January 24, 1943. Sunday evening. Dad writes home. They are given Sundays off and he had an opportunity to check out the city and the beach. “However, we do not dare go out at night to the beach as our Beach (night) Patrol has itchy trigger fingers, and you yourself have heard of things happening around the U.S. Coasts.” This is apparently in reference to news of German U-boats patrolling and attacking off the American coast.
He notes that he is glad that Stanley has been promoted to Corporal and comments that now he will have to become a Sergeant. Dad further relays that he expects to be in the camp at Miami Beach for a total of 5 week: 14 days for basic training and “around 24 days of advance training which includes commando tactics, shooting guns, chemical warfare (use of gas masks on battlefield) and how to behave on sea.” He says, “Don’t let all that scare you because I personally would say that is the army way of doing things…whether we need it or not as we must be kept busy somehow.”
He is still longs for home, “In regard to the Miami Moon…when I see the moon it really reminds me of home for the moon, the sun and the stars are the only things down here that are the same things that I have seen at home.” But he remains optimistic, “It is too early of a time in our lives to be thrown about the world and not to see each other again.”
On the medical front he reports that he has had the third in a series of vaccinations and expects to have another series of three. He also states, “The type of my blood was “O” compared to Stanley’s which is “B”. One guy had “AB” and I told him it was Ale and Beer. We just laughed.”
Finally, he is learning to tell how to pick the ripe coconuts off the tree. He says that “You can get them anywhere and they are being thrown around like crabapples in our yard.” So far he has eaten two of them right off the trees.
Overall, it looks like Dad is settling into Army life. Although like many other young inductees, he would rather not have to be involved, he is making the best of the situation.
Here is a link to more information about German U-Boat attacks off the U.S Coast: http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-worldwar/5908