Mrs. G. H. Lockard
Scottdale, PA

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March 21, 1918

 
My dear Mother:-
We are in it up to our necks now. They started us on our intensive training course this morning. We are called at ten minutes to six and must have all our clothes on and buttoned and downstairs at six. Right out in the bright moonlight. We must then get back and wash also sweep up under our bunks, mop the floor, make our beds as we were taught and then we eat. At seven-thirty we go out on the drill ground & take calisthentics, that is exercise, deep breathing, etc. and believe me they make you put the "pep" into them. All you hear is "Snap it up" and " Let's see your jaws shiver". Our second Leunt. is a West Pointer and believe me he knows the stuff. I think I can see why "Smitty" and these guys don't like them. They are on the jump all the time. This A.M. we had our first drill with the bayonet. They have what is called a course, that is just like the front line. Trenches, barbed wire, shell holes, hurdles and in these trenches are dummies. The idea is to charge thru this stuff and stab these dummies. We are not aloud (sic) to smile or laugh from the time this exercise starts until we are finished but are taught to yell as we run with our knives in front of us like Indians. After dinner, we hiked twelve miles then drilled till four-thirty. So you can see how much time we have on our hands. I am thru for today and after my shower and supper I feel very fit. Best thing ever. My face is burned and pealing (sic) off. Funny thing, after you do these exercises and hike you can't enjoy a smoke. Everybody notices it and I think the reason is that the old dope is leaving our systems. Talk about that stuff hurting me, my lungs were A 1 on the report. (On the Q .T. they held "Hempy" up on his lungs and gave him B.2.) He is coming around now but wants to get into a clerking job. Once a clerk always a clerk. He seems in better spirits since he got his wife's first letter, but sure was the "gloom" until he got that. This stuff is too hard for guys like him. As for me, you know they can't kill me. " A lean horse for a long run."  Part of the course is boxing forty-five minutes a day and they have some of the best ring men in the country here to teach it. I am learning to handle them "dukes" of mine so look out "Fritz". Seriously that is part of the bayonet exercise because it teaches men to handle their feet. We walked all around Sun. They have all methods of warfare here from airplanes to dugouts. When they have a sham battle at night you would think you were in the real thing. The most fun I have seen yet was six "buck" nigroes in a battle royal yesterday afternoon. Six of them fought for twenty dollars. And the boys saw that they fought too. You may let Ethel have that class picture she is one of my girls and I treat them all right. You know! The most fun in the barracks is talking to Chas.L. about how nice we had it at home. "Toots" and I get him every eve.

 

 

Love to all Walter

 

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