Apr 19, 2014

Wed, Apr 19, 1944: boot camp

"Dear Folks:
 "I made an unexpected move Monday.  Instead of going to midshipmen's school as expected, I went the other way - to boot camp.  So I'll be at home here not far from Buffalo - and about 14 miles form a town called Geneva - for the next 4 to 6 weeks.
"Sunday afternoon the executive officer called three of us over to inform us of orders from Washington to transfer us to boot camp.  Because our eyes didn't quite come up to the 18/20 standard, they took us out of the V-12 program....
"Well, I'm just about resigned to my lot in boot camp now.  We still have a chance to go to some service school for a rating -- in fact the Exec back at Asbury practically promised us we would, but I won't believe anything anymore until it happens.  If I had failed to use my books and slid through on D's back in V-12, I might be a lot higher in the Navy right now.  But, at least I got a year of free college out of the deal."

-- Letter from my father, Camp Sampson, N.Y., to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Wednesday, April 19, 1944.  This is the bluest my Dad sounds in any of his letters from the Navy.  He seems to think if he had studied less, he would have saved his eyes and had good enough eyesight to have been admitted to a midshipmen’s school, rather than going to boot camp.  Being in boot camp meant, he was likely to be sent into combat soon as an enlisted man, rather than staying in the U.S. for officer training programs.

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