Your First Days In The Army

The Pittsburgh Press (October 16, 1940)



You’ll Mingle With City and Farm Residents, Industrial And White Collared Workers in the Service

This is the first of a series of articles written especially for prospective members of the United States armed forces by two members of the West Point staff. These officers tell just what the rookie is likely to run into and how to find his way around in the strange new world of the Army.

By Captains William H. Baumer Jr. and Sidney F. Giffin of the United States Military Academy, Authors of 21 to 35: What the Draft and Army Training Mean to You


The Regular Army is moving toward its allotted strength of 375,000 men, obtaining recruits entirely by voluntary enlistment.

The National Guard, with a 1940 peacetime strength of 235,000 men, has been called into the service of the United States.

Selective Service is counted upon to raise the total number of men to 1,300,000 early in 1941.

The War Department is striving to build as a minimum a powerful, mobile army, thoroughly trained and properly equipped, consisting of 27 infantry divisions, two cavalry divisions, and four armored divisions, plus the necessary supporting troops coming under designations of Corps, Army and GHQ units.

The last units are heavy artillery, engineers with equipment for large bridges and other installations, Air Corps, and other groups of vitally-needed troops to aid the infantry and armored divisions, The total strength of this army should be 850,000 men; 159,000 more are needed to continue the large-scale expansion of the Air Corps.

To these troops, 100,00 men must be added to garrison our overseas possessions. The outposts in the Philippines and Hawaiian Islands, in Alaska, in Puerto Rico, and in the Panama Canal Zone provide security for naval and air bases.

50,000 additional men are to be sent to fixed harbor defenses for the protection of seaports and naval bases in the continental United States.

Finally, to bring the total to 1,300,000 men, 125,000 men will be needed by the various service agents, such as ordnance, medical, quartermaster, and induction and training of recruits under Selective Service.

The first induction of Selective Service men into the Army during the fall of 1940 is made through the reception centers and thence directly into units of the Regular Army, National Guard, and Regular Army inactive. At the unit training centers, Selective Service men will take up their recruit instruction. This movement of the inducted men into the expanded army is necessary to build a powerful army quickly.

Must Await Instructions

The second group of Selective Service trainees during the first six months of 1941 will be inducted as usual through a reception center, but will not go directly to units of the Army until there are vacancies to be filled. The second group will therefore have its recruit training at selected camps, and will then await the process of being fed into the units as openings occur. This recruit training period in a replacement pool (enlisted replacement center) will allow the authorities further time as to occupational specialties and will cause more efficient placement of men of high intelligence and leadership abilities.

After registering today and subsequent classification, you await further instructions. On a memorable day, you, a Class I registrant, are notified that your number has come up. You have been selected. You report to the local board as directed and are selected for induction into the armed forces of the United States. The term “inducted” refers to the process of changing your status from a civilian to a military one.

As soon as the group of Selective Service men from one district is prepared to leave home, the local board designates one suitable member of the party as a leader, and an assistant leader for each squad of eight,. and instructs them in their responsibilities and charging them with the care of the party en route, arrangements for supply, discipline, and safe delivery.

Face Series of Tests

When the inducted men arrive by train, at their nearby reception center, they will see city and farm men, industrial and white collar workers. There will be well-tailored young men, and suspendered man. As each group from its local board area steps off the train, papers in hand, it will go through a series of tests to determine the place in the army best suited to each man.

The reception center is an army encampment or post at which the inducted men are sorted, classified, examined physically and mentally, clothed and equipped, and their original records completed. Reception insures each army organization that it will receive men whom it can use, train and keep. After leaving the reception center, many recruits will subsequently obtain specialized training at an enlisted replacement center, at special schools, or at their assigned units in the Army.

Since the reception center will usually be in your corps area, the other men there will probably be civilians from your vicinity. A soldier will meet you at the train and direct your group to a certain checking point. The soldier will line you up alphabetically and the clerk will see that he has the following records pertaining to you:

  1. Physical Examination Report.
  2. Questionnaire.
  3. Entertainment list.

Give Your Right Name

The clerk will call out your names alphabetically from the local board’s list. He will then hand you your papers and you will move forward to another clerk who will check to see that your name has been recorded in the same way on each paper. Giving your full name correctly spelled, will be important for in the last war it sometimes happened that men with similar names were mixed on pay, insurance and death rolls. The second clerk, having determined that your records are accurate, will remind you always to sign your name in the same way that it is shown on the records.

Next the clerk will place around your neck a tag giving your local board, temporary assignment to quarters, and name.

To Get Outfits

As soon as the group from your local board is checked, the soldier guide will conduct you to the hospital for a preliminary medical check to see that you have no contagious diseases. This check usually consists of an examination of your throat and chest. If anyone is detected carrying lice, he is immediately sent off to a delousing station. After the medical checkup, the group goes to quarters – either tent or cantonments – where blankets and mess kits, with knife, forks, and spoon are issued.

The cantonments are large frame structures where men sleep in dormitories, called squad rooms. Row on row of beds fill the rooms, and one’s first reaction is the lack of privacy afforded. Outside the cantonment is a smaller building dousing the toilet facilities. This too is numbered and is allotted solely to the men living in the nearby cantonment. Here again facilities such as wash basins and showers are aligned in rows.

So – you’re in the Army now!

TOMORROW – Uncle Sam Takes Your Record


I never truly appreciated this song as a kid (still a Ramones and Twisted Sister fan).


My step grandfather would be a member of that second group of draftees. He would be inducted into the Army at Ft. Bragg in April of 1941.


How did it go for him?


I suppose that it goes without saying that he made it through. He ended up being assigned to the 8th Infantry Division and fought with that unit in all of their engagements in Europe.


Any funny stories about the war (or even the drafting process)?


The Pittsburgh Press (October 17, 1940)



Intelligence Test to be Given Immediately After Conscripts Check in – Ratings Will Give Indications of Your Ability as Soldier.

This is the second of a series of articles written especially for prospective members of the United States armed forces by two members of the West Point staff. These officers tell just what the rookie is likely to run into and how to find his way around in the strange new world of the Army.

By Captains William H. Baumer Jr. and Sidney F. Giffin of the United States Military Academy, Authors of 21 to 35: What the Draft and Army Training Mean to You


Assuming that you have arrived at camp at 8 o’clock in the morning, an hour has now passed. There is no time to slip to your bunk for an appraisal of your new life. After drawing bedding and a bed assignment, you are led to another building for an intelligence test.

The intelligence, or general classification, test cannot possibly measure your honesty, leadership, experience in specific lines of work, educational training, and the like, but it is a helpful element in determining what you are fitted for. It is a quick and reasonably dependable classification of men according to their ability to learn new duties.

Assuming that you are literate and can speak English you are given the No. 1 test. This is a one-hour test which can be answered without writing, merely by marking the sheet. These No. 1 tests are scored mechanically by stencils, thereby eliminating the marker’s personal judgment.

Some Face Second Test

Any literate man who fails to make a grade of IV or higher, in this objective No. 1 test, is then held for the No. 2 test, which is normally given to foreigners and illiterates.

The inducted men are rated according to their intelligence examinations in the following categories:

  • Grade I. Very superior intelligence. About seven men of each 100 earn this rating. They are definitely of other caliber, if they have leadership qualities.

  • Grade II. Superior intelligence. About 24 men earn this rating and should become commissioned and non-commissioned officers, if they show other necessary capabilities.

  • Grade III. Average intelligence. About 38% of the soldiers are so classified. Non-commissioned rating and specialist privates emerge from this group.

  • Grade IV. Inferior intelligence. About 24% of the men fall in this group. They will make fair soldiers, but will take longer to train.

