The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.
June 3, 1918
BOYS AT THE FRONT SERVING UNCLE SAM
Camp Johnston, May 1, 1918
Dear Mother: Well, school has started at last, and I am sure glad of it. I lay around here long enough. We have two classes of 150 men each. One class goes out on the trucks in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The first class was yesterday and I was out, when they called for experts, I stepped out. They took us over in a big sand field and we went to it, and things began to happen. Two-thirds of the fellows had never driven off the pavement in their life so when they hit that sand, they went all to pieces. Out of the fifteen that were on the truck I was on, two of us qualified and I was one of the two. You can imagine how much practice I needed driving an empty truck in the sand after my experience at the Blue Ledge mine. I think that we who qualify will be given a traction course and then we will be sent back. I know we will be sent back as soon as we qualify, but I don’t know just how much we will have to do.
You wanted to know who the Applegates were I met in Chicago. Well, I don’t know myself, only I guess I met all of them. I sure had a good time. I will come back the southern route so as to come through Medford. I’ll take chances on getting to Chicago some other time. I have received all your letters o.k., and the address is right. You see there are no regular C. A. C. companies here so this is called the 1st Provisional company. The new army regulations require that on every soldier’s letter he shall have his overseas number on it. My number is 834368, put right after my name on the same like this— V. S. W. (834368). This is about as hard a place to get acquainted in as any place I ever saw. I’ve heard a lot about southern hospitality, but I haven’t seen much of it yet. I’ve gotten acquainted with one little girl I go and see. Her folks are very nice. They have a nice home and also a nice car, in which we go out riding, so I guess I’ll have to get along. I’ll wire if I start home suddenly, so you will know of my coming.
Lovingly, VERNE WHITE
Lieut. Stuart Torney completed his training in pursuit May 11, and has been assigned to duty at Cerstner Field, Lake Charles, as assistant to Lieut. Patterson, in charge of the aero squadron and three hangers. He may be there three or four months. He has three hours flying a day and the first day of his new assignment, went up 15,000 feet with an Hispanp-Suiza motor, climbing the first 4,000 feet in four minutes. “That motor is some climber, believe me.” Perfectly willing to take your word for it.
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