Not many days after exams last June, a wayward Crimeditor left his typewriters and yellow copy paper and sneaked into the recruiting station on Huntington Avenue. Last night, the musty smell of ink and exchanges lured him off Plympton Street into the old haunts.
"What! no iron fence!" he wondered. "Gosh, the army seems to agree with you," they remarked to him.
Well, that's about the difference between the freedom amid scarcity here, and the doing-as-you-are-told for room and board in the country's service. But you know civilian problems the best, while this little G.I. knows a little about the trials of a rookie.
No Enlisting . . . but
Nowadays, your conscience is immaterial--your time just comes. So you might as well resign yourself to being crowded into tarp-covered trucks and troop trains, and to forgetting those pet green and yellow ties and oxford shoes.
That first or second evening at your "reception" center (Camp Devens, perhaps) is critical, and may hound you the rest of your days if you don't fly the beam. Cramming is out, but it wouldn't hurt to hit your I.Q. test hard, aiming for at least 110 out of 161, while a good mark on your mechanical quiz will pave a smoother road to the job of your choice.
Army's Decision Final
The dice have galloped now, and you pray you haven't turned up with an aceydency. Don't suffer under the illusion that you have a decision about the branch you are assigned to. You have a preference, but the only big sticks you carry are your test marks, and experience, if any.
Don't let me influence you, but the Air Force is the place to be--ask an infantry man.
Another tip, when they start throwing clothes onto you, make sure they are on the ample side. You, too, may think you are heavy enough but, given six months of army chow, you will find once close-fitting blouse and trousers will be tugging at the buttons.
Being the huge organization that it is, the army fans out into thousands of specialties, so I can't talk on common ground for long. If you land in one of Miami Beach's super "barracks," basking, bathing, and sweating out a daily eight hours of drill, you will have the various ground crew jobs spread before you.
But for these, you will know which phases of the specialized tests to put the most effort into to get what you want out of it. If you know what you want, watch out for the stock phrase "That school is closed." If you want it enough, you may get it by persevering.
In itself, learning to fight for one's country is a struggle and an experience. Sometimes, unethical means may seem necessary to get items of equipment, to have an application for cadet or OCS acted upon or to get efficient results, but it certainly puts one on his mettle to make his effort felt.
Even without becoming an officer, which seems to be the accepted course for Harvard men, one can meet, in this man's army, and deal with any kind of man without regard to his background, income, faith, or any but his truest and deepest character. Perhaps this experience may be the soundest on which to base our plans and hopes for a long peace