Skip to main content

Training in the USA

February 23, 1944

Letters from Theodore Katz

sketch of man shaving in the army

Ted's sketch, titled "Latrine scene," 2/23/1944

[postmarked February 23, 1944]

Tuesday –
6:00 P.M.

Dear Helen –

– And to think that I used to say – “If she could only cook” – and now according to the Testimonials I’ve received I find that you are an expert – or rather you will be when you prove that you can fry eggs the way I can – and make spaghetti the way I like it – I wish I were there right now to taste your cooking – after the awful mess they served us tonight. Hungry as I am – I’d be satisfied just to be there – even, without tasting the food.

I’d be going to Tullahoma to eat tonight but we’re having a terrific storm right now. The rain is coming down so hard and the wind is shipping it up so – that it’s impossible to even see five feet out the window – At one time, I would have said it’s a good night for a murder – but now I say it’s a good night to be on the sofa in the parlor.

This camp is a foul place – and after a month I’ve learned why. First of all it’s practically deserted. It’s a large camp – but 75% of the barracks are empty – because I believe it will be closed soon and all troops evacuated. Therefore, the commissary reguses to stock up on food and as a result our rations are meager – For the same reason – even the PXs have shelves which are almost empty – the whole camp has but one Service Club which is more like a morgue – and two movies – which are like huge barns – with wooden benches instead of seats. The place is delapitated [sic] and badly in need of repairs – In our barracks, for instance, the plumbing is a wreck – and the furnaces never seem to work right. Every time it gets cold in these parts – we freeze – Oh, for those happy days at Meade. There is a real camp – and what a location!

Of course, it could be worse – we might be out on maneuvers again – but what makes me mad – is that there is really no excuse for it. When I’m out in the field I expect all the inconveniences that come with it – and take it for what it’s worth. At least, the food was better in Louisiana.

It seems that this entire letter is taken up with the discussion of food – but you started it in your letter and I’m carrying on where you left off. I got a big laugh out of the girls’ testimonials – Also, tell them I appreciate their letting you practice on them until I get there.

A bunch of the boys just came in – they’d had their truck stuck in the mud (a usual occurrence in the parts) during the storm – they look like a bunch of drowned rats – I’m glad I wasn’t with them. I’m waiting to hear the howl when they go over to the mess hall and see what is supposed to be their supper.

So – you think I sound sad and blue – Well, you should see and hear the rest of this outfit – they all look like a bunch of pall-bearers – and as for their morale – it’s down around the soles of their shoes – but my will-power is of rugged material – and nothing around here can put a dent in it deep enough to do any permanent damage. So, don’t think I’m wilting – It’s just that I wish this were all over – I’m impatient – We’re wasting a lot of valuable time –


Please Support Our Ongoing Efforts

The soldiers of The Ghost Army used inflatable tanks, sound effects, and imagination to fool the Germans on the battlefields of Europe. The Ghost Army Legacy Project is ensuring that these men and their accomplishments are never forgotten.

Give via credit card by clicking the yellow “Donate” button.

Or, send a check to:

Ghost Army Legacy Project
1305 S. Michigan Ave. #1104
Chicago, IL 60605

All donations are tax-deductible!