At this time Harold Elder had finished two years at Perkinston Junior College and I was still delivering papers for the Daily Herald. Since we both wanted to help our parents financially we joined the CCC. Maurus Elder managed to get my Herald newspaper route and so Harold and I went to Gulfport, MS, and passed the physical exam and were on our way to Fort Barrancas, Florida, on July 9, 1934. It was an interesting trip on the train.
Alfred William Stillman…Civilian Conservation Corps, July 1934
We arrived in Pensacola, FL and were transported to Ft. Barrancas, along with about 10 or 20 others were given our physicals and assigned to Army quarters, barracks, and mess halls, Upon our arrival we were all greeted, by those there, with the cry of "Fresh Meat" meaning we better get used to what was next. We were all given the same treatment as Army Recruits: clothes, hospital shots, and shown where the latrine was and what we could and could not do. Harold asked for an assignment at a Camp near Wiggins, where all his friends at Perk were and I was assigned for duty as a Clerk in Hq District G CCC. I still remember my assignment number CC4117035, we were told to never forget it. The "4" meant we were in the 4th Corps Area, with Headquarters at Ft McMcPherson, Atlanta, GA. My first day in the barracks at 6 AM, a 90 MM Canon was fired near my barracks and I felt like I had been shot at and missed. In the barracks, we were associated with the Veterans of World War 1, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps. We were associated with those of the CMTC, Citizens Military Train Association that met there at that time for training each year.
The Staff in the Office was Regular Army, from the 13th Coast Artillery: Colonel A L Fuller, Commanding Officer, Captain J A Konemann, Adjutant, Lt A F Russell, Staff Assistant, and Sgt R A Larkin was the Sgt Major; and, then about 4 to 6 Civil Service employees assigned to different positions. I was assigned to duty as a clerk typist with Sgt Larkin as my superior. I was able to take dictation in Greg Shorthand and type the orders and letters. After a trial of taking court reporting testimony with the regular officers in Mobile, Ala., where a Sgt had killed two people, I wrote up the notes and was sent back to Mobile to the prison to get the signature of the defendant - and he refused to sign the confession, at which time I was told to return and get his signed confession. At that time I refused to do so; and, it so happened I didn't have to as I was not in the Army. This event ended my duties a court reporter, as they thought I was in the Army. I learned a great deal for the Sgt and officers there. I was trained to fill in and fill the position of Sgt Major when he was not in and to be able to be a 2nd Lt in the Adjutant Generals Office Reserve. It was in this office that all the 2nd Lt. and all Reserve Officers reported for duty in the CCC Camps, and in doing so they were given a certain time to report to the Colonel, in full dress uniform, salute and click their boot heels so he could hear them do so; some had spurs on their boots and clicked their boots so heavily that they lost their balance, at which time all of us and even the Colonel and staff smiled and the Colonel reminded them "to save their strength for when they were on duty". This act took place when the Sgt Major informed them that it was their duty to "Present themselves FRONT AND CENTER"; and, to salute the Commander and say "I am ready for duty Sir". During this time, Sgt Larkin had arranged for me to take the enlisted men's Entrance Exam for West Point, after which one would be sent to Ft Mc Pherson in Atlanta for a year and then on to West Point. This was a hard one to turn down, but I did because at that time a 2nd Lt only made $125 per month and then had to pay for his station and quarters, and because of that, I did not want to accept the offer. However, now thinking it over - it was a mistake, because I would have had 4 years of college by doing so.
During my first year I was promoted from clerk (one stripe, $30 per month) to Leader (3 stripes, $45 per month), of which $25 per month was sent directly to my mother and father.
At the office I was asked by Capt. Konemann to drive his car and to take his wife to church on Sunday mornings and sometimes to go shopping. I rather enjoyed this as I managed to get a salute from the guard at the Gate and pretend to be somebody. The salute was for the car and not for me, as the car had the correct insignia on it. I was asked to go to the Officers quarters and start the fires in the fireplaces on cold mornings.
I observed that the Naval Air Station had privileges that the Army did not have, such as : swimming pools, known as "Fire Pools' to be used in case of fire , and golf courses, known as "Clearance of trees and Such" to clear the land, and polo horses for the officers to ride, known as "Beach Patrol" for the Marines to patrol the beach, and the "Ships Store Ashore" used as a cafeteria where the Army had none of these: and, they were able to eventually get these things in a similar manner.
In order for a member to get out of the CCC it was necessary for him to find and have a job equal to what he had, and sometimes that was hard to do.
My brother Glen had been offered the job of Manager of the Tivoli Hotel in Biloxi. By Glen offering me a job in the hotel, I was released on December 21, 1935 to go to work as a Clerk in the Tivoli Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Discharge From Civilian Conservation Corps, 21 December 1935