Did any military men and women die today because of defense secrets leaked by Edward Snowden?  Does anybody know?  Does anybody care?  Edward Snowden’s considered a folk hero in some circles–like Jesse James, Bonnie and Clyde.

The aforementioned were bank robbers–stole other people’s money.  Snowden fled the country with stolen defense secrets.  I’m tired of political attack ads–just like everyone else.  The final straw for me–Edward Snowden, used by a conservative candidate to make political hay.

Edward Snowden, I no more consider a hero, than Jane Fonda, when she hobnobbed with the North Vietnamese during another unpopular war.  Mr. Snowden, exiled by his own choice, leaked defense secrets–secrets about tactics in Afghanistan and Iraq.

How was that not treasonous?  I don’t know if his motives  were  altruistic.  He stood up to alleged United States Government overreaches.  Shouldn’t he suffer the consequences of his actions–whether or not he agreed with foreign policy?

Why do documents continue to be leaked to the media?  That’s the characterization of a carefully orchestrated publicity stunt.  Heroes don’t run.  Would Mr. Snowden be willing to die for his beliefs?  I’m not convinced that he would be.

Military enlistees  “…do solemnly swear that they will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”

These young men and women deserve better, than to be considered collateral damage in Snowden’s campaign against the government. Politicians should choose their bedfellows more carefully.  Snowden’s no hero of mine.

On a related topic, how many deaths have there been in the name of political expediency?  Far too many–in all the wars to end all wars, and the world is still a scary place.

I hope everyone exercised their right to vote today.  Even if you didn’t agree with what I’ve said.  It really does matter!


DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Chapter 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas ’42

camp slo 2

Camp San Luis Obispo

Camp San Luis Obispo
Nov. 29, 1942

This is a lazy Sunday, there isn’t much activity around camp.  Some sleeping, some are writing letters and others have gone to town.  It is getting cloudy this afternoon.  Maybe we’ll have a rain.  The raining season is about due to start.  So far this fall it has rained only occasionally.  The other night we had a heavy mist which was almost like rain.  

We had a very nice turkey dinner Thanksgiving day with all the trimmings.  We had several guests, mothers, wives, and sweethearts of soldiers.  We had to dress formally with blouses.  The captain made a little speech on Thanksgiving and led the Lord’s Prayer.

I am rather busy nowadays since I’ve gone back to work in the section.  At the present I have charge of the tool truck.  That is, checking out and in the tools taken out and used by the mechanics.  It is somewhat of a job to keep track of all of them unless someone oversees it.  When I started there weren’t any tools on the truck as they were making an inventory of them.  I got in on the job as they started putting them all back in the drawers and I had to figure out places to put them.  There were a lot of tools that I had no idea of what their purpose was. 

Wednesday night I had guard and was lucky enough to get the first shift (6 to 10) and didn’t lose any sleep.  Friday, I had KP.  I am generally lucky enough not to get details on weekends.  We had our weekly inspection yesterday morning and they warned us beforehand that it was going to be tough.  Some of the fellows never passed and had to do extra detail yesterday afternoon which they otherwise would have had off.    

Dorothy said that she was almost afraid to come down to see you until she announces the marriage.  She seems to have a complex about announcing it and I know it is just her imagination.  I’m trying to convince her of that.  She says she is considering going to school next summer and trying to get a grad in a high school to teach.  She said Harvey [brother in Navy] was coming home on leave during Thanksgiving. 

I’ve gained weight since I came back off furlough so the army agrees with me, I guess.  That ride back on the train sure was hard as the train was so crowded and good seats weren’t always available. 

I hope you are enjoying good health.  Will close for now.

Dec. 6, 1942

This was about the coldest morning that we’ve had so far I believe.  There was actually frost early this morning before the sun came up. 

I had guard last night from 10 till 2.  It was beginning to get rather cool about that time without fog.  We got to sleep till 7:30 this morning as it was Sunday and breakfast wasn’t until 8.  Some of the boys came in during the night from furlough.  There is another bunch to leave some time this week.

We’ve been rather busy the past week getting our surplus automotive parts packed and shipped.  I suppose they figure that we won’t be using them anymore and are sending them elsewhere.  We are to go through an intense training in the next few weeks.  The other sections have already started., bu we had other work to do.  

Christmas is just around the corner and outside of sending some card, I don’t suppose that I’ll be able to send any presents.  They told us a day or so ago that if we don’t get them off by this last week, that they wouldn’t reach their destination in time.  I hadn’t had much of a chance to do any Christmas shopping before and since it”s too late now I suppose I’ll have to be content to send cards.   

I bought a bunch of cards the other night at the PX and have them addressed ready to send out.   Some of the people I intended to send card, I do not know their full addresses.  I tried to send cards to most of the people who sent me cards last Xmas. 

I’ll write Wendell D. [Dowland] a letter and see what he thinks of the army by now.  He is stationed only about thirty miles from where we were last winter.  I made several trips from Lakeside to Camp Callan.  That is where we got our expense money.

Did you get a gasoline rationing book OK?  Dorothy’s brother Harvey was home during Thanksgiving and they spent most of their time together.  Dorothy said that she intended to announce our marriage right away and then she went to Kerstein and he advised her to keep it quiet until she got another school.  She also told Mr. Jones and he also advised her not to say anything about it until the school term was over as there was one of the directors that she might have some trouble with he already gives enough trouble.  I don’t know for sure what she is going to do.

Editor’s note:  Mom was advised by the president of the school board to keep her marriage quiet.  Some school board members were opposed to having married teachers in one-room schools.  She could lose her job if word got out.   

I suppose it is up to her, as it doesn’t make any difference to me if she waits until school is out.  It really doesn’t matter so much I suppose as I’m not home anyway.    

I had the allotment applied for this last week.  I also applied for more insurance.  I’m dividing my insurance between you and my wife.  I had my bond cancelled as I couldn’t afford to buy one now.  My wife can handle that now.  She’ll have to do something with money she gets and that’ll be a good place to put it. 

I am stuck on a few addresses and I wonder if you could help me out.  So far I have addressed about 28 cards and am going to have to get more.  I’m sending cards to the uncles and aunts on the Adam and Clements side.

Could you give me the address of the following:  John Horn’s, Helen Horn’s address and name, Viola’s name and address?

