Howard O. Braun
Co. 24 USN Radio School
Dear Mr. Cole,
I got the papers you sent me some time ago and also letters from a lot of my friends in Baraboo. As I am pretty busy I’ll have to make this one letter answer them all. Am always particularly interested in the letters from the fellows over there and the casualty lists. These dog gone Boston papers only print the New England News and to see their casualty list one would think their boys are the only ones in this affair.
No doubt you have heard of the Spanish Influenza epidemic here. It is quite serious in Boston and the school here was quarantined for two weeks with it, but at the school now, it has been almost entirely wiped out, due to the very systematic method that was adopted to combat it. We were kept out of doors all day when the weather permitted, there was no school, and given plenty of exercise and recreation. Now we are restricted to certain districts when on liberty. Boston is absolutely tabooed. Bud Peck had it but is all over it and well again.
Harvard opened last week under the same system that I understand has been adopted all over the west. The attendance here is hardly one half of what it was before the war. Harvard being entirely a man’s school is hit harder than the coeducational universities.
No, Mrs. Curry, there is not distinction made between Regulars and Reserves here. The course is identical for both, the same classes being attended by both and no favoritism is shown either. The country realizes that to do this affair up brown, absolute unity is essential all over and there is not time for petty sentimentalities to interfere with over remarkable efficiency.
I was down about Charleston Navy Yard a few days ago and saw one of our latest Super dreadnaughts which touched here on the trial trip. She had her flock of mosquitoes with her. Mosquitoes are the little subchasers that convoy all the ships near the coasts. They are only 110 feet long, gasoline driven, and carry a crew of 26 men. The new Ford chasers are 220 feet long and carry 42 men. Each one carries a listening device by which a submerged
sub can be detected from 6 to 7 miles away. They are also equipped with wireless telephones as well a telegraphs. Of course the range of the telephone is comparatively small as yet but no doubt it will some day be perfected to send just as great distances as the telegraph, as it works almost on the identical principle. I could tell you some interesting things about it were I permitted to do so, it is not out of the bounds of possibility that some day it will take the place of our present system. Truly, this is the wonder age and the war seems to have waked us up to our tremendous possibilities in a way that only it could or rather would have done.
I mentioned in my last letter that there were many historic places around here which date back to our own Revolutionary War, but as this present affair is so much more tremendous the events of those days seem pretty insignificant now, so do not think I will bore you with them. However there is a little town about 20 miles from here, Orleans, by name, which has the designation of being the first American place to be struck by a German shell. It was during that sub raid off our coast and was eight weeks ago today.
There was a little fishing small lying about half a mile off the coast and the sub suddenly appeared and began to shell it. One of the stray shots skitted over the water and landed in the town but did no damage to speak of. I happened to be spending the weekend at a summer resort about six miles from there that day and distinctly heard the shots. Believe me there was some excitement. The schooner was sunk. The captain’s twelve year old son is the hero of the affair when a shot brot old glory to the deck he grabbed it up and clinging to the mast defiantly waved it at the sub. A couple of days later he exhibited the flag in Boston and turned over the proceeds to the Red Cross. Sounds like a chapter from the “Work and Pluck” books, doesn’t it?
The fourth Liberty Loan Drive opened here yesterday and believe me the Radio School is going over the top. Our company alone subscribed $3,350. There are over 50 companies here, including ship’s company. Ship’s company is the permanent detail stationed here and does not refer to just one company alone. In fact there are six companies in it.
Well if I can find anything to write about I will try to write again before I shove off for sea. If not by the time you get my next letter I’ll be a real sea-goin’ gob.
Notice that my address is changed now and is Co. 24 of 47.
I would like to answer all those letters and cards personally but I am on the home stretch in school now I simply have not the time so hope you will excuse me this time.
Arnold, O. Braun.
U.S.A. Radio School.
Address: P.O. Box 651, Baraboo, WI 53913
Museum Location: 531 4th Ave., Baraboo