Inspections: Whatta blow!

March 1951


Camp Polk


Dear Rosalie

Just a few lines before I hit the hay. I was pretty mad today, cuz I found out we G.I.ed our room for nothing.  We had barracks inspection while we were at class, but when we left for class I slammed the door to our room shut and it locked from the inside, so the inspecting officer couldn’t go in to inspect it.  I had to open it by knocking with the butt of my rifle.

                Me and Gus are in DeRitter again, only this time we are staying overnight in a hotel so that we wouldn’t have to get up until 1000 and still be able to make church.  The church is only about 4 blocks from the hotel.

                Monday morning we start our road marches.  We are scheduled to hike about 15 miles with full equipment.  That means we carry about 60 lbs. of equipment. Rifle, pack, shovel, steel helmet and all the accessories. It should be a lot of fun (sarcasm).

                Tomorrow we’re going back to camp and take pictures if we can.  It was too dark to take them today so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to take them.

                We only got three weeks and 13 days at the most left before we get our furloughs.  The time is still going faster than heck.  The days themselves just drag by, but the weeks go like wild fire.  I can’t figure it out, but the faster the time goes the better I’ll like it.  This town is really dead tonight, but it usually is as it is a dry town.  Most of the guys went to Leesville this weekend.  That town there is always excitement, as there is most of the time a few drunken fights going on.

                I’m getting too sleepy to write any more will write a long letter tomorrow.

                Sending you all my love





Service Club

Camp Polk, Louisiana

Dear Rosie;

                Got your letters yesterday.  I was really glad to hear from you.  I was the only one in the company to get any mail.  I’m glad you mailed that bus ticket in, you can have the money for a valentine present or buy me a steak dinner when I get home.

                I finally found Gus, he’s stationed in Com. A.  He’s really having a rough time in this army.  He’s so homesick it is pitiful, and to top it off he found out his mother isn’t too well.  One of his roommates said that when he was drilling if the sarge gave an order to turn, he would keep right on going.

                I tried to call you last night but I couldn’t get thru.  They have awful poor telephone service down here. You always have to wait at least two hours to get connections.  Gus waited for 4 hours yesterday before they got his call thru to home. 

                We start our reg basic training in earnest tomorrow.  That means drilling and lectures from 8 to 5 every day except Sunday.

                We gotta have our rooms swept and mopped, our boots and shoes polished, and be shaved by 8 every morning.  We take about an hour off for breakfast too.  Then if we get any spare time we clean our rifles.  The rest of the time we loaf.

                Pretty soon we start going on bivouacs.  That’s a hike out into the swamps for an over night camping trip.  We do that twice a week.

                Its almost chow time, its 1130 now.  Me and Gus are going to eat at S.C. this noon and get some good food.

                We found out the best way to go home from here is by bus, it takes 18 hours, anything else would take longer as you can’t make good connections.

                We went to church this morning at 1000 and I guess a flock of us is going to see a show tonight.  We want to see “Steel Helmet”.  The camp is really buzzing with rumors of going across but as yet it is unofficial, so we don’t know yet.  Chow time.



P.S. I’ll try to call Wed nite if I can



March 1, 1951

Dear Rosalie

                Well today we found out our fate.  We’re going to stay at Polk for awhile, maybe even until June, then rejoin the 45th Div in Japan. I guess that we are going across for sure.  Somehow Japland doesn’t appeal to me, I’d much rather go to Germany, but I didn’t have much of a choice.

                We went for a hike today.  It wasn’t too long, only about 15 miles, just enough to give you a few blisters.  In fact, I’m afraid to look at my feet, I’m afraid they won’t be there.

                We’ve shot all the weapons so far except the BAR and we’ll probably do that soon.  They told us we were ready to go to Japan now, but there are some guys who just came into the army here, and we will wait for them to finish basic and we’ll all go together.  We probably won’t get a furlough until the last of April or first of May, but it will be about 2 weeks.  It’s really going to be nice to come back to Michigan and get out of the South.

                I can’t see why they ever fought a war over this country.  It wasn’t worth it.  There isn’t much other news so I’ll close, besides I’m tired for some strange reason.

                                Lots of Love




March 4, 1951

Camp Polk, La

1500 Hours

Dear Rosalie

                Got your cookies yesterday.  They are really good too.  Thanks a lot for sending them.  They got here in real good condition.

                Me and Gus went into Lake Charles yesterday.  It is about 70 miles from here, only trouble the town is near some navy base and it is overrun with sailors.  It is a real nice town, about the size of A2.  We had some pictures taken so I’ll send you one.  They aren’t exceptionally good it only cost 6 for 50 cents.

