Work in Cantonment Increases in Interest - Men, Now in Fifth Week of Training, Begin to Love Soldiering.
Sixteen Weeks is course.
The fifth week of training, at least for most of the men in Camp Lee, has begun. From now on, the work, already interesting, will become even more fascinating as the weeks go by. Originally the war department laid down a course of sixteen weeks drill. It was thought that in this time the soldier could be made fairly proficient with his work, although it did not pretend to determine when movement of troops to France should begin.
This schedule, although obviously general in its character, is being followed as closely as possible at Camp Lee. Naturally there has been time lost by physical examinations, the administering of Typhoid prophylaxis, vaccination and the preparation of drill grounds and barracks. In addition many of the men have been here only a couple of weeks so that the fifth weeks instruction as proposed by the War Department has just begun for most of the troops, and, naturally, the schedule has had to be modified slightly for various reasons. Beginning with the earliest stage of physical exercise and school of the soldier, with lectures on discipline and other features of army life, the training has led up, through school of the squad and whistle and arm signals to extended order drills and exercises with rifle and bayonet, for the infantry. The artillery has kept equal pace in their own special subjects.
In more advanced phases.
Now the training has reached the point where it is possible to begin instruction in more advanced phases. Target practice is to begin soon, and and trench work, too, will be started before long. For almost two weeks the engineers have been hard at it, learning to solve the intricacies of trench digging, and the even more puzzling question of how to make a trench stay dug-that is, the revetment of trench walls to prevent the earth tumbling in on some unsuspecting young man when he thought himself safe from everything but poison gas and small trench inhabitants.
These practice trenches of the engineers may or may not be a part of the extensive trench system be constructed here, but they are primarily practice trenches for the engineers themselves. And, lest any of the young gentlemen with the blue hat cords get the impression that engineers do all the trench digging, let it be understood now that these same young gentlemen of the blue hat cord will dig their own earthy homes- both here and across the way. However, according to a cablegram from General Pershing, it is musketry and close order drill which are of paramount importance, and it is probably that even before instruction in trench construction begins that target practice, will be started.
The range - three miles long and a mile and a half across, is being laid out now, under the direction of Colonel Foreman, the divisions new range officer. The tract, only a few miles from the camp, will be ready within three weeks, when recruits probably will be given a try out. So extensive is the range that 240 men may fire at the same time at the 240 targets.
New Enfield to be used
The Krag rifle, which has been used for the manual of arms, will not be employed on the range. Instead, the new Enfield, the British ridlfe, chambered for American .30-caliber ammunition will be used. The firing will be done from a line a half mile long in the center of the range to provide a half mile safety belt along each side. The machine gun range will be on another side. The machine guns, Lewis and Colt, are arriving, and will be issued soon.
The artillery range, eight miles away is being acquired and work will be started on it soon. Here the artillery men will drill with guns ranging in caliber up to six inched.
Antigas instruction is provided for early on the schedule, and lectures on the methods of using and combating gas are to be given the men by their company officers.
Bayonet combat drill is to become more intensive. Some of the men already are vigorously assailing hostile positions protected by tench wire entanglements and hurdles over which the men must leap to reach the sapling dummings swing in the bayonet bays. Eventually men who show special capability in the various lines which the war have become the work [ILLEGIBLE] get opportunities to [ILLEGIBLE] as bombers, rifle specialists [ILLEGIBLE] men and the show their prowess. men snipers bayonets of life at like. At all events, the prospect [ILLEGIBLE] Camp Lee is anything but
CAMP PERSONNEL SYSTEM BECOMES ARMY STANDARD
Officers from Cantonments Here to Learn Efficiency Methods Recently Perfected
Camp Lees personnel system, which keeps a complete record of every enlisted man and every commissioned officer from the day of his arrival here to date, and includes each mans record before his entrance into the service of his country, has been selected by the War Department to be copied and installed in four other big training camps throughout the country. Four captains, personnel officers of their respective camps, accompanied by a civilian adviser from a National Army cantonment, arrived here, the First part of the week for the purpose of learning Camp Lee's efficient personnel methods. These officers are from cantonments occupied by former State guardsmen, and consisting of organizations from many parts of the country. Personnel systems were as numerous as the different outfits, and to bring the system to a central head and standardize it according to the Camp Lee one, is the purpose of these officers present visit.
Camp Green, Forty First Division, charlotte N.C., has sent Captain G.S. Tait, Captain Royal Mattice comes from Camp Sheridan, Thirty seventh Division, Montgomery, Ala., and Captain DM Simmons, from Camp McClellan, Twenty ninth Division, Anniston, ALA.
Mr. N.F. Dougherty civilian adviser at Camp Lee, and to whom, with Captain J.H. Downing, personnel officer at the Virginia camp, much of the credit of the excellence of this work is due has been designated to act as counselor to Captain Tait, of Camp Green. Mr Kendall Wisinger of Atlanta, GA, who has been acting as civilian adviser at Camp Gordon, will serve in like capacity for Captains Mattice and Simmons. Mr. Weisinger is a native of Richmond, VA, and his Northern trip combines pleasure with business.
How the System Works. Personnel Office: chief of staff speaking--"Pick me out a stenogr