Transcription of Document FFDoc-0263.pdf

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Pelletier, Dot
Gen & Chief

Wed. 515PM, 10-20-43

Dear Mother & Dad:

Am not going to mess so thought I'd better get a note off to you while I have a few minutes & before I give in to the wild desire to sleep. I can't afford to sleep and if I can keep awake another half-hour maybe I'll hold out until bed-check.

Don't know where to begin on all this, but you asked why I need more school when I've had two years of interviewing. It would take me a book to explain Army Classification (of which  interviewing is only a part) to you - it's going to take us 2 mos just to get the fundamentals.  Social-work interviewing only gives you Ease in dealing with people & perhaps a technique in getting information as far as this job is concerned. And our interviewing here requires a lot more technical knowledge. Briefly (very) Army Classification consists in testing, interviewing, classifying, assigning enlisted men to military jobs according to their civilian & military skills. In our interviewing we list a lot of identifying data, as well as a person's 1st & 2nd main civilian occupations, on a large form card. All of which sounds simple. But there are Army Regulations, volumes of them, governing all  this - all the way down to how words shall be abbreviated & just how CARDS SHALL BE PRINTED!! In addition there are 30,000 jobs, with given identification numbers, into which a man's civilian occupation may fall. So one must know the most commonly met ones of these by title, number, and definition, as well as know how & where to find the rest in the proper books. Also, there is ever so much judgement to be exercised in deciding what are all a man's main jobs - considering their importance, longevity, income, his skill, his test scores, plus his training & education. It ain't easy, McGee, & for my $$, there'll still be plenty to learn even after years at this job. So - that's why we're in school. All boring to you, no doubt, but you asked for it.

Perhaps a copy of our schedule will help you know why I won't be writing you very often - perhaps only on week-ends. And so you'll get the benefit of the physical effort involved, keep in mind that I live on the top (3) floor (double flights!) and make at least 20 trips up & down during the day; also mess & school are a 10-15 minute march away - all laden down with about 5-6 lbs of books in left arm AND all up-and-down hill. So here goes:

5:30 AM - rise & shine - with only 3 sinks for 25 girls you need a half-hour to get all done up in full uniform so as to be ready by

6:00 AM - fall out for reveille - march off to mess-hall for breakfast. Then back to barracks about 6:35

6:35 - 7:00 - change into fatigues to clean & for P.T. later. Make bed, put clothes away, clean room, do squad detail. - all of which was much easier in our barracks in camp 'cause you were confined to about a foot of space all around your bunk, & your shelf, for cleaning. In this barn, you're never done, and there are more damn dust collectors than you can shake a stick at. The thought of keeping a room again kills me!

7:00 - 7:45 - P.T. in the back yard.

7:45 - 8:15 - put the finishing touches to the room. By this time you're well sweated up & nice & dirty with Pa. soot! So you clean your face again, do you hair, & put on the A uniform again.

8:15 fall out for classes

8:30 - 11:20 classes - 3 of them with Army instructors - good looking, witty, Lts, Colo., Major, Capts - aces at their job - never fail to take a crack at the WACs. We're the first they've seen & I don't believe they fully appreciate our presence in a strictly men's school (see paper) & are undoubtedly chagrined at the fact that we may someday be interviewing in the men's army. Also we cramp their style of "men's talk" in lectures. Every time the male students put on a demonstration skit, they never fail to insert some good-humored barbs about the WACs. It's really funny, we can take it, & we may grow on them before the course is over. We hope so.

11:30 - by this time we're in the chow line again. And the meals here are the best we've EVER eaten! Army has taken over part of one of the hotels & our Cooks are civilian women. Eat with the men but have 2 tables reserved only for us.

12:15 - We're home again by this time with a whole half-hour to do as you please!! Most if it is spent running up & down stairs to mail call, or the Johnny to freshen up.

12:45 - fall out for classes

1:00 - 3:50 - 3 more class sessions. Then the 10 main march back to the house.

4:00 - 5:00 close-order drill under an Army Lt. This I really like. Most of our cadre & officers can't drill us worth a damn & we really have potential[?]. But the snap & precision of an Army Louie really keeps you on the ball & you love it. Also it wakes Shields up so she can get started on the Evening Session.

5:00 - 5:30 on your own again.

5:30 - fall out for mess - it's 6:15 now & the kids aren't back yet!

6:30 - 11PM is yours BUT there's a ream of written material, books, etc. to be studied for the following day's lectures. And the tches aren't averse to gentle dirty cracks if it's evident you haven't studied. Well, I've been conscientious about that, and find it requires 3-4 hours just to READ the given assignments, to say nothing of taking time out to absorb them.

So you're never tucked in before 11:30 & from then till 5:30 AM is only 6 hrs sleep. Besides which, every 8 days we draw CQ and fire guard duty. Which is given in 3 shifts: 5PM to 10PM; 10PM to 3AM; 3AM to 7:30 AM. During this you stay in the orderly room on the 1st floor, are responsible for the barracks, & once an hour make the rounds to check for fires etc. (Are you still with me, or are you as tired as I am?) Friday is my shot at CQ & with my luck I draw the 3AM to 7:30 shift. Have to be in full uniform & awake, 'cause the O.D. comes around during the wee hrs to check. Can't imagine how I'll get through Saturday!

Well, there it is. And if you think there aren't times when my "arss" is draggen, you just ain't thinkin'. Now I know what Frank is going thro. And when I think of the subjects HE takes, with the consequent home work, I get weak. Let me know how he looks & how he's bearing up.

Joe's letter was really something. With 36 trips in, it shouldn't be long now. If he should get home & I'm in Oglethorpe, I'm sure I can arrange an Emergency furlough. Let's hope for it. Maybe that's why I got up here & won't be home for Xmas. Who knows, you may have a couple of us at once, yet.

Started a letter to Touhey & can't get it finished. Aunty wrote today (to Geo) & I know I can't answer it. Will you please excuse me to them?

Well, they say our first exam, tomorrow, is a lalapalooza. Also our first class is at 7:30. Just discovered that happens once a week - Oi oi! It's 6:30 no so I'm going to cry "uncle." Don't let me know with mail.

Love, Dot.

copyright 2014-2023 Francis J. Shields