                All the boys in the squad are going to grow a mustache now.  It’s really against the rules but we’re going to do it any how just for the fun of it.

                It just quit raining out. It rained all night and all of today until now.  I should wash out my fatigues but being lazy this afternoon.  I don’t think I will, I can do it next Sunday or the week after, maybe, or maybe I’ll mail them up to you and let you wash them out, I think that is the best idea of all.

                We’re not sure yet as to when we are going to get our furloughs, although we are pretty sure they will be for 15 days.  They are supposed to come the first or middle of May.

                Tomorrow we hike back out to the range.  We went there Fri and didn’t get around to firing, all we did is to take a seven hour break. Maybe we’ll be lucky and not do anything tomorrow.

                I slept in this morning, all the way to 5:30, before I dragged out of bed.  I guess that we get up at 400 again tomorrow.  I can’t figure out why we get up so early and then stand around and do nothing ‘til about 700. Oh, it’s a great life tho, lots of fun.

                Chow time.  I’ll finish this after while if I get a chance.

                                In case I don’t

                                                Love Ken

P.S. Didn’t get a chance.



March 5, 1951

Camp Polk, La

2100 Hours

Dear Rosalie,

                 I got your picture in the mail today.  You weren’t fooling, it’s really a beautiful picture.  Thanks a million for sending it.  I really fell in love with it, more or less, literally speaking.  I got it up on the shelf right about my bed.  Only maybe you shouldn’t have sent it, 31 guys in the barracks said that they were going to write to you, the other 9 can’t, they’re married. No fooling, it is really a swell picture and I’m glad that you mailed it to me.

                About five of us got in from the field and so we missed mail call, and we were kinda heart broken because we missed it.  When we got back to the barracks we found out that they had called our names for packages.  So we went and rounded up the mail clerk.  The poor cuss was already in bed, but he got up with a little persuasion and got our mail for us.  We missed chow on account of mail call, but it was sure worth it.

                Its bedtime now so I gotta close now.  This is a pain in the arm going to bed at 9:30 every night.

                                Loads of Love




March 6, 1951

Camp Polk, La

2000 Hours

Hi ya Honey

                Well they finally caught up with me, I’m in the guard house.  They caught me telling a captain where to go.  No actually, our platoon has guard duty tonight and this is one of my breaks.  We’re on 2 off 4, then on 2 and off 4 again.  I’m on from 6-8 and then from 12-2.  We try to sleep in between hours, but there is a noisy poker game going on in the center of the room and so no one can sleep. When we get off at 6 tomorrow we’re supposed to rejoin the rest of the company out in the field.

                Just had a slight delay, its now 0030 (12:30 am).  Had to take time off for a nap.  Back on duty now everyone else in the barracks is sound asleep.  It is strictly SOP, but no one cares.

                They fired heavy artillery shells over our heads this morning so we could see how it would be in actual combat.  It was kinda noisy.  Golly I can hardly keep my eyes open.  This is the latest I’ve been up since I’ve been in the army.  If I fall asleep no one will wake up til 5 and the poor guards would really get tired, and besides it’s a court martial offense to fall asleep while on duty.

                Its almost 0100 now and in ½ hour I can start waking the guys up for the 0200 to 0400 shift, then I can go back to sleep.

                I’ve really got a lot of compliments on your picture so far.  It really looks sharp sitting up on my shelf.  I’m really quite proud of it, it really is a beautiful picture of you.

                Just had to change stations on the radio, this one went off the air.  All we can get down here is hillbilly music.  I can’t see listening to that darn stuff all the time.  It is very seldom you can get any pop music on the radio.  In 13 more minutes I can wake up the rest of the boys.  I can’t think of anymore to write as I can’t hardly keep awake.  I been smoking cigars to help keep awake, but they are beginning to get an awful taste.  I better close now and wake up the boys.

                Write whenever you get a chance, until I see you again, yours with all my love





Post card

Mr and Mrs Otto Zill

1713 Maryfield Dr

Ann Arbor Michigan


Dear Mom and Dad

                This is a picture of the best hotel in L.C.  We didn’t stay here, we were across the street.  This town is about the size as A2.  It 70 (degrees) here now and its only 7:00 AM so it will be hot today.  Will write again from camp.





