After being in camp for six weeks, I write Minnie about being picked for the ‘model company’ of the Regiment.
Addressed to Miss Minnie G. Frey, Manhattan, Kansas
October 13, 1918
Dear Little Girl,
Well Kid, I am glad to say that I can still write, “I am well.” In fact, I am not a bit afraid of the “flu” now although a man in the next tent who had been feeling well all the time was sent out just this afternoon. One of the boys from Kansas State Agricultural College by the name of Norman was taken out last evening & died during the night sometime. It sure shocked me because apparently he had been well before. But don’t worry anymore because the “flu” is nearly thru up here. I am hoping the quarantine will be lifted by next Sunday & that you folks can come up & get me, if I can get a pass.
I tried to get a call thru to you last night but didn’t have any luck. If you lived in town as Alice Bobeck does, I could talk to you occasionally.
I sent out a card last night saying something about extra drill. Now I will explain how it is. Friday night the company commander called the noncoms & some of the acting noncoms (I was one of the latter) down to the orderly room & picked out about 18 or 20 of the best, or perhaps I should say 18 or 20 from among the best. These men will be formed into a company along with other picked men from each company in the regiment. This company of picked men will be trained as the ‘model’ company of the regiment.
We go down to Smoky Hill Flats tomorrow morning & will receive very intensive training along such lines as bayonet fighting, hand grenade throwing, bomb throwing, gas attacks, trench fighting, automatic drill, etc. then we will be brought back to act as instructors – that is, those of us that can teach. Some can learn the work fine & all but can’t teach it. I am afraid that will be my trouble. I am not afraid but what I can stand the work & keep up with the others even if some of them are old men & old noncoms, but I never did teach anybody anything. I sure think I am lucky to get to go because it is quite an honor even if we did have to drill on Saturday & Sunday when the others were laying off. We only drilled till noon today, however.
We will only take our bare necessities – blankets, toilet articles, a change of socks & underwear, mess kit & cup, raincoats & maybe our sweaters -- those who have them, and of course our rifles. We who are going were issued the new Enfield rifle this afternoon. It has a bayonet about 18 inches long. As I heard one man say, he thot the army life was alright until he got to working with that bayonet & then he said it was nothing to laugh at after he got that old knife out there on the end of his rifle. It didn’t look funny anymore.
I won’t get a chance to send or to receive any mail so don’t worry if you don’t get any mail for a week. Sunday evening. Gee whiz, somebody yelled “Ward Griffing’ so I stopped writing & went out & Sergeant Conrow said there was something down at his tent for me. I went down & he had just come from the road where his folks left your box of candy & a box of cake & a bag of apples from Mama. Believe me, we had a feed. I called in [James] Sparks, Johnny Clarke, Walter Creviston, & Roy Drown. Oh my, but it seemed like Christmas. We had to eat everything tonight because I can’t take anything like that with me & I am going at 7 in the morning.
Well, I must hurry & get packed before taps & it is late now so goodbye & take care of yourself. With lots of love Minnie, -- Ward