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Letter Dated Friday, April 2, 1943; Postmarked April 10, 1943, from Camp Wheeler

Dear Everybody,

I got your letter today and I have twenty minutes to answer it.

It is now 1:00 and we fall out at 1:20. I won’t have time to write tonight because we have to scrub down the barracks and clean our rifles for Saturday inspection.

I didn’t get any letter from Luena, but I guess if she wrote, it should get here soon.

I told you in a previous letter that I don’t need any money and I didn’t get any kit from Bullards. In fact, I got paid the day before yesterday, the whole sum of $38.13. I know they took out for bonds; I don’t know how much, but I think I took out $3.50 a month; I know they took out $1.50 for laundry and $6.40 for insurance. Outside of that, I don’t know what happened, but my lieutenant assured the other platoon that we would never get gyped and neither would the government get gyped. After I got paid, I contributed $1.00 for the Red Cross and a quarter for the range.

We are going on the range Monday and we are having prizes for the winning platoons and the winning squads out of the platoons. Well, I’ll have to finish this letter some other time because the bugle is blowing now.

So-long.

It is now Monday, April 5, 11:00 p.m. Well, we went on the range today, and as usual, the first platoon out-shot all the other platoons. It was only practice, however, and we haven’t started to shoot for record yet. Boy, that rifle I have is the smoothest working gun I had ever hoped to shoot. There is practically no kick to it at all. I got 69 points out of a possible 80. That may not sound good, but when you take into consideration that it’s the first time I ever shot a rifle, and the highest score was only 71, and that we had a pretty stiff wind, and it’s darn tough trying to hold a rifle steady in the standing position.

In your telephone call you told me not to open the package in front of all the fellows, but in the end, if I do open it in front of the other fellows, I’ll get more out of them than I would if I kept everything myself.

Well, I just finished by range firing today, and it was a lot of fun. I qualified as sharpshooter and missed expert by just 4 points. I got 191 points out of a possible 220 and expert is 195 out of a possible 220. I also shot the ’03, which is the old Springfield bolt-action gun, and I shot the B.A.R., which is the Browning Automatic Rifle.

I think it took me about a week to finish this letter and I didn’t go anyplace during that week. Every night after we came off the range, we had to scrub our rifles for the next day. Then we had to the B.A.R.’s to clean these last two nights, besides having to go to three successive shows put on by three platoons of our company.

I got Papa’s letter yesterday and I also got a letter from Victor and it was good to get another letter.

Has Aunt Mary moved yet? If she hasn’t, give her and Uncle Dave and Genaro and Gevena my regards.

Everybody that gets letters from up north says that it is very cold up there. I can’t understand that because all we have to do to start sweating down here is to start walking. I also noticed that Papa asked about the other fellows that came in with me. I think they all went to Texas.

I have to get this letter off some time so it might as well be now.

Good night,

Babe

This is a P.S. I address my letters to 500 Lex. Ave. because it looks and sounds much better than 491 and send that stationery from Bullard’s if you can.

PDF: A Soldier’s Pay and the Rifle Range

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