  • Grade V. Very inferior intelligence. This remaining group (7%) will have to be either discharged or placed on labor assignments.

Rating Furnishes Index

A man’s rating furnishes a fairly reliable index of his capacity to learn, to think quickly and accurately, and to analyze a situation. It indicates to a certain extent the state of mental alertness and shows his probable ability to understand orders and instructions. Schooling has little influence on such tests.

By this test of general intelligence, the men are given an immediate and dependable classification which will aid in discovering those eligible for advancement, special training, and special duties.

After the general classification test, the inducted men will probably be marched back to their quarters to wash up and prepare for the noon meal. For many it is the first experience of eating out of a mess kit. This utensil should be washed thoroughly in hot soapy water, then sanded with anything which will cut through the grease that may be in the metal, and then cleansed with clear, hot water. Soap or grease in the mess kit may cause diarrhea.

Come and Get It!

After the mess line is formed, the men march past a line of food containers. One soldier puts on the inverted mess kit lid a piece of bread, butter or jam, and often a fruit dessert. Into the mess kit go the meat course, potatoes and vegetable. Liquids such as milk, coffee, tea or lemonade are put into a large cup.

The food is wholesome and plentiful, but the soldier has to take what is handed out. From the cafeteria line, the men move to long picnic-type tables where they sit on benches attached to the eating board. The mess line is continuous, another takes his place until all are fed. If a man wishes “seconds” on the meal, he usually is allowed to fall in at the end of the line.

After eating, the men return individually to their barracks and prepare to turn out in a few minutes for processing – a military term for the schedule of classification, medical examination, fingerprinting, drawing of clothing and equipment, vaccination, record completion, and temporary assignment in the reception center.

Don’t Be 'Too Smart’

The group, arranged according to the typewritten list received from the local board, proceeds to the receiving station. Their intelligence test ratings will have preceded them. Each man will be given a large envelope containing his records, including his questionnaire sheet and the original physical examination record brought with him. From the information, the clerk partially completes the qualification card. This done, the recruit goes on to the interviewing room, where his qualification card is further completed.

The interviewer is interested in obtaining the most correct and accurate data as to the person’s qualifications. Being human, he will probably be influenced against the man who tries to overstate his qualifications. The candidate then has the task of putting his case in clear-cut language and form so that he achieves a deserved rating.

The interviewer is looking for specialists, such as mechanics, radio and telephone men, bakers, electricians and draftsmen, but he is also on the lookout for non-English speaking men, illiterates, conscientious objectors, and doubtful types. For the latter men, a notation in an improvised code is placed on the card.

Clothes Shipped Home

After the interview, the induced men pass to clerks at the exit of the room who check the qualification cards for correctness. Next, the men move to undressing and shower rooms. Here they are given envelopes for their valuables, much as in public bathing beach dressing rooms.

These envelopes will be scaled and signed by the individual and then deposited with the non-commissioned officer for delivery at the other end of the processing building when the recruit has completed the circuit. The identification tag about one’s neck is the redemption certificate for one’s valuables.

All men turn their civilian clothes over to an express agent for shipment home in case of acceptance into the military service. The clothes are returned if the man is discharged. After a shower, each man proceeds to the medical examiner. If it is cold, blankets will be provided: otherwise the men go about in the nude.

The physical requirements are more elastic than those during normal voluntary enlistment periods. The object of the medical authorities under Selective Service is to procure men who are physically hit, or can be made so.

At the local board’s physical examinations, men already have been grouped according to their physical fitness: Group A, fit for general military service; Group B, fit for limited service; all others, disqualified for military service. All doubtful cases have been investigated by advisory medical boards in the local districts. Now, at the reception center, the final decision as to each man’s physical fitness is made.

TOMORROW – You Get Sorted Out


Unfortunately none that I can think of off the top of my head. Tragically, nobody in my family, including myself, thought to record any of his memories from the war before his mind started to fade right before he passed away. Apparently, he never talked about it to anyone until some time after the movie Saving Private Ryan came out. He started talking about it more but I think most of the stories went over everyone’s heads.

It wasn’t until after I got back from Iraq that he and I started swapping war stories in earnest. I didn’t know much about WWII history (and still don’t) so I wasn’t able to ask him any deep questions about specific engagements. It doesn’t help that the 8th Infantry Division isn’t one of the more storied units like the 1st ID, 2nd AD, or 82nd ABN. Finding specific information on that unit can sometimes be difficult.

However, recently I did find online a series of combat chronicles of the 8th ID written shortly after the war as a sort of yearbook-type thing for the men in the division. They have one book specifically for the 8th DIVARTY ( which gives a basic combat chronicle of each FA BN in the division. It also has a picture of nearly everyone in the unit, including my step-grandfather. I wish I had it while he was still alive because I think it would have really jogged his memory.

That being said, one of the things that I found out by reading that book was that the 56th FA BN was the unit providing fire support for the 2nd Ranger BN during their assault on Hill 400 (,_Bergstein) during the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest. His job was as a field artillery computer (he didn’t operate a computer, he was the computer) in HQ BTRY, 56th FA BN, so he would have been one of the people running the numbers to make sure the rounds landed on top of Hill 400 and not on the advancing Rangers.

A story that he told me about his time in the Hürtgenwald was when his unit was talking counter-battery fire. One round landed so close to the foxhole next to his that it caused the walls in that foxhole to collapse, burring the men inside alive.


Interesting. :slight_smile: I asked because I came across this from the Press on Draft Day.

I think that was the case for many WWII veterans, at least those who were alive in the late '90s.



The Pittsburgh Press (October 18, 1940)



Talks on Military Regulations and Courtesy, Sanitation and Articles of War, Will Be Heard by Men Accepted – Special Groups to Be Selected

This is the third of a series of articles written especially for prospective members of the United States armed forces by two members of the West Point staff. These officers tell just what the rookie is likely to run into and how to find his way around in the strange new world of the Army.

By Captains William H. Baumer Jr. and Sidney F. Giffin of the United States Military Academy, Authors of 21 to 35: What the Draft and Army Training Mean to You


The physical examination takes place in a large room where the doctors are able to observe carefully the candidates for Selective Service.

All doctors are looking for malingerers or men who by some self-abuse are trying to disqualify themselves for military service. There were rare cases in the last war of forced vomiting, and of cutting off of a finger. Normally, able-bodied men who have resorted to such ruses seldom will be disqualified.

Every inducted man is given eye, ear, nose, throat, dental, heart and lung tests. The physicians look at the skin, head, and spine of the person as well as the remainder of the body. The inducted man’s height and weight are taken and he is tested for abdominal troubles, for venereal diseases and nervous and mental troubles.

All doubtful physical cases are thoroughly inspected by a medical board, which is allowed great elasticity in interpreting requirements.

Men Classified

When examination is completed, the men are placed as follows:

  1. Men accepted under group A and B classification are marked with a final physical qualification.

  2. A conglomerate group who for one reason or another are sent temporarily to a special training battalion clearing board, where they will be accepted or rejected. The medical examiner knows from code notation on the qualification card, whether these men are suspected of being doubtful members for the military service. He send them direct to the clearing board.

The special training battalion clearing board studies the cases referred to it by the interviewing and medical officers and decides whether the questionable men are fit for immediate or later military service.

Some In Special Group

The board refers physically qualified men who are non-English speaking men, conscientious objectors or who are of inferior intelligence to their special training battalion. Unfit cases are sent back to the chief medical examiner for release.

