June 16, 1942 (Bob Coll)



Dear Dip:

Hello – there. Can you hear me? Remember the last time we talked to each other we had to almost shout. Did your deafness clear up soon? Mine did almost as soon as I hit Oklahoma. The climate seemed so different. More like home. I’ve felt a hell of a lot more ambitious too since I got here. I don’t know if it was cause I had to or what. Carolina is nicer in many ways than Oklahoma but it’s climate always made me feel lazy.

Bob and Dip peeling potatoes at Bragg

Bob and Dip peeling potatoes at Bragg

So you’re thinking seriously of O.C.S. Well I’ll try to give you all the information (& some opinions) that I can. If you put in for the school you should reconcile yourself to doing a lot of hard work, putting in long hours, and giving up many liberties. The latter was quite hard for me (as I think it will also be for you) because at Bragg I had gotten so I could go & come pretty much as I pleased even during the day. Here everything is done in cadence from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at nite. We fall out at 6:45, have 15 minutes of facings, etc., then eat & tidy up & start the day at 7:45. Classes last till 5 o’clock after which we march for an hour – close order drill. An hour to eat from 6-7 & then we must fall out for compulsory study. You can quit studying whenever you want to but there’s usually enough to keep you busy till 9 or 10. Sat. aft. & Sunday till 5 P.M. are usually free although they reserve the right to throw in little “extras” at that time. The only place to go on week-ends is Lawton which is worse than Fayetteville. Passes to journey farther are hard to get. Are you still in the notion?

Then get a F.H.B. 161 and study like hell. Throw away those math books. All you need is the background & you’ve got it. The specific rules to use etc. will be given you here & you’ll understand them I know. They aren’t hard. It also might be a good idea to acquaint yourself with some of the various guns. (155-105 & 75mm.) To say nothing of a good bit on motors. I’ll tell you Dip, the school itself hasn’t been hard for me at all so far. The background in F.A.R.C. school helped a lot. But the days are so long with classwork & preparation for classwork.

Here’s another thing to consider too. The Army is now well organized to produce “fighting men” most all non-combatant jobs are taken. All new officers & new trainees as well, can make up their mind to go across right soon after their training is complete. This also means a lot of work & possibly misery in the future so the question is: Is it worth it? I’m making the most of the school now that I’m here but I can’t say if I’d apply again if I had it all to do over again. Well there’s a few facts & quite a few opinions Dip. You will have to make the decision, naturally. I’m afraid my description is not very cheery, but it’s the straight dope. I can’t deny that I’ll be a pretty proud boy if I can strut up and down 4105 41st with “bars” on but that’s only for 7 days & then back to work again.

Our schedule is this:

                10 days – Motors – very comprehensive.

                5 days – Material – 155-105-75-37 & ammunition

                6 weeks – gunnery – the real course of the school – and a lot of fun at times.

                10 days of Communications – don’t know much about it cause haven’t gotten that far

                3 weeks of tactics – includes everything not covered previously & a little more.

If you get any more definite in your plans tell me & I’ll send you my tests & notes & assignments and all I can. You should get a good foundation. Makes it lots easier. Hdqts boys & cooks etc. usually find it all pretty new to them.

I found Art the first day & we’ve been doing a little tourage around the area every weekend since. He’s getting fat on army life. He’s in a hospital unit, you know, & they’re practically idle. Just waiting for orders to move which are very slow in appearing. My mother called Peterson’s & they said they had a letter from Sikes. Thought he was in S. Francisco. Perhaps you’ve heard even more than I about him. It was surely good news. I also heard that Lee was entering a training school in Maryland. Don’t know if it was officer’s school or not. I’ve been trying to get Art to write some letters so I could get in on some news that way. But he hasn’t. Very lazy attitude on my front I’ll admit but logically sound. Guess I’d better knock off now & fire some problems on my tent mates bed. Tomorrow I have to fire Small T & it requires carrying a lot of figures in the head so I’d better know what I’m doing.

I hope you can decipher this scribbling I’ve been putting out. I had a lot to say & short time to say it in. Besides that I’m writing on a small stationary box in the prone position.

Don’t let me discourage you about this school. You could make it in grand style, I know.

Say hello to your folks & sister. My mother saw Dorothy & the baby one day, “cutest ever,” they said. Wouldn’t you like to see it (him or her?)?

Lots of Luck, Dip,

Your pal, Bob.

Christian Olsen