If you can think of anyone that I should send a card to I’m open for suggestions..  I’ve covered all the close relation except Weber’s in Iowa and I can’t think of their address.  I have a list of about 43 names so far.  I can’t wait too long before sending them or they’ll arrive too late.

I’ll close for now.

P.S.  Finish those pictures in the role in the camera as soon as possible and send them to me.  I want to see how they turned out.

Dec. 20, 1942

Here it is Sunday again.  We slept late and had a late breakfast as usual on Sunday. 

We had another shot yesterday morning and my arm was rather sore last night.  It is still sore but feels better this morning.  It didn’t affect me this time like it did before.  We were out on the range this week and qualified with the rifle.  I didn’t shoot so good with the 30 caliber as I should have.  It made too much shooting at one time and my shoulder got sore where the gun kicked back and my nerves weren’t steady enough to get a good aim.  I shot off about 100 rounds of ammunition in a day and a quarter.  I haven’t received the package you sent as yet, but it’ll be getting here before long I imagine.  It takes quite a while for packages to travel now as the mails are so crowded.  I’ll let you know of its condition as soon as it gets here.  I think it’ll be all right if you packed it in a good strong box.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we moved out of here soon after Christmas.  They’ve sent for all the men away at school.  Since we’ve been getting rigid training, show down inspections, and shots.  They are transferring some of the men out of the company.  The general opinion is that they are the undesirables.  The ones that they don’t want in the company.

I’ve heard that most of us will get ratings.  Maybe they won’t be so much, but every little bit helps.  We’ll get 20 per cent more pay for overseas duty.  I have taken care of my allotments.  I don’t remember whether I told you or not, but I took out $9,000 more insurance, which costs me $6.90 a month.  I’ve divided it half to you and half to Dorothy.  In other words, you are beneficiary to $5,000 and Dorothy is beneficiary to $5,000.     

I cancelled my war bond as I couldn’t pay for all the allotments.  Dorothy can buy bonds  out of what she gets.  If I get enough moeny over what I need later on I can send more home or take out some more bonds.

I mailed a card with a few lines written on it to Clyde Lee.  I wrote to Wendell Dowland and he answered right back.  He says they sure keep him on the jump.  He said he had to clean his rifle 3 or 4 times one day before they called it satisfactorily cleaned.  I can’t find his letter now.  He didn’t write so much and I remember the one incident he told of

I received about ten Christmas cards yesterday.  I received some from people who I never thought would send me one and I never sent them any.  It is too late now to send them cards.  I heard from a couple of people in Lakeside.  I suppose I’ll be getting more cards this year than I did last, as more people know where I’m located.

I am sending home my old driver’s license and a picture take on maneuvers.  If you look closely, you can see the ruggedness of the rock formation.

When I get overseas you can still write regularly by V-mail.  You can buy the forms and follow the instructions.  I see that they have some forms on sale here at the Post Exchange.


V-Mail Posters

We are having steak for dinner today.  I’ll bet we eat better than civilians now, as they aren’t able to get all the meat, coffee, sugar and dairy products they want.  There is a noticeable shortage of dairy products here in camp now.  I’ll close for this time.    

Dec. 21, 1942

This is December the 21st, which is supposed to be the shortest day of the year.  Back there, I suppose you are having weather typical of Christmas, while here it is just uncomfortably cool in the mornings.

I received your box in the morning in good condition.  The candy and cookies are very good.   Thanks a lot.  Homemade cookies and candy tastes mighty good when a person is 2,000 miles from home.

Fred Bratton, who is the boy I went to see, said that it was stuff that came as near from home as he could expect without actually really coming from Arthur [Illinois] which is about a hundred miles from Chesterfield. 

Editor’s note:  Fred Bratton, another soldier from Illinois, became Dad’s lifelong Army buddy.

We haven’t eaten all the cookies and candy yet as it is rather rich and we aren’t used to eating so much of that type of food at one time.  A lot of the boys have been getting boxes lately.  Mine was the first that has come in this hut so far.  I suppose we’ll have it all finished off in a day as we can’t resist picking at sweets.

Most of the boys are back from furloughs and school.  There are a few to come back yet.  Our old company commander, Captain Guiver who has been with the company, left today for duties elsewhere.  Our new commander is a first lieutenant that came into the company as a second lieutenant a short time before we went on maneuvers and was promoted to first while we were on maneuvers.    

We spent most of the day cleaning up around the shop.  For about an hour this afternoon we had to listen to the articles of war, which are read every six months.

I went over to the PX this evening and bought me some razor blades and chewing gum.  Since then I have been cutting down some pictures so that I can carry them in my billfold. 

I suppose that we’ll have another big feed for Christmas.  We had  quite a dinner on Thanksgiving.  The mess sergeant today asked how many were expecting guests for Christmas dinner.  There were quite a few for Thanksgiving.  Every Sunday there are a few of the soldier’s wives for dinner.  Last Sunday there were six.  The married men that have their wives out here are allowed to spend the nights with them.  There are so many out here that about all the available room is taken.  

I received six more Christmas cards today which brings the total up to over two dozen in the last three or four days.  I sent out over forty cards and find that I missed an awful lot of people who have already sent me cards.  It makes a person feel good to know that people think of him even though one is many miles from home. 

Well, I guess I’ll close for this time.  Thanks again for the candy and cookies.  Also for the diary.  If they allow me to keep a diary, I can keep track of the goings on while I’m travelling the world. 

WWII christmas card

Merry Christmas, 1942

Dec 24, 1942

This is Christmas eve and it is a rainy night.  It rained all day yesterday and it is sure sloppy around here now.  Once it starts raining it is so damp that things don’t dry out right away. 

I’ve been getting a lot of Christmas mail.  I got thirteen cards yesterday and one today.  So far, I’ve gotten somewhere in the vicinity of 3 dozen cards.  I got a nice card from Myrtle and Bill Rigsbey.  She wrote a few lines and it sounds just like when I talk to her.  She still kids me about scrubbing the porch.   

The mess sergeant has decorated the mess hall so that it really looks like Christmas.  It looks nice.  I’m sending you a menu of our meals on Christmas day.  I expect that we’ll eat better than most civilians.

I have my insurance and allotment all fixed out now.  My application for insurance has been sent in and I’m sending you the copy.  You’ll get the policy later.  As you’ll see on the application I have divided $10,000 between you and Dorothy.  On the application you’ll see only $4,000 additional to the thousand you already have.  According to the way the application reads, there will only be one policy, which will be sent to Dorothy.   