After the medical examination, the accepted inducted men are fingerprinted and sent to the supply room for clothing and equipment. In the supply room every candidate is given a barracks bad (large laundry bag) which contains equipment and a recruit kit, including pack, shelter half, toilet articles, and any other item which does not have to be sized. When inducted men receive additional clothing, it is recorded on forms and they are asked to initial the issuance of each article.

Handling and assembling of all records are done in the records section. The inducted men hand over their envelopes containing all records received at their local board and at the reception center.

Cards Checked

Each card is checked for accuracy and completeness. Only the vaccination record is missing. The service record, No. 24, which accompanies the individual in the Army, is filled out with the date including qualifications, residence, intelligence tests and pay allotments.

With the assembled records completed, the inducted man is then given his service record and an immunization register to take to the vaccination room. On one arm a vaccination against smallpox – a needle prick on the skin – is given; on the other arm a vaccination against typhoid fever – shooting of serum into the veins – is given. The typhoid vaccinations are in series of three inoculations given several days apart, and on alternate arms. Processing is then completed by assigning accepted men to new quarters in the reception center.

Usually the men remain in camp for three full days while their records are being completed. All necessary equipment is issued and the men are sorted so that they can be sent efficiently to organizations at various army stations.

Rejected Men to Leave

All rejected men are given a card showing that they have been released rather discharged from the military service. The local board then sends the next man to fill the vacancy.

The inducted men, successfully completing processing, will hear talks concerning Army regulations, military courtesy, sanitation, and the Articles of War during their second and third days at the reception center. There may be time for an hour or two of the new infantry drill.

At some time during the period, the recruits are given a talk on the provisions of government insurance and how it applies to them. Allotments of their pay to dependents also is explained. Recruits then are allowed to apply for insurance and to allot part of their pay to dependents. Monthly checks are sent by the government direct to the insurance agency or to dependents.

Specialists among the accepted men, such as mechanics, radio technicians, accountants, and so forth, are sent direct to the corps area organization requiring them, or to schools, or special pools (replacement groups) in the reception center. On the fourth day, therefore, 75% of the arrivals on a sample day at the reception will have been taken care of and sent elsewhere.

Men to Take Oath

8% of the sample-day arrivals at the reception center are held longer than 10 days. Five-eighths of them are venereal cases, one-fourth have other serious diseases or require operations, and the remaining one-eighth are non-English speaking men and conscientious objectors. No one is held longer than three months from the date of arrival.

Each of the groups is segregated in the special training battalion. Progress charts will be kept on individuals, and all will be given some military training. They will live under army discipline, sanitation and hygiene. The progress charts will assure clearance of the 8% from the reception center as recruits or “rejects” within three months.

The oath of enlistment which accepted men will be required to take is given as follows (Articles of War 109):

I, …, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America; that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies whomsoever; and that I will obey the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the rules and Articles of War.

TOMORROW – Are You a Specialist?


The Pittsburgh Press (October 19, 1940)



Authorities Will Interview Conscripts to Select Such Workers as Bakers, Cooks, Photographers, Pharmacists – Each to Give Own History

This is the fourth of a series of articles written especially for prospective members of the United States armed forces by two members of the West Point staff. These officers tell just what the rookie is likely to run into and how to find his way around in the strange new world of the Army.

By Captains William H. Baumer Jr. and Sidney F. Giffin of the United States Military Academy, Authors of 21 to 35: What the Draft and Army Training Mean to You


In the interviewing room of the reception center, the inducted men under Selective Service will be asked questions for about 10 minutes.

The Army is seeking specialists, but will rarely find military specialists such as machine gunners, tank drivers, and so forth, among the inducted men at the reception center. Such training will be obtained later.

During the first day at an Army station, the authorities seek occupational specialists, as bakers, cooks, photographers, pharmacists, and so forth. After an evaluation of the data obtained in the interview, a decision is made by the classification secti0n as to the capacities of the individual.

As the inducted man meets the interviewer, he finds that the officer or soldier has before him the Selective Service questionnaire sheets from the local board, giving his history. Also, the interviewer has the qualification card Form No. 20 which he fills out as the inducted man answers questions.

Records Important

The interviewer realizes the importance of completing the card carefully because he knows it supplements a soldiers’ service record and follows wherever a soldier is transferred. After the national emergency is past, the completion of the qualification card with such additions as are made in the Army service may mean a job in civilian life.

Following are some of the entries on this qualification card which might require explanation:

Ability to Converse in Languages – Can you speak any language other than English? Fairly well? Fluently? Whenever possible, men claiming ability to speak a language will be tested by an interviewer. Study of language at high school or college alone is considered of little value and will be disregarded except in unusual cases. The Army needs interpreters and also “handy men” around an organization who know foreign languages.

Duty Desired – When the interviewer asks what you would like to do in the Army, be prepared with a definite answer. Tell him what arm of service you want to be in and type of work, such as “Air Corps mechanic,” “Signal Corps switchboard operator,” “Infantry rifleman,” Your talent for furnishing public entertainment also will be a question asked by the interviewers.

Civilian Occupations – What is your present age and the age at which you completed or left school? The difference between these two figures must be accounted for in occupation totals, or in any other way you may have spent the intervening period. Each time you mention an occupation in which you were engaged for some time, the interviewer will check his occupational qualification chart to find out under what heading it belongs. He will also want to know your approximate degree of skill in that occupation.

State Main Occupation

You should be ready to state what you consider to be your main occupation. The interviewer is not interested in this occupation with regard to its use to the Army, but later a classifier takes into account your experience insofar as it concerns the needs of the Army and decides on whether you will be called to that work.

For his decision he will have your completed classification card to evaluate your worth. Meanwhile, the interviewer is attempting to find out everything about your abilities and skills so that he can best fit you to the Army.

When your main occupation has been determined, the interviewer will asks for exact information on the character and type of your work and the time you have devoted to it. He will ask you just what work and the time you have devoted it. He will ask you just what work you did, and you should answer as closely as possible – that is, “rodman on a surveying gang; some experience with a transit.”

How good were you at your job? This will call for an appraisal of your ability so that the interviewer will be able to classify you as a “skilled,” “semi-skilled” or “unskilled.”

Employer’s Name Asked

When the name of your employers of firm is asked, the answer expected is that of the firm’s usual listing in the telephone directory, and not the name of your immediate boss or fireman.

What kind of business was the firm doing? The primary object of this entry is to determine the type of industry, such as oil refinery, textile mill, utility, railway, and so on.

Lastly, under this heading, your weekly wage is of interest. Explain this by showing that the wages in your section of the country are higher or lower for such work, that you were earning apprentice wages, were working on piecework, or that you were receiving overtime before being inducted into the service.

Since all of us like to exaggerate our wages, the interviewer will be looking for such additions. After interviewing many men previously he will have a good indication of your accuracy.

What Else Can You Do?

Next, you second and third occupations will be listed, though no names of employers will be asked for. In addition, the Army will want to know any additional occupations, hobbies or skills that you have been engaged in, or know.

“Student” is considered an occupation provided you were doing no other work at the time. “Professional soldering” of course will be considered as an occupation under this heading.

If trade tests are available and it is believed that one should be given, the interviewer will send you to that section as soon as he completes the remainder of the qualification card. The trade tester will mark the card with “W” for well-informed; “S” for some information of the work; and “L” for little information.

Four Tests Developed

Four types of trade tests have been developed. These are the oral, picture, performance and written, as follows:

  1. The oral test is a list of questions pertaining to a particular job.

  2. The picture test contains pictures of the tools or apparatus used in the occupation, and the applicant is asked to name them and describe their use. An electrician, for instance, is shown the parts of an electric motor and asked to name them.

