The following are excerpts from interviews with WWII veterans Ray Christensen and Karina Allen. Christiensen was inducted at Fort Snelling in 1942 and after the war he went on to have a successful career in radio. Allen was a medical technician at Fort Snelling from 1944-45. Think about the following as you read the excerpts, look at the images, and listen to the audio clip:
- What could a recruit expect once they arrived?
- What were the living conditions like for recruits at the fort?
Excerpt of interview with Ray Christensen:
I started at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 1942, completing two quarters before enlisting and being called into service. I was inducted at Fort Snelling and could often take the street car (the 'Fort Snelling' car) home to spend the night, a happy circumstance. My meals were all at the Fort, and I gained ten pounds in two weeks, the biggest weight gain in my life. The food was very good.
I was shippied to Camp Barkley, near Abilene, Texas, for basic training. Army testing had determined that I would be a good candidate for ASTP (Army Specialized Training Program), and following basic training, I was sent to Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where I had two semesters of engineering before the program folded, and I wound up back at Camp Barkley.
Excerpt of interview with Karina Allen.
During WWII, the usual procedure for an Army recruit was, after receiving a draft notice, or volunteering, a doctor in their home area did a preliminary physical.Those who passed, boarded a bus for the ride to fort Snelling. For the next few days they were housed in hastily built Army barracks. They were given intelligence tests, a physical test, skills test, standing in line, more tests, a little marching, lots of questions, standing in line, shots in each arm, and more standing in line. It took anywhere from three days to several weeks. Then home again for a few days to say goodbye. Then back to Fort Snelling for orders and the train trip to their new unit for more training. In a very few cases, some soldiers received training in the units that were stationed at Fort Snelling and then assigned to duty elsewhere in this country or overseas.