Letters Home: John Zook

In the days leading up to Veterans Day, we’re remembering the Skidmore, Missouri men who spent Christmas away from home in service to their country during World War I.  This letter home was printed in the January 5, 1918 edition of the Skidmore News on page 5:

From John Zook.

Fort Sill, Okla., Dec. 27, 1917.

Dear Friends:–

As I have nothing to do this morning I will try and write a few lines to my Skidmore friends.

We are getting along just fine in camp.  All the boys are feeling fine and having a fine time, but they are drilling about seven hours every day.

There are four boys and myself in our tent and we are quarantined with the measles.  We are not allowed to leave our tent; of course we stay pretty close in day time, but at night it is hard to find us.  We go over to the 140th at night and visit friends.

Of course there is no danger of catching the measles because when they break out with them they send them to the post hospital.  The ones that take it expose themselves to the cold and damp air too much.

We get good food and good care, of course it is not as good as we get at home, but our Uncle feeds us good substantial food.  Christmas dinner would not be beaten.  It was sure good enough for anybody at home.

I don’t think there is anybody in the company that don’t like our officers.  They look after their men the best they know how, and that is something to be proud of.  They see that every tent is rolled up in the morning, at least three hours, so that everything can be aired out well.

We have a fine camp. It is laid off in a horse shoe shape, with soldiers camped all around it.  It is about five miles around the camp.

There are only about thirty-five thousand soldiers in Fort Sill and Camp Doniphan and almost every branch of service Uncle Sam has is represented.

The aviation field is about three miles from our camp, but we can see it. We can look up in the air almost anytime and see several airplanes, so they get pretty common for us.

We are not allowed to say very much about our camp or when we are going to leave here.

I am sure glad the people are taking so much interest in Red Cross and Y. M. C. A. work.  Every soldier received a box of candy, pipe and tobacco, a handkerchief, tablet, envelopes, tooth paste and several other things from the Red Cross for Christmas.  The boys sure were well pleased with them.

We attend church and Sunday school at the Y. M. C. A. every Sunday.  We also go to the Y. M. C. A. to read and write letters.

Well I will close hoping to hear from you soon.

John F. Zook, Headquarters Company, 139th Inf.

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