MARCH 8, 1943
CHICAGO, Sunday—Since last Friday, we have attended a luncheon meeting of the War Savings Bond Staff at Urbana, Ill., and visited the Navy School at the University of Illinois. The boys are studying Diesel engines, signal corps work and are learning to be cooks and bakers. An officers training school is just starting. They have wonderful space for physical training.
I am interested in the way they have set up their masts for signal corps work, so as to simulate a procession of navy ships in line. The University has allowed them to use some of the space in its Union Building as a mess hall for the signal corps school. Everyone seemed to be hard at work.
All these special schools have practical work as well as theory, so there is very little time to spare when you have done the required amount of athletic work each day. Calesthenics were going on in the distance when we came out on the parade grounds, where some of the boys were lined up as we passed them on the way back to the hotel.
They are using three-decker cots here. I suppose the Navy thinks it is well to accustom the boys to cramped quarters, since that is how they will have live aboard ship. The Army spends a great deal of time teaching people to be neat and orderly, but it is even more important in the Navy where the space is apt to be more restricted.
Travelling on the train with us were a number of youngsters who had been competing in an ice skating meet. One of them showed me with pride, the medals she had won. There is no doubt about it that young America likes the element of competition in whatever it does. That is why I imagine radio programs like quiz programs have such great success and are so widely listened to.
We talked to quite a number of soldiers who were coming up to Chicago for a few hours leave. Their time is so short that I wonder why it seems worthwhile to take such a trip. Perhaps the trip in itself gives them a change of scene and atmosphere and a chance for a meal in a big city, which undoubtedly varies from the army ration they are now getting.
The Japanese seem to have been hit in the last few days both by the Navy and the Air Force. Even though I never can quite rejoice in the loss of any human life, I can't help being happy each time we have a victory, knowing that if we destroy ships and supply bases and factories faster than the enemy replaces them, the war will be over that much more quickly.