Sunday, March 4, 2018
March 4, 1944"Well as the [stationery] indicates, I've hit Greensboro in a very mild manner but before I become too involved in this evening, I guess I'd better hit today's happenings." He had 3 hours of "dry fire" with the Carbine. All this in the wet and cold and with no ammunition. This afternoon, being the 1st anniversary of B.T.C. #10, they have a big Southern fried chicken dinner with all the trimmings. Whit e table cloths and a jazz band while dining. They started shipping fellows back to their old outfits or P.O.E. tonight. After lunch, they had parade, all in class "A" uniforms, rifles, and cartridge belts. Over 2,000 men in review - he was quite taken in by the spectacle of it. He's distracted writing because he's at the U.S.O., in a dance hall, with a bowling alley below, and oodles of women - "a lot of cuties too." He's proud that he's writing home when this is the first time he's been "this close to women in almost a month." He and his buddies are taking it easy and careful because "fornication" is a crime in Greensboro and some of these cuties look 25 but are only 14 or 15. And with that thought in mind...
March 3, 1944"Well I must confess that I didn't write yesterday." He's been on K.P. and went to see Ida Lupino in "Our Times." Good thing too. Sergeant came in and took all the remaining fellows for night K.P. It was a stage show and radio broadcast with a Post band - compares to the outfit at Shea's Buffalo. Finished processing yesterday. He and Rudy Knitter, from Buffalo, made Mass yesterday, went to get mail, sneaked into Mess Hall on the other side of camp because they never would have made it back to theirs in time. He took part II of physical. That evening, he absorbed a few 3.2 beers at the PX. Finally all the pressure of the tests is over. 3 hours of Carbine instruction in the field today and it was freezing, then an hour of P.T. Of all things, today was a dentist appointment. None to be pulled and 3 to be filled. Only cleaned today - fillings come later. Some of the fellows had 4-6 pulled in a sitting. Might go to town tomorrow night. Got a ration coupon to get some shoes. "This will be [his] first formal step in a concentrated drive on the women of the South - can't get going with [his] present clodhoppers on...too heavy for going out of 2nd story windows, crawling out from under cars, etc."
March 1, 1944"Because we are taking our 64 physical today, we have been given a free day." It's been taken up by shining shoes, taking care of laundry and the like. Today is gas mask day. He has to carry the mask with him all day, but at least the alert is over with for the day. The boys just returned from their physicals and are asking for more cookies. Too late. They're all gone early last night. "The fellows think [his mother] must know someone in a Black Market because [she] got those nuts to put in the cookies." They were supposed to get passes for tonight, but 12 of them were "bad boys" so the passes will have to wait until tomorrow. He may not go due to an upcoming personal inspection - best uniform, presseed, shoes shined, hair cut - everything perfect. But he may still go because he'd like to get some beer. "As you probably know N.C. is dry and [he] can buy only beer." He needs to get authorization for civvy shoes and thinks he can get a shoe stamp at the base. He's found another Catholic, so they are both going to Mass. They are both also giving up smoking for Lent - a little late though. His buddy from Dix, Abe Aaroni is now in the Signal Corps. The place he's at in N.J. is terrible. Lew Harwick - his beer drinking pal from Dix is at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in the Infantry, but his cold from Dix has developed into pneumonia so he's in the hospital. He ends with a couple jokes, like the cycle of man:
2. Try weekly
3. Try weakly
February 29, 1944"Today has been a tense one so far and I'm glad it's over." He took psycomotive apparatus tests today and part 1 of the physical. PT II is tomorrow. He was too tense and feels he did about average, but then they don't need average men for pilots. Got paid too - $36.87 "more dough on me now than I have ever had to carry about" and he doesn't like it. The packages arrived last night! So did Bealy's. Boy did he get razzed walking the 1/2 mile back to the barracks with 3 packages. "Oh joy! Oh bliss and happy day. Socks and ties were grand..." The food stuffs hit the spot and the lads helped him finish them up. Seems the brownies and the ones with the pecans were a tie for the favorites. Missed Mass again - lack of priests and he couldn't find where they were holding it. He requests that his family and others don't send "so many nice things" as they are a temptation. This request is in anticipation of his upcoming birthday. He's afraid the temptation among the fellows may be too great.
February 28, 1944"Well I've been in the Army a month now." Today was his exam to see if he qualified for Air Crew. He doesn't feel good about it. H'e baffled that a man with no experience with planes is expected to qualify. Probably because they don't need men now, they've started to give the tests even before any training. Next tests are physical and psychomotive apparatus tests. It takes two weeks to get the papers rated, so he'll know by then. Splurged 15 of his 33 cents and saw a show last night - "Broadway Rhythm. Don't miss it - more entertainment per minute than any picture [he's] seen in a long time." Yesterday the priest told the Catholics they were "forbidden" to go to another religious service in town. It seems that other religious groups have been giving Sunday dinners gratis to the soldiers and the priest views it as a "come on" for another type of religious service after dinner. Then why do they make it so difficult to find a Mass?
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
February 27, 1944"Sunday has well arrived." Not sleeping as well as before. The church business is "quite a problem", having given instructions to be awakened in time for Mass, but then not being awakened until too late for 7 o'clock number - made the 9 o'clock instead. Library was closed, so no quiet place to study. The exams will be tricky because they're not given a lot of time per answer and some are put in to stall them and snap answers are required. Once the exams are over, he intends to catch up on his letter writing unless the go to the Rifle Range. He's looking forward to payday, getting low on cash. "Don't get the wrong idea. I have held on to a comfortable margin. Enough and to spare I think for round trip home in case I ever get a chance to take it. I want to leave this money strictly alone - aside from it I have enough - 33 cents I think but that's plenty. A show is only 15 and cigarettes 12." He'd like to exchange his blouses for ones that fit better but he's afraid he'll get second hand ones but "the Army is a great teacher and one of the biggest lessons is that here, as in life, generally you can't have all you want." Frank has some misgivings about how the Army training they are receiving may impact the men upon returning to civilian life. "I hope not but I fear that the same chaotic conditions that were attendant in the wake of the last war will manifest themselves here after this one. What then? American youth will find a new "enemy" in civilian life - one they can't see and have not been educated to understand. An enemy that will come close to home and affect all of them. How will they cope with it? The Army is teaching them to fight dirty - with no principle. It's teaching them to be completely ruthless. If you could see a couple of the movies I've seen about methods of close combat you'd understand just how close men are getting to savagery in the South Pacific. Let us hope these men will not try - even as a last effort, to apply these principles to civilian life when they return to it. What can we do about it? I don't know - it is the only way to fight the enemy we have at hand - I hope we won't see repercussions of this 'no quarter' training in civilian life in the next 10 years."
March 8, 2018 Today is my birth father Frank's birthday. I think he's been whispering to me. I've been working on this project...
When I was 12, our Girl Scout Troop rolled bandages for the Vietnam soldiers. Our Troop Leader, Mrs. Rideout asked us if we wanted to send ...
February 27, 1944 "Sunday has well arrived." Not sleeping as well as before. The church business is "quite a problem",...
January 27, 2018 In 2014, I discovered over 500 letters my father, Pvt. Frank G. Thompson, had written during WWII. Beginning today I will...