Letters Home: Fred Armstrong

From the March 28, 1918 Skidmore News, page 5:

From a Soldier in California.

Camp Fremont, Calif., March 13, ’18.

To The Skidmore News:

I and several of the boys from Calumet enlisted in the Engineers Corps at ElReno February 15.  There we found several other boys enlisted also, and on February 21, we started for Vancouver, Washington.  There were eighteen in all.

We were in Kansas City all day the 22nd of February and left there that evening at 6:30 p.m. for Washington state.  We took dinner at Denver, Colorado, February 23rd and went from there through Wyoming and Idaho and across the Rocky mountains.  One evening when we went to bed it was snowing and when we woke up in the morning and were in Oregon and the flowers were all in bloom.  We followed the Colorado river to Portland, Oregon, and went from there to Vancouver, Washington.

We were there three days and then took our second examination.  Four of the boys did not pass so they were given a pass back home.  The rest of us were separated except Curtis E. S___ and myself and we were shipped to Polo Alta, California.  On this trip we saw some beautiful scenery.  We saw Mt. Shasta, the highest mountain in the U. S. A.  It is 14,444 feet above sea level.  This is where we made the double tunnel; went through one tunnel then came right around over it and passed through another one.  While going up Shasta we had three engines; then down again to the bay which we crossed (train and all) on a boat, then on to Brookland, then to Oakland Pier, just three miles from San Francisco, then to Polo Alto.  That was the end of our trip.

Now as to camp life.  They put us in what was called casual camp, under quarantine for twelve days.  We were then moved to main camp.  We live in little white homes here.  In each home there are eight men.  We have eight beds and three big heavy blakets, electric lights and one stove.  We eat in a large building with two tables and the food is served in homelike ways and plenty to eat, believe me.  Almost everything you can thing of; fruit every meal.

Well, the only thing I’m sorry of is that I couldn’t get in sooner, and to all you boys there yet, my advice to you all is to enlist, for it is the best for you.

If this interests your people and you would like to print it, I would appreciate it very much.  If anyone cares to write to me I will be pleased to answer their cards or letters.

Thank you very kindly, Fred Richard Armstrong.  Co. A 319 Engineers, Camp Fremont, California.

Many of our readers will remember the writer of the foregoing letter as he has at different times visited with his relatives, the Stults family, and has worked for W. W. Grigsby in the apple harvest a season or two.  His home is at Calumet, Oklahoma.

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