Yesterday I got the letters from 1943 transcribed.
Letters from Arthur E Yliniemi to his cousin Lila. Arthur’s father and Lila’s mother were brother and sister. Arthur is my Dad's brother. Arthur was born in 1920. The letters were written from Camp Clairborne Louisiana in mid 1943. Arthur lists his address as Co A 409 Infantry
Photo of Arthur taken when he was on furlough in Minnesota
May 31, 1943
Dear Cousin, Here Im’ back from my furlough, I’m having a heck of a time getting used to Army life again.
Well I got some sad news I think my brother Hugo went across the other week.
How is the weather there is it just as nice as it was a week ago. The weather down here sure is hot. It just about burns me up.
Boy oh boy I wish I could get transferred to some northern camp away from the sunny south.
How is every little thing treating you. I am just fine waiting for this war to end.
I suppose Hugo (Lila’s husband) is busy rearing sheep.
By the way I got to do KP tomorrow. So have it pretty easy tomorrow. For you know I rather do KP than go out in the field and trill.
One dam thing with me when I write a letter I don’t know what to scribble and when a person is here it is the same old stuff day in day out so a person don’t have any news.
It’ll be so long for this time next time some more Your Cousin Arthur
June 12, 1943
Dear Cousin Lila, There I come again with a few lines of bullshit that about all I can scribble for I haven’t any news.
By the way I have some news, my feet are pretty darn sore after marching a 32 mile hike the other night. Was it ever a tough one. We worked all day Friday and four o clock we started on that long march. It was three o clock in the morning before we got through with it. Every dam bone in my body was aching that I couldn’t even lay still in bed. Week after next we are spotted to make 40 miles. I hate thee heck to see that day come.
So Walfred has to go for the examination too, I sure feel sorry for him if he gets into this branch of the service.
I wish I could get part of the cool breeze you have up there north for the weather down here sure makes me sweat like an old plow horse. It’s been 115 in the shade for the last 4 days boy that is too hot for any man.
I received a letter from Alvin the other day and I got just through answering it. He wrote that the weather down there was to hot for him down there.
This Camp itself isn’t so bad but there suppose to give the toughest training than any other C and I can feel it too.
My bullshit box is getting empty. So I will close So Long Your Cousin Arthur PS If you see Walfred tell hello from me.
July 11, 1943 (Parts of the letter are missing…like a mouse chewed them up.)
I haven’t got any news that I could write about and very little we can write about the army life or movement so that covers most of the news around here.
Well Walfred did join the Navy a last long time he aimed for it before he join it. I got a letter from him yesterday he didn’t kick the Navy very much but one thing he doesn’t like to wash his own cloths. I know if we had to wash our cloths I don’t think I’d ever have a clean rag.
Well the final push to Europe started yesterday I almost bet 2 to 1 before 6 months is over we’ll be running all over Germany or if we don’t get it in 6 months its last about from 2 to 5 years
What is Eino….
I suppose a man can make good money out there but all in all I don’t think there’s anything in it for a family man to move.
I suppose Hugo (Lila’s husband) started hay making already like most of the farmers. As far as everything is concerned I’d rather make hay all year around than staying this army especially in that cool Minnesota weather one thing I know now is hot weather up there in Minn we don’t even know what heat is
I’m telling you when it’s 122 in the shade and take off on a 25 mile hike you can really feel the heat and there’s men passing out left and right from sun strokes and still we got to keep going. The heck of it is we don’t get only one quart of water for the whole 25 miles. I’m telling you it is the toughest dam thing I’ve ever gone through.
Tomorrow we have a 11 mile force march we haven’t any dope on that hike yet what it will be like. We even might have to run all the way. One thing about it if they go faster than 3 miles an hour I’m going to drop out.
Shit on hikes.
Sunday we are going to the rifle range to practice a little shooting that’s about all the news this time
So Long Your Cousin Arthur
September 17, 1943 In the sticks.
Dear Cousin Lila, Thank a lot for your letter which I received a few hours ago.
Here we are deep in the woods of Louisiana and two months maneuvers which I don’t like very well but I can’t do a dam thing.
I got a letter from Ma (My Grandmother) today and she said she had gotten a letter from Hugo. I guess it was the first letter in 4 months since he been overseas.
So Walfred got shipped out of Idaho. Have you got any idea where he is I don’t think they will send him to the high seas yet.
I heard a rumor the other ay we had a training schedule up to Sept 1944 so I guess it mean that we won’t be send across for a year yet.
That sure was some thing that Italy gave Arms that shortened the war quite a bit. We celebrated Italy’s Arms a little bit we had a drink party and I think everybody got drunk. I sure hope this war is over by Christmas.
So Long Best of Luck Arthur
I am not certain when Arthur was sent overseas...most likely January or February 1944.
He was injured or killed during the invasion of Italy and died May 20 1944. He is buried in Italy.
At least now we know a bit more about him from his letters to his cousin.
Camp Claiborne was located in the Kisatchie National Forest It is said that Camp Clairborne turned out well disciplined, high spirited and well prepared soldiers. I found it interesting that the camp had its own railway system and they specialized in rail sabotage.