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Lena B. Rees & James L. Carter Family Papers: Transcripts - MS 964
Don't expect a letter to soon am on KP duty. Its nothing important but you have to put in more hours. I help serve food. The only reason I don't like KP now is that I have a cold and it makes it harder to get up in the morning. If you don't get caught you can get extra food. Ive been getting several cups of milk and extra cake. Am writing this while waiting to get a shot for yellow fever. Am on KP for one week and I get off Tuesday 12/8/42. 75 our of 115 men go on KP from one company + every company has its turn. Will work this sunday. Will write as soon as possible
Great Lakes, Ill
December 6, 1942
Everything received ok. Thanks alot its just what I wanted and needed. I expected to pay for everything didn't think about you sending it it as a gift. Don't know what to wright about almost live for bed now.
KP is becoming routine work but how I hate to get up in the morning an hour earlier. Last Wed. Thurs. and friday is was around zero and the wind blew very strong. All KP men had to walk about a mile in the bad weather to get to the mess hall but it was warmer there than at the barracks. Yesterday afternoon the water supply was cut off due to freezing and we didn't even get our dinner dishes done till evening chow. Water is restricted and we cant wash clothes or take a bath.
Good news. Starting tomorrow milk will be served to all men. Also coffee but I believe coffee will be cut out. Believe their surveying to find coffee drinkers and non coffee drinkers.
Might as well sell my bike for $25.00 to first choice.
Any money received or me please bank.
Tell Jim that if he likes my suit and it fits and wants it that I'll sell it for what its worth to him. I believe I paid $22.50.
Forget about the pool table being covered, I realize I should have had things more straightened out before I left so you wouldn't have so much trouble.
Tell Mr Marwen sorry I didn't write yet haven't gotten around to it but I think of Betty and WV. will try and write.
Regarding my address it is Co 1719 USNTS Great Lakes, Ill. I just wrote the camp name and barracks to let you know it, never use it in my address. In order to find Warren however I will have to find for sure whether he is in Camp Greenbay and what barracks. Write him in in Camp Greenbay barracks 2802. Also write his camp and barracks no.
Got out of KP to get my shots I mentioned and afterward had to go right back and serve. Results only one stiff arm for half a day which everybody got. Received one shot in each arm.
December 8, 1942
Sorry to break off but I'm trying to get this written. The lights were turned off for night on other pages. Better any letter than none.
Am having to work on KP till Thursday instead of Tuesday the 8th. Don't mind to much because Im getting used to it, in fact last night I got all my washing done. I finished it just before lights out so didn't get time to write.
Received your letter written the 6th I never remember to keep tract of the time the mail take. I just received the Readers Digest and the cards Dorothae sent. Will use the cards for answering cards (thank you notes) from people I wont have time to write to. Have received cards from E Anne Hitchy ME Church, Anna + Ray and Dorothae. Several are Christmas cards.
On sunday morning after chow All the catholics go to church then at 9:30 we go. Everyone must go to church unless on guard duty. Our chaplain (don't know his name) is preacher about like Rev. Wareing There is a choir and we usually sing several songs. then the sermon. It never lasts over 45 minutes. Church is held in a larg building like a gym with a special platform on the side for the pulpit. We have to stand up.
Our company has worked hard, Im surprised, so that we have won the red rooster which is the best company in a battalion. Wel will get a wooden red rooster to nail to our barracks. Warren was right our date for getting out of here is now set for January 13th. This is the reason for extra KP because your supposed to get so many days of KP for so many days of training. I don't believe Warren is right about him not getting KP because of being a better company. The way I understand it that everybody is supposed to have one week of KP for one month of training.
Don't bother to send any more stationary got plenty now. I better break off and get this sent for lights are going out now.
Will write as soon as possible.
PS Dec 9th just getting this maile package received. Thanks Tomorrow is last morning of KP will catch up then.
Great Lakes, Ill
December 10, 1942
Just a short letter don't know what to write about since my last letter took three days to mail. My cold is much better and I feel good I got off KP today. Also I got most of my washing done while I was still on KP and I'll be more free over sunday. Am going to try and find Warren's barracks from some other source than just our officer of the day. He couldn't or didn't know where 1722 was bunked.
