Uncle Jack: a Letter from an American soldier

jackneenanMy Uncle Jack told me the story of going to war. He said a fraternity brother convinced him to join the National Guard unit and they would be playing polo for a posh club in Virginia.

Next thing you know he was jumping out of planes and taking hot lead from the enemy. The following was written by my Uncle Jack from boot camp to my Grandparents in Pittsburgh, PA.

“Tuesday 3/28/1943

Camp Wallace Texas

Hello Folks,

Well I finally arrived in camp and it’s terrific. It’s all new, well furnished, well situated, and real large. I am 15 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, 15 miles from Galveston Texas, & 25 miles from Houston.

The food is wonderful, we hear music at every meal, and are treated grand. We arrived here Monday morning, were assigned quarters, interviewed, saw movies, the dentist, and had an eye check. I qualified for O.C.S. with a score of 175. You must get 110 to qualify, so I feel real good.

The camp is beautiful, and the weather marvelous. I’m as red as a beet from drilling today, and I love it. I am assigned to anti-aircraft but we wear the coast artillery insignia. We only work 8 hours a day and are through at 5. All the fellows love the place.

A Lt. from Pittsburgh said there is a Lt. Carson from Bellevue, PA here and I think it might be Rube. I haven’t met him yet but the other Lieutenant said he was going to mention my being here to this Lt. Carson.

We are to be here until the middle of June, at which time I may go to O.C.S. in North Carolina. It’s too early to tell, but I’ll let you know as soon as anything develops.

I forgot some paper in regard to my $10,000 insurance and bonds, so I’ll send them tomorrow.

I’m feeling fine, in fact I never felt better in my life. I have a G.I. haircut and I look great. I’ll send a picture as soon as I can.

We are not allowed away from camp for 4 weeks, but I don’t mind a bit. There are so many recreation halls, entertainment and service clubs, it would be nobody’s  fault but your own if you didn’t find anything to do. There is always a dance at night at one of the buildings and the Texas girls are really beautiful. They have big bands  come in every week to entertain. Last week Fred Wearing was here.

Oh Mom! What I really need is coat hangers. Send me as many as you can. This being a new camp they’re hard to get.

How is everyone at home? Say hello to everyone for me and don’t forget to tell me the news when you write.

Well folks, that’s about all for now. Take care of yourselves and write soon. This Army life is swell, and I love it.

Good-bye  now—

Your Loving Son,

Jack”

The picture below is my Uncle Bob he didn’t get shot as many times as his older brother.

bobby neenan

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