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MUSHROOMING THE TENTS Ordinarily the tents are as seen on the opposite page; but to let in the sunlight after days of rain and fog the order was given to “mushroom the tents." The operation in four stages is pictured here. First, four ropes holding the hood at the top are fastened taut, to hold the center pole up, and then all the guy ropes are removed from the pegs. Second, the sides of the tent are gathered to the middle. Third, the sides are rolled up and tied. Fourth, the work of mushrooming the tent is finished, and the cadets are at ease
on their cots in the sun
headquarters, the cadets of Company 2 re- to parade; so at six o'clock they were called turned from the practice which their officers to attention and marched again to the parade had put them through. They had been ground. The military ceremony of parade taught for the first time to roll their packs— is impressive ; but to see those boys—three each cadet having half of a shelter tent, with weeks after their first military trainingthe necessary tent pegs and poles, a blanket, seven hundred and fifty of them, respo nding and a poncho rolled up and slung over his in unison to the commands of the manual of shoulder. After a short interval they were arms, then coming to parade rest as the band assembled and marched a mile or more to the played, the retreat was sounded on the bugle, parade ground, where they were put through the sunset gun fired, and the flag lowered, their shelter-tent (or “dog-tent') practice. while the "Star-Spangled Banner" was played, They were shown how to pitch their tents so then to see them pass in review before the that the lines would be straight, and how to reviewing officer, keeping their lines as straight fold their blankets inside. Each tent accom- as they could, was doubly impressive. That such modates two men—the cadet in the rear rank approach to perfection was possible with three combining his half with the half carried by weeks' training surpassed belief. I am not the cadet in front of him. Then they marched quite used to believing it yet, though I saw it. back to mess ; and a good dinner it was, of And on the way back to camp those boys, flounders and potatoes and peas and bread after a strenuous day and a tiring parade, pudding, and so-called lemonade (water in shouted and sang and cheered; and each comwhich a little lemon juice and sugar had been pany vied with the other to reach camp first. mixed—very refreshing after the drill). Im- And yet even on route step, and with all this mediately after mess the company was marched outburst of youth and vigor, the squads were to the mortar battery, where on the concrete kept forty inches apart. There were things floor they were “sized”—that is, rearranged not to be forgotten even at times of relaxation. in platoons according to height. Then came The straight way is the best way always. the period of instruction. Some went off with At half-past nine lights were out. To one a non-commissioned officer of the regular who has never lain in a cot in a military tent army to study map-making, others to study at night, with one's tent-mates ready for gas engines, etc., while the rest were sent to sleep, and heard through the darkness the the range for rifle practice with small-caliber bugle playing the solemn and quieting call rifles—that is, rifles of the regular size and of taps," I recommend the experience. weight, but fitted with small (.22) caliber bar- Those boys who at Plum Island had this rels. (Some, later, could go swimming under experience nightly are to be envied. strict supervision and guarded by patrols in Morning came quickly, and with it the first boats.) After the strenuous morning it was call, reveille, assembly, ten minutes of calispleasant to lie about in the tall grass and thenics (which on this cool morning consisted watch the shooting. Unfortunately, Uncle of a brisk run in column of squads for half Sam is parsimonious, and the target practice a mile or more) to get the blood stirring, suffered for shortness of supply in paper then mess, and the work of the day began. targets, as instruction in other branches has This day being Saturday, the first work was suffered for lack of equipment. By half-past policing the companies' streets in preparafour all were back in camp. As I walked back tion for inspection. Every shoe, every barfrom the range, I noted the police details at rack bag, every cot, every rifle, every canwork improving or maintaining the camp. teen, every cartridge belt, had to be in place Some of the cadets in these details were at in tent, every spot from the tent floor erased, work to expiate offenses, the rest assigned to every stick, scrap of paper, pebble, and the details in alphabetical order so that the num- straw had to be removed from the company ber requisite for the work might be supplied. street, and the cadets' shirts buttoned prop
At a quarter to five came sick call, the sum- erly, hair cut, finger-nails cleaned-in fact, mons by the bugler for all those “sick, lame, the whole street and its occupants had to be or lazy” (as a regular put it) to be reported spotless and in perfect order. This day the for the doctor's attention. Then at half-past only blemish on that company was a bit of five assembly sounded for mess, the cadets chewing-gum paper negligently dropped by coming to attention before their tents and some cadet; and because of that one blemish marching to the mess hall.
the comment of one of the inspecting officers as That evening it was the turn of this unit he passed within my hearing was only " Fair."
