Leon Padelskas

Parris Island

Leon joined the Marines while he was working in New York City at the end of 1942. He traveld by train from New York to Port Royal and then Parris Island. He often talked of the trip to bootcamp, he said that he had never seen a tougher bunch of guys, the New Yorkers, cussing drinking and smoking. He wrote home to his sister Aggie, almost daily and it is interesting to see his reaction to Marine training and his fellow recruits


"Tuesday, Dec 8, 1942"

"Dear Aggie,  Here I am and I like it quite a bit so far. Got here Saturday at 4:30 pm. The trip down by train was very dirty and tiresome. We had the car right in back of the engines and someone put their elbow through a window adn knocked it out. All the soot and cinders came through and were we filthy..."

"...We had everything issued to us from clothing to tooth powder and mirror, all of this equipment is coming from our pay it costs $8.50..."

"...we get up at 4:30, make our beds, wash up, shave, brush our teeth and fall out for chow. We march to the mess and eat all we can..."

"...We sweep and mop the hut and the we go out to drill. Gosh, and do we drill!..."

"...after supper we drill again..."

"...Gosh, you should have seen the bed bugs & cockroaches on the walls when we came in Sat. night. They haven't bothered us yet and hope they don't..."

"...The food here isn't bad. The coffee is very good. Tonight we had some of the most delicious cake..."

"Monday, Dec 14, 1942"

"Dear Aggie,  Your letter was most welcome..."

"...About Marine life, I like it all right, but would certainly like to be working at Buirroughs and Brown again. Civilian life is wonderful and as for me, as soon as i can I'm going to become one..."

"...When I enlisted it wasn't because I was all excited about the world situation and wanted to go fight. I enlisted because I got a good chance to do the work I want to do after I get out of the Marines..."

"...I don't think a guy should choose the Marines unless he definitely wants to get in there and fight..."

"...In our platoon [1034] half of them are specialists and the others all enlisted for combat duty and they just can't wait to go fight. But of course, if I ever had to fight, I think I could fight just as good as anyone in our platoon, and even better than a lot of them..."

"Friday, Jan 22, 1943"

"Dear Aggie... We left the rifle range yesterday and my prayers were answered. I made expert with a score of 313 out of a possible 340..."

"...on the 500 yard line someone shot at my target and it was a (2) and they credited it to my score. Had he not shot at my target I could have gotten a bull's eye, I think, and had a score of 316 and been the highest [in the company]..."

"...Your kid brother is an expert rifleman, expert pistol shot, and expert hand grenade adn exper bayonet. Boy, have I got a big head? Certainly not, but I am tickled over the record I made on record day with the rifle..."

"...On Preliminary day, which also goes in our service record I made 304. On the 200 yard line, rapid fire, I made 16 bullseyes out of 16 for a total possible score of 80, that was in the sitting position..."

"...Then on the 300 yard line, rapid fire, prone position, I again made 16 out of 16 bullseyes... you have to shoot these 16 shots off in 60 seconds. I'm the only guy in our platoon to get this..."

"...it isn't done very often around here... I took an awful lot of kidding because I was a secretary before coming to the Marines..."

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