Post card

Miss Rosalie Nash

409 Albert St.

East Lansing, Michigan

Dear Rosalie

This is where me and Gus spent the night.  Its about the size of A2.  It was really nice to sleep in a bed again.  Just waiting for the bus to come to go to camp, Gus has to be back by noon and I got til midnight.  Will write in the PM.





De Redder, La

March 11, 1951

Hi Beautiful!

Certainly miss you, but that wonderful PHOTO really makes me feel at home.  That is the only thing anyone sees when entering Stretch’s barracks.  The General liked it so that is why it can be up during inspection.  How’s school?  Ken and I are getting all A’s.  We should be wearing brass when we come home, and gee, just imagine only 8 weeks yet.  (over dear)

I can well imagine where ST. (Stretch alias Ken) will spend most of his time.  He has been a real good boy and so you can be mighty proud of him.  (I hope he pays me for this)

We ate so much this noon that Ken looks like he’s expecting Ha, Ha.  That might get him out on Sec. No. F. but while this heat continues we turn browner every day.  Training is very, oh so very rugged.  See you soon.  MAYS THE MONTH


                                G. William




March 11, 1951

De Ritter, La


Dear Rosalie

                Just got thru with dinner, and what a dinner.  Gus and I went to church at DeRitter this morning and the church was having a dinner in the yard, so they invited all of us service men.  We had all the fried chicken we wanted.  They also had all kinds of pies, cakes, just everything that you can imagine, and was it ever good.  I’ve never eaten so much in all my life.

                Tomorrow our company is going on a hike to a mock village.  It is supposed to teach us street fighting.  It is about 15 miles out and they’re going to walk it.

                I don’t have to go as I drew K.P. for tomorrow.  I never thought I’d be happy to get K.P., but I really am this time.  In about 8 weeks we are going to get promoted to regular privates.  Now we’re just Privates E-1.  That means a five dollar raise.  In June we get a 20% raise for overseas duty.  I’ going to get rich on all this pay I’m getting from the army.

                We’re having a big parade here March 24.  We got to parade by some General.  It’ll be great fun as I haven’t been in a parade as yet.

                They took our rifles away from us yesterday, as they were company property, not G.I., so we don’t have guns now.  It may take 2 or 3 weeks or longer to get another one.  It really makes me sad that I don’t have one, now I can’t clean, or carry it along when we go on hikes.  It was a lousy rifle and I was glad to get rid of it, it never did work right.

                Tomorrow we get up at 3:30, seems we’ve been getting too much sleep lately, We get almost 6 hours sleep most of the time, although I didn’t get up until almost 9 this morning.  It’s hotter than a firecracker today. It’s about 95 degrees or so.

                I washed this morning too.  I sure ain’t cut out to be a wash woman.  I think I’ll stick to being a soldier for the time being, as if I had any choice in the matter.

                Seven more weeks and we can kiss this place goodbye.  Only 49 more days and we can head back to good ole Michigan.

                It will really be nice to get back home and see everyone again especially you.  It will be good to see you again, as I really miss you.  It is really terrible here, you usually don’t see any women, except on weekends.  There are about 50 or 60 soldiers for every girl.  This place is really a girl’s heaven.

                This is my last sheet of paper so I gotta close

                                All my love




March 11, 1951


Hello Rosy,

                I’ve been sitting here for about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to start this letter but didn’t come to any decision.  I sleep 2 bunks away from Kenny and low and behold one day he gets a big picture of a woman out of this world and he’s telling us it’s a picture of his girlfriend, well we’ve been teasing him ever since how a beautiful girl like that could ever look at him, strictly kidding of course and one thing lead to another so I told him I was going to write a letter to you and really fix it up good for him in a lousy sort of way and he said go ahead but she won’t listen to you anyway.  That picture of you is the number 1 pinup of our first and second squad of the upstairs barracks, but where’s the rest of you?

                Seriously speaking though his is very popular in our barracks and well liked by all.  He was our platoon sergeant on several occasions in the past few days and that is something to see.  I’m in the first squad the same as he is and march rite behind him.  They’re going to pick a fellow out of each squad in the near future to be a squad leader and were all for having Kenny as a squad leader but it isn’t for us to decide.

                One thing I will say you sure knocked him for a loop.  Nights he’ll sit there and just look at your picture.  It must be love.

                As you probably see by now I’m not a letter writer and not very good at writing period.





March 12, 1951

Camp Polk, La

2000 Hours

Dearest Rosalie

                Just got thru with K.P. It was a lot of fun today.  The troops were in the field most of the day so we didn’t have much to do.  We played cards most of the morning and afternoon.