  3. The performance test involves use of the tools and material of the occupation and the applicant is asked to make a specified product. The applicant is given a grade on his work in this test. Typing applicants are given the standard exercises.

  4. The written tests may consist, for example, of a list of questions with three or four answers shown, and the applicants are asked to check the correct answer.

Your experience in management of men forms the following question: What is the greatest authority you have ever held over a group of persons? You may have been foreman of a section gang on the railroad, head usher in a theater, president of a fraternity.

Of course, there are other questions to guide the interviewer that you will be called upon to answer.

TOMORROW – Finding Your Place




The Pittsburgh Press (October 20, 1940)



After Several Months of Observation, Your Commanding Officer Will Determine Whether You Have Been Placed in Proper Group

This is the fifth of a series of articles written especially for prospective members of the United States armed forces by two members of the West Point staff. These officers tell just what the rookie is likely to run into and how to find his way around in the strange new world of the Army.

By Captains William H. Baumer Jr. and Sidney F. Giffin of the United States Military Academy, Authors of 21 to 35: What the Draft and Army Training Mean to You


Several months after you enter this organization, the commanding officer will fill in a notation that you are, or are not, correctly placed according to the classification given to you.

If he believes you are correctly placed in your classification, you probably will not be disturbed, transferred, or moved from that organization.

Much data about your life previous to entering the army will be filled in by the questioner. If you are illiterate, the interviewer will note that.

Also, if he suspects you of disloyalty, that fact will be noted, but it may be removed by the classification commander if he has reason to believe otherwise. Only in rare cases is this disloyalty mark made, and in most cases the medical examiners and other persons with whom the individual comes in contact at the reception center will be able to concur, or disagree, with such an appraisal.

Both Sign Card

Both you and the interviewer sign the qualification card at the termination of the questioning period.

All the information on the soldiers’ qualification card is considered in classifying him: Schooling, age, civilian experience, military training, firm worked for, leadership, intelligence, and so on.

From an estimate of these considerations, the classifier will make this recommendation of your place in the Army as follows:

  1. As a specialist in an occupation designated – as still photographer or cameraman for instance.

  2. As a combat soldier – leadership probable.

Since every man may be an occupational specialist of sorts, as well as a potential combat enlisted man, the classifier will recommend inducted men woith no outstanding specialty for duy where they are most needed. For example, if classifiers are recommending more men as basis carpenters than needed, some of them may be sent as riflemen where shortages exist.

When inducted men under Selective Service have passed successfully through the reception center and have been accepted as recruits in the Army of the United States, they may be moved as follows:

  1. To Regular Army units at their home stations to bring them to full strength.

  2. To newly created Regular Army units (Regular Army inactive) which are stationed in cantonments or tents and are in the process of being brought to full strength.

  3. To National Guard units which have been sent to encampments near their homes, and if possible within their respective states.

  4. To overseas replacement depot for assignment to American possessions.

  5. To enlisted replacement centers, where specialists and certain other men are sent for training while awaiting orders to any of the organizations noted in Nos. 1 to 4 above: while awaiting orders to either an army or civilian specialist school, or while awaiting orders and undergoing training to go out as one of the core (framework) for a newly created unit.

At the Recruit School

Unit training center means a station – post, training camp, or other place – where training is given to recruits who have just passed through the reception center. At this station the trainees will remain in a recruit school for several weeks before joining their units. “Unit” refers to nay Army organization from a platoon to a division, and may mean training under any of the heads from Nos. 1 to 4 above.

Under (1), the recruit may be sent to a Regular Army organization, operating at peace strength, but being brought up to war strength.

This usually means not only the addition of more men to the rifle companies (as in a triangular division), but the creation of new organizations, such as anti-tank companies, within the division.

Wherever the Selective Service recruit joins his Regular Army organization – in camp or post – he will find conditions much more stable and static than at any other organization. The units will have lost some of their non-commissioned officers to form cadres for newly-created units elsewhere, but sufficient experienced soldiers will remain to fill the gaps with no appreciable loss of efficiency.

Interest to Increase

Recruit training probably will be smoother and life less hectic. The regular officers in command positions will have had considerable study of training methods. This would increase the interest of recruit training.

Under (2), the Selective Service recruits will have a situation that will challenge the best in them. These newly-created units, usually divisions of the Regular Army, will be officered in command positions by regular officers and will have a cadre, or nucleus, of Regular Army sergeants drawn from active units.

These noncoms in many cases will be newly-promoted one grade upward in their transfer and they will be searching among the new recruits for capable noncoms and first class privates. With the lessened stability of the unit, and under field conditions, probably in an encampment of tents or cantonments, opportunities for promotion among Selective Service men will be greater.

Some to Join Guard

Under (3), recruits will be sent to complete active National Guard divisions that have been called into national service. By the time the first Selective Service recruit arrives at a National Guard division, it probably will be operating smoothly. There will be twice as many National Guard divisions as there are Regular Army divisions, and they will be larger because they are square divisions rather than triangular.

Because National Guard divisions will remain, if possible, in training centers in their own states, the Selective Service trainee may be serving with men from his own locality.

Under (4), a few Selective Service recruits may leave the reception center for a replacement depot for foreign service stations, possibly in Puerto Rico and Panama.

Foreign Service Rotated

The troops in foreign service stations are rotated, if possible, every two years. This total will never be large because foreign service personnel represents a small percentage of the total number in the national armed forces. The one-year term of service of Selective Service recruits will limit such opportunities for foreign service.

Under (5), the recruit will move to an enlisted replacement center and there receive some training under they unit training plans. Naturally, this training will be shortened in many cases because of the necessity of sending specialists to schools, and of sending out certain individuals who have had considerable military training as key men to start new units. In almost no case will the training be as long as for the usual recruit in a units training center, because such exhaustive military grounding will not be necessary.

TOMORROW – You’re Getting to Be a Soldier


The Pittsburgh Press (October 21, 1940)



Recruit Drilling Will Last for 13 Weeks; Possibilities Of Promotion Vary With Unit; First Requirement Is Discipline

This is the sixth of a series of articles written especially for prospective members of the United States armed forces by two members of the West Point staff. These officers tell just what the rookie is likely to run into and how to find his way around in the strange new world of the Army.

By Captains William H. Baumer Jr. and Sidney F. Giffin of the United States Military Academy, Authors of 21 to 35: What the Draft and Army Training Mean to You



Service will be with any one of three different kinds of units: Regular Army units, National Guard units, and newly-created (called Regular Army inactive) units.

The possibilities for promotion vary with the unit, but there is definitely a lace in the ranks above a buck private’s rating for any man who shoes soldierly qualities.

The recruit training, of 13 weeks’ duration, is planned in broad outline at the War Department, the local commander having the authority to vary it as the conditions of the men, their capacity for learning, and the climate permit.

Training will be individual (that is, within the company) until at least the end of the tenth week. During the eleventh and twelfth weeks, emphasis will be on battalion training or teamwork with that unit; the last week the recruit will find himself operating as a member of the regiment.

After completion of 13 weeks’ training, the recruit, though assigned to a small unit like a company (infantry), battery (field or coast artillery), or troop (cavalry), will find that concentration is now directed toward making the larger unit – battalion, regiment, and division – a smooth-working, tactical team.

There are certain qualifications fulfilled through military training that all soldiers must possess. These requirements, or standards, extend to all the terms – infantry, cavalry, field and coast artillery, air corps, engineer and signal corps; and to such services as quartermaster, medical, ordnance and chemical warfare. In the various branches of the Army, basic military requirements must be met or fulfilled in different degree.

