33: The Captain Let Me Run The Company.

Wednesday… or is it Thursday?
[Postmarked October 6, 1943][1]

Dear Folkses,

I’m now sitting on a rock covered hillside overlooking a cool, deep, clear, trout-filled, spring-fed mountain pool–I’ve just been in and my platoon is still in, splashing around and relaxing for the first time in several days–we have earned it–we marched deep into the backbone of this, the San Juan Mountain Range, 35 miles over several mountains, one of them 3400 feet high–carrying full transport packs, 60-odd pounds, the heaviest load a soldier can carry–but being Marines we carried these heavy weapons too–we were dive-bombed and strafed all yesterday–and that is work, too.

But believe it or not I feel wonderful–a real stiff workout was apparently all I needed, and it knocked that cold out of me. Damn it, it’s getting too dark to see–have to finish later.

Later–by a good deal. Couple of days in fact. But this time we’re 18 miles from the pool, and I’m tired, hot and there’s no place to wash. We’ve been running problems night and day for the past two days–5-6 hours sleep a night–actually we’re scheduled to be running through problems now, but the boys are dog-tired and I’ve got them up in the hills here and let them go to sleep under a tree. The only reason I’m awake is the flies, and a sort of nervous restlessness.

I’ve been umpiring battalion problems for other battalions, supervising firing problems that I made up for the other battalions, and yesterday and last night the Captain let me run the company–I got a kick out of that–the next job I want is commanding officer of a rifle company.

Last night though, had a devil of a time–it would take a long time to explain it all, but it boiled down to damn near insolence towards me and my NCO principally, and the Captain, by members of the opposing company.

God amighty, gotta go again.



[1] This letter and the one following were written in the field while on maneuvers, and mailed upon return to Camp Pendleton.

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