Living Dangerous Lives
René's Jewish French Relatives
August 17, 1942
Camp Kilmer, New Jersey
Sorry the connection last night was not as good as it should be. Hope it will be better later in the week and I can at least say “hello” to all of you.
We are at Camp Kilmer, a camp that has existed only one month. It is a “Staging Center” from which units being shipped out are equipped and shipped. Final shots, etc. are given. It is not supposed to be known just where we are and the 59th is not supposed to be connected with this camp – we go by a special number here. Therefore, for information of all others, we are in a camp by New York.
Visitors are allowed here between certain hours and I hope to have Alain here today if I can reach him, as the Post is going on the “alert” tomorrow and during that time no visitors are allowed, no wires, phones or letters will leave the Post.
After whatever outfit that goes out is far enough out to sea, then the Post can come off the alert – and not until then. When the alert goes on, the units here don’t know which one of them is going out until the last minute. The unit commander, of course, knows 24 hours ahead anyway. We are not scheduled to go out during the alert as far as we know or the Col. knows.
When we are the outfit leaving, the only way you will be able to know is if I get a chance to write just before – the letter being mailed after we’re gone a few days. Most of these alerts, I understand, last from 3 to 7 days, so you can figure from that. I’ll try to write every day that we can.
When not on the alert, and after the first three days of “processing,” we will be allowed 24-hour leaves every other day.
We are not far from from New York – about 1 mile from New Brunswick, which can be transversed by bus; and New Brunswick is 40 minutes from New York by train. Morrisville, where Alain is, is only 25 miles from here.
Yesterday we spent quite a while giving the third Typhus shots. Today we have to give the enlisted men another tetanus shot and begin another Typhoid series, as they had theirs over 6 months ago. Bert and I are running the immunization show with the aid of Russ Klein, Armanini and either Cy Johnson or Roy Cohn.
Yesterday we gave the whole outfit, except the nurses, their typhus shots in 1 hour. We had to do our own filling of syringes, putting on clean needles, sterilizing needles, etc. Bert, Russ and I fixed up everything and all Armanini and Johnson had to do was shoot. It was like a factory belt – remember the old Charlie Chaplain picture – well that was us. More today!
The weather yesterday was fierce!! Hot and sticky as the deuce!! Three showers weren’t of any help. It poured for quite a while, hard, with thunder and lightening. Clean clothes were shot to heck in no time.
Last night slept o.k. as it had cooled off somewhat. Slept with all windows open and no pajamas or sheets or blankets.
‘Tis all for now.
Loads of love,