Soldiers who normally never will be called to the theater of operations need comparatively little military training; soldiers who may expect frontline service need all the military training they can get. More military training is required of the combatant personnel – rifleman, machine gunner, cannoneer, anti-tank and anti-aircraft gunners – than of the specialist personnel – as supply sergeants, clerks, artificers, cooks, mechanics.

During their year of duty, especially during the first 13 weeks at their unit training centers, the Selective Service trainees will be taught fundamental military requirements. The first requirement is discipline.

In any organization, from a football squad to a business corporation, discipline is essential. In the Army this is doubly true, for without discipline, the Army would be nothing more than an armed mob – dangerous in peacetime, worthless in war.

Discipline Brings Order

Discipline is said to be a mental attitude which makes obedience instinctive under all conditions. It means orderly effort, or teamwork. Every soldier knows his team will operate successfully if every man does his share. Orders come down and everyone springs to his post. Each man is obeying orders; each one sees his comrades doing their jobs. Confidence is evident along the line.

Military discipline generally is indicated in a unit or in the individual by smart and neat appearance, and by such respect for one’s leaders that execution of their orders is willing and capable.

A corollary of discipline is military courtesy. It is the outward evidence of respect for authority and the recognition that authority must exist for mutual protection.

You Don’t Tip Your Hat

The military salute is a sign of courtesy and an indication of the willingness of the subordinate, who gives the salute first, to execute promptly any orders given. The soldier or officer saluting will hold his head high if he has pride in his profession and organization.

The salute is a privilege; only soldiers in good standing may have that right.

Your salute always will be returned by the officers ton whom you raise your hand. If they are in formation, the senior officer will return your salute.

Officers of the Regular Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and of the National Guard and Organized Reserves in uniform are entitled to recognition.

Normally a soldier salutes officers in civilian dress known to him.

Not On the Run

The salute is given at quick time (usual marching or walking pace), and if running, the soldier comes to quick time before saluting. If the officer stops to converse with a soldier, the salute is again given at the termination of the meeting.

When a group of soldiers is approached by an officer, the one first noticing him, or the leader of the group, calls them to attention. All soldiers then salute, if the group is not in formation; otherwise, the commander salutes for the group.

Since salutes are usually given only in places where greetings are exchanged between acquaintances, the formal movement of the hand is unnecessary when the officers or soldiers are playing a game, are eating, riding in a public conveyance, or attending a social function or amusement.

When the soldier is under arms (that is, with rifle, belt, and other equipment), he does not take off his hat to enter the office or room of an officer. He always knocks before entering and salutes as he arrives, two paces from the officer’s desk.

Tells His Mission

He then says,

Sir, Private … reports as directed.

Or says

Sir, Private … has the permission of the first sergeant to speak to the company commander.

At the conclusion of the business, the soldier steps back one pace, salutes, about faces and withdraws.

When the officer enters a room, office or workshop full of soldiers, they continue their work; if it is a mess hall, they stop eating, though they remain seated. Details of men at work outside do not salute, though the non-commissioned officer in charge salutes if not actively engaged at the moment.

When the national anthem is played, or “To the Colors” is sounded, all soldiers and officers on foot come to attention facing the music. The salute is held from the first through the last note of the music. All vehicles are stopped, and the occupants alight and salute at attention. The drivers of vehicles sit at attention.

TOMORROW – Your health and pay.


The Pittsburgh Press (October 22, 1940)



Hygiene Is One of Basic Rules to Learn – Pay Starts At $21 a Month and Increases With Rank, Years of Service and ability

This is the seventh of a series of articles written especially for prospective members of the United States armed forces by two members of the West Point staff. These officers tell just what the rookie is likely to run into and how to find his way around in the strange new world of the Army.

By Captains William H. Baumer Jr. and Sidney F. Giffin of the United States Military Academy, Authors of 21 to 35: What the Draft and Army Training Mean to You


Hygiene, or the art of keeping in good health, is another of the basic rules a soldier must learn. Large numbers of men living in close contact increase the dangers of diseases manifold.

In the field, the soldier must be particularly careful of drinking water. Only water approved by the medical officer may be drunk, a regulation that eliminates the dangers from casual streams, springs and wells.

The medical officer will place a sign of approval near my water that he has approved as pure; otherwise, he will issue orders that all water will be boiled, or purified in a Lyster bag by means of a purifying powder. The peculiar taste of such water should not keep you from drinking it. Take the water from the faucets and do not di[ your cup into the Lyster bag.

Wash your mess kit and eating utensils in hot water and rinse them in boiling water after they are used. Other rules of hygiene are: Use the latrine provided; use your mosquito net; bathe as often as possible; brush your teeth at least twice daily; keep your bowels open; do not sit or lie on damp ground when you are hot; hang your blankets and clothing in the air to get the sun’s drying and germ-killing powers.

Take Care of Your Feet

Take care of your feet by wearing well-fitted shoes, large enough to give room to the muscles developed by walking. On the march, never wear a new pair of shoes. Put on light woolen socks that have not been darned, or that have no holes in them. Change socks daily and use foot powder until the feet have hardened. Alum water dip used for a short time will harden the feet. The toenails must be cut square across.

Sex hygiene is particularly important. Avoid venereal diseases as you would the plague. Inducted men under Selective Service who have such diseases are segregated.

If you contact a venereal disease, you will not be a soldier in good standing. You will lose your pay and the respect of the other men. Since venereal inspections are made monthly in the Army, all cases are detected in sufficient time for careful treatment.

Help for Your Buddy

First aid is an important subject that every soldier learns. There is no assurance that a medical officer can be found when accidents occur. The best handling of the case, after you have sent for the doctor, is a quiet gentleness in dealing with the injured man.

The recruits in a unit training center will be reminded of the Articles of War by reading and explanation. They will learn also the Army Regulations. Some of the more important regulations are these:

The War Department will regulate the number of non-commissioned officers of the different grades to be allowed each organization under Selective Service. Company non-commissioned officers are appointed by the regional commander upon the recommendation of the company commander.

The latter officer appoints all privates, first class, in his unit, and he also has the power to reduce them in rank. A non-commissioned officer may be reduced by the sentence of a court-martial or by the appointing officer, because of misconduct or inefficiency. No reduction may be made while the soldier is absent because of sickness contracted in line of duty.

Privates, first class, and privates who are especially qualified to perform certain duties, such as mechanics, musicians, clerks, or telephone operators, may be rated as specialists and receive additional pay. The commander may rate a specialist and may disrate him for unauthorized absence, misconduct, or lack of efficiency. A transfer to another organization automatically disrates a specialist.

Enlisted men receive, as a permanent addition to their pay, an increase of 10% of their base pay and pay for specialists’ ratings upon completion of the first four years of service, and an additional increase of 5% of such base pay and pay for specialists’ ratings for each year of service thereafter, the total of such increases cannot exceed 25%.

May Be Transferred

When there is a good reason, enlisted men may be transferred from one unit to another at their own request. Corps area commanders may transfer men within their commands. Transfers are usually made in the grace of private, and therefore the non-commissioned officer usually loses his chevrons.

Each soldier receives a fixed issue of clothing to equip him initially and to maintain him. For the duration of the emergency the usual monetary clothing allowance is discontinued.

Each soldier is required to have in his possession at all times, and in good condition, articles of the war set of clothing, and other items which the commanding officer considers necessary.

Soldiers may take allotments of pay to family or dependent relatives, or for payments of premiums on life insurance. The money allotted is withheld from the pay and a check mailed direct to the allottee.

May Deposit Money

Allotments are made for a certain specified number of months and may be discontinued or remade at any time. Saving deposits of more than $5 are accepted by the Finance Officer at any time. The government retains the money until the soldier is separated from the service, when it is paid in fill with 4% interest, if held for over six months. In event of death, the beneficiary is paid the same sum.