It probably won’t be so very long until I’m unable to write for quite a period of time.  Don’t worry about it because it is the way it has to be and will be only for a temporary period of time.  I’m not allowed to say too much about it.

I got a Christmas package from my wife today.  It contained a nice set of Avon toilet articles.  There was a tube of shaving cream, can of talcum, can of tooth powder, and a bottle of after shave lotion.  The bos it came in was a little worse for wear, but the contents were OK.  

There have been a lot of Christmas boxes come through the mail in the last week.

We are listening to Christmas songs over the radio tonight.

Well, I guess I’ll close for this time.

I’m sending the application for insurance in a separate letter as it makes too big a letter to put in one envelope.

In case I’m unable to write any more for a while use the following address to write to me.

Pvt. Clyde F. Adam A. S. N. 36045831
115th Ord. Co.
APO 3492
c/o Postmaster
New York City, NY

Editor’s note:  Dad previously mentioned receipt of a diary for Christmas ’42.  His diary entries will be italicized, interspersed with letters home.  My older brother, George F. Adam Sr., family historian, is credited with arranging entries in chronological order.  The following words were written inside the front cover.  Immediately following were Dad’s first diary entries.

TO:  Clyde F. Adam
ASN 36045831
One of the truest and best
Our country may offer–
FROM:  Mother and Dad


Watch-ACME # on back Pat. No. 2229979
Rifle-Springfield (03) # 819353
 Waist–32″                  Leggings–Medium (2R)
 Inseam–31″               Helmet–Medium
 Blouse–38R              Raincoat–Medium
 Coveralls–36R          Cap–7
 Socks–11                  Shoes–9D

Started Allotment to wife on December Pay $22.00
$5,000 Insurance to Wife
$5,000 Insurance to Mother (6.90 premium for both)
Pay Allotment to Folks starting April–$20.00

Mother’s birthday
March 23-44–62 yrs.
Dad Sept 23–44–62 yrs.
Dorothy Apr. 24–44–25 yrs.

12-25-42:  2nd Christmas in army–had late breakfast.  2 o’clock dinner with turkey and all trimmings. pkg. of luckies and cigar given to each person–lot of guest for dinner–laid around in barracks most of the day–went to service club for a while in the evening.  Rather quiet day-lonesome for my wife.

12-26-42:  On the range again today.  Came in at 4 PM.  Went to the show this evening.  Quiet in hut.  Fred B. and Elven S. gone to town.  Handy is asleep.

12-27-42:  Felt sort of sick all day.  Lay around most of the day–went to show this evening (Palm Beach Story) Fairly good show. Wrote 2 letters.

Dec. 27, 1942

I have been rather quiet today.  I didn’t feel so good and have been lying around.  I guess I had a touch of flu or something.  I feel pretty good tonight.

Yes, I picked up the weight I lost on maneuvers.  The mail has been a lot slower while the Christmas rush was on.  I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t get my Christmas card.  I mailed you one quite a while before Christmas.  It could have gotten lost.  There was about 5 cars eastbound Christmas mail burned up in LA about two weeks before Christmas and that was about the time I sent you your card.

You are having plenty of snow this winter.  I would hardly know how to act in a snow storm anymore.

Is the car running OK now?  It should run right for a while if you take proper care of it.

I am getting Christmas cards even though Christmas is over.  So far I have received better than fifty cards.  I am sending you the names of the people who sent them.

I don’t exactly recall who Mr. and Mrs. John Gallahan are, unless it is one of the Gahr girls.  Uncle John and Aunt Katherine sent their card from Alton [IL].

If I should send any amount of money home in the future, invest it in livestock or something for me.  I don’t know whether I’ll have enough left over from my allotments besides what I’ll need or not, but if I do I’m going to try to save all I can.  Of course, if you should ever need any money, I can have an additional allotment made out for parents which will cost me only and additional 8 dollars.  Starting Dec. 1st, Dorothy is supposed to get her 50 dollar allotment.  It may be quite a while before they get around to paying her first payment, but she’ll get back pay starting at that time.

I don’t know whether I’ll have time to have my picture taken anymore now after payday.  I’m almost broke at the moment.

I’ll close for this time.

12-30-42:  Worked this morning.  Took shot this afternoon.  Had some close order drill.  Stood guard mount tonight–Guard duty from 2-6.

12-31-42:  Pay day–received about $25.00.

1-1-43:  Got the afternoon off being New Years.

Well, this is the beginning of another new year and this is going to be a year full of happenings as far as the war is concerned.  I believe this is the year that the AXIS is going to see defeat.  Some authorities seem to think that we won’t be able to beat the Japs this year.  If not, they’ll be pretty well under control.

We didn’t do much today since it a holiday.  We went through about an hour of drill this morning.  We’ve been getting quite a bit of it lately since there hasn’t been much else to do lately.  We’ve gotten rid of all our working equipment and tool trucks.  We’ve been getting new clothing where the old wasn’t good enough to stand the racket.  Our clothes and equipment are supposed to be good enough to stand six months of wear in the field.  I suppose after that we get equipped all over again.

So you see we are on the verge of leaving for overseas duty.  We expect to receive our orders to move most any day now.  After we once start I don’t suppose that we’ll be allowed to write anyone until we reach our destination.  They do not want anyone to know our location or our movement.  We don’t even have the slightest idea of where we are going as our clothing issue is of the nature to take care of bother moderately hot and cold climates.

Our mail they tell us is censored more or less so I am having this letter mailed outside the camp.  I don’t know enough to give any information anyway except that we are getting ready to move which might be valuable to an enemy agent.  We don’t even know which coast that we’ll leave from.

I haven’t gotten any mail now for the last four days.  I don’t know what the trouble it.  I have been getting at least every other day from Dorothy.

Yesterday was pay-day.  Dorothy’s allotment came out of this pay.  My insurance starts this month and will come out of this month’s pay.  We are to get an increase of 20 per cent in pay for overseas duty.

I received six more Christmas cards after Christmas.  One was from Uncle Carl Meyer and Aunt Bertha.  Aunt Bertha wrote a letter along with card.  She said they had been having some real winter weather.  I looked like I had gained a few pounds.  She said Alvin was still in Rolla [MO] and that they were expecting him home for Christmas.