When companies are inspected each day they are graded on a basis of four points. The company having the most perfect record gets a wooden red rooster to nail outside their barracks. You could knock me cold when our company tied with two other companies and we get the red rooster for two days so our company is better than I judged.
I still don't know what Ill get into We haven't been told the results of the tests we took but should know next week I think. Unless we make service school we won't know what were to do till the day before we leave. Our CPO thinks 75 our of our company of 112 will Pass and make service school At present the orders posted states that we get out January 13. They were originally Dec. 31 then changed to Jan 4, now Jan 13. They might even be backed up.
I don't believe Ill have any canteen trouble any more because next week well be allowed to go to a new hostess house nearby. You can buy presents, etc and milkshakes for which I'm dieing. I thought we were to be served only milk hereafter but I guess that stands only for breakfast. They are however serving cocoa milk more often.
Dumb me. Last night I received my package and opened it. I emptied the first aid box and didn't know what to do with it so I threw it away. Didn't think of useing it for soap till after I reread your letter, then it was to late. Ill use the oil cloth instead
Thanks for the cholicate ? will look it up. I have candy bars but they taste to sweet.
Its about chow time now so till later
PS. I started something when I got my sugar sacks other guys are sending home for them to put things in.
Great Lakes, Ill
8:00 PM December 15, 1942
I probably won't get this letter all written this evening but I'll start it. It seems to take me so long to write a letter usually takes me several hours. I received both of your letters of the 11th + 13th today.
I'm receiving the Times regularly and although I don't read it thoroughly I guess its worth sending even for a good glance.
Several weeks ago we had bananas for two meals but none since. Skeet mentioned she only had balony for a Sunday dinner. I feel sorta bad because I have meat about every meal and chicken is a standard Sunday item.
Don't know what I'll do and probibly wont till later. Tomorrow were supposed to get the rest of all our clothes. Yesterday all musicians were supposed to report to a drill hall and I suppose I should have. Am sorry I didn't but I was never able to play half of the music set before me in band + orchestra so was not musician but seat warmer.
Today we were taken to the armory and briefly shown all about the rifle used by the Navy. We all shot twenty rounds of 22's (same as my gun) and just the highest scores were even noted. No records were kept of it they said that others were no extra good shots in our company but most did fairly good. As far as I know 168 was the highest score in our company. This is mostly for Jims interest but I would like to know if I counted it right. That is all we'll have to do with guns and then it only took about three hours.
Guess my little dictionary will be all right. Right now I am writing this letter in my bunk but there are tables along the middle of the barracks. We aren't supposed to write letters during working hours so it meals that only after noon chow do we have a chance to write but I don't seem to be able to get started in an hours time so that leaves only after 4:40 PM. Have to wash clothes about every other night, sometimes I have guard duty after 4:40 and other times we have extra details like cleaning other barracks. Guard duty is the only job you know you have it before time to start to work.
Friday is called field day and most of the barracks are supposed to be cleaned. Saturday morning we finish cleaning then we wait for inspection. We usually wait several hours even till afternoon and were not allowed to do anything. After inspection we have to stand by because the admiral inspects only one barrack + of course no one ever knows which one. After evening chow were free unless we have general duty. Sat. evening is good time to do washing to get it over with + be free sunday. So far have used sunday to get caught up with letter writing but Since seeing Warren have arranged to see Warren as I mentioned in my last Letter. Sometimes it gets tiresome because were not allowed to lay in our bunks unless sick.
Was on guard duty from 1200 PM to 4:00 AM last night and got about 3 1/2 hours sleep so will close this letter and go to bed.
PS enclosing target
Just received the cookies and candy. Thanks a lot. We all sorta get hungry between meals or want something to eat any way that I have been eating for to many candy bars.
Don't believe you'll get any Christmas present form me nothing to buy here however I managed to get ahold of an extra hat band with U.S. Navy on it but some one stole it white I was at chow. Thought one of the girls would like it, would make a good hat band.
The extra barracks we cleaned was the barber shop where no noe is bunked so almost any company has to help clean them. However if our Co. had won the Red Rooster we probibly wouldn't have to do it.