                I’m trying to write this letter during a bull session, and I’m not doing very good.

                One of the boys in my squad wrote you a letter last night.  He probably didn’t say anything complimentary, cuz he is from Wisconsin and we’re all ways arguing about the virtues of each.  He has the crazy notion that Wis. is better than Michigan.  I had to address it for him tho, cuz he didn’t know your address.  You should have his letter by the time you get this.  He’s a pretty nice guy tho.  He just broke up with the girl he was going with for 2 years.  She has been writing all kinds of letters to him, trying to get him to start going with her again.  He lets us read her letters all the time, we really get a big buzz out of some of them.  Every once in a while she really writes a pathetic one.

                Tomorrow we go thru the infiltration course.  Its about a 20 mile round trip.  We don’t have to get up until 5:30 tomorrow.  Its going to be nice to sleep in for a change.

                It’s been colder than a son of a gun here today.  We had to put on our field jackets today for the first time.  When I come home that jacket is coming with me.  They’ll probably raise cain, but everyone is going to take theirs home.  They are all brand new coats.  They may charge us $9.00 to get a new one, or they might even break down and give us another one.

                Its time for bed

                So I’ll close with

                All my love




March 14, 1951

Camp Polk, La

2100 Hours

Dear Rosalie,

                Just got in from the infiltration.  It was a lot of fun going thru it.  It was really quite a sight to watch tracer bullets light up the sky.  Also there was land mines every so often that explodes and throw dirt all over you.  Then every once in a while the whole area would be lit up by a flare.  It was supposed to be exactly like actual combat.  It isn’t hard to see how many guys get killed in combat after running through that course.  It isn’t anything like the movies show, it’s altogether different.

                Today we walked about 23 miles.  Tomorrow we’re going to walk a little further.  We’re going to do some street fighting.  That will be fun too.  It is almost like hunting.  We walk thru a town and targets pop up in the windows and we blast away at them. 

                It’s time for lights out but we’re going to leave them on for awhile because of the guys have to clean their rifles.  Tomorrow we don’t have to get up until 6:30. It’s going to be like heaven not to get up until then.  I should close now tho, cuz I am pretty tired and I have a lot of work to do.

                                Lots of Love




Miss Rosalie Nash

Box 248


Howell, Mich

March 15

Camp Polk, La

2030 Hours

Dear Rosalie:

                Had a real soft day today.  We didn’t get up until 10 minutes to seven.  Then I was made CQ for the today, so I didn’t do any work at all.  CQ is Charge of Quarters, but when the troops are in the field there is nothing to do.

                Tomorrow we’re going to do some close contact fighting.  That’s hand to hand fighting, when you put a bayonet on your rifle cuz you’re too close to shoot.

                One of the fellows is going to get his car here next week so that we can drive home.  It will only take a little over a day to get home from here.  There is about six of us coming home together.

                By the way, have you started your finals yet?  It must be almost time for them.  I hope that you do good on them and I wish you all the luck in the world.

                Last night we went thru the infiltration course or maybe I told you. You ought to come down here for Easter.  We get 72 hours passes, and we get paid the day before Easter.  On a 72 hour pass you could really go some place on one of those passes.

                In two weeks we’re going to move.  The division leaves on the 26 of March, and then we move over into the 179th area.  I think we’ll stay in the 180th even tho we live in another regimental area.  I don’t know if you can make any sense out of that last paragraph anyhow it means we are moving about 5 blocks from where we are now.  Its almost 2130 so I’d better close, that when they turn the lights out.

                Have fun until I see you in about seven weeks. Your picture really looks sharp here, and it makes me miss you more and more each day, can’t wait until I get home

                                Lots of Love




March 17, 1951

Camp Polk, La

1630 Hours

Dearest Rosalie

                Didn’t get your letter today.  I was hoping to get one from you, but it wasn’t there, may be next week.  I just got word that my mother left for Montana, one of my uncles died out there.  He was my mother’s oldest brother, I think.

                We were told that we are going to leave May 28th for Japan, but the Army may change it at anytime, you’re never sure what is going to happen.  In the army you believe nothing that you hear only half of what you see.  We won’t know for sure when we’re going until we get on the boats.  The boys that are going next week are going to parade thru New Orleans and have a big band there to see them off.  It will probably be the last time some of them will ever see a band.  They’ve been telling us we won’t see combat, that we’re just going to do police duty in Japan, but they’re sending over all the heavy weapons and tanks and those wouldn’t be going if we are just to do police duty.  Most of the guys aren’t too anxious to go across and I can’t blame them any at all.  I know that I don’t have a burning desire to go across.

