Clay County

Gail Squier



With the FORCES
At Camp – On the Sea – In the Air – On the March

Squier Writes From Troop Train

Gail Squier, who enlisted in the Navy at Spencer and was sworn in at Des Moines Aug. 18, wrote a letter to the Daily News while traveling by troop train from the west coast to the east.

He told of leaving Des Moines with 108 other boys, all of whom they were going to Great Lakes naval training station. When they woke up in the morning they found they were headed west and were finally established in San Diego, Calif.

From the San Diego station they were taken to a training station, slept in barracks for new recruits, which were equipped with double birth cots instead of hammocks.

Busy Days in Camp.
“The next morning we started our busy days,” the letter said, “had physical exam and also took a few shots. We were issued clothing which seemed rather strange after wearing civilian clothes.

“By night we were assigned to our barracks where we stayed during detention period. We did quite a bit of drilling and learning to take orders and carry them out.  After a couple of weeks we moved to another camp a short distance away where we had more freedom and had lectures on different subjects of seamanship.

“We moved to another camp about five miles away where it was rather crowded but we were used to navy ways so we got along pretty well. We had mostly lectures there, also.  We were graduated at that camp and became second class seaman. We then moved to a transfer unit waiting to be sent to sea or school. During our detention period we had taken examinations which proved whether we were good enough for school, although some wanted to go to sea.

In Aviation Maintenance.
“I have been assigned to an aviation maintenance school and am on my way there now. I will send my address as soon as I find out what it is. We are going east now.”

The letter was written from a USO center enroute and Squier praised the USO and its service to soldiers and sailors.

“The USO here is really nice,” he said.  “It has a place to take a shower and we really felt fine after being on the train so long. The people who donate to the USO should certainly be given a hearty ‘thank you’ for they treat the service boys well. They all make us feel at home.

“Navy life is clean. We have plenty of washing to do, especially when we wear our white uniforms. The barracks have to be kept clean and are inspected every day.

“Last Sunday we saw a good football game between Navy Training Station and the Army Air Base. The fellows were all college players and it was swell.  Navy won, 9 to 6. We have fun with movies, canicens and sports, such as golf, basketball, football and always something to do.”

Source: Estherville Daily News, October 3, 1942