August 23, 1941

Sat., 8-23-1941, 9 P.M.

Dear Folksies:

Hi there! How are you? Fine, I hope, because I am. I’m starting to get used to this life now and don’t mind it as much as I used to. However, don’t think I don’t miss that swell home in Mpls. And oh what I could do to one of your suppers of porkchops & tomatoes, or goolash, or chicken, or pork roast, or macaroni salad, or chow mein, or lemon pie, or - well I could go on like this for quite a spell. They feed us pretty well down here, but not in the custom most of us are used to.

I was on k.p. all day today & just finished up at 7 bells. That’s 13 continuous hours of work, with only time out to eat our meals. My legs are pretty tired tonight, but I’m not a bit sleepy. So here I am sitting in the library of the Service Club until all hours (10:30 P.M. at the latest). Boy am I having a rip snortin’ Saturday nite sitting here writing a letter with Vince. I’ll probably have a bit of a hangover in the morning tho, because in a few minutes Vince & I are going to sneak down into the fountain for a short soda. It surely is a dissipated life we soldiers lead down here; in bed every single nite between 10 & 11 P.M.

As yet I haven’t been outside the fort since coming here a month ago. But next weekend is a long one because of Labor Day, so I think some of us that are free from special duty, are going to take a trip in to town. There isn’t much to do in Fayetteville, according to those that have been in, but it will be a change of scenery at least. We were going to take a trip to the coast over next weekend, but when they told us that the U.S. wasn’t going to “kick in” until Sept. 2, this idea was promptly knocked into a big ole cocked hat. We do, however, plan to make that trip in the near future.

Before I forget, thanks for the bathing trunks, I’ll make good use of them. I think this is a good time to answer some of the questions in your last letter. How did I catch the cold? Don’t know exactly, but I’m O.K. now & look back on my stay at the hospital (9 days) as a most pleasant experience. Must make it a point to go there again sometime – for a cold. Yes, I hear the news broadcasts. We have a radio in our barracks that was sent to one of the boys from home. Bob Coll is situated about a half a mile from our battery. He did come to see me while I was sick but I guess I told you that in my last letter. I still come over here to the Service Club just about every nite. Sometimes I come to write letters & sometime just to read in the library. Vince usually meets me here & once in a while we have a game of checkers. They just put in a new loudspeaker system here, & we have amateur programs almost every evening. You should hear some of these boys sing! Some are corny, of course, but the majority of them are really good.

So Gayle & Platt are getting pretty thick are they? Bert’s really a fine fellow so you can tell the Osens that this affair has my official sanction. Marian writes me all the news from the office but somehow she must have missed this bit of gossip. I get a letter from Marian about every 3 or 4 days. She writes very nice letters & has beautiful handwriting. I answer them promptly too. I have to try to stay in that league until I get back home. You know I always did sorta favor blonds.

Let’s get back to army life. Last Wed. our whole battery went out in trucks to the rifle range. We were out there (about 8 miles from our regt. Area) from 5:30 A.M. to about 5:00 P.M., shooting our 30-30 caliber Springfield rifles. They brought the chow out to us at noon by trucks. In the morning I was stationed in the pit setting targets. They were shooting right over our heads, but, of course, it was perfectly safe cuz there was a high cement wall banked with sand between us & the marksmen. Every time a shell hit the targets above us it sounded like the crack of a 22 rifle. Then we had to haul down our targets & mark the spot where the bullet entered. We also had to signal them the value of the hit by holding up certain different colored discs. Here’s a rough cross section sketch of the range layout.

In the afternoon the boys who had shot went into the pits & we came out to try our luck with our rifles. Boy what a racket we made when the officer yelled “commence firing.” There were 35 of us on the firing line at one time. We fired 35 rounds of ammunition from 5 different positions. Those guns have about the same kick as a 12 ga. Shotgun. Some of the boys came away with black eyes, & some swollen lips, & plenty of them with sore shoulders. My score was a little above average but I hope to do better next time when I won’t be quite as nervous.

Well, they’re going to close the place up on me (Service Club) so I had better say goodnite. Write me often. I’m still lonesome you know.

Love, Dorance

P.S. Daddy, how’s your golf game? Par?

P.S. Write “3rd platoon” in lower left corner of letters to me.

Christian Olsen