                The captain, he was in Japan at the end of the last war, told us there were a lot of nice places in Japan, but that they were all off limits to military personnel.  I guess that most of the people over there are Japs anyhow, so I’m not interested.

                I gotta go and see the captain Monday morning, I’m up for corporal.  The only trouble with getting the job is that you get transferred to another company, and I’m not in a hurry to leave the guys I came down here with.  They all are a pretty swell bunch of fellows, even John.  (He said to send his love along to you.)

                We had a perfect platoon this morning for inspection, no one got gigged.  That happens about once a year in a division.  Our sergeant was kinda proud of us.  I don’t know why he should be, he didn’t help us any to get ready for it.  But that’s the army, he gets the credit, and we get the blame if anything goes wrong.  Well that’s life tho.  Just ran out of ink and had to refill.

                Where are you going to be the week after Easter on Sunday morning?  That’s right after payday and I’d like to talk to you if you’re at home in Lansing.  In this Army you’re rich for the first 2 weeks after pay day and broke the last 2 weeks.  We only get paid the last day of every month.  When we go to Japan we get overseas pay (or about 20% of our pay) added t our regular pay.  That will probably give us close to $100 a month. Then maybe I can start to save a little, someday I’d like to go back to State, and as you know it takes a little of that green stuff to go there.

                Since I’ve been in the army I’ve lost my taste for beer.  Lately I never get more than 1 or 2 cans a week.  I don’t know why but I just can’t drink that stuff anymore.  The army does funny things to you.  You’re lucky you’re not a man so they can’t draft you, anyhow I don’t think I’d like you as much as I do if you were a man. 

                The weather down here is really getting nice, in fact too nice.  We’ve killed a rattler and two coral snakes in the last week.  From what I hear there are a lot of snakes here, mainly because this camp is built in the middle of a swamp.  We don’t know one snake from another, except the coral snake, se we kill everyone that we find.  We find out if they are poisonous after they are dead.  No one here seems to have any love for them at all.

                We end basic training a week from today.  Then we start advanced training and that means no more P.T. and I can’t say that I hate to get rid of that. (Another nice feature of being a corporal is that you can’t get K.P., and this is a pain in the arm.)  You get CQ instead and there is no work at all to being that.  I should wash tonight, as everything I have is dirty.  Stuff gets dirty too fast here, you wear something for a week and its filthy dirty.  I wish you’d be here, and then you could do my laundry for me.  One nice feature about it, I don’t iron anything anymore, it’s too much trouble, that’s a woman’s job, and I’m a rough, tough infantry man, or so I’m told.  They tell us to be proud of the infantry, that it’s an honor to be an infantry man, but I’d still just as soon as not get transferred to some other outfit I can’t see anything to be proud of in the infantry.

                They told us if we go into combat, 30% of us would get wounded and 6% of us wouldn’t come back.  That is just an average of course, as “A” company and “E” were 100% wiped out in the last war.

                We’ve got a car to come home in now, or maybe I told you, any how we should get to A2 around Sunday the 13 of May about noon or early afternoon.

                It’s almost time for me to close as I’m still writing after 2:30 hours, as it is now almost 1900 hours.  I’m going to try to spend an enjoyable evening washing, but it is a heck of a job for Sat night.

                Let me know if you are going to be home the first of April as I want to call you.  I think that you’re really swell to write all the time and I really like you.  In fact I think you’re the nicest girl I’ve ever known.  I’d call you up Easter, but you’ll probably be in Pickney then and the connections aren’t too good to here as you know.

                Well have fun and try to be good

                With all my love




March 18, 1951

Camp Polk, La

1800 Hours

Dearest Rosalie

                Been over to Gus’s barracks all day.  At company E the sergeants have been rounding up men all day to go on detail.  That’s cleaning offices, packing rifles for shipment and etc.  So most of the guys have been gone all day.  Not planning on returning til lights out tonight so I can’t get stuck with any.

                You know it seems like I’ve been in the army all my life.  It really is a funny feeling, seems as tho I’ve never been a civilian.  I guess that I’m just getting used to Army routine, not going or coming as you please and all that.

                It’s even getting so bad that I can’t even sleep past 7:00.  At home on Sunday I used to sleep at least until 10, but here its different, maybe it’s the going to bed early that getting me.  I haven’t been up past 11:30 since being in the army.

