Feb 3, 1951
We got almost all of the rest of our clothes today. All I got yet to get is
another pair of combat boots and 2 shirts. We’re confined to company area again tonight.
About 600 men are shipping out for Korea, Wednesday morning.
Rumor has it one out of every 40 men is slated to get shipped every week for the next ten weeks. But in the army you believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see.
I spend most of the afternoon sewing patches on my shirts and coats. It took most of the afternoon to sew five of them on. You should have been here so you could’ve sewed them on for me. I’m afraid I ain’t going to make a very good
I went over to the hospital to see Gus this afternoon. He’s pretty bad off right now. He had a cold and went to sick call and they
gave him some pills. I guess that they made him sick. Any how he was walking home from visiting his sister and he keeled over. Someone took him to the hospital in a jeep and he was unconscious most of the night. They have him under observation
for pneumonia now. He’s been there a day and ½ now. He’s in the nut house right now. They made the poor cuss get up at 5:30 and scrub floors. From what I hear he hasn’t even seen a doctor as yet. I guess
you have to be dead before they even look at you.
I’m enclosing one of the patches I was sewing all day. I don’t know what use it will
be to you, but maybe you can.
Next week we start getting passes, so yesterday they cancelled all leaves and passes indefinitely. It really don’t make
too much difference tho because there is nowhere to go if you do get a pass.
Our corporal is getting married on the 11th if he can get a pass. The boys in the
squad took up a collection of 1.00 each and we are going to buy him a wedding gift of some kind tomorrow. We figure if we give him something he won’t work us so hard. Seriously he is really a swell Joe, and everyone thinks a lot of him. In
fact, all of our N.C. O.s are swell guys.
Thanks a lot for sending the Spartan, it’s really good this time.
Just got back from chow. We had cold eggs and cold coffee for breakfast. It was really good. Ugh!
There’s chapel in ½ of an hour but I don’t know if I’ll make it or not. I should straighten up the barracks and write a couple of letters.
Most of the guys are still sewing patches on, but I got mine all done. One of the guys downstairs won $150 in a poker game, but he’s headed for Korea so it won’t do him much good.
I was going to call last night, but it was 4 or more hours until you could get a line to Shreveport. All calls north from Polk have to go thru there. And from there you gotta wait to get Chicago. The whole wait would’ve taken about 6 hours,
and you wasn’t in Lansing anyhow.
I gotta close now and shine my boots. They gotta be shone at least once a day.
Write whenever you get a chance.
Lots of Love
Miss Rosalie Nash
610 Ardson Rd
East Lansing, Michigan
Feb 4, 1951
Camp Polk, La
Hope you’re having at nice weekend at home. It will do you good to go home for awhile. I was sorry that I couldn’t talk to you, but the connections weren’t so hot. I went back tonight a few minutes ago and they want a 6 hour wait to
Shreveport listed. That would mean the call would come thru about 10 o’clock your time. I think that the Booths might frown on the phone ringing at that time of the morning.
Went to see Gus this afternoon. He’s looking pretty good now, but he’s still awful homesick. He’s getting his physical tomorrow to see if he is ready to leave the hospital.
This is really a swell camp. There’s nothing to do here. In fact it is the worst army camp I have ever been stationed at. Outside of drinking beer and playing cards there is nothing to do. Right now I’m debating whether
or not to go over to the PX and indulge in a can of brew or not. I think the “ayes” will win out in the end. In fact one of the guys just talked me into walking over to the PX with him. I want to buy a picture frame for a real
swell girl’s picture. They frown on hanging pictures on the wall, so I’m going to buy a frame for your picture. I wish that I had your 127 ½ pounds to carry around in my duffle bag. I’d much rather carry you than
Miss Rosalie Nash
610 Ardson Rd.
East Lansing, Michigan
Just a few
lines for now until I get out of the hospital. I hope to write more later. Ken visited me and gave me greetings from you. We both just live for the army. You know how well. Hope to be home soon if my pneumonia stops. Love
G. W. Hein (From Ken and Me)
Feb 5, 1951
Camp Polk, La
Today we started basic training, whatta day. First we had a two hour lecture on the Browning Machine Gun. Then we had a ten minute break and then had a 2 hour lecture on the division of the army. Both were so boring it was pitiful. Then we
had two hours of combat training, how to hit the dirt and how to rush an enemy and then crawling on your stomach.
