Anne Bosanko Green: "Ten HUT!"
Minnesota girls enlisting in the WAC (Women's Army Corps) were sent to Fort Des Moines, Iowa for basic training, then sent on to other locations for more specialized training. The adjustment to the Army way of life was a challenge for many, as evidenced by the following letter written by Private Anne Bosanko of Minneapolis. Throughout her stint in the Army, Anne recorded her wry observations on life in the service in humorous letters home to her family.
5 Oct 44
Dear Family -
Well here I is before dinner in the day room sitting at a nice maple desk, drinking a coke & inhaling a fag. I spose you'd like a more coherent account of what has cooked & is cooking. My last letter was written about 7 am in the morn. & I had just found out about no towels & was understandably hysterical. I've been going to bed wet since then & trying to make the best of it. Tried to buy some at the PX but with no success. You can't write or send me anything till next week but then I would like a supply of bath towels & wash cloths. I'll give you my permanent address before then.
History of Pvt. A.L. Bosanko.
Tues aft.—sat & sat....had foul supper at Dykeman Hotel—marched to station—saw you—got on train. Horrible ride down —day coach & absolutely the most uncomfortable ride ever taken by me. Worse than trying to sleep on a street car.
1:00 am—shoved off train & carted to Fort—you heard about the rest.
Wed morn—got our clothing issue which I will list for you on the next page.
Time out for mess _ ON THE DOUBLE!!!!
Much much later—on a very wobbly table this time. All the desks are being used.
Clothing issue -
2 winter jackets
3 " "
2 summer jackets (blouses)
4 summer skirts
7 summer shirts
Wool knit hat—cute
2 winter hats
2 summer "
2 winter garrison [caps] No I'm not crazy—they aren't called overseas caps they are garrison caps.
2 summer [garrison caps]
1 pr wool gloves (nice!)
1 pr dress leather gloves
smooth wool scarf
shoes 1 pr service, 1 pr field
Shoes are comfortable
Gay little green seersucker fatigue dress with bloomers to match—This is what the recruiting office said wasn't issued—the dopes.
Khaki wool sweater. Various socks & stockings
2 pr green striped flannel PJs. toothbruch—comb.
Everything except TOWELS! We look very bunchy & feeble now but maybe later we will look natty like the other gals. We went into uniform (fatigue) this am. D*** the [recruiting] office—nothing they told us was true. I have to have more of my hair cut off—
Any hoo we sat around most of the day—At nite we got to go to the PX—Mom—the juke box was playing an old favorite of yours—"Just a Baby's Prayer at Twilight"—I nearly flipped—You should see the cigarettes—Cartons & cartons piled up—Drool drool. I'd send you a carton but they only let us buy 2 at a time. I'll tell you more about the PX later. It's very gay & buzzing with people—all looking horribly neat & smooooth in their uniforms of course—
Me at this point [drawings inserted—see original letter.]
Ten HUT! ...in imitation of one of the sargeants [sic] "Eyes & head straight to the front. Don't MOVE!!"
I saluted twice tonight. Boy am I good. This is really fun. I love everything—once I got over thinking the bawlings out were aimed straight at me—I had a guilty conscience for hours after I had a letter returned with the wrong address on it —they screamed my name out over the whole barracks.
Tues we fell into bed exhausted & what happened—a fat old group of gals from Chicago came—at 10:30 & woke everybody up
—They got the giggles trying to get into the upper bunks & I could have killed em. I'm in a lower as you no doubt guessed.
I should go to bed about now—it's 10:00 & bed check is 10:45—Lites out at 9 in the barracks. But I'm in the sit. Heaps
of love & kisses
Editor's note: Read more of Anne Bosanko Green's correspondence in One Woman's War: Letters Home from the Women's Army Corps, 1944-1946 from the Minnesota Historical Society Press.
Green, Anne Bosanko, Anne Bosanko Green and family correspondence, 1944-1946. Minnesota Historical Society Manuscripts Collection.
Green, Anne Bosanko, One Woman's War: Letters Home from the Women's Army Corps, 1944-1946. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1989.