June 18, 1918
Ft. Riley, Kansas
My Dearest Lucille,
I am liking this place better every day. Think maybe I will stay. We have been working for the moving pictures today, and say honey, that is some hard job. We packed all our stuff on our back today early and set off for the large drill grounds about three miles over the hills. The sun was sure hot beaming down on our steel helments with our packs of about 75 lbs. on our backs (though it doesn't seem so heavy, the way it is slung on your back). I would like for you to see the pictures. They said they were about the best pictures of their kind ever made.
We pitched our tents in three minutes and were ready for mess. Then we had retreat and had to turn in. Each man has half a tent, so two men put their halves together and bunk in one tent. That foolish stuff was all for the movie pictures. We also have to doctor the sick, dress supposed wounds, and do all kinds of field work. My vaccination is just beginning to take good, so my arm is pretty sore tonight.
Hello 'Cile. How are you today. I have done one more days work since I went to slumberland. It is just as hot as ever today, but we haven't been working so hard. We had to build a city this afternoon, out in the woods, but that was real sport. I have sure played lucky since I came over here for I have never been detailed to extra duty of any kind, though my time is coming in its turn. About the worst job is guard. You have a certain beat to walk and everyone you see after ten bells you have to halt and find out if they have a pass or what they are doing. If they have no good reason, you report them to their officer. There are 50 guards every night, so you see it is some job for a man to come in from town for you have to show your pass to every one that happens to see you. I think I am smart enough to dodge a few of them at least.
Well honey, I must stop and do some dirty washing or I will be hung at sunrise. Now don't forget my number and answer sooner than ever.
Your very own with plenty of love,
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1998-2002, Tom Johnston