At present our Co. has to guard these barracks so that were all on guard about every other day. Day before yesterday I was on from 1200 midnight to 4:00 AM. and this morning from 4:00 AM to 8:00. Was tired this morning because had to stand at attention fro several hours waiting for goldbraids to inspect. One boy lost one day from his leave for sleeping on guard. Its not hard its just boring.
Were all alike no one knows what he will do later. Chow time so much for now. Bob
Have Dorothae send cards as were now allowed to play cards because some boys claim home sickness however some boys are secretly gambling. Am mailing $15.00. Five for you and bank Ten for me.
Received Christmas card with no return address signed Dottie and Ellis don't have any idea who it is. Also received letter from AJ Huffman. Is that the Huffman in the county? Started to send card to Huffmans on tiffin St. and thought sure their name was JW Huffman. Please thank them for me as I didn't quite know where to send a card.
Have you received letter I thought I mentioned I was receiving the times ok.
Am slow in writing as I think I should answer all the Xmas cards I get with the cards Dorothae sent me. Have about eight cards to answer now. I don't know what to write about especially from people I just know and it takes about half an hour just to write a card.
I had bought a box of ten Christmas cards and sent them out early but was late + couldn't get any more to fill my list.
We went to get our pictures taken today. if we get them right away I'll send them home and you can do what you want with them there just snapshots.
Tomorrow night we don't have to be in bed until 1200 PM and we can sleep as late as we want to Christmas day.
Today we had bag inspection. We lay our hammocks on the floor and lay our clothes on it in order. Everything must be just so. No one in our company had his perfect. I think our chief is a little to easy. So much for movement to get my cards answered
P.S. Insurance receipt enclosed
With all good wishes
for a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year
Robert A Carter
Cream of Tomato Soup
Roast Tom Turkey Sage Dressing
Giblet Gravy French Peas
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Carrot and Raisin Salad
Ripe Olives Hot Sweet Rolls
Hot Mince Pie Fruit Cake
Ice Cream Nuts Fruit Candy
U.S. Naval Training Station * Great Lakes, Illinois
Just finished dinner when Think I'll sleep the rest of the day. Just received the apples arrived just right. Thanks a lot. They covered our metal plates with so much that you had to watch as they would bend.
Had drill today for a change and got our grades on our tests. Mine are as follows:
|General classification||Average 70||mine 80|
|mechanical appitude test||don't remember|
On the back of our grade cards was a list of about 30 service schools. We were told to mark off about 8 because they were filled such as yeomen, musicans, and buglar etc. They said a signalman was only a job for someone who wanted to serve then return to their former jobs, just flag signaling I guess it must be. A radio man is supposed to be high in all tests (spelling) and since I didn't know anything about radio and not real interested I didn't sign up for it. They went down the whole list suggesting a [caret mark] certain trade if a man was interested, had experince and had at least such & such grade. So I signed up for torpedoman and quartermaster.
I signed up for torpedoman because your supposed to learn all about precision instruments, tools, etc. After schooling and in civilian life your supposed to be a highly skilled mechanic.
I chose quartermaster because I just like to do it. It's just taking charge to see that a ship is navigated properly. I won't ever do that won't be in long enough. I wouldn't mind going to sea but not in navy because of the military angle.
I supposed you think I chose the wrong things and you are probably right but I won't be worse off than I am now not knowing what to do or take up.
Just received notice the Co. below us is quarantined but don't know what for. Hope we don't get it.
The other week we received a new twenty dollar bill so I mailed $15 & have $8 yet enough to get home besides we get payed when we leave. Received apples as I wrote, also received books and cards from Dorothae today.
Just got a chance to go to show now so will close for now.
Mrs Fred Shirland
138 W Center St
A Rough Idea of How I Spend My Time
I Get Up At 0530
I Eat At 0630
Drill couple hours a day
Lunch on Beans do, do, do Black Coffee
Wash My Socks Underwear Hammock this evening
Havent yet even played [poker]
RA Carter AS
Co 1719 USNTS
Great Lakes, Ill
Mrs JL Carter
138 W Center St
Dec 31, 1942
Just a line before hitting the hay. Most of the men in our are on special details for a week. Cleaning etc but mine turned out to be easy. Have to be to work at 7:30 and quit at 4:00 with no guard duty or cleaning in our own barracks. Im one of a crew of 15 who are helping in the insurance office. Simple desk jobs except sweeping the place will write later
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