February 27, 1943. Dad gets a letter for Johnny Mudge. Dad and Johnny met at Camp Upton and became friends. Johnny is from Delmar, NY and is currently stationed at Ft. Monmouth in Red Bank, NJ where he is undergoing a 13 week training course to become a cable splicer. In his letter we get another glimpse of Army life.
As Johnny writes it is 9:45 AM and they are waiting for inspection which was supposed to be at 8:30. Johnny says that he got a break being stationed so close to home. He says, “Haven’t be home yet, but my wife was down here three weeks ago. I may get home in two or three weeks.” As far as camp, “like it here very much, so far. The eats are the best we’ve had yet”
He says, “We have a nice bunch of officers here, but the most of them are pretty much GI.” The training is also pretty rigorous. In contrast to the 6 mile hikes that Stanley went on, “A week ago we hiked 18 miles with full packs. I was just about ”pooped”, 5% of the fellows didn’t make it.”
Johnny is getting along well and advancing in his studies. “I received my rating as Corporal Tech last Friday. Seems too good to be true.” He says that doing well in the Army is in large part about “the breaks you get.”
He had four weeks of Basic Training at Sea Girt, also in NJ. He mentions that at Basic Training he made marksman level on the rifle range with a score of 156 out of 200. He also mentions that his experience at Sea Girt was notable due to the sheer volume of new recruits. “Sea Girt was the most crowded place I ever saw, wait in line to get in the PX, wait in line after we got inside, even had to wait in line at the crapper, wait in line at the mess hall, we had to use our mess kits there.” At Ft. Monmouth, “we have plates, knives and forks at the mess hall. It makes KP a little harder but I like it better.”
Like many in the service, he is looking for anything that is remotely familiar. He says, “I don’t know of anyone here who was at Upton with us. Wouldn’t it be swell to get together again?” I don’t know if Dad and Johnny ever got together after the war, but at least we will see if they kept up their correspondence during the conflict.