About Me

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In 1943 I was drafted into World War 11 right out of Madison High School, Rochester, NY. This is my story as told in the letters I wrote home. They’re all here, all 192 of them. Spend some time with me as I describe my experiences in basic training and then off to war. They were written in an attempt to help me feel close to my family and to let them know what was going on in my life. It’s the first time I was away from home and I have to confess that I was homesick. My folks were Esther and Jacob Kaplow. We were four children in this order: Arnette, Ruth, Bob, and myself.

Train to Camp Croft

Ben leaves Camp Upton Induction Center and is sent to Camp Croft, S.C. for basic training.

July 4th, 1943
Hello Everybody,

Boy, did I get a good night’s sleep last nite.  Best sleep I ever had.  I slept for 10 1/2 hrs.  But I guess I deserved it, because I’ve just traveled 21 hrs. on a day coach, not a pullman.  We started Friday nite & got into Camp Croft, S. Carolina in the afternoon.  
Camp Croft is an Infantry Training Replacement Center.  But this does not mean I’m in the Infantry.  I’m just getting my 13 weeks basic training here & then I’ll be shipped out again.  It’s located near a jerk town called Spartanburg.  It’s a very big camp, from what I’ve seen of it all ready.
Last nite we packed all our clothes & accessories in our locker.  I need hangers but first I’ll see if I can get them in the P.X.  If not I want about 10 wooden ones.  Also canvas slippers, & a package of jeep notes.  You don’t have to send this stuff rite away until I see about the hangers.  We also got our field equipment - Pup tent, pack, cartridge belt, & rifle.  The hardest part about dressing in the morning is putting on our leggings that lace up.  But I suppose we’ll be experts soon.  
I don’t like the chow system as well here as the one at Upton.  At Upton we had it cafeteria style with trays divided into sections.  Here everything is put on the table & passed around with one plate.  It’s a smaller mess hall & more crowded.
But to get back to the trip, I always said join the Army & see the country.  Who would have thought that I would ever see Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, & the red clay of Virginia & the Carolina’s.  I never knew Virginia was so big.  It must have taken us 10 hrs to cross it.  And who said there were no more frontiers.  You should see the wilderness of Virginia and the shacks that the people live in!  We also saw all the big plants of the Tobacco Companies, Lucky Strike, Old Gold, etc. 
They say the drilling here is going to be tough.  Our Sarge at Upton said Upton will seem like a Country Club.  I haven’t received any of your mail yet,  but it should reach me by Tues or Wed.  I may not write you every nite so I can catch up on my other mail.  The Sarge just taught us how to roll a pack.

Ben's family sent "Jeep Notes" with military cartoons to make writing home more fun!

1 comment:

  1. What are "Jeep notes"? (Sorry I'm English and we have a slightly different language over here.)

    Is it possible to post a scan of the postcard mentioned on the previous post.

    Great effort Florence. Keep it up. Bill