Training in the USA
January 18, 1944
Letters from Harold J. Dahl
[best guess 1/18/44]
Dear Mom & Lou,
Well, so far this place [Camp Forrest] isn’t so bad - except that there are a few things - first, it is almost impossible to get out anywhere, second - we are 2 1/2 miles from the Service Club - third, it is largely mud and fourth, among other things there is no Kleenex or ponds to blow my nose in. Send me some, will you?
Also Lou, do you think that sometime you could manage to pack a bottle of wine for me? This is DRY country at its worst and it won’t be so very long before I’ll be wanting a wee drappie. Also please send me Nancy’s [Dahl] address so I can drop her a line.
Fortunately, Bob Whitely has his car here with 25 gallons of gas so we can get to the movies now & then - tonight we saw “Ali Baba” - Phew! Stinks!
As for the weather, the mornings are very, very cold, but when the sun is high it must get up to 60 degrees or so. Today we were working in shirt-sleeves, feeling very comfortable. How it is when it rains I can imagine and in a week or so from now we move out into the field. We are now out of the XIII Corps and into a Special Troops Group in the 2nd Army. There are a couple of other outfits with us, all under the command of a West Pointer - a Colonel - I can’t tell you who else is with us or what kind of outfits they are nor what we do when we start to do it on Monday [1/24/44] but it promises to be very interesting and frankly it looks like we are at last going to play a real part in the war effort. Of course, no one genuinely wants to go to a combat zone, but neither does any real soldier really want to stay at a country club like Meade. It’s going to be muddy, dirty & unpleasant but if we help to win that’s all we can ask.
The trip down was uneventful but comfortable - we played a little blackjack, had a few rum-cokes and generally rested up in our gently rocking pullman bunks. Since we arrived we have been cleaning ourselves, our barracks and setting up our living quarters. Now we have to get short hair-cuts again. I maneuvered myself a single bunk in a corner on my prerogative as a squad leader and find it pretty good that way. Tomorrow I have to design & build some field furniture for our Command Post.
There is little else to say now, except that I’d like if if Norman & George [Dahl] would drop me a line when they can - some mail will brighten up the place considerably -