Fifteen letters
[ Fifteen Letters ][ Introduction ]
1954: [ June 5 ][ June 15 ][ June 26 ][ July 10 ][ July 27 ][ Aug. 1 ][ Aug. 11 ]
[ Sept. 18 ][ Sept. 30 ][ Oct. 29 ][ Nov. 3 ][ Nov. 11 ][ Dec. 13 ]
1955: [ Jan. 23 ][ Feb. 20 ]
[ Epilogue ]

Jun. 5

Hi Barbette

Congratulations! So you made it, huh? I'll admit that I worried some whether you'd graduate, but I guess you did. 'Tis good if not actually miraculous. Write me about any awards that may have been heaped upon your flathatted old dome.

By the time you get this, you may be getting ready for your work, and you may be starting college. Don't know about the mail there. We got a mess of mail at Pusan on the 29th or so and I expect to get some more in a couple weeks or maybe a month. That's why I'm trying to write ahead of time, if I am doing so.

Let's see now. I guess some gifts are in order

  1. 3 old moldy daffodil bulbs.
  2. 1 Special Service (star) shoulder patch
  3. an air mail envelope marked free
  4. use of my swimming trunks and the car this summer
  5. one portable flatiron in a dyestained case for use at college

    and whenever you wish

  6. a square dance with your favorite male -- me

Now while I'm in the gifting business and while I remember it, a reminder for Gail. If you want to use my licorice blanket, Gail, use the darned thing - but don't ask me to pay for the electricity - it'll be about $2-$3 for next winter I betcha and that would hurt way down deep near the hair-roots in my big toe.

Rear: (l to r) Wilson, Miller; Front: Pelletierre, Meanor, Jarman, and Sturdevant.  Officerís quarters (far left) and generator shack in background The three tents of the 78th PMCD We are arrived. Dick Sturdevant, Vincenzo Pelletierri from NYC and myself are in the PM detachment here.

Our complete address is this

Pvt so and so meaning
RA such and such
78th Med Det (PMC)
Medical Detachment
(Preventive Medicine Control)
2nd Med. Bn.2nd Medical Battalion
APO 248 c/o PMArmy Post Office #248
c/o Post Master
San Francisco, Calif.S.F.C.

Ain't it simple, now?

There are about 10 fellows in this outfit, with one officer, Lt. McFadden who was at Fort Sam when we were first there. He's a real swell Joe. Four of the others return to the states in a month, but the rank should be open to us, and 3 or 4 more fellows are coming in later.

We have a terrific setup. Tents with cement floors and plenty of equipment and tools to build stuff. We have electricity, terrific food, warm showers occasionally, softball, gloves, mit, and bats, horseshoes, basketballs, chess, checkers, cribbage, a PX post office, dental clinic within stone's throw and no weapons. We eat in trays, not mess gear and have plenty, and it's so darned good.

We have potable water in a 5 gallon can in the tent with a basin and a mirror to shave with. We have cots, air mattresses, sleeping bags and 2 blankets. Sheer comfort and no fooling either.

Kim and MillerBest of all is Kim, our $3-per-person-per-month houseboy who does all the housework - sweeping, bed making, shoe shining, water getting and general odd-jobing. Can you hire a maid for $3 a month, now tell me, huh?

It's true we get guard about once a week, but it's only 3 hours on and we sleep until noon the next day. Now we eat breakfast or not as we choose. We work from 8-4 and are done.

Our little unit has 6 vehicles, 2 jeeps, 2 3/4 ton trucks, and 2 6x6 trucks.

It's 9 PM Saturday and one of the fellows in the tent next to us (we are sleeping in the equipment tent right now, privacy double plus) and we were worried about trouble - coffee and donut call at the mess hall. Too bad I'm in my sack. Maybe Dick & Vinnie will filch a bit for me to eat and bring it back. Oh, ho such a business.

As I sit here wrapped up nice and warm in my sleeping bag, leaning against a nice firm post, writing by an electric light, I think of my good infantry defenders up front in their tents with candles and mattresses on the floor and crowded together, sleeping with their rifles, having formations, drill, training, inspections, polish and balogny, and I don't regret an extra year.

(l to r) Sgt. Wilson, Pvt. Totman, Lt. McFaddenIn this outfit, we are here to work as a team doing a job. Lt. McFadden is a ROTC graduate; he's not a darn bit military - we say sir, don't salute, joke friendly like and work together. In fact the Major just yesterday made him move out of the tent with the first sgt. up to the batchelor officer quarters. (and if I can't spell and use prepositions to end a sentance will, well pardon my nasty old ignorance)

What else shall I talk about. It's fine to boast without admitting that in a few months this too will get boring as the dickens and we'll want to go back to the states again. Sure we will and we know it, but while we're happy with this so-much-better-than-any-other deal, why worry. No sweat involved if we don't.

There is a shower tent about 300 feet away. Today and tonight it rains, but we went over anyway and took a nice warm wonderful shower - first shower since Sunday 6 days ago and first really good shower since I was in Fort Lewis. Umm, boy was it welcome. So clean feeling.

One last reassurance for us. Since this tent and an adjacent one are supply tents, barbed wire has been thrown up around the two of them, so there is only one way to enter and theft would be hard to do here.

Now it's Sunday AM. The Protestant chapel is 50 feet away, so I won't go anyway. Crazy, but at least not hypocritical. It has stopped raining, but it's still cloudy outside and a bit chilly.

 Sturdevant and Miller.Outside, near the Bn. Hq. are two tattered dirty old flags -- U.S. and U.N. Everywhere are the two flags flying together, except in ROK outfits. A couple days ago the main highway past here was busy as a bee with G.l.ís flowing one way in every sort of military vehicle imaginable, and ROK's rolling the other way in as great a variety of vehicles. The GI's were going the right way, too - back.

Chow this AM wasn't so good. The toast with jelly & peanut butter was good as always and the cereal was good, even with powdered milk, but the eggs were scrambled and not my favorites. They had no juice, so I drank coffee which I don't like worth a darn.

Now we are getting the "Stars & Stripes" when we want. It keeps us posted on world shaking events like the rampaging Red Sox as they try to stay in the cellar, the 500 miler which is ancient as you read this, and all the world news, so that we aren't lost to all that goes on.

And news comes hard while the paper gets used, so I'll put a stop in here somewhere, and will write later when I get something more to say.

Good luck, Barbette and see y'all eventually