1943 Letters    Not every page is listed in this index. There are unlisted links & videos.

  PFC Ben Kaplow - World War 11         The best experience is to go from letter to letter to view added material.



A Message from Florence.

Post Card - train to NYC - to Camp Upton

Took I.Q. tests, issued uniform, etc., got shots - arm hurts

Cleaned barracks. Dug post holes. Some guys pulled out today. Eat meat and butter!!

3 Picture Post Cards of Camp Upton

Funny description of K.P. - One swell Corp. - Prisoners drafted. Meet Hawaiians, Philippines, Chinese, etc.

1100 recruits came today. Funny to see WACs driving great big trucks while we shell peas in the kitchen.

K.P. not hard, just the hours. Phone line too long to call you.

Why in hell don't you write?

Description of train ride to Camp Croft. Starts 13 wk basic training. Field equipment. Leggings lace up.

Picture Card - First of many requests to family for many items.

S.Carolina heat. No cameras allowed. College men here.

Marching with light pack, gas masks, cartridge belt, bayonet & rifle. Interesting training films

Ammunition training. Rifle is Infantryman's protection.

Writing letter in latrine - lights out. Jewish U.S.O. Is Army building us up or making us all 4-F?

Letter from Jewish Chaplain to Ben's mother

Many A.S.T.P. tests. Rifle sighting-not with bullets yet. Three hour lecture re: moving undercover.

How to kill a man with the palm of a hand or bayonet. Movie "Why We Fight" makes you want to!

6 Jewish boys in my barracks, plenty in camp. They keep us busy so we won't get homesick. It works!

Ran through 4 gases - Mustard Gas, Lewintin, Phosgene, Chloric Pictron. Then gas chamber.

Some fellows keeled over. Didn't take salt tablets. Have guard duty tomorrow.

Had to relieve a guard with bad feet. Up & down hills. More A.S.T.P. tests (bio, chem, phys, math, etc)

7 mile hike on rocky, hilly, rutted dirt roads wearing pack, gas mask, rifle belt, bayonet & rifle. No pleasure.

Dance in Rec Hall. 10 girls for whole battalion. They dance 2 steps & get cut in. Went home.

In town. Delicious steak dinner - $2.00. Then to Jewish U.S.O. - waffles & iced tea.

I don't think Mom should write the Chaplain about my tonsils. Don't want to miss work.

Been in Army one month. Camouflage demonstration. Compass & obstacle course drill.

Jewish guys story. If Germany had known how little equip England had in 1940, Eng. would be out of war now.

"Rhett Butler" is trying to take apart & put back together his rifle blindfolded. He's pretty good. Movies

Map reading & marksmanship. A.S.T.P. interview. Want engineers, language, medicine, dentistry

Going out to dig foxholes. Even going to eat C-rations. So Mom got her hair cut. Probably looks younger.

To sister Ruth. Description of camp, drawing of foxhole. Dig firing stoop to sit on when tank goes overhead.

Take a look at the firing range. Made expert. Thanks for the packages. Here's my next order.

Latrine rumor - course extended to 17 weeks. Send Brillo soap pads in next box.

Firing range scores above average, but I'm worried about rapid firing. Took your orange & pear for lunch.

Shooting at targets resembling human body. Most non-coms shipping out. Some replacements from Panama.

Post Card - In town tonight. Sent you some pictures.

Dug slit trench - so dark we couldn't even see where we were digging. Tripped in holes - bumped into trees.

Obstacle course, demolition demos. Once we started crawling, we didn't even pay attention to the bullets.

Thanks for all the fruit. A lot of guys are broke cause they visit the bars.

After lights out, we set up obstacle course with foot lockers in barracks. Guys coming in did a lot of tripping.

Flash!! Have been accepted in A.S.T.P. Math, Physics, Chem, English, History, Geography. --GULP--

Very Happy Anniv., Mom & Dad - though you've had your little quarrels, you've stuck together 28 years.

Here 2 mo. Only 4 wks to go. Maybe after I get to college I'll change my ideas about the farm.

Regimental parade with 4000 men. Marched with colors & band played. Then passed in review.

Studying the light machine gun. Setting it up & taking down. Have speed trials in it.

Fired tracer ammunition over our heads while we were attacking enemy. Beautiful sight of colors in the darkness.

15 mile hike. Feet didn't hurt as much as the 6 mile when I was walking on the side of my feet. Getting cold.

Rolled packs. Heavy field, then light, & combat - raincoat only. Periodic Doctor physical check-up.

Camp Croft, 1943 Company B, 35th Infantry Training Battalion Dinner - Menu - Officers - Trainees List

Didn't make expert on machine gun practice. Jewish Holidays - Chaplain will let us know plans.

Felt lower than I've ever felt. Trouble from the Inspector, Exec Officer, Battalion C.O., Col., Comp Commander.

Going to see the Camel Caravan. Rumor that we're going to N.E. part of the U.S. I hope it's true.

By the light of a flickering candle." Tennessee Maneuvers - on the way to Fort Jackson

Don't think about me getting a furlough, cause if I don't happen to get one, you won't be disappointed.

To University of Conn. on Monday. Chaplain services - conservative. Then to orthodox Thur. & Fri.

Still on troop train. You know there's a war when you see factories busy at work & trainloads of tanks and big guns.

U. Conn - Oh, this is heaven! Good food, good mattress. 850 friendly women. 850 A.S.T.P. men & 250 4-F's

Math & Physics -what we learn in one hour takes two weeks in high school. Last cycle 150 flunked out of 400.

All we do is go to class and study. If only they would give a little explanation before they start.

All we're doing is studying & slowly going nuts. We're bucking for Section 8 (Insanity discharge). Cold story

Sending laundry home. No facilities for washing anything here like they did at Croft.

A close escape from death. Walking into pool one fellow not knowing I can't swim, pushed me into the deep end.

A swell time on the train coming back from Willimantic. Met a bunch of girls going back to school in Boston.

Didn't have the courage to ask a girl to dance with me. Won't happen next Sat. night, not if I can help it.

Lots of planes flying around here. One trainee was circling & banking low outside our window. Could see the pilot.

Dear Ruth, different mood than my last letter. Went to the U.S.O. in Willi, ..................and danced!

Send me some photos of the family. Old ones will do, just anything I can look at when I feel like it.

Got a ride in '31 Ford. Three in front seat, three in rumble seat & two on each running board, weaving down road.

I got gigged last night for having lights on after taps. Imagine gigging anybody for studying late.

Sending photo proofs home. Select the ones you want. They'll be done around Dec. 22nd

One fellow got shipped out. Drew cards for his bed & I won. Warmer room cause the wind doesn't blow through.

If I had known you would have worried as you did, I wouldn't have written you.

The wind has been blowing again, harder than Saturday when it was blowing about 70 miles an hour.

I happen to be C.Q. (Charge of Quarters) tonite. I'm on from 5 p.m. til noon tomorrow. Send skates.

Restricted until further notice. Some Freshman girls complained we were waking them in a.m. Threw water at us.

Post Card - Back from Hartford CT. Saw Vaughn Monroe.

Feel sorry for our C.O. In the Gilbert invasion, his Dad (a Col.) was killed leading his men forward.

If I get home, have bean or cabbage soup, veal cutlet, baked beans & potatoes, lima beans, chopped liver, etc.


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Jun 29, 1943a

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Dec 21, 1943b