She said they had about 7,000 chicks on had now and still getting more.

It might be quite a while before I’ll be able to write again, but if I get the chance I will.  After you get word of our arriving at our destination overseas you can send my letters by V-mail.  You can get the forms and write according to the instructions.  Continue to write every week as you nave been doing and I’ll get the mail eventually even if I don’t get it on time.  Don’t send my mail to the new APO until you get the word.  When we are ready to leave, we have cards to send out.

I gave you the new address in one of my letters so that you would have it in case I didn’t get a chance to write again.

I am carrying all the pictures that I can take along in my billfold.  I am going to send those back that I don’t want to take along.  There are a couple of negatives that you can have developed if you like of the camp here.

Clyde & Dorothy in Arthur, IL

Editor’s note:  This picture of Mom and Dad was taken when Dad was on furlough in Nov. ’42, shortly after they were married.  The location was near Arthur, IL, Fred Bratton’s hometown.  This may have been one of the pictures Dad carried in his wallet.

We packed our bags this afternoon to see if we could get all of our stuff in them.  We have two bags–an A bag and B bag.  The B bag goes in the hold of the ship while we keep the A bag with us.  I am taking my sleeping bag along unless they make me throw it out at the port of embarkation.  It will sure come in handy when we get to sleeping out in the open.

I don’t know whether they’ll let me take my diary with me or not, but I’m going to try.  When a person goes to pack he finds that he has a lot more stuff than he thought he had.  If you should need help at any time while I’m gone apply to the Red Cross as they are supposed to give you help either financially or otherwise.

I’ll close for this time.  Hoping you are OK.  I’ll write as often as I possibly can and you continue writing.

1-4-43:  Turned all bedding and bunks in.  Laid around all day till 8:30PM.  Boarded train for unknown destination. 

1-5-43:  Arrived at new camp around noon.  Drew another blanket.  Double deck beds. Mine is on top deck.  Approx. sixty men to a barracks.

1-6-43:  Barracks inspection before dinner.  Laid around barracks all afternoon.  Called show down inspection at 5 PM.  Supper at 5:30.  Finished inspection at 9:30.  Went to PX before light out at 10. 

1-7-43:  Another barracks inspection this morning–barracks in poor condition said the C.O.  Saw a short show on aircraft identification and secrecy of valuable information.  Got two shots (one in each arm).  Arms getting sore.    

Thurs. Jan. 7, 1943

We moved out of our old camp Monday night and travelled to our present location by train.   We arrived here at this camp the next day (Tuesday) at noon.

About all we’ve done so far is stand inspections and clean our barracks.  We have two-man bunks here (one above the other).  These are about sixty men to a barracks (one-story).

We are still in California.  This is a staging area where different troops are gathered together in preparation to going to the port of embarkation.

We aren’t allowed to give the name or the location of the camp.

We got some more shots in the morning (one in each arm).  The  food here doesn’t taste as good as it did when our cooks fixed, but there is plenty of it.  I am gaining weight right along with eating and not doing anything.

The camp is filling fast.

When we got here there were very few here.  I have seen some of the men here now that used to be in the company and were transferred out.  The way our freedom is restricted reminds me of the first few weeks I was in the army and was under quarantine and couldn’t leave the immediate area.

The first night here we could leave to go to the PX and the show.  Last night we had about a half hour to go to the PX.

It has been awfully windy the last couple of days.

I don’t know how often I’ll be able to write, but I’ll write whenever I can.  Note the change in address.  I’m enjoying good health.  My arms are getting sore from the shots, but that’ll wear off in a day or two.  I’m getting used to having sore arms as I’ve had so many shots lately.  Write.

Jan.14, 1943

It is rather warm here this afternoon.  The nights and mornings are rather cool, but as soon as the sun gets up to a good height it is warm.  As you’ve probably guessed I’m still in the staging area.

We are getting plenty of exercise.  We do a certain amount of drill every day.  We’re gradually getting toughened up.  I’m getting so that I can clean my plate of almost everything they put out regardless of how it tastes.  The food wasn’t so good  after we were here awhile as it was at first.  Some of these scrambled eggs they give us of a morning taste so rank I have to put catsup on them so that I can eat them.  They undoubtedly must be cold storage eggs.

Editor’s note:  I wondered if the aforementioned unpalatable eggs might have been powdered eggs?

The mail situation isn’t so good.  I haven’t received a letter since we left San Luis Obispo.  I am expecting to get one most any day now as our APO 3492 mail is all we’ll get for a while anyway.

Newspapers are rather scarce here and I know practically nothing about the news.  Radios are banned.

We got partial pay yesterday.  I got ten dollars which is all that I would get this month anyway as I have some extra deductions.  My insurance deduction this month is double because I have to be one payment ahead.

I had to pay for one suit of coveralls that never came back from the laundry.  I never noticed the shortage in time to turn it in as they have to be reported in so many hours.  That set me back three dollars and 20 cents.  That looks like an awful price for a pair of coveralls, but they are heavy and of good material.  The worst part was that the ones I lost were worn out anyway and needed replacing.

I suppose the weather back there is cold.  It generally is this time of the year.

I hope to hear from you soon.

1-17-43:  On KP Sunday–rest of company off–physical inspection.  Worked 5 AM till 8:30 P.M.

Jan. 17, 1943

I haven’t heard from you now for two weeks.  I suppose that you haven’t started using my new APO number yet.  I have received a couple of letters from Dorothy.

I’ve been on KP today.  We went on at 5 this morning and got off at 8:30 tonight.  It was a really long day and I am really tired.  The rest of the company had the day off.

The Red Cross gave each of us a small green gabardine bag containing a sewing kit, package of cigarettes, pencil, tablet, envelopes, story book, package of chewing gum, pair of shoe laces, bar of soap, and a deck of cards.

I haven’t much time before bed time so I’ll have to bring my letter to a close.  There isn’t much to write about.  I’m enjoying good health and hope that you are enjoying the same.

If you do not hear from me for any length of time in the future, you’ll know that I’m not allowed to write, but I’ll write whenever and as soon as I can.




