27 January 1944

Song of Russia Movie Poster Got 2 letters tonight. First this week I believe. Very glad to get them. Thanks for the warm compliments. Most of the time here I'm just one of the parts in the vast military machine. Today we fired the 60mm mortar. High explosive shells that have a bursting radius of 35 yards + That are set off by a minimum of 7 lbs pressure on the cap at the head ( they get much more pressure than that when landing after being fired). The first time you handle one of the things, + especially when you pull the safety wire + drop the thing tail down into the mortar tube - you feel a bit nervous. But I think I'd like firing those things as well as anything else perhaps in combat. We had a physical examination the other day. 60% of the men in our company were classified as B or C - unfit for combat duty. I was A-1. do you see now why the Infantry needs men? I didn't know there were so many f_______ 4-fs in the Army. They're not really 4-fs, but some of the A-1's refer to them as that in a more or less joking way. Am sending a letter received from Evelyn. Also meant to send a newspaper article written by Ernie Pyle; about the Infantry as compared with the Air Corps (written on the Italian Front). However, I lost part of the thing carrying it around in my pocket for some days. Anyway, I wish you could get access to his articles (almost daily). They're really good. Oh, yes, why don't I get copies of some of those pictures taken out at Carl's. Do I look that bad? I'd like a copy of Higher Higher Movie Poster the one you sent + I returned - if you've had any copies made. Hope Elaine isn't getting too big? Don't really suppose she is. I don't think I'll need any money. Have $4.00 + will get paid within few days. Think the Army buys the train ticket home. The weather here has been quite fine the past week - except for an occasional rain + some muddy country. But it's been very warm + comfortable most of the time. Hope it stays this way in the field. We got up at 5 o'clock this morning, cleaned up the barracks, at breakfast, saddled up, + were several miles out into the country before it got light. We do that quite often - when we go out to a firing range of one kind or other. Saw a movie last night you must see: "Song of Russia". It was beautiful. I revelled in the music in the picture - mostly Tschaikowskian. The story was beautiful too, although you mustn't analyze the plot too intellectually. It's bedtime again: lights just went out. But as closing advice, if you can, read Ernie Pyle + Life Magazines; and see the movies "Higher + Higher" + "Song of Russia" - particularly the latter.
Love, Melvin

P.S. You are in all my dreams.