Soldier's Letters - Private Victor V. Evangelista
Private Victor Evangelista joined the Army on Thursday, April 20th, 1944 reporting to Fort Dix New Jersey. He was sworn into the service later that day, and received ASN 42117080 as his Army Serial Number. After the initial in-processing he was shipped to Camp Wolters by rail and after a few days in the Infantry Replacement Training Center he was assigned to the 3rd Platoon, Company B, 52nd Training Battalion. He started his basic Infantry Training about May 6th, 1944.
Prior to his induction, he was an employee of New York's Conservation Department, living in Gloversville, New York. Victor was thirty-three years old, married with a four year old son.
Besides the normal Infantry Basic Training at Camp Wolters, which lasted for 16 weeks, his company was to receive specialized training in wiring communications, which indicates that he had shown an aptitude in certain of his classification tests. After his training at Camp Wolters, Victor underwent more training and was eventually assigned to the 337th Infantry Regiment which was part of the 85th Infantry Division fighting in Italy. During the war, the 85th Infantry Division suffered 1,561 killed in action, 6,314 Wounded in Action and 175 Died of Wounds.
His letters were obtained from an estate sale and provide an interesting insight to the rigors of Infantry Training in the harsh Texas heat. In spite of the long, hard training days, Victor usually managed to write a daily letter to his wife Irene and Noel, his son, often in the latrine after "lights out." He accepted his situation with understanding, and bonded quickly with his fellow trainees. His letters contained only a few "gripes" directed towards the Army, and indeed, he had many positive things to say, particularly about the dental treatment he received, and especially about the plentiful Army food (chow) he ate each day. Always interested at the news from his home in Gloversville, New York, he was able to connect with several from his home town during training. He also quickly made close friends with others (usually married) from other States. Victor was aware his Army pay was less than his previous civilian wages and concerned about how his family was able to make ends meet. He also expressed annoyance at being asked to buy War Bonds writing "we all think it's pretty darn lousy for them to ask the boys that are are fighting and giving up their loved ones and homes to pay for this darn thing too, but that's the army so we'll just have to do it." As training progressed, Victor took pride at his developing skills and the accomplishments he achieved in communications training and the results obtained on the the rifle ranges and the obstacle course tests.
Victor left Camp Wolters in September, 1944, to return to his family for a short leave before proceeding to his future assignments. He survived the war, and lived until 2002 when he he was just short of his 91st birthday. Victor V. Evangelista was a true patriot and his sacrifices were typical of those made willingly by others of the "greatest generation."
Over 90 letters document his training at Camp Wolters in 1944. They have been scanned and will be broken down into three groups for viewing:
Note : Some of the abbreviations he used have been expanded and a few spellings changed for clarity.