We had carefully selected terraine (sic), all
uphill. We started at the bottom of a hill about 200 yards up at a 45 degree angle. We had to run about 12 yards then crawl the same length flat on your stomach. You couldn’t pick anything up over a foot or they hollered like the heck.
I got about 15 yards from the top and was crawling the rest of the way. The corporal said that I was doing a real good job of crawling, but the truth was that I was so darn tired I couldn’t even stand up.
After that they gave us a 2 hour lecture on tearing down an M.1. They thought we didn’t know anything about it, and we’ve had it for 2 weeks already. In fact about ½ of us can put it together blind folded. Me and the corporal
had a race today to see who could put their rifle together the fastest. He took 33 seconds and it took me 36 seconds, so I polish his boots tonight, instead of him polishing mine. Army regulations says you have to do it within one minute. They
give you about 10 minutes to tear it down and rebuild it, blind folded. I haven’t tried it as yet, just rebuilding it blinded. It took 2 ½ minutes.
We got to sleep in this morning, the orderly overslept and didn’t wake us up until 6:00. Imagine, sleeping in until 6:00, ugh!
I should be polishing boots now, and then clean my gun (please excuse my grammar, I should have said rifle. It’s taboo to call it a gun.) It’s filthy dirty after crawling around in the mud for 2 hours.
Last rumor from H.Q. is that we’ll be shipping out in 4 more weeks. I sure hope so, so we can get out of this #%!$ -cuss words- camp.
I should quit
now and clean those boots, but I’d rather write to you. It’s the next best thing to talking to you but those boots are calling
Loads of Love
Feb 6, 1951
Tonight the corporal polished
my boots for me. We had a little bet as to who could put the M1 together the fastest and I happened to beat him by one second 40-41. It was too close for comfort tho. We’ve been wading around in about 6 to 8 inches of mud all, and they
were really muddy.
The boys in the squad took up a collection for the corporal today. We got about $35 for him. The poor guy really needs the money
because he’s getting married next week.
We took machine guns apart all morning. We got all our classes outside and it rained like mad all day.
It’s really lot of fun sitting out in the rain listening to come crazy sergeant talk about some thing he doesn’t know anything about.
we had drill for 2 hours and then about 2 hours of bayonet practice. The drill wasn’t bad, the bayonet practice was a pain in the arm. It’s just about like your fencing. Same footwork and stuff only the foil weighs about 11 lbs.
I found out I owe the government $8 more on my income tax. I wasn’t planning on filing one with what I made while working at MSC, but they sent me a statement.
My mother wrote me that I’m a uncle now. Marc and his wife have a little girl. Weighed about 4 lbs, I guess. I guess that it was premature.
In about another month I’ll be an uncle again, I think.
The camp is really dead tonight. The whole camp is dry. I don’t know why, but
there is no beer at all. I gotta close now and write my mother.
Mr and Mrs Otto Zill
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Feb 8, 1951
Dear Mom and Dad
letter saying I was an uncle, or did I write that? We’re supposed to get passes this weekend, but there is no where to go.
If no one at home is using my
camera, could you send it down sometime, I’d like to use it.
We’ve been sleeping in until 6:00 lately, because the CQ has been oversleeping lately.
We got practically all our clothes now, all I need yet is two dress shirts. We are supposed to be getting new uniforms soon. They have some in the
storeroom already, so maybe we’ll get them in a month or so. They are confederate gray, somewhat like the Marine dress uniforms, real flashy. Maybe we won’t even get them, you never know what the army is going to do.
I get a letter from Monroe today, it took 10 days to get here.
It’s almost lights out so I gotta close.
Got your letter today. They’re working us pretty hard the last couple days. We
have one week of our six weeks of basic. After that we can and probably will get shipped out. We were told by our captain that in 3 months, 75% of us would be overseas, probably in Germany. I can get a 21 pass in 5 weeks and $200 if I want to,
but I don’t think I’ll take it. The only catch is that you have to sign up for F.E.C. (Korea).
We had our first taste of combat. They
shoot a few shells off, set off a few mines and more or less tried to scare us. We also learned how to sneak up behind a lone sentinel and more or less end his miseries.