DAD’S WWII LETTERS: Chapter 2, Mojave Desert Wanderings

Mojave Desert
August 16, 1942

Here it is another Sunday morning and it doesn’t seem much different from any other day except that we got up three-quarters of an hour earlier than usual.  There isn’t so much activity around camp as there sometimes it, but there hasn’t been so very much since we came out here with the exception of getting our camping area straightened out.  We haven’t started taking any work to do yet because we aren’t settled for sure.  We’ll probably move to another area in a few days.  Where we are supposed to move is a lot dustier because of more traffic.  This isn’t so bad because we are sort of out to ourselves with the exception of the hospital which is just across the street or road.  The road has a hard surface and hasn’t any dust where the other road is awful dusty and rough.  I think the command figures that we’ll closer to our work over there and they don’t consider our working conditions.  The heat is bad enough alone without having a lot of dust and dirt.  Several of the fellows are sick.  I’ve been sort of off feed.  It is too hot for anyone that isn’t used to it and then this army food doesn’t set good on one’s stomach when it is sort of weak anyway.  I have lost quite a bit of weight already. 

I took my Saturday night bath in a water bucket. The water that came out of our water trailer after having set in the sun, was just the right temperature to take a bath in.  They have showers up the road aways, but it is so hard to get a chance to get in there and after you do you only get to stay about a minute and a half.  I decided that I would bathe farmer style.

The Santa Fe railroad runs within about a quarter of mile from here and the trains run often both day and night. The other day I kept track for half an hour and there were 3 in that time.  A lot of them are double headers.  They are using several of those diesel locomotives now.  Last night one of them had the longest string of cars behind it I’ve ever seen.  This morning since daylight I haven’t seen any trains.  It might be because it’s Sunday.

It is partly cloudy this morning and it hasn’t gotten so hot yet, although it is warm enough.  Yesterday afternoon a cloud went over and it rained a few drops.  They say there was a 4 inch rain here last week, but water goes right down and evaporates immediately.  I did some washing yesterday morning and it soon dried.  Most of the time there is a breeze and even though it is hot, it helps keep one cool. 

In the evening they sometimes give us lemonade or ice tea to drink.  That is generally about all that tastes good to me at that time of day.  Last night after dark they put some ice in the water to cool it off.  I think our water comes from a well that the railroad has.  You can hear the pumps going most of the time.  By the time the water is hauled to us it is rather warm.  I can drink warm water all day and it won’t quench my thirst.  That’s about all there is to talk about right now so I’ll close.

August 22, 1942

I’m writing this in the camp hospital out here in the desert.  I came here yesterday morning.  I was weak and tired.  I had a fast pulse, but no fever to speak of.   They called it early heat exhaustion.  I haven’t felt very good since I came out here.  I feel fairly good tonight.  I think I’ll go back to active duty tomorrow.  I don’t think I’ll ever be too good as long as we are out here in this heat.

They bring fellows in here every day with heat exhaustion.  Some of them are pretty far gone.  They have a cooler here to put them in when they have too high temperature.  There they maintain a temperature of 68 degrees and the patient is cooled off sufficiently to bring the fever down.  There are several diarrhea patients in the hospital.  Our company has about six here with the same ailment.  

They turned the lights out on me last night, so I couldn’t finish this letter.  I am supposed to go back to my company this morning, but it is almost 11 o’clock and no transportation has shown up yet.

We moved to a new area last Tuesday, I think it was.  Monday night we had an awful dust storm and wind storm.  It blew down most of the tents and filled everything full of dust and dirt.  I was on guard at the time.  We packed our stuff in trucks and some of us pitched pup tents to sleep in that night.  We knew that we were to move the next day anyway.  Some of the fellows slept around in trucks or near them out in the open.

Clyde supervising digging a latrine

Dad supervising digging a latrine

The next day we moved the new area which in only about three-quarters of a mile from where we were.  We have a building there recently constructed that we can use to work in. 

That night we had a beer bust.  The mess sergeant took money from the company fund and bought beer and Coca Cola.  Most of the fellows drank the beer.  The cold beer sure tastes good after a hot day. 

The chaplain brought this paper into the hospital yesterday afternoon.  I had none, so I used some of it.

Two or three days ago they set up a tent for us to eat in.  Before we had to squat in the sand and eat our chow right out in the hot sun. That spoils a person’s appetite as quick as anything when a person is hot already and doesn’t care much whether he eats or not.

I sort of dread going back to company to duty.  It is so hot there and no good shade to get in unless you can find room in one of the large tents and they are generally full of something or other.

They came at 11 o’clock to take me back.  Seems like it is hotter here than it was over at the hospital and a lot dustier.  I don’t know how long I can take this heat and dirt.  Seems like my pulse is fast most of the time.  If I get to feeling to bad again I’ll go back to the hospital and maybe if they find out that this climate doesn’t agree with me at all they’ll send me back to San Luis.  I still feel weak after lying in the hospital for two days.  Night is the only time it is half way comfortable and I can’t recuperate in a night’s time.  One consolation maybe will be that if they find out that I can’t stand this sort of climate they won’t send me overseas to a similar climate.

I received your letter this afternoon after going back to the hospital to get it.  It had been sent from here up there but had never been delivered to me.  It took it five days after you mailed it to reach here. 

Yes, I remember Dewitt, It takes me back to a year ago when I came into the army.  In a way, I’m glad the first year is over.  It is always the hardest although the rest are none too easy.  Write.

Sept. 9, 1942

I think I told you that I went to the hospital again for a few days.  About all they did was give me a good rest and starved me.  For three days I had nothing but bread and mild.  The last day they gave me a general diet. 

The first day I was there I didn’t want anything to eat but after that I got hungry.  There was a PX near the hospital, so I lived on beer, potato chips, and ice cream.  After the first day, they moved me out into some tents with some more fellows.  There are an awful lot of the fellows that get sick out here.  I think I’m OK now for a while.

Yesterday afternoon we had an awful strong wind that blew down three tents and blew dust into everything.

We’ll probably move from here to new location within the next week.  We’ll follow down along the Colorado River along with the maneuvers.

We have a good location here for water and we are only a mile from town.  We have our camp about two hundred yards from the river and we pump water right out of the river for showers.  The water is cold, but it cools one off.

The town doesn’t amount too much as a means of entertainment with all the soldiers around.  Most of the restaurants sell out early in the evening and close their doors.  The bars are generally loaded with soldiers buying drinks. 

We have our own PX here and we can buy all the beer we want and candy, ice cream and such.  There really isn’t much incentive to go to town.  I go through town several times during the day to go to the A. P. O. and headquarters which is on the other side.  There are about as many army vehicles there as there are civilian cars.

