Letters Home - Joseph Daniel Sullivan

The day’s work begins at 5:30 a.m. with reveille, and from then till 9:15 p.m., everyone is kept pretty busy. An especial effort is being made to teach the student the essential of trench warfare and for that purpose the French government has detailed two French army officers to each of the sixteen reserve officers training camps. The two assigned to the Presidio came directly from the trenches and are thoroughly capable of doing that subject full justice.

Under their supervision, trenches have been built by the students, copied exactly after the trenches used in the war zone. They are occupied at intervals by the students and at such time, actual conditions as they are in France are simulated as nearly as possible.

Bayonet fighting and bomb throwing also come in for special attention, as most of the modern infantry men’s fighting is done with these weapons. The fighting in the trenches is too close to admit of the use of the rifle, and the allied soldiers now in France are coming to regard that instrument as merely something to which to attach a bayonet.

A good deal of time is also devoted to practice hikes. They serve as excellent means of hardening the soldier, as well as teaching him how to make the most efficient use of his only means of transportation - his feet.

Military sanitation and personal hygiene are important topics. The conditions under which the soldier lives while at the front are such as to make necessary to most rigid rules of sanitation as a preventive of disease.

Map reading, military law signaling, infantry drill, guard duties and kindred subjects are also taken up and gone into thoroughly.

The benefits to be derived from the wonderful course of training and the experiences met in a camp where so large a body of men are being schooled are of inestimable value to any man, whether he makes soldering a profession or not.

 (From In the World War)

A NATIVE OF Nebraska and former resident of Butte, Montana, Joseph Daniel Sullivan was employed as business manager of The Sheridan Post when he registered for the draft in June 1917. 


Upon being inducted into the army in July 1918, he attended Infantry Officers Training School at the Presidio in San Francisco. He was later transferred to Fort Riley, Kansas (where he went down with a case of Spanish Influenza), and finally Camp Green, near Chicago, Illinois. 


The war was almost over by the time he finished with Officers Training School, but Sullivan didn't mind. As he told his friends at The Post, "I'm ready to go home any time!" He was honorably discharged in December 1918, having spent his entire six month military career stateside.


Sullivan's undated letter from the Presidio, published in The Sheridan Post on October 23, 1918, details the type of instruction received by the future officers. 

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