After too much delay, here is another letter from Jimmie Lee Collester while in the Army. Again, this one is interesting in that it is directed to his Aunt, Uncle and ‘Sandy’, yet the letter is sent to his parents’ street address.
Aug. 4, ’54
Dear Bob, Esther, & Sandy,
Just a line to let you know everything is fine. I’ve kept pretty busy but the food and officers are good. We get up at 4:30 A.M. It is not bad though. It is damp and cold here morns & eves.
Boy! We’ve got clothes galore, a whole duffle bag so full, I don’t know what I’ll do with the ones I’m wearing.
My main objection is the strictness. Do not write until I send you permanent address.
The food is good but you’re so hungry you eat anyway. My two so-to-speak buddies are veterans, one from Korea in 1952 or so, and the other, once a marine, a sailor and now in the army. I did not sleep much on way down and was tired first day. (it dragged too!)
I did a little K.P., (Voluntary) today. I’m pretty lonesome and will be glad to get home, I have no idea what it will be like in 8 weeks. After 8 weeks, we get 2 weeks off, then 8 more weeks of advanced training.
Will send address later, J. Lee
Here’s the first piece of mail which was received from my Father when he was inducted into the Army. It was a pre-printed postcard which the soldier simply filled out to be sent home. Interestingly, this was not addressed to my Dad’s parents, but rather to his aunt Esther.
Aug 3 1954
I have arrived safely at Fort Ord, Calif. During the next few days I will be given tests that will determine my assignment and the type of training I will receive. To avoid possible error in delivery of mail, please wait until I inform you of my assignment and address before writing.
Fort Ord, California.
Box of Letters from J. Lee
I have begun the process of cataloguing, transcribing and scanning a series of letters which my Father, Jimmie Lee Collester, wrote during his time in the US Army during the 1950s. I hope that my family members will enjoy reading these, as well as anyone doing research for Historical reasons.
If you have a stash of letters from someone who was in the US Military; before you throw them out, consider donating them to an archive for people studying this subject. One such Archival Project is The Legacy Project (located on the web at www.warletters.com). If you’ve done interviews with family members or other Military Vets, you can contribute transcripts and audio to the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project (Online at www.loc.gov/vets/).
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