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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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[crosstalk] experiences. But it was really terrible. It was the summer of '41 and I was getting what was called basic training, you see, and it just was such lousy -- I hate to use the word -- terrible training.

I think Julius passed this letter on to his friend, Dick Patterson. But in any case, of course, nothing ever happened, because as long as I was in that training program, I didn't see any improvement whatsoever. And eventually I naturally applied for Officer's School, which were just then opening up. Something brand new, the Officer's Training School for enlisted men in the army. They didn't have that until then. And I eventually was sent to one at Fort Benning and came out three months later, very exhilarated by the training -- the exact opposite of what I'd been complaining about at Fort Meade. Exact opposite because it was extremely strenuous and very tough, and I've often thought back on the three months as the best of my five years in the army. You really felt you were doing something and learning something and trying to be a genuine soldier. This was at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. And I was in one of the early classes: “O.T.C. [Officers Training Camp] #10.”

That was a very good experience. When I graduated, very proud of my second lieutenant's bars -- almost exactly one year after I had been drafted -- I had an offer to go into one of the army publications. Actually another cousin of mine, a Chattanooga cousin who was in the army by that time -- he'd been a reserve officer, too, not Julius -- was involved with one of the army publications, a publication called Yank. He called me up after I had gotten my commission from Fort Benning, from the Officer's Training School in May 1942, and said,

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