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In the Sharpshooter Class

Posted by on August 2, 2016

October 13 and 19, 1944: Dad writes two relatively short letters home from Topeka Army Air Base. The weather recently in Topeka has been “marvelous…similar to what you have up there” in New York.

On the 13th he takes the day off “and played golf with 3 other fellows.” He “did well on the first nine holes but slipped up a little on the last nine.” He elaborates, “I sure can hit that golf ball a mile, straight too.”

It looks like Dad is a straight shot on the rifle range too, as he details, “Yesterday I was out on the firing range, firing a carbine, cal. .30 rifle for the record and got 159 score out of a possible 200. You only need 135 to qualify. They gave me one more point and my score is 160 which puts me in with the sharpshooter class, and so it means a metal adornment to add to my ‘good boy’ ribbon on the blouse. I guess I can thank Edd for the practice I got on his .22 rifle.”

Dad makes a comment on the recent passing of two well-known politicians of the day. “I heard about Al Smith and Wendell Wilkie passing away, a Democrat and Republican. They’re even trying to keep each other from gaining a majority in the other world. I wonder how the two of them are getting along together or if they have met each other yet.”

On the 19th it is time for “our regular monthly physical inspection. Lately they’ve been very tough in their examinations; they check your teeth, body, etc., and see if your shots are up to date. I passed O.K. They also check you for athlete’s foot and piles.”  

He carries over his letter on the 20th as he writes about a special exhibit that visited the base. “This past Monday, we had…an electrical display put on by General Electric of Schenectady, N.Y. You might have seen it at the New York’s World Fair. The display covered radio, sound and light waves.

Before signing off he mentions that he went to the movies and saw Marriage is a Private Affair which starred Lana Turner and John Hodiak. His review of the movie is that he “sure enjoyed the acting but cared little for the plot of the movie itself. However, looking at Lana Turner made up for whatever the movie might have lacked.”

He signs off, noting “Seems as though that’s about all from here for the present.”

I leave you with the trailer for Marriage is a Private Affair.

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