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Postmark: 09/23/1943

Return Address:
Pvt. V. Misitano
Co. K. 342nd Inf.
APO 450
Camp Howze, Tex.
U.S. Army

Sept. 22, 1943
Wed. nite 8:10

Dearest Mother,

    Just a few lines to let you know that I'm feeling fine and hope that you are the same.

   I got back from bivouac this morn at 1:30 A.M. and at 6:30 we got up, ate breakfast at 7:00 fell out for work at 7:30. We went out to the hand grenade range and threw real hand grenades.

   We stayed out for about 3 and 1/2 hrs and then came back to camp.

   We had the rest of the day off and I guess you know what I did. Yes, I slept from 12:30 till 5:45 straight through. At 7:30 P.M. we had a class in our barracks which lasted till 8:00. The class was on the problem that we will run, starting tomorrow nite at 12 oclock and that will end at Sat. noon. So mother that means that I won't be able to write again till Sat. nite or Sun. morn. So don't worry about me mother, because I'll be O.K.

   The problem that we will run these next few days will be pretty tough. All nite Thur. we will dig fox holes. We have to dig 3 and all three have to be completed by dawn Fri morn. because that is when the attack starts. We will attack all day Fri. and Fri nite we move to a new bivouac area and dig fox holes all nite Fri. and must have them completed by Sat. morn. dawn. The attack starts again at dawn Sat. morn and at 2 oclock in the afternoon the problem will end, and we start back to camp.

   Well mother, I didn't have any news about camp to tell you so I told you about my problem, but I guess it doesn't make much sense to you.

   I got a letter from Sis today. She told me about being home and helping you with the canning. Well mother, I didn't have much sleep the last few nites and I want to get some now, so I'll close with lots of love for you mother dear, daddy and the kids. (God bless you all)

   Your loving Son,


Supplemental Notes, Quotes, and Anecdotes:

Dad didn't particularly speak of his wartime experiences, but one I recall is his reflection that he thought he could have gained a quick promotion had he acted more boldly. His story was that during initial hand grenade training, the group of trainees was seated in a circle watching the instructor. The instructor took out a hand grenade and fumbled with it after removing the pin, then losing control of it as it rolled to the center of the group of trainees. Jim guessed that had he acted instantly and dove for the grenade and tossed it to a safe distance he would have been rewarded. What actually happened is that all of the trainees guessed that the instructor was pulling a prank on them and all they did was draw their legs closer to their bodies.

This letter also mentions "the canning." I recall while growing up an annual ritual in the fall where our family would first go to a local farm and gather bushels of ripe tomatoes to cart home. During the next few days the kitchen stove would be covered with huge pots of tomato sauce simmering away and tables on our enclosed back porch were full of many newly filled Mason Jars. My mom also canned and stored other items like peaches, pickled beets and pickled eggs. The stash of goods in our basement pantry/root cellar would make today's doomsday preppers salivate in envy.

   - Jim Jr.

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