Transcription of Document FFDoc-0006.pdf




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03/16/1943 Letter Shields, Frank
Shields, Gen

Aboard Train, Enroute to Gok Knows Where

Tues, 9:45 PM

 March 16 -/43 [ in pencil, Gen's handwriting?]

Dear Mom,

Well, I'm on my way at last!! I phoned you last night, as you know; this morn we were awakened at two A.M. and told we were going to be shipped. At 5:00 A.M. we were rolled out and packed our barracks bags. But we traipsed around in the rain all day, and only boarded the train at Upton at 6:15 P.M. Penn Station was reached at 9 o'clock, and we pulled out of there at 9:25 P.M. Seems strange, my leaving just a day ahead of Dot. We don't know where we're going, but one of the fellows heard a Louie being told that the dining car would be on as far as Harrisburg, Pa. So we figure we're going West or South.

Please don't mind the writing but the damn train is swaying so much it's hard to write. We're not permitted to mail these enroute, so I guess I'll finish this letter by telling you where and wehn we arrived at our destination.

I think that hereafter, if I'm shipped any place, I'll just telegraph my address when I reach my destination. So if you receive the telegram (which should arrive before this letter), you'll know where to write. However, if I'm allowed to gelegraphy my arrival before I know my address, I'll just send the name of the city or camp. Then you'll have to wait for an air-mail letter for the address.

[Section crossed out:

 At any rate, when you write, always include my Army Serial Number (A.S.N.) which is 12110488. More later. ]

[Postscript added to crossed-out section:]

P.P.S. don't put in my A.S.N

Later: Well, here we are at last!! At 9:30 A.M. this St. Patrick's Day morn we rolled across the North Carolina Border. And at 2:30 PM this afternoon, 17 hours after leaving New York, we arrived at our destination. It is Camp Croft, South Carolina, 6 miles from Spartansburg. This is where Richie was, but is he here now? if he is, send me his address and I'll look him up.

This is an infantry unit, Mom, and my training, which will take 13 weeks, begins next Monday. It doesn't look easy but please God, we'll all make it. After the training, I don't know what happens. But this is the Army, and you can never tell. If you write to Joe, give him my address.

Im the first part of this letter I mentioned telegraphing. Well, I can't telegraph my arrival here, since the Telegraph office is out of bounds. I'm going to need a few things, Mom, so send me a carton of cigarettes, $5 or $7, some white hankerchiefs and I guess I could use my Vaseline hair tonic.The weather here is inclement, but I understand that that's unusual. Sometimes they don't have rain for 4½ or 5 months. So my hair is bound to get dry and sandy. Say,  Mom, on second thought, hold off on that Vaseline Hair Tonic. I have to get my hair cut, and I guess I won't need the tonic. But say, I can use some wood soled sandals for use in the shower, to prevent getting athlete's foot.

Say, I just got back from from chow (spaghetti & meat balls, boiled carrots, celery, tea with lemon, bread, butter & peanut butter) and GOOD NEWS!!

When I came in here I thought that I was stuck iin the infantry for good. But now I find out that we merely get our basic training (13 wks.) here. Tomorrow we're to be reclassified, and then we find out where we go after we finish our basic training - Signal Corps; Chemical Warfare; Field or Coast Artillery, etc. So I'll let you know how I'm classified. Gosh but I hope it's in something I like.

By the way, right after I came in, I heard a fellow in the latrine say "Well, looks like they've got a good bunch of officers here. Smart fellows" - I may be presuming, but I think he means us college fellows. So maybe some of us will be going to OCS when we finish our basic training.

From 5:30 P.M. Sat to 11:15 P.M. Sunday our time is our own.

Well, Mom, I'm going to close now. I want to go down to the P.X. and then write some letters. So I'll sign off, now. I'll write soon, probably tomorrow night. So be good & remember all your service sones & daughters in your prayers.

Love, as ever

Frank

P.S. I hear we have to hike up to 25 miles. My poor feet!!



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