Basic training was at the “Jap Trap,” Camp Maxey TX, in the summer of 1943. I never had been to Texas before, having grown up in Kansas and Oklahoma.
The first few weeks were spent in a barbed wire enclosure built for Japanese prisoners. The housing was “hutments,” 16x16-feet of plywood. The lower four feet was fixed plywood and the upper four feet was pivoted plywood and screen. The roof was pyramid-shaped plywood.
You get the picture – plywood.
There was a trough outside, with four faucets to wash and brush. There was a GI can, with lid, for urination. Hand the lid to the next arrival. A two-holer was built of wood four feet off the ground and did have a door and walls. For modesty? GI cans beneath. I never had the duty to empty to them. No showers, as I recall.
Later in the 12-week stay we moved to barracks and had a shower room with a coal-fired boiler. Remember the two “farm boys” who wouldn’t take a shower? I remember firing the boiler and having to let off steam at three o’clock in the afternoon before the whole thing would blow. I had never seen coal before. The time for dismissal from training normally was at 5 p.m.
Does anyone remember this encampment, how long we were there and where the mess hall was? Did we do KP? Did we have cots or bunks? How many boys to a hutment? Did we go to town during basic? No air conditioning, naturally. Seems cruel to keep prisoners there (they never did), let alone recruits.
4514 Live Oak Dr.
Mesquite TX 75150