Mac and later Raymond usually wrote their letters on stationery from the Y.M.C.A. It seems there was a choice between paper with a Y.M.C.A. or Knights of Columbus letterhead.
McKinley Austin to Jenny Austin
August 12, 1917
I have not got any letters yet, but I suppose everyone is well. The army is no picnic, but it is not so very bad. They say our bunch is to be assigned to the machine guns.
I was vaccinated the second time and it is coming on pretty good.
I was down to the station where they were unloading watermelons and a man dropped one of the melons on my sore arm.
Most of the officers are good, but there are two I don’t like. One is a sergeant who thinks that hollering is the only way to learn a man. The other is a conceited kid corporal. Jimmy Sullivan says he would like to meet them again when the war is over.
Sullivan is an Irish sailor. He had been in the Merchant Marine and has been through the danger zone lots of times without seeing any U boats. His boat helped pick up survivors from other ships three times. He says every port in France is full of German prisoners. He says that there are no soldiers in Europe that can match the British in bayonet fighting. I thought the French were better, but I have heard a good many say not.
Just got your letter [double underlined]. From your son, McKinley
McKinley Austin to His Brother
August 24, 1917
How are you? I am getting along well now. I did have a very sore arm, but it is a good deal better now.
We have bayonet drill now and rifle practice. Our captain showed us some trenches modeled after the best and newest types and gave us a talk about transverses, parapets, etc. and their uses.
Our lunch is in with the regulars now. McKinley