Lyman County, South Dakota  Genealogy

 Military Letters, WWII

As found in old newsletters.
Transcribed by barbara stallman-speck

Restored   Thursday, March 04, 2010  


Initiation No Joke to Presho Soldier

Clifford L. Evers, who is somewhere overseas, writes his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Evers at Presho, under the date of May 30, 1945. From all indications, the soldiers were having a lot of fun and he tell of an initiation in which he was also a candidate for "honors", but while it lasted the ceremonies were no joke. It all ended in an era of good feeling as will be noted by the following letter:

Not much to write about this time, but will try to find something to say anyway.

I didn't think I could tell you before, but I guess we can tell now. We crossed the equator the other day and I suppose you have heard of the initiation they give you. Well, we got it. We are called "Pollywogs" until we get the initiation and then we are a "Shellback". They give you a nice big certificate and everything. It has the ship's seal and signed by the captain and then countersigned by the commander. We had quite a time on board The captain had to go through the initiation just as the rest of us. He was a pollywog, too. It is entered into your service record so you won't get it again.

You know that I had pretty long hair when I was home. Well, it isn't anymore. I got a butch while on the transport, but I have it cut now just like when I got it cut in boots. They really did a slick job on it. They cut big holes in it so that you will have to have it all cut off in order to even it up.

What was really good was when they would slap you on the 555 with the paddles. Had them cut of 2 1/2 inch hose and had them all soaked in water. They sure did sting. And what made it real bad was that it was raining all during the affair. Every time you had to stoop over they would slap you, your clothes were so wet that they just stuck. To really top it off was when they threw us in a tank of water and fuel oil. They would duck you until you said "Shellback". If you said "Pollywog" they would just keep on putting you under. It didn't take much for me to say "Shellback."

The Jolly Roger went up at 11:30 and they took it down around 6:00 I guess. It wasn't so bad, but sure would hate to take the initiation that they gave you on a larger ship. They really give you the works there.

It's an old tradition that you have to go through the first time you go across and if you don't, you sure will some other time. I'm just waiting now for when the time comes that I can be on the other side of the deal. Bob Peyton, I'd sure like to see him on this ship and then he would have to come across again. I sure would get him.

Well, I guess that is enough of that I've written in about three or four days.

How is everything at home? I sure hope it's alright. Wish I could get a letter from you pretty soon. Maybe I will.

Well, in another two hours I will be going on watch. I have the mid watch - 12:00 to 4:00. I suppose I had just as well stay up, but I like to get a little sleep so I guess I had better hit the sack.

Please write soon and often.





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