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.