Camp Devens - History, Second Company, Infantry - 1918
SECOND TO NONE
THE first chapter is nearly completed. Soon nothing but a memory—and as pleasant as those other memories of our other life. Now we grumble somewhat; feel the strain of striving to "make good," to prove worthy every minute of the day, know the mingled satisfaction and despair of weariness, what it means to have confidence in ourselves, shaking one minute and then steeled to the feeling that we shall not fail—and throughout scattered the smiles and more rarely the dreams of vigorous healthy youth.
These are going—and with them all of our irresponsibilities. The succeeding chapters will follow swiftly bringing the pages wherein our history will be written—the history that each of us wants to have Booth and his assistants taught us, whether the means be by drill, by commands, by example?
Now, more than ever, to be gentlemen and to be uplifted by the strengthened belief in our cause, confidence in our men, ourselves, knowing how to play the game, to have the punch. Of course you want to remember and laugh when you see Bill Howe falling into the stream near the mule sheds; "Father" Archie explaining how to do about face, and Frank Runde demonstrating squads "roundabout"; George Stewart rocking the boat with his "fall in, fall out, fall in, fall out," until we were all dizzy; Candidate St. John rising for one more question when we all were ' eagerly waiting for the word "Dismissed."
LIEUT. MACNEIL CAPT. BOOTH LIEUT. McCARTY
written—and such one may write as he will. Then will the memories of training school days, now seemingly so trying, be as pleasant as those of the life behind.
There is our history ahead. Here is the commencement. And what will you remember? That bleak, cold day when first we assembled and were assigned to companies, the raw wind beating our faces, the cold ground freezing our feet and fear in our hearts. The exams where we idled down the Conewago, wondered whether it would pay to wet the feet of our patrol in crossing Tom's Crick, or whether to shoot, eat and drink or give a cigar to the sewing machine agent? The steady, unending drill, punctured by caustic remarks to the guide, the platoon leader? Our work and fun in all its varieties—or the motive?
Do you recall what Major Lowell said the night of his farewell talk? "It matters not so much where you die as how you die—" and Colonel Massee's "War, is a gentleman's game and you will play it as gentlemen?" And what else have our own Captain Teke Rouillard and Joe Carland depicting the happenings in that Western saloon. Rigney bawling out "Napoleon," the night watchman, for not getting the kitchen fire started earlier; the "mounted trooper" Enright galloping down the aisle and stampeding the barracks with his phoney dinner whistle; Bill Meanix trying to wheedle the leader into a shorter run after physical torture; Cornish rejoicing that we were all going to Westfield "only half an hour from home, la-la"; Doty reporting at Saturday night retreat that "Sir, all that are here are present"; the upstairs corner daily squabble as to who should push their beds down; the rush when somebody's "commissary" opened; yes, they were happy days, but those pleasant memories fade quick-ly—leaving—
"It matters not so much when you die as how you die" and "War is a gentleman's game and you will play it as gentlemen," and there, gentle reader, you will find chapter two of the History of the Second Company, 3rd 0. T. C., written as the Company desires to have it written so that all may read.
JOHN J. MCCARTHY.