It is a nice appearing little town to be located in the desert.  Of course the river affords them plenty of water to keep their lawns green and to water the trees.  There are several trees right around and in the town, but they are all the same variety.  They look something like a willow, but the foliage is more fuzzy.  There are a few palms also.

It is such a contrast out here to what it is back home that I just can’t come to like it.

If I do have to do foreign service I would almost do anything to keep from having to be in a place like this.  *Although, since we are getting all this training here, they would probably figure that we were fitted for that kind of climate.  

*Editor’s note:  This statement would prove to be both prophetic and ironic.  After the first year of military service, Dad resigned to the quirks of Army life.  He’d learned the meaning of “hurry up and wait” and about doing things the “Army way.”  The harsh conditions took a physical, emotional, and psychological toll on these young soldiers.

No one knows whether this company will go overseas after maneuvers or not.  Since we are getting all this training it looks more than likely, but we have only half enough strength and would have to have more men.  They could soon attach more men.  Again we may be out here to take of the equipment of those on maneuvers and afterwards continue to furnish men for cadre forming new companies elsewhere.

I see in the papers that the allies are beginning to open up over in Europe as well as on the Japs in the Pacific.  The Allies have a mighty war machine to keep going this time and they are scattered all over the world.  In my opinion the sooner they get going the sooner the Axis can be defeated.  It will be a tough war because it covers so much more territory and the war machines are so much more expensive than the last war.

The US has such a vast supply of resources, that with a lot of hard work, sacrifice and proper management, there is no excuse why we can’t win this war and do it without taking too long.  Of course there are still those that are in the game for the money only.  By now I think that most people realize what we are up against.

How are you folks progressing back there?  Do you think that you’ll be able to get by another season?  It looks like those that are left behind are expected to do an awful lot.

Many are the times that, while I am here with idle time on my hands, I wish that I could be doing something back there that was really useful.

The first year wasn’t so bad although I had several weak moments when I got rather homesick.  Now it looks sort of hopeless.  If I was doing something really useful toward the war effort or something constructive it would be different.

This army is a mess, but I guess it can’t be any other way with so many different kinds of people in it running it.  It has to be run more lass standard and what fits to some doesn’t to others.  I know enough about the army and there are others like me that when it is over I want to wash my hands of the whole thing and forget it completely.  When I hear some fellows talk of how they like the army and would like to make it their career I soon form an impression of them that they’ve either been handed a commission on a platter or else they haven’t the ambition to work for a living on the outside.

Anyway from this you should get a rough idea of what I think of it.  I feel the urge to fight those dirty Japs and Germans but I feel like a man with his hand tied behind his back. 

I wish I had enough money to go around so that I could buy me a camera and take pictures of all these places that I have been.  It take a lot of money–more than one would think and I’m trying to save enough to start a home after I get out of here.  If a person doesn’t have something to plan and look forward to it all looks so hopeless. 

All of this desert is more or less alike.  Almost any spot in it you can see mountains in the distance although they aren’t so high. 

If you ever need any help, let me know.  It can always be fixed somehow. 

needles , ca

Needles, CA on Route 66

Needles, Calif.
Sept. 20, 1942 

We are getting ready to go out on actual maneuvers.  So far we have made our camp and the stuff to be repaired has been brought in to us.  We were on the red army side before and we are on the blue side this time.

We are going right out among the maneuvers and follow the combating units.  We put grease on the windshields leaving just a small space to see through.  That is to keep the glass from reflecting the sun.  We’ll probably do most of our moving after dark during the blackout so that the enemy won’t spot us.  We are supposed to leave this area tonight about dark.  We fastened a sign painted blue on the trucks so that they know whose side we’re on.  On the other side it is painted red.  It we should get in enemy territory we could turn the sign over.  I imagine that we’ll be on the move about all this week.

This area here is getting so dusty that I’m not sorry to leave it, but I suppose it will be rather rugged moving around all the time and then a person is liable to get captured. 

There are a few clouds to obscure the sun occasionally which is unusual for the weather here.

I don’t suppose that we’ll get our mail very regular either.  I don’t know what kind of setup they’ll have for the post office.  Write. 

Editor’s thoughts:  Dad had previously mentioned considering marriage.  There will be more to come on that subject.  I’m closing this post with a picture of my mother from the early forties.  This was her first school assignment after graduating from Blackburn College in 1940.  It was one of the last rural, one-room schools in the county, before consolidation in 1948.

img004Albany School, District #121
Teacher, Dorothy Jane Clark and students



DAD’S WWII LETTERS, Chapter 2, Desert Maneuvers (Cont.)

submarine raider

Movie mentioned in previous letter.

July 26, 1942

It is another one of those lazy Sunday afternoons when everything is quiet.  One of the soldiers had his wife to dinner in the mess hall.  The weather is quite a bit cooler today than it has been for a few days.  The fog stayed late this morning.  Whenever we have a morning clear of fog it means we have a hot day.

The thirty men that were to leave in the cadre for Texas finally left.  One of the Illinois boys that was in my barracks back in Aberdeen left in the bunch. They are to start a new company there.  All of them got good ratings.  

I spent a rather busy morning yesterday on driving for camp detail.  I missed the inspection which didn’t bother me any.  We were free in the afternoon to do as we pleased.  The captain left Friday night for a three-day pass.  Most of the fellows have now had their furloughs.  There are a few gone now that were in the hospital and couldn’t go until now.  

The way it looks now, we’ll be heading for desert manuevers before too long.

I don’t see Leo Rigsbey very much, but I do see him occasionally when the 17th infantry marches by.  I haven’t been over to see him since at first when I came back from my furlough.  

I went to a dance last night at Arroyo Grande which is about 15 or 16 down the coast from here.  It is a small town and the dances are mixed with old-time.  The dance attracts quite a large crowd for the size of the hall.  They remind me a good deal of the dances they used to have at Chesterfield.  There are several soldiers that go, but there are plenty of girls to go around.  The main trouble is that there are too many dancers for the size of the floor with all the spectators around the edges.  At times it is almost impossible to dance for bumping into one another.  It is better even at that than the dances here at the Service or at the USO Club in town because of all the soldiers.

