Life at Camp Dodge

No diary entry today; I wanted to share this excellent description of life at Camp Dodge and the kinds of training and activities Robert might have experienced.

This is from The History of Adel and Dallas County Iowa by Mike Finn.

The initial training, or boot camp, lasted three months. The day’s activities consisted of physical training, marching, drills and the study of the army manual. Special schools were established for small arms, field artillery, gas warfare and intelligence techniques. No matter how tired the soldiers were, they soon learned that school was not the best place to try to sneak a nap. It seemed the sergeants teaching the schools had learned several techniques, usually involving strange sitting or standing positions or loud noises, to insure a tired student was too uncomfortable to doze off.

The soldier’s leisure time was filled by a variety of recreational activities. Baseball and football were both popular. Boxing techniques were taught by former heavyweight champion James Corbett, and were well attended. A variety of educational courses and musical activities were provided. Social dancing was also popular with the troops at Camp Dodge. Their partners were provided by the Girls Volunteer Aid, an organization of 2,000 carefully selected young Des Moines women. Camp Dances were closely monitored, and city officials posted strict rules at the public dance halls. “All unnecessary shoulder or body movement shall be forbidden,” said one. “No undue familiarity or suggestive forms of dancing will be tolerated,” warned another.

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