Letters

6 February 1944

Meant to write from Baker's Hollow but didn't have the time. Got back by a "forced march" last night about 11:00 o'clock. Spent all day getting equipment + self cleaned up + have also been getting packed up again for a hike to Dry Valley tonight. If you should happen to wake up in the night sometime it'll be almost even chance that I won't be sleeping but on a night march or on a night problem. Seems as if a great share of our work is done at night! For instance we were awakened at 3:00 A.M. last Tuesday to pack up + hike about 8 or 9 miles through pitch darkness + through mud + water + over rocks + perpendicular hills to Bakers Hollow. With overcoats on our packs, our entire equipment weighed at least 90 lbs - maybe more. Never so tired in my life. We slept on the ground - sometimes it was wet + muddy - but kept warm at that. We ate our meals out of cans (c rations) + one meal we had was a concentrated chocate bar (K ration). I could tell you much more but don't have time. Will say that Dry Valley (sometimes it's wet, but the weather is fairly warm + dry today) will be really tough. No fires, + practically no sleep for 4 days + nights. We're going to run through some real "maneuvers" - more properly called problems - with all the trimmings. I'm a scout in my squad + will be on advance scouting + patrol work; also will be an outguard on bivouac comat setups. It'll be pretty rough, but may enjoy much of it perhaps. This past week I didn't get to wash my face for 2 days + nights straight, was never so dirty in my life. Took a hot shower + changed clothes after coming in + feel much better. The cycle ends the 16th Feb, will be home, I expect, any day after that - it's hard to say when exactly, but expect it'll be sometime the first few days of March. Dad's condition worries me. If he gets critically ill I possibly could get a 15 day emergency furlough in that case. So my picture wasn't so good? Haven't time to write more now. Wish I could though. The baby must be really cute. Is she a pretty child? I haven't read a newspaper all week. Only know the bare headlines of one or two days' news. Wish they'd give a fellow his Sunday off anyway.

Love,Melvin

P.S. Enjoyed your letters very much. Keep writing. Oh, yes, send $10.00 as soon as possible. I may need it for train fare - just possibly - but get it here promptly. MJ