Thursday, 03 May 2012 18:31

Ben Hartley Letter 005 - 1943-03-07

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Postage Stamp:  FREE
Postage Date:  Mar 7 5:30PM 1943

Pvt. Ben R. Hartley
A.S.N. 18,232,843
Barracks 293, Service Squadron 32
308th Training Group
B.T.C #3
Sheppard Field, Texas

Envelope Reverse:

To:  Mrs. Louis D. Hartley
The Mart Herald
Mart, Texas

Friday Morning

Dearest Mom,

Today is another cold one with the wind blowing and sand flying; in fact, it is as cold as ye olde well-knowni Norwegian welle digger with whome you are no doubt acquainted.

Yesterday was a tellacious day for me and all the cadets who came up the same day that I did.  All morning from 7:00 - 11:00 we drilled -- four hours we put in our first day on the drill field.  We have previously drilled only thirty minutes or so, and not on the rought drill grounds.  I didn't mind drilling, however, even thought the cold wind was whipping the sand into our afaces.  After chow we fell out of barracks not knowing what was in store.  The sun was out, and the wind was down, and the afternoon was warm.  We marched out to a huge piece of cleaned ground known as "the cow pasture". (Why it is named that I do not know, for there is not a spring of grass on that square mile of sand red earth.)  For fifteen minutes we had calesthenics; then we double-timed around in a huge square (about 300 yds x 300 yds) for what seemed like an hour.  Then came the fun -- without letting us rest, we played some bodily contact games which were plenty rough.  After a half hour of wrestling, fighting, knocking each other about, etc., we double-timed all the way across the field to the obstacle course.  Without a rest of any sort we started running that, and then I knew what Pays meant when he said that such stuff was pretty rought.  First came the ditch cross which you swung on a rope, then my Waterloo -- an eight-foot wall which I did not have the strength to pull myself.  After many futile attempts, the sergeant told me to go around the wall.  I made the rest of the course O.K. -- the tunnels which you wiggle through, the rope which you must walk hunch over hand to cross a fifteen-foot ditch, the barricades of wood with barbed wire and thornes all over them, and the feet jumps across ditches and down into sand pits.  I couldn't sprint the last hundred yard, and not many others could either.

Saturday noon

I'm sorry that I haven't found time to finish this letter, but I have been very busy since I wrote that last live above.

Yesterday morning we had a lecture on military courtesy and drilled a copule of hours.  Yesterday afternoong was a most horrible one -- a ten-mile road run.  A little lieutenant who was once a cross-country runner for U.S.C. led us, and he really ran us.  I fell out of ranks about 1/2 mile from the camp and joined the throngs who had blistered feet, cramped legs, etc.  My legs felt like lead, and my chest was like fire.  I felt bad about having to drop out, but I had to else I would have fallen flat on my face.

Last night we had another Typhoid shot and a smallpox vaccination, and I thought neither would bother me.  This morning when I woke up, howerever, I was soreand aching from head to toe.  My right arm, the one in which the typhoid serum was injected, felt as if it might drop off at any moment.

The inclement weather again kept us in barracks this morning, the temperature being down below freezing and an icy wind whipping out of the north.

This afternoon we are shipping our civilian cloths home, and I imagine that you can expect them monday.  I figure that I had better send them C.O.D. in order that I won't run out of money before the end of the month.

As you can probably guess, I don't have the time to write to all my relatives and friends, but I will try to write you as often as possible.  You can tell Grandad and Grandmother what is happening to me and all the rest of the folks.  I'll also try to write Dad once per week if possible.  Incidently, I have received letters from Gan, Grandad & Grandmother, Lilah, and a paper from the Atty. Gen'la. Dept, but not one single letter have I received from  you.  Possible I made a mistack on the return address.

Must close now for we fall out for another session in the "Cow Pasture" in a couple of minutes.

All my love and kisses for you and Louie

From your son



close now.

All my love for you and Louie,

Your Son,


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