On active duty, each enlisted man is required to designate a beneficiary – wife, child, or dependent relative (related by blood or marriage) – to whom six months’ pay is made in case of death.

Absence without leave by persons subject o military law is considered more serious in time of emergency because such conduct lessens the available number of men for national defense. If a soldier, through misconduct or misfortune, finds himself separated from his unit, he should make every effort to rejoin it immediately to avoid any possibility of being considered an intentional deserter.

Sometimes it is better to report to the nearest post, stating your case, and asking that you be returned to your proper station. All expenses will be paid by you, and you will be required to make up lost days in service time.

TOMORROW – Stepping out like a soldier


Rank Less than 4 years Over 4 years Over 8 years Over 12 years Over 16 years
Master Sergeant $126.00 $138.60 $144.90 $151.20 $157.50
Technical Sergeant or First Sergeant $ $ $ $ $105.00
Staff Sergeant $72.00 $79.20 $82.80 $86.40 $90.00
Sergeant $60.00 $66.00 $69.00 $72.00 $75.00
Corporal $54.00 $59.40 $62.10 $64.80 $67.50
Private, 1st Class $36.00 $39.50 $41.40 $43.20 $45.00
Private $30.00 $33.00 $34.50 $36.00 $37.50
Private (less than 4 months’ service) $21.00 __ __ __ __


Rating Monthly rate
1st Class $30.00
2nd Class $25.00
3rd Class $20.00
4th Class $15.00
5th Class $6.00
6th Class $3.00

The Pittsburgh Press (October 23, 1940)



If You Are Classed as Less Than Good, You May Appeal To Board of Officers – Close Order and Extended Drill Instill Teamwork

This is the eighth of a series of articles written especially for prospective members of the United States armed forces by two members of the West Point staff. These officers tell just what the rookie is likely to run into and how to find his way around in the strange new world of the Army.

By Captains William H. Baumer Jr. and Sidney F. Giffin of the United States Military Academy, Authors of 21 to 35: What the Draft and Army Training Mean to You


There are many regulations concerning furloughs, or leaves from the organization for a certain time. In times of emergency, leaves will be given only for grave reasons. Short weekend leaves, “passes” as they are called by soldiers, are given to then men of the command as long as there are sufficient men left to operate the post.

The day on which a soldier goes on furlough is a day of duty, so he tried to leave at noon or in the afternoon to gain some time foe himself; the day of return is a day of absence, so the signing-in may be done any time before midnight. A three-day pass might therefore extend from Thursday noon until Sunday at midnight. Accidental injuries incurred while on authorized leaves are considered in line of duty.

Since enlistments are for specified periods of one or three years, the time served must actually be “good” time, with none lost for misconduct, such as absence without leave, desertion, venereal cases, drug or liquor diseases. At the completion of the enlistment period the soldier is given a certificate of discharge with a certain character rating as excellent, very good, fair or poor.

May Present Own Case

If a commanding officer feels that your service does not rate as “good,” he must so notify you and the regimental commander 30 days before discharge. A board of officers is then convened and you are given an opportunity to p-resent your case. If the rating remains “good” or lower, the discharge is not dishonorable, as that can be given to a soldier pursuant only to a court-martial sentence, but it is on blue paper instead of white.

Enlisted men who become physically disabled for military service are retained in a hospital until they will not be benefited by further treatment, but in no case beyond the enlistment period. When by death or disability the members of a soldier’s family become dependent upon him, he may be granted, in the discretion of the Secretary of War, an honorable discharge.

Close Order Drill

Close order drill, another basic rule, now much telescoped, and extended order drill are means of instilling teamwork and discipline into an organization.

The first drill is performed without the rifle. In the position of attention, the body is erect with the weight distributed upon both feet, and the feeling s of alertness. The heels are on the same line, and the feet are turned out equally, forming a 45-degree angle. The knees are straight without stiffness, the hips are level, the chest is lifted, and the shoulders are square. The arms hang straight down so that the thumbs are along the seams of the trousers with palms toward the thighs and the fingers held naturally. The head is erect and squarely to the front with the chin drawn in, the neck is straightened and nearly vertical at the nape, and the eyes are to the front.

At a halt, the commands are “Fall out,” “Rest,” “At ease,” and “Parade rest.” At the first command the soldiers disperse; the next two commands allow freedom of movement as long as one foot is kept in place. “At ease” calls for silence in this fee position; “Rest” does not.

Watch Out for Your Eye

The command “Parade rest,” is executed by moving the left foot smartly 12 inches from the right foot, keeping the legs straight and putting the weight equally on both feet. At the same time the hands are clasped behind the back, palms to the rear, thumb and fingers of the right hand clasping the left thumb. The soldier must remain immobile and keep silence.

Facing movements to the left, right and to the rear are the next movements taught to the trainee.

For the hand salute, the right hand is moved smartly until the tip of the forefinger touches the rim on the cap’s bill, above and slightly to the right of the right eye. The thumb and fingers are extended and joined, palm pointing downward, upper arm horizontal, forearm inclined at 45 degrees, hand and wrists straight. The head and eyes are turned toward the person saluted.

The completion of the salute is accomplished by dropping the hand quickly to the side in the normal position. This salute is made when six paces from the officer, and is held until he has returned the salute or has passed.

For the steps and marching, young America is well-prepared. Young men instinctively start to move with the left foot first. The counting for marching is always with “one” and 'three" on the left foot. When marching, the step should be 30 inches long, and the arms should swing naturally in an arc, six inches to the front and three inches to the rear of the seam down the sides of the trousers. Other methods of moving by marching are double time, half step, forward, side step, back step, to the flank, and mark time for continuing of movement in place.

Manual of Arms

With a command of this basic close drill, the recruit can look forward to the day in his unit training camp when he is given a rifle to work with. The first and last command when drilling with rifles is “Inspection arms.” Cartridges are never carried in the chamber or magazine except when specifically ordered. Bayonets are fixed on the end of the rifle only when ordered. Automatic weapons are carried slung when “Right shoulder, arms” is commanded.

Under the present drill, all rifle s are carried to the shoulder before commencing to march. This eliminates the movement known to millions of young men of moving off and throwing the rifle to the shoulder during the first few steps.

The manual of arms is a method of moving the rifle about from one shoulder to the other and from one position to another. The manual is executed only when standing and the present movements are much simpler than those of a few years ago.

Guard Duty Explained

A requirement the recruit must master under basic rules is interior guard duty, the name given to the sentinels placed around a camp or post, and their duties as such. They preserve order, protect property, and enforce police investigations while preparing themselves for the more important sentry duty in camps within range of the enemy. Privates of the guard are assigned to reliefs and to posts which they walk for two hours of each six in the 24-hour stint of the appointed guard.

Morale is something about which the recruit will hear much. Morale is a measure of your contentment and satisfaction with your group your pride in what it can and will do, and has done. When the going is toughest during recruit or dog days, it is the ability to carry on because you do not want to let the outfit down.

Among the characteristics indicating high morale are: Loyalty, patriotism, spirit of national service, discipline, pride, cheerfulness, enthusiasm, initiative, aggressiveness, determination and tenacity.

TOMORROW: Full-fledged in three months.


The Pittsburgh Press (October 24, 1940)



Recruits Must Learn Technical as Well as Tactical Operation of Weapons – Soldiers to Make Marches and Camp in the Field

This is the ninth of a series of articles written especially for prospective members of the United States armed forces by two members of the West Point staff. These officers tell just what the rookie is likely to run into and how to find his way around in the strange new world of the Army.

