by Jack W. Mills

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We lived on a Navy base while we were there and it is true, they did serve beans 3 times a day, including breakfast. The Navy eat pretty good themselves but they could care less about the Army, especially when some were in transit, like we were.

The times have escaped me about how long we were at each place but from there we moved up to Chesapeake bay and continued with another phase of the Amphibious training. That water up around there was sure enough rough and colder still. After this phase of training was over we were returned to Camp Pickett, Va. and given a 10 day furlough. This was sometime in October 1943.

Now mind you several of us had gone in from Arizona and California and by train it took 4 and one half days one way, that took up nine days of our furlough time. They didn't allow us any travel time. Well several of us took 4 and one half days over. I got back on the train on the day that my furlough was over. Now the Army frowns on this but we knew that we were going over seas and that we might not make the return trip so we decided to spend a little longer time at home. My papers were checked just as we crossed the Mississippi River at Memphis, Tn. and the MP's asked where I was headed and I told them "I was going to my outfit" and I explained the thing to them, they said Ok but they wouldn't want that on their record. I said that I really didn't care if it was on mine or not that we were headed overseas and it didn't matter to me.

We returned from leave to Camp Picket, Va. and our outfit had already moved on up to Boston, Mass. at the Port of Embarkation, that is where we caught up with them. We went through Washington, DC. and on through New York City to get to the POE up in Boston, Mass. I seen the Empire State building and Penn Station and that was all that I cared about seeing in that state.

There was 5 of us that were late in coming back from furlough and they gave us a summary courts martial with a fine of two thirds of a months pay and restricted to the company area for the rest of the time that we were in the United States, which was about 2 or 3 weeks. Now the question might be asked, "was it worth it" and the answer was a resounding yes. We were making $50.00 dollars a month and it cost us 2 thirds of it and it made money a little short. I was only drawing $24.75 anyway but it was definitely worth it and I have never to this day regretted it.

I was sending home a bond a month ($18.75 and paying $6.50 for life insurance) so my money was pretty short anyway. You have to remember that we were heading for overseas and there was a lot of apprehension and uncertainty with it and that was what made it worth it seeing our folks maybe for the last time, after all there was folks over there getting killed.

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