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 Guy Wetherington, 1918

WHAT THE SOLDIER FINDS AT THE CAMP—Askins Boy at Camp Hancock gives Vivid Description of Daily Routine.

The following description of a day in the average soldier's life was written by Mr. Guy Wetherington, formerly of Askins [i.e. Caton], but now a member of the 49th Company, 5th group M.T.D. machine gun training center Hancock, Ga.

To a man who is accustomed to a claim unhurried existence or to the whirl of the modern American business life, the army is a revelation. The key-note to the whole thing as it impresses the observer, is the order with which the whole scheme is carried out.

From the bugle call which wakes the soldiers at 6:00 in the morning until “Lights Out” every minute of the day is apportioned. Both for work and play a time is set aside.

Much of the time is devoted to relaxation, rather a large amount in the aggregate, for the builders of this “Army of Democracy” know that a contented soldier is an asset and to keep a man contented, he must play.

The American soldier knows why he does something, for the nature of his work is very carefully explained to him. He does not follow blindly, but rather resolutely because he knows what is expected. To be a soldier, one must be a man. From the first day the recruit arrives in camp until the day he leaves it an efficient soldier he is under strict discipline that teaches self respect as well as respect towards others. A cordial relationship exists between the officers and their men, established upon the basis of mutual respect. The officer must know his work and impart this knowledge to his men. It is up to the men to absorb much of this knowledge in order to become efficient in modern warfare.

This letter is not intended to discuss the means of building the human machinery of war, rather it is to describe a day in the average soldier’s life in Camp Hancock.

After being dismissed from reveille suppose the soldier has no special duty, by special duty is meant the necessary fatigue work as kitchen police, policeing around quarters, etc., he makes his bed and sweeps under and around it. He now makes his toilet for at 6:15 mess call sounds at which time he will breakfast.

The food is amply sufficient, well cooked and of good quality, after breakfast he has a breathing spell until 7:00 a.m. His day’s work now begins, 45 minutes of physical exercise to build up his body and to teach him co-ordination of mind and muscle.

Then comes the daily routine of drill, hand grenade throwing, machine gun practice, and instruction on signal work. This lasts until 10:00, he now has 30 minutes of leisure and at 10:30, he once more devotes his time to special instruction, at 11:30 his morning’s work is over and at 12 o’clock dinner is served and the soldier enjoys another good meal.

At 1:00 o’clock he goes out to drill again, this period lasting until 5:00 with adequate breathing spells. Retreat is held at 5:30 when “Old Glory” is taken in for the night. At 5:45 supper is served and from now until 11:00 is his actual playtime.

The Y.M.C.A., the Liberty theatre, Knights of Columbus and the Liberty affords him a variety of entertainments, ranging from a good religious sermon to a prize fight.

At all times the moral welfare as well as the health of the soldier is carefully guarded. The army is like a large university, teaching both theory and practice. It educates a man’s mind and builds up his body. It teaches respect for order and authority as well as self-respect.

There is always something to learn in life, so a philosopher once said, and the army is well worth the inspecting glance as it teaches a great deal.

[The Sun Journal, Saturday, September 28, 1918, p. 3, c. 3]

 


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