By Captains William H. Baumer Jr. and Sidney F. Giffin of the United States Military Academy, Authors of 21 to 35: What the Draft and Army Training Mean to You


Many hours in the early days of training will teach the recruit that away from a permanent post, the soldier has little of the material with which he can normally take good care of his rifle, pistol, or other weapon. Rain, dust, powder filings, and other extraneous matter may in time cause a weapon to refuse to function.

Personal danger either from the enemy or from explosion of the piece are possible because of improper care. Ammunition must be kept dry, and sand must not be allowed to cling to cartridges and projectiles. Mechanical equipment must be kept thoroughly oiled and greased for the heavy, valuable service they perform.

Leather equipment, such as shoes, straps, and so forth, will be more comfortable and will wear longer if kept oiled when subject to moisture. No soldier should allow his shoes to become dry and brittle in the field. Mess kits should be kept free from greasiness, and should not be allowed to rust.

Getting Toughened

Another requirement for the military groundwork of the recruit in the unit training center is accomplished without much of what appears as physical exercise, or calisthenics, in the training. The recreation, sports, practice marches, close and extended order drill, and life in the open quickly make the recruit into a hardened soldier, with endurance and the ability to stand rough going.

The infantry soldier may be a rifleman,. machine-0gunner, automatic rifleman, mortar-gunner, 37-mm gunner, or a grenade thrower. Most of the infantry (privates and corporals) carry a bayonet; non-coms and specialists carry the pistol.

The field artillerymen must know his light, medium and heavy guns; the coast artilleryman, his huge seacoast defense guns and the smaller anti-aircraft weapons; the air corps and the cavalry use weapons that are either similar to, or variations of the infantry and field artillery arms. The signal corps and combat engineers are armed much as he infantryman.

Must Know Weapons

Skill in the use of the weapon one works with t=and lives with is a two-fold requirement: one must know the technical aspects of the piece, and also its tactical operational if he is to get the most good out of its fire.

Because the effects of gas are greatest when surprise is attained, the individual soldier must know how chemical attacks are made, when to expect such attacks, and what to do when attacked. He must recognize favorable conditions for gas, and must also be able to distinguish between different kinds of gas.

Chemical attacks may be made by candles and cylinders or by shells from projections, mortars, airplanes, tanks, artillery or grenades.

Attacks by candles and cylinders may be identified by the hissing sound of escaping gas, and during daylight by the cloud of gas itself. Projector attacks make a tremendous explosion, a brilliant flash, and a large cloud of dust, smoke and debris. The approaching shell may easily be seen.

Some Lands With Thud

Artillery and mortar shells and airplane bombs filled with gas make a thud when they land. Usually a thin haze surrounds the burst for a few moments.

During recruit training, all men are taught the effects of weapons and projectiles. A recruit should know the difference between the crack of bullets in flight and the whine or shriek of the projectile passing through the air.

A shell from an gun has a comparatively flat trajectory, or path through the air; a howitzer has a more curved trajectory and is able to reach targets located behind ridges; 75-mm guns and 155-mm howitzers fire higher explosive shells and shells containing smoke and gas.

A high explosive shell consists of a hollow case filled with explosive. The charge, which is exploded by the fuse, bursts the steel case into fragments. High explosive shells are usually used against personnel. A barrage, or so-called curtain of fire, often can be passed through successfully. Once beyond the barrage, the infantryman need no longer fear it, for the “overs” and “shorts” will not cover any considerable depth.

Study Concealment

The recruit also is taught an understanding of terrain forms, cover, and concealment; and representation of terrain forms on maps.

In order to accustom the individual soldier to acting as a member of a group he is first given close order drill of the squad. When commanded to fall in, each man, except the one on the left, extends his left arm laterally at shoulder height so that the tips of his fingers touch the man on his left. The palm of the hand is down and the fingers are extended and joined. Each man, except the one on the right, turns his head and eyes on the right and places himself in line. As soon as the proper intervals have been obtained, each man drops is arm smartly to his side and turns his head to the front.

Close order drill, with its teamwork, is only a means to an end. Next the squad learns extended order drill in order to deploy, in an orderly manner, in the field. From the extended order movements, it is an easy step to real combat training. For this drill, there are no set intervals between the men, since such intervals will be determined by the terrain, enemy fire, and other existent factors.

With the basic knowledge of close and extended order drill and of hygiene, the soldiers ready to make marches and to camp or bivouac in the field. If he marches on foot, he must learn to use a steady gait and to keep closed up. Riflemen sling their pieces or carry them at the right or left shoulder. The muzzle must be well elevated so as not to endanger or interfere with other men.

During halts, the men fall out on the right side of the road, keeping road junctions clear. The soldier sits or lies down so as to take the weight of his pack off his shoulders. He drinks sparingly from his canteen.

If the march is made by motor truck, he must be ready to guard against plane and tank attack. He should be alert to leave the truck if danger threatens. There are many signals for motor vehicles, but the recruit can pick them up by observation.

After the day’s march a bivouac is made for the night in a concealed position. Equipment is placed under bushes or close to the trunks of trees.

Tents Covered

Objects of regular shape must not be left in the open, as they may be apparent to hostile aircraft. Shelter tents, if pitched, are distributed irregularly and covered with a few branches to break their outline. Camouflage may be used advantageously when vegetation is lacking.

During the last three weeks of recruit training, the new soldier will find himself in the transition from a recruit absorbing his background, knowledge to a full-fledged soldier using his background knowledge in tactical teamwork. At the opening of the fourth month of training the Selective Service trainee will have become a soldier of the Army.

True enough, his military education has not been thorough, nor has he had an opportunity to enter into any extensive field problems or maneuvers. Nevertheless, with his three-month recruit training as a background, he can use it as a springboard to increase his technical and tactical knowledge.

TOMORROW – Chances for Specialists.


The Pittsburgh Press (October 25, 1940)



Many Jobs Available – Basic Military Training Will Be Given Before Recruit Is Assigned to School – Gage Increases Vary

This is the tenth of a series of articles written especially for prospective members of the United States armed forces by two members of the West Point staff. These officers tell just what the rookie is likely to run into and how to find his way around in the strange new world of the Army.

By Captains William H. Baumer Jr. and Sidney F. Giffin of the United States Military Academy, Authors of 21 to 35: What the Draft and Army Training Mean to You

After leaving the reception center, most of the Selective Service men during the late 1940 and early 1941 induction periods will go to unit training centers.

10-20% of them, however, will be assigned to replacement centers, either at the same post or at other posts, depending on what branch of the service they are ultimately heading for.

The group chosen for this training will include:

  1. Occupation specialists, usual and unusual.

  2. Men who by reason of superior intelligence or education have been singled out for training in military leadership.

The term “specialist” in its military meaning does not indicate, as it does in civilian terminology, that the individual is particularly outstanding in his profession or trade. It simply means that he has a trade or skill, useful to the Army, above and beyond the basic military requirements demanded of the buck private.

Extra Pay Given

For this extra qualification he receives extra pay. The bugler, for instance, usually has a rating which gives him from $3 to $10 extra a month. Cooks, mechanics, clerks, and so forth, come under this group, which we shall call the usual specialists.

Rated higher than the usual specialist because of their technical education and scarcity are the unusual specialists, such as topographic draftsmen, radio operators, instrument repairmen and photographers.

An idea of the number of specialists required in each branch of the Army can be gained from hearings on the Selective Service Bill before the Committee on Military Affairs, when the following specialist figures were given:

In the Infantry, 21% are specialists;
Cavalry, 28%;
Field Artillery, 48%;
Coast Artillery, 38%;
Engineers, 60%;
Air Corps, 78%;
Signal Corps, 69%;
Chemical Warfare Service, 21%;
Ordnance Department, 51%;
Medical Department, 47%;
Quartermaster Corps, 63%;
Financial Department, 74%.

