My next assignment was Chanute Field Air Base, in Rantoul, Illinois. While there, I completed basic training. Then, it was time for us to be assigned to some squadron for duty. So, at an assembly, an officer told us that there were a number of truck drivers needed and asked for volunteers. Many hands went up, and a number of volunteers were selected to fill the jobs. They reported to duty and learned that the trucks were wheelbarrows for hauling dirt and sand for some construction purpose. Moral: Some sayings ring true!" I ended up being assigned duty with the 15th Military Police Squadron. Serving first as a guard, I was soon assigned as a typist clerk for the Provost Marshall.

Having completed one-and-one-half years of college at the time, I studied, and then took three days of exams in order to qualify for promotion to aviation cadet. After passing the test, I was transferred to Nashville for classification.

While still on the basic training subject, the only arm I was trained for was the army Colt 45, how to load, fire, and clean. I was given training on no other arm except to fire a burst from a sub machine gun, and all I did was to pull the trigger. While over seas for twenty-six months and seven campaigns, I don't think that I could hit a moving target with a 45.

As to sayings, in basic training at Chanute Field, Il., August, 1941, the saying was that we were "buck ass privates". Another that made its rounds was "don't volunteer for anything".


After arriving in Nashville, I was tested for pilot training in a homebuilt simulator, and they told me that my depth perception did not meet the minimum standard to be a pilot, and that I was colorblind. We had heard that 99 out of a 100 recruits wanted to be a pilot. Anyone that didn't pass the evaluation for pilot, but that had some math, were choice candidates for navigation school. So, meeting that standard, I was selected for training in aerial navigation, weather observation

The stay at Nashville Classification Center was for two weeks in September of 1942, and then I was sent to pre-flight. As with most centers, keeping people busy was a task. So, they had a stack of old lumber about 15-20 feet high that to be added to another stack several feet away. When the other stack got too high, the work detail would then carry the boards back to the other stack, and that went on during my entire stay at Nashville. The practice had been done before my assignement to Monroe, and probably continued afterwards.

It was a comedy, because they assigned a Second Louie to monitor the work, and when he was on one side of a stack, all work ceased on the other sides. Some of the cadets dug out little spots in the top of the stacks and read comic books.

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