We got our first passes this weekend. Everyone in the company was broke so they decided to give us some money so we could go to town and have some fun. They give us $16 and told us it would have to last us the rest of the month. Hardly anyone even
took a pass because hardly anyone could afford to go to town. The town is not much to brag about, in fact half the town is off limits to army personnel. Someday I’m going to go there and see why they don’t want us to go there.
It’s almost lights out so I’ll finish tomorrow.
It’s tomorrow now. Just got up a few minutes ago. Today there is nothing going on. All the other men went
to town today, so just us rookies are running around here.
This afternoon I’ll guess me and Gus is going to a show or maybe we’ll polish our boots
again. They should be polished about twice a day, but if we do it once, it is doing pretty good.
We had a real nice breakfast today. Eggs. We’ve
had eggs every day for the breakfast for the last 7 days and everyone is really getting tired of them.
I washed last night and I’ve got it spread all over
the barracks. Sgt. James came back from furlong last night and wanted to know if I said hello to you for him. He’s the one who donated the money for the phone call. I gotta close now and gather up my washing.
Lots of Love
P.S. Was real glad to hear that you made some cookies, I hope you’ll get a chance to mail them soon.
Feb 13, 1951
I got 2 of your letters yesterday. I haven’t heard from my mother in about 4 days, seems as tho my sister is (not) doing so hot. (The one that just recently become a mother.)
We just got thru GIing the barracks. We had a surprise inspection and the captain didn’t think too much of our housecleaning. He’s coming back tomorrow and if it isn’t any better we will have to GI the barracks every night until
we get transferred, you can bet we really got to work.
Thursday we go thru the gas chamber, should be a lot fun. They finally broke down and gave us beds.
It’s really going to be nice to sleep in beds for a change. I was barracks orderly yesterday. All I did all day long is sit in the barracks and sleep. We aren’t supposed to sleep on the job, in fact they think its important enough to
carry a 30 year jail sentence if you get caught. So of course I didn’t get caught. All I supposed to do was too make sure no one stole the barracks. Outside of working 27 hours a day we don’t do much. They’re really
rushing us thru basic. Some guys have been here since September and aren’t any farther along then we are. Its lights out so I’ll finish this tomorrow.
Tomorrow: Gotta close now
The corporal just came staggering in. He just got thru playing poker, didn’t do so hot either.
Sarge James and Corporal Turner said to say hello to you when I called you, because they are paying for the call. We got in poker game for nickels and I won about 4-5 dollars from them. That’s enough to call home on, so I’ll say hello
from them in the letter instead of the phone.
Just got thru making the rounds again. Once more and I’m going to bed. Its 0145 now and in a couple
minutes I’ll be thru and gotta wake up the next guy. He’s going to love me for walking him up at this time of night. I may get to sleep in this morning until 6.
I just got thru so I’m going to bed.
P.S. Thanks lots for the pictures they are really swell.
Feb 14, 1951
Camp Polk, La
Well, we got restricted to barracks.
After working all last night scrubbing the floor and etc, we forgot to wash the windows, so we got gigged. We gotta GI the barracks every night until it does pass inspection. The inspecting officer comes around with white gloves on and rubs his
hands in all the corners and places where dirt might be. Those gloves have to be white when he leaves or you’ll be really in trouble.
By the way, I quit
smoking! Haven’t had a cigarette in three days now. It been awful living on food and drink and fresh air. I got (bad cold in my throat and can’t talk) so I decided to knock off smoking for awhile. I hope I quit for good, but I
don’t know how long this spree will last as I have 7 pkgs of cigs yet in my locker.
Just got thru washing the windows. They really look nice too,
you can even see thru them.
We got the lowdown on the gas chambers. It’s a seven mile hike out to the place, and of course we walk, it takes about
2 hours to get there via foot.
I got a letter from my mother today and she said that Marilyn is pretty good now. The baby has to stay in an incubator for
about 3 weeks yet.
The only bad part of this restriction is that all the other guys come around and rub it in quite a bit.
We had to go to the boxing matches Monday night. Every Monday night the camp puts on boxing matches, and the attendance has been rather pitiful lately, so the order of the day was “180 Inf Reg is invited to attend the fights.” Oh were they
ever exciting! I’ve never been so darn bored in all my life.
I’ve gotta close and polish my boots. The corporal isn’t here to polish them
P.S. Thanks loads for sending the cookies. Also I hope you had a nice Valentines!