The unusual specialist will be the one sent to the replacement centers from the first group inducted under the Selective Service Act. There will be too great a demand in the rapidly expanding units for cooks, cobblers, tailors, mechanics, telephone linemen, machinists, and so on, to hold them in an enlisted replacement center. Most of these usual specialists will receive their basic and disciplinary training as soldiers in unit training centers.

First, at the replacement center, the unusual specialists will be given whatever basic military training is considered necessary for their understanding of the branch to which they will be assigned. Then follows a one-to-three-months’ course in their occupational specialty.

After this, the specialty will be sent either to civilian schools for advanced training or he will be assigned to duty with troops. He may even be sent to a reception center to test and check men declaring qualifications in his line, or to set up a specialist school.

Army specialist schools in mechanical training for airplane, tank and other mechanics will be plentiful. They will take men with previous mechanical training and seek to supplement it with knowledge of military engines.

New schools will be set up to the limit of the personnel available for operation. When necessary, civilian vocational and trade schools will supplement the army schools. Even correspondence courses, completed under an officer’s direction, will be given if the schooling problem becomes too great for the army and civilian schools to handle.

In general, when a group of occupational specialists is sent to a civilian school, the institution will teach them their work but will give them no military training. The Army will pay for the courses, and an officer will be in charge of the 50 or more men. He too will probably be enrolled on the course with military training and will be responsible for discipline in the group at all times.

Hundreds of Specialists

Since the procedure for training the hundreds of different specialists for army service obviously will vary widely, it is impossible to do more than glance quickly at two or three types of specialists who will go through the replacement center.

It will take longer, for instance, to train an aerial photo-topographer, who must add a great deal of military knowledge to his civilian training, than a mule packer who has been doing very similar work in civilian life, perhaps as a cattle ranch hand.

The photographer, after perhaps a month’s basic military training at the replacement center, will be sent to a Signal Corps special training school for a short course on military aspects of aerial photography. His probable assignment after such schooling would be with observation aircraft in the GHQ Air Force.

If the Army wants some other type of specialist training in photography that he is unlikely to have in its entirety, he will be sent to a civil school.

Other Special Cases

A similar procedure will be followed in training denticians and medical helpers for the Army. Most of these men will receive their basic military training at replacement centers; some of them at unit training centers. All of them, however, probably will go to a base hospital for a specialized course before being put on regular duty with the medical service.

Early in the administration of the Selective Service Act, one of the problems of the corps area commander will be to place specialists on duty as soon as possible. If perhaps he has not received his expected quota of specialists he can take one of two steps:

  1. He may query the War Department to find out if there is a surplus of each specialists in other corps areas.

  2. He may put out a special call through War Department channels and thence to the local boards asking that this type of specialist be sought and asked to volunteer or obtained by voluntary enlistment.

TOMORROW – Other Army opportunities.


The Pittsburgh Press (October 26, 1940)



Occupational Specialists May Find Army Training Valuable After Their Return to Civilian Life – Some Will Learn New Jobs in Service

This is the eleventh of a series of articles written especially for prospective members of the United States armed forces by two members of the West Point staff. These officers tell just what the rookie is likely to run into and how to find his way around in the strange new world of the Army.

By Captains William H. Baumer Jr. and Sidney F. Giffin of the United States Military Academy, Authors of 21 to 35: What the Draft and Army Training Mean to You

The second group at the replacement centers, chosen for their outstanding qualities in leadership, might include such men as these:

A newspaper reporter, perhaps, will show up well in the interview and in the intelligence tests at the reception center. He will immediately be spotted as the type of man who can fit into the military intelligence division of the Army. Since he may not have had military training, he will be sent through the essential recruit training at the replacement center. With that background he will next be sent to an army specialist school for military intelligence instruction.

Here he will learn various functions of important staff work. Perhaps he will be detailed to public relations duty. Perhaps his bent will lie along the lines of combat intelligence, where his abilities to notice and report upon what he sees will be of especial value to a commander on the field.

’What’s in It for Me?'

T1he young executive of a business house may ask, “What is there in the Army for me?” He will be picked out in the reception center for those qualities which will have brought many punches on his classification card. After a m0onth or so of intensive training in an enlisted replacement center, he will learn next how to put basic military training across to others.

Perhaps he will find his place with the cadre of a new unit. There, as a non-commissioned officer, his leadership will be a real aid to the Army. Perhaps his talents lie along the lines of administration, and at a new unit he may find that his ability to size up new situations, and to act upon them, will make him an able staff worker in the headquarters.

In this group, too, we should include the men who have been selected for the replacement centers because their records indicate considerable prior military training and service. They will be put through a rapid refresher course and then sent out as members of a cadre to a new unit.

Many Units Planned

Even though at the beginning there are only 27 divisions of infantry, tow of cavalry, and four armored divisions, there will be many others formed as soon as officers and non-coms for trained cadres are prepared.

After January 1, 1941, when the Army is rapidly being organized and trained, further Selective Service calls will be made. The men then inducted will pass through the reception center, training centers and enlisted replacement centers, but, instead of being assigned immediately to duty with troops, they will be held at large encampments, or “pools,” from which all vacancies in the Army will be filled.

The second and later groups of Selective Service men will be given recruit training in their encampment, and will be more carefully sorted and classified. There will be more opportunity for schooling in these groups. Shortages of various occupations will have appeared, and such vacancies can be filled by men who have been given the necessary special training.

Heavy Turnover Opposed

When inducted men under Selective Service have been classified at a reception center and have moved on to unit training centers or to enlisted replacement centers, they will have an opportunity to observe their duties in relation to the Army.

In World War I, divisions sometimes suffered a transfer of three or four times their normal complement in less than 18 months. For this reason, every effort has been made in drawing up the military training plans under the Selective Service to avoid any possible repetition of such a heavy turnover in personnel. Transfers from one division to another will be discouraged except where absolutely necessary.

Naturally, some transfers will be necessary. Some men will find that that are square pegs in round holes; others will be over their heads in occupational specialties to which they have been assigned. Such transfers, however, usually can be made within the division. In each division, there is room for many different types of men.

Discipline for All

No matter what your military assignment under Selective Service, you will undergo the same disciplinary and basic training as all others. At the same time, you will be familiarizing yourself with the weapons of your branch. Lastly, you will engage in tactical training, divisional in extent, with your own unit. After divisional training, there will be corps and army maneuvers in the field.

Surveying your year as a Selective Service trainee, you can appraise the opportunities in the Army. First of all, you will be healthier. Life in the open, physical effort, regular hours and good food will be of particular benefit if you have previously held a desk, or inside business, or shop job.

Occupational specialists qualified under civilian training as meteorologists, balloon rigger, stationary engineer, aviation mechanic, and so forth, during their Army training should find that experience an aid in obtaining a better civilian job upon discharge.

Some to Learn New Trade

Some men will have learned a new occupation to add to their chances of gaining employment in civil life. If your employer is holding your job open, he probably will find you a healthier, better poised man upon your return.

The Army trains leaders, giving them knowledge, courage, activity and the ability to put themselves across to others. Your training will be intensive; you will have to face squarely issues that arise when large numbers of men live and work together.

Your activity will be accelerated, and smartness will characterize your attitude. You will get training in putting yourself across to others when you rise to the rank even of a Private First Class, where you will be in charge of details assigned to put up tents, dig trenches, or teach rifle marksmanship.

TOMORROW – Slight chances for a commission.