                I got some stationery at the service club.  It’s got the 4th army insignia on it too.  We’re attached to the Fourth army although we’re not a part of it, it’s rather confusing.  Anyway the 4th Army boys and the 45th boys have no special love for each other.  The Fourth army is mostly colored guys.  The 45th is all white guys, since it is a southern National Guard unit, it wouldn’t accept any colored guys.  This camp is divided into North and South camp and they are about 7 miles apart.  The 4th has the North camp and we got the South.  Our camp is about 3 times the size of theirs, we got 18,000 men.  No one wanders into the others camp by himself, always just in groups.  You can get hurt some time if you go by yourself into the other camp.  I’ve never been up there and I don’t plan on going there.

                I’ve gotta quite now and get my stuff ready for tomorrow.  The barracks is a heck of a mess as no one cares how it looks on Sunday.  Everyone has laundry hung up all over and newspapers are all over heck.

                If it ain’t cleaned up by morning, I get the devil for it, since I’m squad leader for my side of the room, so it’s going to be clean.

                Gotta close now

                                Take care of yourself and write when you get a chance

                                With all my love




March 19, 1951

Camp Polk, La

1900 Hours

Dear Rosalie

                I got your letter today and was I ever glad to hear from you.  I hope that you did as well or better on your tests as you think you did.

                We spent most of the afternoon digging foxholes.  It was quite a lot of fun, only trouble was we didn’t have any shovels.  We had to dig it with our steel helmets.  It isn’t the easiest thing in the world but it was interesting.

                Tomorrow we hike out to the “mock village”. That is supposed to teach us fighting in streets and alleys.  It’s just a short jaunt as its only about 12 miles.  We’re getting used to walking around, I guess that I’ll walk up to Lansing to see you when I get home.  Only trouble is it would take a whole day to walk it.

                It was colder than {CENSORED} here today.  It was down to around 40 here and we’re used to 80-90 degrees most of the time.

                How long have you got before spring term starts?  I don’t think we’re getting a spring vacation, the army frowns on us taking time off.  We’ve got a little bull session going on up here now.  Some of the fellows are beginning to stagger in a little under the weather.  In the army they don’t care how cocked you get, as long as you’re ready to go the next day.

                We gave one of the fellows a G.I. haircut last night.  Seems as if he promised another guy he would take KP for the party of the second party, but he didn’t show up.  So we gave him a haircut.  In fact you could almost call it a shave, as he is completely bald.  He used to have curly hair and he was real proud of it, but it’s gone.  I guess he learned his lesson tho.

                Well I’m running out of things to write about so I’ll have to close now.  Also these boots always need polishing.  I wish someone would invent some boots that wouldn’t need polishing.  It would be a terrific labor saver.

                Didn’t get to see the captain today, maybe I’ll have to see him tomorrow.  I hope it’s soon. I’d just as soon get it over with.

                That’s all for now,

                Lots of Love,




March 22, 1951

Camp Polk, La

1900 Hours

Dear Rosalie;

                Well I’m in the guard house again.  This time I’m corporal of the guard. It is absolutely the softest job in the world.  There is no work at all involved.  All I do is lay around in case anyone needs me.  I’m the big wheel of the whole regimental area.  I can tell a colonel were to go if I want, but it isn’t healthy, because the next day I’m just a corporal again.

                The division had a big parade this afternoon but I was lucky and wasn’t in on it.  Some how I didn’t have a burning desire to be in a parade.

                Just got back from the PX.  Had a 10 minute break from doing nothing.  Only trouble with guard duty is that you are on duty for 36 straight hours.  That gets to be a pretty long time.  We get off just in time to stand reveille at 6:00.  That reveille is a stupid waste of time in my opinion.  All we do is run out of the barracks, line up, then I holler “First squad all present,” then the other three squad leaders holler the same, then we run back to the barracks.  Actually it don’t accomplish nothing at all.  But we do it every morning exactly at six. 

                (By the way, do you know what W.W.A.P. means?  One of the fellows in my squad got it from his girlfriend and no one can figure out what the heck it means.  If you will you please let me know?  I’m dying of curiosity and so is everyone else.)

                Haven’t heard yet or not if Ed and Helen are proud parents.  I thought it should have happened last week, but being a boy, I don’t know anything about it.

                Sorry for the interruptions, but I just chased a mouse.  Didn’t get the little cuss, but I’ll get it next time! (I hope?) I got no special love for the darn things.

                I hope that you can make sense out of this because I’m having a heck of a time keeping my eyes open, and I’m just writing things down as I think of them.

