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Gerald R. Rees Papers: Transcripts - MS 1007

Gerald ReesĀ Correspondence - August 1944

August 17, 1944


Thursday P.M.

Dear Mom,

Monday when I got back to camp, the 1st sgt shook me by the hand and said "Congratulations, Sgt. Rees!" So I have all that sewing to do over again. I'll be making an impressive $78.00 a month from now on. I would have written sooner, but forgot your box number at Lakeside. Anyhow, we have been going at it hard and steady since we got back. They probably thought we had gotten soft while we were home, and want to sweat it out of us. We worked all night last night, besides our regular day's work; I'm getting kind of sleepy by now. It doesn't seem so bad, though, because it's enjoyable work, with a pleasing sort of feeling of satisfaction as each project comes out O.K. Last night was our first attempt at surveying in the dark, and my crew did themselves proud. I had the rather scary job of driving up and down narrow roads without any lights, trying to keep track of everyone, and feeling out the ground ahead for the party.

I hope you had your full share of relaxation and fun at Lakeside this week. You've earned a vacation the last few months.

I'll be very anxious to hear how Eleanor's trip went, after we last heard from her at Little Rock. I'd like to get to San Antonio this week, but don't think I can make it. I'll write to them, though, and find out their address.

Burt Frost is in Rome and likes it very much, he says.


August 21, 1944

Monday noon

Dear Mom,

All my letters seem to start with apologies, and this is no exception. Yesterday I was up at Mingus and didn't get any letters written. I tried to get a pass for San Antonio, but they said it was too far, so I couldn't go. I'll have to write to Eleanor now and tell her that I won't be able to see her and Johnny, darn it.

Talk about eating! Saturday night when I got to Uncle Lew's, he took me over to another cabin on the lake, and introduced me to an old crony of his. He was a very wealthy oil man from Ft. Worth who is a sort of professional good sport, and very free with his money. First he cooked me a huge steak-it hung over the sides of a 10" dinner plate-and we all sat and talked for a long time. Yesterday we had quantities of ham and eggs for breakfast, and then went driving through the countryside. Fried chicken for dinner, of course. I took a bus back at about 10:00 last night. I imagine that will be the last time I will get up to see them. In two weeks we go into the field and take our final tests to see if we've learned all we're supposed to know about an observation battalion.

Well, I just finished paying for my first monthly $50 bond; let me know when it arrives just for curiousity. Sometimes they are very slow in coming. You should also be getting the receipt for the insurance premium I paid Saturday. Only about thirteen years to go on that policy.

We are working on astronomic observations now, so any nights not taken up by classes or hikes are used in shooting the stars. I'd like to write to the whole family, but it's all I can do to write to you now and then, so let them all know that I'm still alive, will you?

With Love,


P.S. They gave us money to pay for our food while on furlough, so I'll pass on part of it to you.

August 22, 1944

Tuesday night

Dear Folks,

I'm honestly sorry I haven't been able to write oftener lately, but we have been the busiest the last few days of any time so far. We spend at least two days of the week on bivouac, plus a hike one evening a week and several training movies. So there haven't been any free evenings. Besides the improved social standing and pay, this sergeant business is bringing a lot more responsibilities and worries. I'm having a hard time being addressed as "hey, Sarge."

I seem to have brought back some Ohio germs with me, and have had a bad cold for several days. I have to teach some classes tomorrow, and now I'm losing my voice. They'll think that's more than a coincidence, but I can't help it.

It's really swell that you were able to do so many interesting things at Lakeside. Even in wartime they seem to have a good summer season. But now you'll have to get back into the grind-and into a very empty house.

Thirteen flat tires seem hard to believe, but at least they made it all right. I won't be able to go to San Antonio now till after payday, if then. We are restricted pretty close now, and passes are hard to get.

Perhaps we'll have more time next week-end, so I can write a little more. Hope so.


August 27, 1944

Sunday P.M.

Dear Mom,

It has been raining more or less steadily since yesterday morning, a sure indication that the long Texas summer is easing off a bit. After church this morning we settled down to enjoying a quiet Sunday "at home". I have an almost hopeless job of correspondence to catch up on, which is pretty depressing. It's all old stuff-I've only gotten about three letters since I came back. One was your letter from Lakeside, and one short one was from Johnny. Eleanor has probably sent you their address already. I'd give a lot to get down there, but it looks like we'll be going into the field next week for a while, and after that-no one knows.

Thursday night we hiked over eight miles in less than two hours-you should have heard everyone moan and groan. I was blessed with a good pair of feet, so I didn't mind it. These are just conditioning hikes; we don't have to walk any as part of our regular work.

Some fellows are going into town so I'll send this along to be mailed. Hope you're O.K.


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