To our parents’ dismay, we were sent across the United States to “boot camp”—basic recruit training—in San Diego. This first set of letters describes our trials and tribulations.
The intense nature of boot camp kept us from dwelling upon the Korean War during our abbreviated, two-month training period. Still, we boot campers were aware of and concerned about some of the major events, as the newspapers focused upon them. For example, in April 1951 President Truman removed General MacArthur from command and replaced him with Gen. Matthew Ridgway. MacArthur had disagreed with the defense leaders in Washington about how the United Nations should conduct the war. While MacArthur had wanted to bomb bases in Manchuria, a part of China, and use other “all-out measures,” Truman and his advisers feared such actions might lead to a third world war. Our boot camp reaction to MacArthur’s dismissal was one of confusion, for the general opinion was that he was a sound leader. Ridgway went to Tokyo to replace MacArthur, and Lt. Gen. James A. Van Fleet became commander of the Eighth Army.
Hi Mom and Pop, March 12, 1951
Hope you are both well. Frank, Jerry, and I all passed the Navy physical and have been traveling together ever since.