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I Will Not Be Long in This Place

Posted by on April 12, 2014

March 15, 1943. Stanley writes to Dad. He is starting to get used to being at Salt Lake City, although he won’t be there long. “This is only a reception center. Friday when we came in we slept in small barracks only about 25 to 30 guys. Then on Saturday we slept in regular wooden barracks which had a latrine. Boy we sure had a bunch of pushing around here. We were shoved form one place to another just like a bunch of raw recruits.” The missing barracks bags finally arrived on Sunday, and they were moved yet again into large six man tents. “They only had two or three roll calls before we got to our tents from which we will be shipped.”

For March, the weather is still a bit sketchy. “Later in the evening about 9:30 it started to rain like hell and the damn thing [tent] started to leak like the devil. One patch right along my side of the bed started to let water in like a sieve. While this was all going on I was taking a shower and washing my underclothes. I had to run through the rain to get to the tent. The in the evening about 10PM it started to hail and snow fell. In the morning when we got up there was about two inches of snow on the ground. The mountains today sure look pretty with all the snow on them.”

The Army is already putting Stanley’s training to work. “This morning the sergeant was looking for clerks. We told him we were clerks. All we did was go through two rows of tents and make sure that everyone had all the equipment issued to them. Then in the afternoon they came into our tent and asked if we wanted to work in the orderly room and we would not have to go out and fall out for every formation so we agreed, and this is where I am writing this letter. Here in the orderly room we fill out the clearance sheets for the fellows who came in.”

He writes, “From here I expect to ship out in about two or three days.” He provides an address in case Dad wants to write, noting, “I will not be long in this place.”

He notes that he is already seeing the benefits of his rank. “At least in this squadron we get some consideration as we are corporals. Tomorrow while the other guys are on bull gangs or kitchen police or something else like that we will be here where it is nice and warm.” He notes, “When we first came into the Army they classified us as a clerk-405. Then at St. Petersburg classified as 055 clerks when we came here they gave us the highest classification possible – 502 which stands for administrative noncommissioned officers and we will have a better chance to get a good position in our new base. From here we will be assigned to Heavy Bombardment Groups which may go overseas in three or four months.” This is notable as it is the first indication we get that Stanley expects to leave the states.

He closes, “God bless you and keep you safe in all your endeavors and I hope we will still meet again although things look black right now. Here in the Second Air Force we only get a seven day furlough and that is no good to me. God bless you again.”

Before mailing the letter on the 16th he adds this hasty P.S.: “Just learned that we are on shipment so don’t write, but if you do it the address is on the other side.”

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