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  • Flea Market Love Letters

February 5, 1942.




Dear Sweetheart,

Hello again, “bright eyes”. Your in for a long descriptive letter, so sit tight.

To begin with I was very disappointed today. The Corporal lined us up this noon and handed out the first mail thats arrived here, and I thought surer than the duece that my name would be called but, no call. I don’t know when I had a more disappointed and downhearted feeling. You can’t imagine how bad I felt seeing the other fellows getting it and not getting any myself when I know its down here being soughted. The fellows that got it were from Mass. and it was dated Feb. 2nd. So!!

Maybe you haven’t written but I know different.

I’m just about dead tonight. The only reason I have any life what so - ever is because the only thing I look forward to is writing my sweet.

We went on our first maneuvers today. We practiced skirmishes and aircraft attack. Our objective was the other half of our platoon which held a machine gun nest behind sand bags in the middle of a thickly wooded and brush section. So in our section of the platoon there is 32 men divided into 3 squads so we divided into three separate units and planned our attack to sneak up on the objective. In sneaking up on it we started over a mile away from it and each man is staggered and separated in distance of 20 feet so that a machine gun would only take a few instead of the whole squad. In order to get near the woods from where we started to advance we had to wiggle on our stomachs with packs and guns thru about a quarter of a mile of swamp with about a foot of burnt off swamp weeds on it. Well you should see the mess and filfth we wiggled on thru. Sloppy and black from the grass and looking for snakes we arrived at the edge of the thick underbrush full of rosebushes and twisted vines and mud holes. We seperated twice the distance and got the hand signal from our section leader and started on our hands and knees with our rifles in our hand ready to pick off any advance enemy scouts. Our hands were bleeding and cut from the dam thorns and our knees and trousers were one grand mess. When we were within 75 yeards of the nest we weren’t allowed to advance in that fashion so I looked across at the leader and the hands down signal came and that meant down on our belly again so down we went and we couldn’t advance because the vines and thrones made it impossible so we had to keep very silent and cut a vine or two at a time and yet not let the supposed enemy side see any movement in the brush. When all of a sudden I feel itchy all over and I look at my rifle and saw a thousand ants on it and then I felt my head and looked at my body, well I was a black cloud full of red ants! I was lying on top of a large ant hill!!

Yet i couldn’t make a move because I was within earshot of the enemy pill box. I thought that I would go actually insane. They were under my clothes in my ears and on my cut up face. It was bad enough being dirty and slimey without having those miserable creatures torturing me. This isn’t all!! The next thing I see a large snake wiggle away from the thick dead wood a few inches from my face which is against the ground!! I never thought I would be in such a mess and jam in my life! Kiddo, I think I lost or aged 10 years  in those dreadful minutes. The referee which was the Corporal gave the signal for all within 20 yards to show themselves, so I got up and ran like a mad man to storm it. Well our side won because 19 men were within 30 yards of the nest and weren’t spotted by the other side. The losers had to go thru the old belt line.

We also learned a lot about scouting and flanking movements. When we work out the lessons in large scale in the woods and swaps around the island. If we are in columns of three marching down the road and the Corp blows three short bursts from his whistle it means air planes are strafing so the middle column falls flat on its face in the rood in seperations of about 20 feet while the outside colums run to the side and fall in the fields or ditches or any thing with protection. We hiked all day all over the large island and were given every sought of practice in movement. We are all cut about the hands and face and were black from head to foot and our uniforms and equipment were also ruined as far as being dirty was concerned. We didn’t have canteens either today because the order was given to march without them. Our lips and mouths were parched from lack of it. It was a real warm summers day here and after the “sham battle” was over we formed our platoon and started the long tiresome march back to our barracks. We were a tired and worn out looking bunch before we took a shower and prepared for mess. And how we ate at mess tonight. Every man had about five big helpings of everything on the mess table. The Marine Post band gave a perfect concert outside the mess tonight. They played popular band music. Their band has to be perfect and it was the best I ever heard that wasn’t a big shot radio set up. We all thought they had it all over anything we ever heard. Even tho we had such a tough day when we heard the band we felt like marching another thirty miles. It certainly does put life into you not matter how worn out you feel you want to start throwing out your chest all over again.

My writing is a mess I know but I have so much to write in about an hour I can’t say it fast enough.

Betty if you see mom or when you do, would you tell her some of these experiences because I don’t get much change to explain everything in detail like I do to you.

Has your love dwindled in the least for me darling? I hope not. Tell me in your letter how much you love me and I’ll feel a million times better. Did the office gang kid you about the ring as yet? That’s why I wish I could get your letters to know what’s going on up there. It’s the devil not knowing how you or mother are. You see you get my mail but I don’t know a dam thing but all I can do is hope everything is O.K.

Hey! A black-out just came!! No lights, except our dim flashlights. It’s our first one. I don’t know know if it’s a drill or real thing. All running water is shut off and search lights are on.

Sorry I’ll have to say so long as we are ordered to form platoons to be on the alert!

I love you will write you tomorrow more

Goodnight sweetheart,

Love,

Jack

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