After three months in the Army, I have come to the conclusion that I've had a pretty soft time. Any statements I may make, therefore, should be taken with at least three grains, of salt by future Commandos or Paratroopers. On the other hand, I've seen enough of Army life to pass on a few pointers about the vigors as well as the delights of military service.
You must become accustomed to doing without sleep. Getting up at 5 o'clock at Atlantic City is somehow not to be compared with getting up at 8 or 9 o'clock at Adams House.
You're fortunate if your name begins with "A." Mine doesn't Result: you spend much of your time waiting in line for pay, "shots," and medical examinations. The Army does everything alphabetically, with no consideration for the XY's.
You never know what's coming next in the Army. If you're going to be shipped, you get a half-hour's notice, and even then you haven't the faintest idea where you're going. You'll line up several times a day without knowing what the formation is for.
Every time you are transferred from one post to another, you'll be put in quarantine for a week or ten days, and you must march everywhere in formation, with no liberties whatsoever. This can be pretty irritating if you get moved around a bit. But these, to my way of thinking, are petty grievances.
The food is almost universally good. You get plenty of meat, butter, and milk, with no worries about ration books and 16 points a week. During my five-day so-journ in North Carolina I had a fried chicken meal that was literally on a par with anything the Ritz-Carlton or Locke Ober's can offer.
What's more, the Army really works up an appetite in you. I think nothing of drinking three or four glasses of milk, and eating three pieces of bread, and several desserts for each meal. I'd probably take more if I could eat fast enough.
Nothing makes you feel as good as a letter from home or from friends. (And, certainly, nothing makes you feel as bad as not getting one.) One letter can boost your morale 100 percent, and usually does.
The soldiers in "this man's Army" are well worth knowing. Many of them are objectionable, but the vast majority are people you'd like to meet. And there are a large number who, though less well educated, are as nice as the best Harvard has to offer.
I haven't reached the stage yet where I'm doing the nation much good, but I know that the Army is doing me a lot of good--physically, mentally, and socially. And I think it's fair to say that the Army will be just as beneficial in its effects to every soldier who is a part of it.