                I was real glad to hear that you’re getting to know how to drive.  Just relax when you drive and you’ll be a good driver.  You also have to have confidence in yourself, when you get there too, you’ll be one of the best drivers on the road.

                You know, I just happened to notice that my handwriting is lousy.  In fact it’s terrible, you’d never believe this but I took a whole semester, (18 weeks) at Normal two years ago.  Everyone in the family has real nice hand writing but me.  Oh well, such is life, everyone can’t be perfect.

                Just got up again, it’s now 4 am.  I gotta close now.  I am so darn tired it’s pitiful.  Take it easy over vacation.





March 21, 1951

Camp Polk, La

2000 Hours

Dearest Rosalie,

                Got your 10 page letter yesterday, and was I ever glad to get it.

                Tomorrow we got a real easy day coming off.  We only work from 0600 to 2300.  Maybe we’ll get to sleep late Fri, but I doubt it.  We don’t get those 72 hour passes like they said we would, instead we can only get 36 hour passes.

                Monday the whole division is going to parade past the general.  Right after the parade 14000 of the boys are leaving for New Orleans and Japan.  Soon as they leave the 15th Army Corps arrives and we move over a few blocks.

                Yesterday and today we didn’t work too hard.  Fooled around most of the time.  We spent a whole day at the mock village and it only took 10 minutes to go thru it.  The rest of the day we just sat

 around and slung the bull.

                There ain’t much new here except that we may not get paid this month.  We’re supposed to get paid on the last of the month and the pay master said we may not get it.  I think that I’ve got about $.74 left.  Just enough to pay for four beers, but I don’t drink beer anymore.

                Well I gotta close now and shave and those boots of mine again need to be shined.  Seems as tho they always need to be shined.

                                Have a nice vacation honey and have fun

                                All my love


I got a change of address it’s on the front of the envelope.





Mr. and Mrs. Otto Zill

1713 Maryfield Dr

Ann Arbor, Michigan

March 24, 1951

Camp Polk, La


Dear Mom and Dad

                We had to work all day today.  We usually get off at noon on Sat but we were drilling on our “Easter Parade.”  Only the parade is coming off on Monday.  It is the last mass formation until the division reassemblies in Japan.

                Just to give you an idea of the size of the division, the parade was 8 men abreast and about 4 miles long.  It takes about and 1 ½  hours to go by the reviewing stand.  There is about 20,000 men in the outfit.

                Gus and I went to church last Sunday and tomorrow we’re going to De Ritter.  We got time off Fri afternoon to go to the services at the chapel.

                I’m not supposed to get K.P. anymore as corporals on up are not supposed to get it, and now I’m an acting corporal.

                It’s getting about time to close, as it’s getting late


                                                Ken    Happy Easter Everyone






U.S.O. DeRitter, La

March 25, 1951

Dear Rosalie

                Got the weekend off so me and Gus went to DeRitter.  Its only about 25 miles from home.  We’re having a parade tomorrow for the general and the governor of Oklahoma.  It’s going to be the last mass formation the division has until it reassembles in Japan.  It’s a fairly large parade, eight men abreast and 4 ½ miles long. It takes about 2 hours for the whole parade to march by the reviewing stand.  There is about 20,000 men in the parade, and that is quite a few men.  It’s funny when I think about the parade tho, it used to be when I was a civilian I used to sit on the curb and watch the soldiers march by and wish that I was out there with them and now that I am out there marching by I wish that I was sitting on the curb watching.  I guess the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.

                Your sister is really doing O.K. for herself since she won that contest.  It is nice that she can get all that glory and money.  It sure won’t hurt her any.  Tell her is she has any pies left over she can send a few thousand down here for us poor soldiers.  Any pies that she would send would be better than what these army cooks can make, because it’s sure it couldn’t be worse, nothing can be.  These cooks can’t even boil water without getting confused and mess up the works.

                We really got a raw deal Friday nite, we had just finished the barracks for inspection Sat when the supply sergeant brought two heavy machine guns over to the barracks.  They were packed in grease, in fact they were swimming in grease, any how he told us to clean them and have them ready for inspection Sat.   We nicely got thru with that after about to hours and then the sergeant gave us some rifles packed in the same stuff.  By then it was about 9:30, and we had to clean those d___ things and stand inspection with them Sat morning.  We got thru the cleaning them about 11 and by that time the floor was covered with grease again, so we had to GI it again.  We finally hit the sack around 12:30. 

