Mac Austin’s brother Raymond finally was able to enlist. Raymond served in the Panama Canal Zone. (The Austins weren’t the only family to have more than one son in WWI.)
Raymond Austin, Camp Gaillard, Panama Canal Zone,
to Mort and Jennie, Eldred
August 3, 1918
This is the wet season here. It rains some every day and the roads are all sticky and slippery. I have heard old veterans speak of Virginia mud, but Panama mud is a reality to me now in fact, big clods of it are sticking to my shoes.
We are quartered in tents now which remind me of Ft. Slocum. But our food is ten times better. We have to eat outside and today we ate in the rain. Nevertheless, I got enough.
I haven’t had any letters from you since the 27th of June and I am beginning to be quite worried. Have you heard from Mac yet?
I wish you would send me a bundle of “Democrats,” “Rural New Yorkers,” “Farm and Homes,” and any other papers except “Lone Scout.” Save them ’til I come home.
Has any one else volunteered since I left? What kind of crops have we this year? I’m going to write grandfather as soon as I can afford it. With love to all, Raymond, 33rd U.S. Inf.
Raymond Austin, Camp Gaillard, Culebra, Canal Zone, to Bill Austin
August 12, 1918
It is quite warm here, but no more so than it is in New York during August.
I wrote Mac a letter day before yesterday. It will probably be 2 months before I get an answer.
Has anyone else from Eldred enlisted? Also has any news been heard from Fred Straub, George Dunlap, or any of the fellows who went over?
We drill a couple hours every day. I am no expert at drilling, but I like it very well. We have half-an-hours exercise every morning which I don’t like so well. But it’s got to be done, so I do my best, which is none too good.
Hoping that all of you are well and will write soon. I am your brother, Raymond