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May-November 1942 — Letter excerpts

The U.S. Army’s Alvin Anderson faced three big challenges in 1942: getting through Officers Candidate School, managing jungle warfare training in Panama and dealing with long periods of separation from his beloved Faye.

Here are quotes lifted from some of Alvin’s letters to Faye in 1942:

May 16, 1942 — from Officers Candidate School — “They are brutes for punishment here. They try to crowd 25 hours in a day, and it just won’t work.”

May 22, 1942 — “Faye, please don’t worry about me. I will be OK. Regardless of what they give me, I think I can take it.”

May 26, 1942 — “It will be so long since we have been together we will almost be strangers. After all, four months is a long time.”

May 29, 1942 — “We have to shoot every weapon in the infantry, and I have been firing the machine gun this week. Today I fired it 100 times in 10 seconds.”

June 3, 1942 — “I am very proud of our Army, and I am also proud to be a very, very small part of it. But there are a lot of heels in it.”

June 6, 1942 — “Weekends just don’t seem right anymore. I just live them and that is all. ‘Pass on Father Time,’ that is my silent slogan now. It can’t pass fast enough.”

June 24, 1942 — I had a 14-ton tank run over me yesterday, and I am still able to write to you. You figure that one out.”

July 4, 1942 — “I am the most miserable person you have ever seen. I’ve never been so disgusted with one place in all my life. … It isn’t the place so much as the officers we have.”

July 29, 1942 — I want you, Darling, for my own. I could treat you like a queen from now on.”

Aug. 27, 1942 — “I am happy because I know I have more to come back to than any man in the service. Nothing is going to happen to me. I can lick a million Japs for you, Darling.”

Sept. 18, 1942 — from his jungle warfare training in Panama — “Why am I here? Who caused me to be here in the beginning? Hitler! I hope to see the day that his skull will be on display in the museum labeled, ‘This is the skull of Hitler, the murderer of millions of God-fearing men, women and children. When I think of what he and his followers have done, I’d just like to blast him and all his Nazis off the earth.”

Nov. 10, 1942 — One day everything looks good, and the next it looks bad, so we just can’t tell. But I try not to let it bother me. I know that wherever I go, I can take care of myself. I’ve tried to learn all I could since I’ve been in the Army, and now I think I’m a pretty good soldier.”

— Compiled by Mark Wineka.


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