We did have Fri afternoon off after church, so we G.I.ed the floor then and were going to loaf around that night but it did work out too well.

                It is really nice down here now, all of the trees are budding and the flowers are blooming and all the lovely little insects are starting to come out in full form.  It’s really spring down here.  Everyone has spring fever something awful.  That’s about all the news

                All my love


Thanks for the Easter card, it was swell of you to send it.



March 28, 1951

Dearest Rosalie

                I got your cookies and are they ever good.  Thanks a lot for sending them.

                Well I’m back in the guard house.  We got booted out of our barracks so we’re living in the guard house.  We’ve really got it nice too, its just a room about 20’x30’.  They took all the beds out, the only thing that was left was the cement floor, so they moved 40 of us in with all of our equipment.  It was pretty crowded, but the cement floor was just as soft as a feather bed.

                It’s been raining for the last two days and it is really muddy.  Right now we’re supposed to be in class, but no one told us where it is, so we can’t go.  We never thought of asking where it was. Just found out that we’re supposed to be cleaning our weapons, so this will have to be a short one.  Well, the rifle cleaning deals is a farce, everyone is either writing letters or having bull sessions.

                I’m still planning on calling Sunday.  It will probably be early, around 7:30 or 8:00 o clock.  It will really be nice to talk to you again.

                The division is leaving today.  Last night they got their last passes and went into Leesville.  They really tore up the town too.  It is really a mess today from what I heard.  Some of the boys in our company really got looped up.

                The sergeant told us yesterday that we were going to town a couple of days before we ship out.  He said that he figured we had all of our pay spent in that town, so we might as well have some fun.  He told us that we should break a few windows and generally raise hell.  And if we should run across any 4th army boys, give them a good going over.  By the time they realize what happened to their town we’ll be gone to camp.  Once we get back to camp they can’t do anything to us.  Only you don’t want to get caught in town raising cain, it goes pretty rough on you.

                                Gotta close, sergeants orders

                                All my love




Miss Rosalie Nash

610 Ardsen Rd

E. Lansing, Michigan

March 30, 1951

2300 Hours

Camp Polk

Dear Rosalie,

                Sorry I ain’t wrote sooner, but we’ve been moving all week and haven’t had much time. One night we moved to the guard house, next night to some temporary barracks, and now we are finally settled.  Being a squad leader really has its advantages, I and one other squad leaders have a cadre room all to ourselves.  It is really a neat little place.  Here we can stay up as late as we want to.  Since we’re corporals we can do as we please.  We’ve even got the authority to say who can go on pass and who can’t.

                Wednesday nite we were stuck in our temporary barracks, it was built for 63 men and we had 210 sleeping in there. In fact it was so crowded that you couldn’t roll over, you had just enough room to lay down and none to spare.

                We’re getting paid tomorrow so that I can call you.  We are really supposed to get paid Sunday but as no one works on Sunday we’re getting paid on Sat. morning.

                Gus and I were going to go into town over the weekend, but he has detail Sunday afternoon.  I guess that he has to work on some new rifle range.  They have about 10 now and still they need ones.  I’m going to town any how, I need some stripes, we gotta have them on by Monday.

                We started a fund in the barracks for a party.  Everyone donates a dollar every payday, then a coupla of nights before we leave for overseas, we’re going to throw one of the best parties in the camp’s history, It should be a heck of a lot of fun.

                We got inspection coming off tomorrow so I should close and go to work.  I’ve still got some dusting to do.  You should have seen me tonight, I was down on my hands and knees scrubbing floors, you would have died laughing if you could have seen it.  I’ve decided that isn’t for me, and I’m not going to do it anymore! (Ha! Ha!) We do it every Friday nite.

                Gotta Close now

                                With Love






Ken is in the back. Sitting on the steps of the barracks in Camp Polk, La
Ken standing on the steps of the barracks at Camp Polk, La
Ken at Camp Polk, La
Ken is first on left in the second row back from the front.

Copyright © 2013 Mary Elizabeth Zill VandenBerghe

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Latest comments

04.10 | 19:01

Of course, thank you for asking! Would love to see what you write if you can share when you are done.

04.10 | 18:39

I'm writing a book on Christmas in Wartime. Would it be ok to use a couple of comments in your dad's letters related to Christmas in the book? Many thanks!

09.07 | 22:16

If your related to Celia Gearhart Nash 1913-1988. Please contact me. I have a self-published book of poems written by her titled the View From My Window

05.09 | 07:05

I found this article really interesting and gonna share its link with my sister before taking