmet off. Exercises for an hour or more every morning, once we were ordered by the lieutenant to play football so that was the 1st command I enjoyed.
Thanks a million for all the things you sent. Everything will come in very handy, especially those hankies. I’ve 12 pr. of socks now, but if anyone wants to send more? I won’t feel put out. Those khaki brown socks will be swell when I get away from Benning and back to a soft life at school. As soon as the polish arrived I painted my buttons. Everything's swell and I’m pretty well set for awhile.
As soon as the ASTP paper comes thru I’ll start writing to all the family. I’ve got 18 letters to answer from last week.
Well, thanks again, for everything, I have to make sure I get to church. Hope you like the things I sent. Stay healthy Keep writing and cleaning my bedroom and I’ll be home before you know it.
Love to all
How about Lou, whats his address? I never thought he’d marry. How does grandma feel about it?
And from the 1943 Hit Parade
"You'll Never Know" - Dick Haymes