We’re been having a time this evening.  One of the soldiers came in a little too drunk.  He laid down on his bunk and got sick.  He threw up all over the place before we could get him outside.  One of the soldiers then gave him a shower.  …Got him back in bed.  He got sick again.  Right now he is pretty quiet.  The trouble is that he hadn’t been used to drinking and he over did it.  I imagine he’ll regret having indulged tomorrow.  

Editor’s note:  After reading this passage, my thoughts were–some things about the military never changed.

This is the first excitement we’ve had around here for a while.  Fellows are always coming in drunk, but it is usually during the night.  

Well, I guess I’ll close for this time.

August 3, 1942

I had a weekend pass.  Since this was our last one in camp here for a while they let a small percent go.  I happened to be lucky enough to get one.  I left here 2 o’clock saturday afternoon, with another of the fellows.  We had a hard time getting out of camp because of so many soldiers trying to get rides.  We finally had to walk down the road a ways and head off a cab before it got to camp and then we had to rush in or other soldiers would beat us to it after we flagged it down.  

Santa Barbara, California

After we got into town, we started down the highway towards Santa Barbara.  After catching several rides and becoming very discouraged we landed at our destination at 9 o’clock.  We found us a hotel room first and then went out to see the town afterwards.  There were plenty of soldiers and marines.  A person just can’t get away from them along the coast.   

We found a dance but it was too crowded to have much fun.  The town was partially blacked out.  The automobiles had to run with black out lights.  The street lights were all blackened out.  When you looked down the street one way there are all kinds of lights, but when you looked the other way, it looked dark.  They paint one half the streets next to the ocean so that they won’t throw any light on the water while the other half is left to throw off light. 

Yesterday morning we walked along the beach.  Santa Barbara is a pretty place.  There are a few palm trees along the shore and sail boats, yachts, and large boats in the water.  Looking inland you can see beautiful homes built off in the distance with mountains in the background.  There are a lot of well-to-do people who live around here.

Around 1:30PM we caught a ride with three soldiers back towards camp.  We stayed in town here until 11:30 when we caught the bus back to camp.  In order to get a seat on the bus you had to fight your way through the soldiers.

Clyde near his truck.

Dad standing next to his truck

This is our last week in camp according to what the captain told us.  We are to leave here for manuevers Saturday morning at 6 o’clock.  We are loading the trucks now in preparation.  We start on the manuevers near Needles, Calif. and follow the Colorado River down.  If we stay the whole maneuver, we’ll be there till the middle of October.  Where will we go from there no one knows.  We might come back here and we might set up camp elsewhere or even go for a boat ride.

The fellows that have had yellow jaundice don’t have to go out, but stay here and guard the camp.  I’ve about said all I know at the present, so I’ll close.  Write.    

Needles, Calif.
August 4, 1942

We moved to Needles yesterday afternoon.  It is hotter over here than it was at Goffs.  We are about thirty miles father east than we were.  We are right along the Colorado River and there is some green stuff in the river bottom which breaks the monotony of nothing but sand and dry sage brush. 

Our camp is located about a mile outside of the town limits.  I like this location better.  I don’t know just how long that we’ll be here. Our old area back at Goffs was getting so dusty that it was almost unbearable.  We left the old area a lot cleaner than we found it.  We policed it about five times before they were satisfied that it was clean enough to leave. 

If I remember right it was about two weeks ago today that I entered the hospital at Goffs.  I got out again on Sunday after I got rested up pretty good.  Today I got back in again.  Last night I felt bad and this morning I had cramps in my stomach and felt weak so I came on sick call.  They told me that I might as well spend a few days in the hospital.  I slept about all afternoon and sweat.  So far they haven’t given me any medicine.  I haven’t eaten much all day.  I drank a bottle of beer a while ago and ate some potato chips which tasted good.  I suppose after I get rested again I’ll be all right.  It seems like I can take only so much of this heat before I have to rest. 

I got my mail here a while ago which is a lot better than I did the other time.  These medics here seem to have a better arrangement.  This outfit is from Camp Young, I think.  There are two or three nurses on duty all the time (Women nurses).

I am in Needles high school gymnasium which they are using as a hospital.  We have air conditioning, but it still feels pretty warm.  It is a nice set up for a field hospital. 

You asked me a while back if the Masonic lodge sent me anything.  About two weeks they sent me a card with my name on it and showing that I am a son of a member of the organization.  This might come in handy some time if I should happen to get up against it in a strange town.   

I want to write a letter to Dorothy so I’d better close.  She sent me some pictures of herself yesterday.  They were very nice. 

Don’t worry about me.  I’ll get along.  If I get sick the hospital will take care of me that’s what they are for.  Write.     

August 7, 1942

I received your letter this noon.  We have an advantage in the weather here in San Luis valley.  The days never get very hot and the nights are rather cool.  Regardless of the season with the exception of winter when there is lots of rain, the weather seems to remain the same.

Clyde's camp taken from mountain at a distance.

San Luis valley from a distance

According to your letter the draft board back there seems to be taking men at a rapid rate.  That is almost five times the number of men called when I went.  By the way, I have spent my first year in the service.  Conditions are a lot different now than when I went in.  In a way I’m glad that I have gotten my basic training and have become accustomed to the army.  The recruits are pushed through a lot faster now and given less consideration.

Our trip to the desert has been postponed for a few days.  We were to have left Saturday morning, but now we are to leave Tuesday morning.  We are to turn in our wool clothes tomorrow.  From then on we have to wear our sun tans.  We are to travel by convoy to Needles.  It will be about a 600 mile trip and will take three days. 

We seem to be gradually losing men out of the company all the time.  Two left this morning for duty at Headquarters.  Another leaves tomorrow for officer’s training school at Aberdeen.  Two others left a week or two ago for the same.  All these have gone since the thirty men left for Texas.  We haven’t gotten in any new men yet to replace them and the company is getting rather small. 

I have KP again tomorrow.  It comes around about every 9 or 10 days now.  It seems like I have done my share of KP.  This week, besides my KP tomorrow, I have done fatigue and guard which are all extra duties that come around regular when your name comes up.

By the way did those fellows that were examined such as H. Skinner, Joe Pressler, W. Dowland get deferred or are they holding them for the next quota?  

How are all the old men in the neighborhood getting along with their farm work?  I suppose they have to work among themselves.  They claim there is a shortage of meat now on the market.  With the shortage of labor by another year there may be a greater shortage. 

