April 7, 1939
"ITALY INVADES ALBANIA! "
"BRITAN OFFERS SUPPORT TO GREECE AND TURKEY!"
Meanwhile, somewhere in Massachusetts..
Sargent O'Conner was sitting at his desk, a mountain of well organized, but incomplete paperwork stacked in front of him. He heard the guttural roar of an truck outside the office. "Wonder which one of them that is? Guess I'll see in the moment." He paused for a second, and then ground out his cigarette in a large, well used ashtray. A knock shortly followed.
"Corporal Cleary, reporting as ordered... Sargent!"
O'Conner looked at the newcomer, a young man in a marine uniform, leather rifle case slung over his shoulder and kitbag in one hand.
"Put yer stuff down in the corner and sign in here", the Sargent held out a clipboard with a mostly empty sign up sheet. As he signed he briefly scanned the other names. None stood out.
"It says yer a bugler? You must be a hot s**t sniper for them to send you here!" , the Sargent took the clipboard back and put it aside on his desk. "Hmm, I think we can use you at Reveille though."
"Well you're assigned cabin 14, bunk C. Drop off your stuff there and head over to the quartermaster's depot - two huts to the right of here. Then get yerself down to the range. I don't need to tell ya where that is - you'll see it easy enough." While speaking, the sergeant had taken out a cigarette - a Lucky Strike - and was patting around. A moment later he looked at Tim and asked, "Yah got a light?"
Tim reached into his pocket and produced a package of matches. The sergeant took one, and light up. "So, waddya ya standin' around here for? Get movin'"
The Quartermaster, Master Sargent Turnbull, was all business. Fairly old, perhaps in his mid forties, he bore many scars on his hands and face. He had Corporal Cleary sign out a kitbox full of gear, boots, old WWI style webbing and gear, bedding and various whatnots, including a gas mask. "Keep that one handy." he said with somewhat malicious grin.
Looking at Tim's rifle case he said - "Stow your firearms in the armory - no outside guns in the training area. That includes yer pistol."
After reporting to the armory and somewhat unhappily storing his rifle in a locker provided for him, he dropped the rest of his gear off in the cabin. Only a few beds were made, and no other soldiers were present. Stowing his gear, he made off to his last destination, the range.
As Sargent O'conner had said, the range was easy to find. The training camp had appeared to have once been a large campground with many little cabins. The middle area had recently been bulldozed and a simple range and nearby obstacle course created. The crack of rifle fire echoed out from the range as Tim approached.
He found the range officer, a tall Lieutenant wearing what appeared to be a British style uniform. Waiting for the firing to stop, Tim approached the officer and saluted.
Accepting his salute, Lieutenant Crandall spoke , "So you would be Corporal Cleary? Great to have you. Now, please avail yourself of one of those rifles, get it ready, and take your place on the line." Crandall was pointing to a number of rifles laid out on a nearby table. Tim's heart sank a little when he saw them. They were all apparently WWI issue Mausers, all encrusted with grime and rust. Perhaps dug out of some farm field in Flanders perhaps. Tools and cleaning supplies lay nearby.
"Don't tarry too long, Corporal, Tick tock and all that." Crandall had pulled out a stopwatch and started it. "Your training and assessment has just started," he said with a grin.