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Dear Pa, I apologize for the delay in writing. Since I left home in November, life has been exhausting. Although some of my friends were sent to the same post as I was, initially the attitude around the fort was cold and distant. Most of us felt homesick, and I for one struggled with being so far from home. I’ve never really been more than 20 miles away from you and ma. I’ve made some friends though, and things really aren’t so bad here. At least we get three squares a day, as our commander tries to convince us. When I
arrived at Fort Knox, the supervisors seemed very interested in my experience with the farm machinery. Word around camp is that high command has put the general -- General A. Chafee -- in charge of creating the first true American tank division. Seems the Germans have been making a real mess with their fast, isolated tank units and we’re following suit. If it works it works I suppose. When I first got here, I was made a private in the First Brigade Combat Team of the First Armored Division of the United States, or as command calls us, Combat Command
A. Maybe I’m unlucky to have been drafted so early, but at least I get to be one of the firsts. I’ve been placed with Delta company, and they’re all swell. Except for our gunner, Richie Stevens. He’s a real dumbass. But he shoots well. Initially, I was the assistant driver. The inside of an M3 Stuart, the tanks the fort had to train with before the Lees rolled in, is cramped like you wouldn't believe! I sat in the front right of the tank, next to the driver. I was an extra pair of eyes for the driver, and
if there was a problem, I was first to go on mechanic duty. Being in a tank is real unnatural, but in a way it's sort of fun. Really makes you feel invulnerable, what with being entirely encased in armor. Hot as hell though. Anyway, life’s been alright for me. You can tell a lot of this is new for most folks, because it took a while for command to get us into some sort of routine. Now though, we’ve got things down pat. Revelry is called early, we get dressed and cleaned up, have a small breakfast, and are
ready to go by about 6:00 AM. Then, we separate out into our units and companies. We’ve been running drills and playing war games nearly every day without fail for a few months now. The land around the fort is mostly plains and forest, so I imagine this draft might end up in our deployment to the forests of Europe. At least, that’s what the idea is in the company. The officers around camp are very nice, but you can tell they’re figuring things out just as much as we are. I assume that because we’re one of the first
real tank units in the U.S, that they truly don’t know what they’re doing. Every day we try out new strategies formed in command and test them against each other. At first things were messy, but our brigade and our company are starting to get the hang of things. I imagine we’re getting closer to being deployed. I miss you and the family, Pa. Life is certainly different than it was, but it’s not so bad. Things are really getting worse across the pond, so I imagine I’ll see combat before this thing is over. If I don’t get a
chance to write to you soon, assume everything is swell. I’ll write as soon as we move to be deployed. Tell ma and Richard and Michael I miss em’. Love, David P.S -- If you don’t mind, a lot of the boys around here have some mighty nice pin-ups. If you could get the one off my wall at home and pack it up, maybe with some smokes and some cash, that would really be just the greatest.
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