8 October 1943

Today we had one tough road march. It was a forced march of 12 to 15 miles, I don't know the distance; but we had to stretch out every step and the cadence was almost 120 steps a minute, which is pretty fast. The other men compared it to double-timing. That with a heavy pack and a rifle (10 lbs.) slung over the shoulder. My legs ached and burned and the straps on the pack cut my shoulders slightly, but we made it all right. Heard that a few dropped out. Tomorrow is inspection (formal) again. Last night happened to drop into a barracks that had a lot of the boys that were in the old tent row #1 under me. Heard again from several of them what a good corporal they thought I was. They seem to overrate me greatly, but it's very heart-warming to hear them do it. It even was said by one of them I was the best corporal in the outfit. Wish the commissioned officers would think so, but of that I'm very doubtful. In fact, I wish I was a little surer of my position as far as the officers are concerned. Hear they're planning to release 5 non-coms from the company. It naturally makes me wonder, but I'm not too worried. Everything here is so changeable you never know what next. This Army life reminds me of the song "Ol' Man River"- it just keeps rolling along. Wish I could see you and the baby and enjoy some lazy days of doing what I d____ pleased for awhile. It's jump, jump, jump here from morning until night. Got the $2.00 birthday gift from you today. Thanks a lot for your kind remembrance. I can't very well buy anything with it here though, because of the exhorbitant prices they ask for things in the town of Leavenworth. But it will be very useful later at least for spending money. Still would like to have one of those kits for toilet articles-one that had some room in it so that you can just toss things into it in a hurry and get them out in a hurry. I don't want anything with a lot of fancy pockets and straps (as holders); that kind is just a nuisance in an army camp. If you can get one later I'll return the 2 dollars. But thanks a lot in any event. Hope you can get out more. Do you have time for the radio or newspapers? Ran out of paper and there's no more at the desk. Borrowed this envelope from a telephone operator. There's not much more to say perhaps right now. Be seeing you.
Love, Melvin

P.S. Take good care of the baby. That reminds me: saw one of the sad sights of war the other day: wives, some with babies in their arms, and mothers and other relatives, were standing near the R.C. entrance watching a convoy go out-a convoy of which their men were a part-and these would go to distant points and not be home again for a long time. So far I've been very fortunate. Here's hoping. M.J.