Camp Shelby, Miss
March 10, 1943
…."The transfer was a surprise, except for the fact that they were always shipping out officers to other organizations. This getting in on the ground floor has its drawbacks. Everything is pretty disjointed. No one knows what the score is.
We are going to train Japanese here. So this is really an experimental outfit. As training progresses we will probably receive a lot of publicity. Who knows, you may see us in "Life" some day.
At present we have only non coms on hand. They are a very willing and intelligent lot. They put a lot of effort into their training, and generally are far more industrious than the run of American soldiers.
I don't know whether it is just us, since this is to be a Japanese outfit, but we get a lot of rice here, instead of potatoes. It's good that I like it, because we had it for lunch and supper. I happened to be one of the last ones in the mess hall tonight and I heard one of the cooks say :"What we have for breakfus to-morrow, fried rice?".
April 7, 1943
We are going on an all night problem to-morrow afternoon. We will start out at noon, stay out overnight - and return at Friday noon. The little toilet kit you gave me for Christmas will be very handy - it will slip into the field bag I carry on my back.
Socially, the week will be marked by a regimental reception Saturday evening. Everybody is expected to be on hand and present himself to the colonel. It is expected to be quite a shindig.
Otherwise there isn't a great deal happening at present. Last week there was a rumor to the effect that our unit was going to Camp Aterbury, Indiana to do it's training. That would be very handy, but I'm afraid it was only talk. Our recruits still haven't arrived, but I guess they'll get here sometime or another.
April 15, 1943
I can't say that I enjoy overnight hikes. They make a rather crude spot in my life. The accommodations in camp aren't luxurious - but a bivouac makes our garrison life seem snug and comfortable. We were lucky it didn't rain - it started to pour when we were almost home.
We probably will not be going out again for awhile now. Our recruits finally came in yesterday - and as long as they are receiving basic training we will stick close to home.
The arrival of the recruits was anticipated by a battery of cameramen. The cameramen arrived the evening before, and stayed until this afternoon, when the official welcoming ceremony was held. By this afternoon the new arrivals had become somewhat adjusted to their new life. They looked dejected yesterday, especially because it had turned cold suddenly. It had been very warm - but yesterday we changed to summer clothes and the Japs arrived from warm Hawaii, so we had frost.
The colonel's reception came off very well. There was plenty of punch, and some good music furnished by a soldier orchestra. Now we are suppose to settle down to work.
The American officers had an indication in the last couple of days that eventually they will be replaced. A number of Japanese officers arrived from Hawaii, the intention being to make the 442nd an all-Japanese outfit. However, at present there aren't enough Japanese officers available, hence the importation of Americans to do the training.
April 21, 1943
Somehow you seem to miss the solemnity of Holy Week down here. However, an event of today recalled it to mind. The mother of one of the men from Hawaii died. The Chaplain brought him over to me, because he was in my platoon. The Chaplain had expressed his sympathy, so I made my condolences short. I didn't know it at the time, but the soldier was doing "K-P" duty. I got the Captain to take him off, but the man didn't want to quit immediately. He said he would work until seven, and then go to evening service.
…I'm getting plenty of chances to yell, because frequently it falls upon one of the lieutenants to march the company. You have to make yourself heard when you yell : "Com-pan-nee-ten-shut".
I'm enclosing some pictures taken of the soldiers in our regiment on the day they arrived. It was very cold that day - much more cold than it had been. They were used to 75 to 80 degree temperature, so they minded it quite abit. The pictures are cut from the camp newspaper - but I understand that there were a lot of pictures in newspapers all over the country. The Army wants to give out outfit a lot of publicity.
So far I have been in charge of instruction in the rifle in our company. This afternoon I had most of the company doing "practical work". The "practical work" consisted of cleaning guns. They enjoy it though. They are all volunteers for the work, and are interested in everything military.