PITCHING SHELTER TENTS Two or three squads are here shown practicing the pitching of their shelter tents. This is the first attempt, as can be seen by the irregularity of the line and by the fact that the cadets in the foreground are waiting
to get further instruction. Shelter tents are used in campaign marching
STRIKING SHELTER TENTS The battalion has had shelter-tent practice; inspection has just taken place; and a few seconds before the picture was taken, when every cadet was standing at attention, the order was given,“ Battalion strike tents," and already every tent is down and the cadets are beginning to roll the pack
Then came shelter-tent practice for the battalion. The night before the officers in command had erected on the company street a model shelter tent. The cadets were not expected to ask questions.
All their questions were already answered by that model. The day before lines had not been straight at the company practice. "They'll be straight to-day,” the officer in command of that company told me this morning—and they were. The boys had learned that when they were shown a thing once that was enough. And when those boys carried their packs they learned-in their own comfort or discomfortwhy they had been ordered to fold and roll their blankets and ponchos just so and lay their tent pegs and poles in just such a position on them. They were expected to obey first and learn the reason afterwards, and in three weeks they had found out that that, too, is part of the straight way and the
And two or three fathers who walked along with the company back to the camp, and heard the officer ask the boys sharply if they didn't know what forty inches were yet, agreed that it was the best way too.
There were to be nearly two weeks more of such training when I left. What that training meant I am going to let one of the cadets tell for himself. I take his words from letters he wrote to a friend of mine, who gives me permission to print them here:
If ever I was for compulsory military training, I am twice as much for it now. I think it is splendid for mind and body.
Now that we are on the last week, it is interesting to look back. Our first parade was, I think, without guns or equipment. Our lines must have been terribly crooked, our officers bawled out loud and long. To-night we paraded with regular army guns and cartridge belts. Our officers stood in a line back of the commanding officer. We kept the lines straight ourselves, and I think they were pretty straight.
When we started, kicks and grumbles arose at every march to the parade grounds, and yet we walked along without anything to carry. To-day we walked twice to the parade ground with equipment. The other day with packs we trudged along and no words of complaint did I hear. Yes, we have changed.
I think personally I have acquired certain things which I am terribly glad to have. I have found obedience easy, which is a compliment to those who have brought me up. I have a much greater feeling for the flag and my country than ever before. I always feel a sort of thrill at retreat every night, when every man
and officer of the regiment stand up like soldiers and do honor to their flag.
I know I have a finer sense of neatness and orderliness than before. When it comes to picking up straws and pebbles off the street, folding your blankets, etc., just the same way every day and keeping your body clean, why, it's second nature to be neat in all things.
I have more respect for myself than before, simply because I feel that I am beginning to do my part in a duty which should draw us all together. I am taking my place in line with others in preparation for defense of our country, and as I respect my officers, so that respect goes out also to those who are with me in that respect for country and those people in authority,
Another thing-perhaps not so important, but still something I have gained in appreciation for friends and school, and, more than that, for those at home. Perhaps it may seem strange to you that I should get that feeling now, but I can only maintain that, if I loved my home before, I love it twice as much now. As for friends, I don't know what I should have done without school friends and the Young Men's Christian Association men who gave themselves up to our service.
Naturally I have benefited physically and mentally ; but I think those benefits are minor compared with those I have mentioned above.
To keep such education for a few is to deny the fundamentals of democracy. The benefit of Camp Washington at Plum Island is of course directly received by the boys who went there, their families, and the schools to which they return; but its value is much greater than that.
What has made it, above all, worth all that it has cost to those who have given time and thought and money for its success is the fact that it is an object lesson in behalf of universal military training. What the boys of Plum Island have received ought to be the inheritance of every boy in America.
And what these boys have received this country needs. Chief among the faults of the American people are lawlessness (witness, for example, our homicide rate), love of ease, and willingness to avoid trouble at the cost of duty. Chief among the virtues inculcated at Plum Island are the opposites of these faults-prompt observance of law; acceptance without complaint, and even with enjoyment, of hardship and simple living; and willingness in the course of duty to face danger and act the man in its presence. Universal military training would develop these qualities in the boys of the Nation, and therefore in time in the Nation itself.
ERNEST HAMLIN ABBOTT.