World War I boot camp letters


Walter Lockard left Scottdale Pennsylvania for Boot Camp on a train in late February. These are the letters that he wrote to his family during this time.

He was stationed at Camp Lee in Virginia from February 24, 1918 to April 2, 1918.  During this time he learned how to shoot a gun, and was "shot" himself--medical shots for typhoid!  At one point everyone was quarantined for scarlet fever for 10 days, released for one day, and then quarantined again for measles for 3 days!  But he enjoyed boot camp, working very hard in training and attending classes at night even though it was not required.  There is one sobering remark in a letter to his mother where he tells her his assigned number so she would be able to check the casualty lists. 

On April 3, 1918 he was transferred to Camp Hancock in Georgia, where he was stationed until April 30, 1918.  Here he met men from all over the country, not just from southwestern Penna.  He commented that when they are shipped out they split up the men from the same town into different transports so that if something should happen to the ship, one town would not be devastated.  This procedure came about after the sinking of the Lusitania.  He had been in the Army for 6 weeks now and had yet to receive any pay so he had to ask his mother to send some money to tide him over.  He is assigned to the Headquarters Company as an Observer for the Intelligence Department.

After finishing boot camp he was sent to Camp Upton in Long Island New York from May 2, 1918 to May 6, 1918 where he says "I am about to embark on a great adventure."  He is promoted to Private 1st class, which comes with a $3.00 raise per month! 

On May 7, 1918 he boarded the Ship Aquatania for a seven day crossing, arriving in Liverpool, England on May 14, 1918.

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