I see the civilian traffic is going to be restricted on buses and trains after the middle of the month.  That will put a stop to those soldier’s wives and girlfriends coming to see them.  The rubber situation looks like the result of a lot of dirty politics.  They could be producing synthetic rubber on a large-scale now, if the government would only let them.  To the politicians of this country, the welfare of the big business is still more important than the winning of the war.  If it was half as important to them as it is to us in the service, things would be moving a lot faster.  We want to get going before it is too late and we have to spend the rest of our lives in the army.  *Another good policy for some of those strikers would be work or fight for Uncle Sam. 

We’ll be busy the next few days getting everything ready to move out.  There trucks to be loaded and stuff that is to be left behind will have to be left in order.

I am sending a ten-dollar money order for you to deposit for me.  I instructed them to send a receipt home for my defense bonds.  I have one receipt on my person.  If you do not receive one, I’ll send it home because I stand a chance of losing it anyway.  So far I have a savings of $78.75 including the bond.  If I can keep up at that rate in a year’s time I should have a few dollars. 

From now on while we are on maneuvers, my address for first class mail only will be.

Pvt. Clyde F. Adam
115th Ord. Co. (M. M.)
A. P. O. # 7 Desert Maneuvers
c/o Postmaster, Los Angeles, California    

*Historical perspective:  The largest labor unions (AFL and CIO) gave “No-Strike” pledges.  In 1942 the United Mine Workers, under John L. Lewis, left the CIO and threatened numerous strikes.  This activity led up to a twelve day strike in 1943.  John L. Lewis became a much hated man.  From Dad’s perspective, from this point forward, labor unions deserved nothing but contempt.              

Desert Maneuvers
August 14, 1942

Sleeping quarters on maneuvers in Indio desert, California

Here we are out on the hot and dry California desert.  We pulled in here last night about 4:30 and it sure was hot.  Two men here have been overcome by heat already.  We set up four man tents to sleep under by fastening four shelter halves together.  It gets cool enought at night that one can sleep comfortably without cover. 

There is railroad station here by us, but the nearest town is about 30 or 35 miles east of us, which is Needles. 

They give us six salt tablets in the morning to take during the day.  I took four the day before yesterday, but they made me sick.  I took one this morning and it stayed down OK. 

It is so hot that I don’t care about eating.  All I want is something cool to drink and cool water is a problem during the heat of the day.  We keep our water in a tank trailer and it gets hot when the sun shines on it. 

During the three days of the convoy we covered about 150 miles a day.  The first night we stayed in a ball park in Bakersfield with another convoy.  The second night we stayed near Barstow. 

Yesterday we crossed some very hot desert country.  The wind blew off the lava and it was so hot that it would cook one’s face.

We had two drivers to a truck and traded turns driving.

Last Saturday I had KP and Sunday we were busy all day.  Sunday morning we got the trucks ready to go.  Sunday afternoon I did some washing.  Monday I was busy driving.  Monday night I had to fix a tire on the command car.  I haven’t been doing much this morning except trying to stay in the shade.  I had to take the mail down to the post office which is a truck in another area.  This is actually desert out here.  About all the vegetation there is, is sagebrush and greasewood with occasional cactus.  The cactus has plenty of thorns.  There are plenty of ants, snakes & lizards.

The sandy is so sandy that you have to drive a truck in 4 wheel drive to get enough traction.

I think if I get used to this type of climate, I can stand almost anything. 

The maneuver hasn’t started yet.  All the men haven’t got out here.  There are supposed to be around 90,000 men after they all get here. 

I’ll write you more later after I have been here awhile and find out more more what it is like here.  Write.      




Homesickness hit me hard–It was my first Christmas overseas.  I took leave and saved money for round trip airline tickets home.  After shopping around, I booked flight on a charter airline that is no longer in existence.  The fine print on the ticket explained that times of departure could vary.  Checking frequently with the airline was advised.  I was in uniform with two-stripes on my sleeves.  There were several other military guys on the flight.  Most of them were involved in the Vietnam conflict.  We automatically felt a kinship.  The plane landed in Philadelphia and I made connections to St. Louis.

It was nice to spend Christmas with Mom, Dad, and the family.  Seeing old friends, being with the family did wonders for my morale.  I expressed my gratitude to the congregation at church.  It was cold and snowy in Illinois that winter–a white Christmas and New Years.  I stayed in my Grandpa’s old house trailer.  It was like having my own apartment.  The holidays were over too quickly and it was time to head back.  My brother drove me to St. Louis for the return flight.  The packed snow made for a slow, bumpy ride.  My charter flight to Germany was scheduled to depart at 7:30 PM from JFK Airport.

My flight to New York arrived two hours before departure time.  I settled in and waited.  Time wore on and I began to get nervous.  I fidgeted, looked at the departure schedule, purchased a snack.  Why no boarding announcement?  It dawned on me that something was wrong.  An information counter person told me my flight departed earlier that afternoon.  How could that have happened?  It was too far to return home and even farther to Germany.  JFK was a huge place, the bus ride from the main terminal seemed to take forever.  What was I going to do?  It was either get back or be AWOL.  My wallet was just shy of forty dollars and change.  At my young age, I wasn’t a credit card holder.  I didn’t have enough money to buy another ticket.

It was a real dilemma.  The butterflies in my stomach bounced basketballs.  Lord, what was I going to do?  …My prayer of desperation.  Was I going to be stranded in NYC?  People gathered in earnest for a departing flight.  It turned out, the flight was leaving for Frankfurt, Germany–where I needed to go.  A desperate need swept over me.  It went deeper than just needing money.  My eyes scanned the room.  Among the waiting passengers was a career Army soldier with his family.  I sat down next to him and struck up a conversation.  “I just don’t know what I’m going to do.” “My flight left earlier this afternoon without me.” “If I don’t get back to base, I’m in deep trouble.”

I trusted that he somehow would lend me the money.  I needed a small miracle, one that seemed big to me.  “I’m sorry about your flight,” He said.  “I’m going to trust you and loan you the money.” “Find out if they have any no-shows.”  It turned out there were three available seats.  “He spotted me the money and I got my tickets.” “Thank You, I really appreciate it.”  “Let me get your address and I’ll send you the money as soon as I get back.”  I fulfilled my promise, after arrival–headed straight for American Express–returned the money with my gratitude.  My spirits were bolstered and my faith in mankind restored.  It was just what I needed.