Nov. 10, 2010
A note from the editors Each letter within the pages of this Veteranâ€™s Day tribute are taken letter for letter from the 1942, 1944 and 1945 Logan Herald-Observers and Woodbine Twiners. Typos were intentionally left in order to retain authenticity, whether the error was on behalf of the writer or the newspaper itself. Some of these letters contain terminology commonly used during the era that would not be acceptable today.
Some of the language may be offensive. Also scattered throughout the pages are bond and other ads and photos with original cutlines from the same time era. We found these interesting and believe their addition to this section helps capture the mind set of the era. We hope you find these letters educational and hope they capture the essence of what being a veteran means.
Mary Darling, Editor
Nikki J. Davis, Editor
Table of contents Page 3: Wake Island, Jan. 22, 1942 Logan men believed alive, Jan. 31, 1942 Page 4: Former Herald News Editor tells of Army, Feb. 4, 1942 Page 5: Italy, Feb. 10, 1944 England, May 18, 1944 South Pacific, March 9, 1944 Page 6: Shipman killed in action, June 1, 1944 Page 7: Italy, Aug. 19, 1944 Page 8: South Seas, Aug. 31, 1944 France, Aug. 25, 1944 Southwest Pacific, Oct. 5, 1944 Page 9: South Seas, Nov. 6, 1944 Reed met a chilly death, Nov. 30, 1944 Page 10: Philippine Island Prison, Jan.
18, 1945 Germany, Jan. 25, 1945 Page 11:Philippine Islands, March 1, 1945 Germany, Feb. 18, 1945 Home from prison, March 29, 1945 Page 12: Okinawa, April 27, 1945 Germany, June 3, 1945 Page 13-15: European War Theater, May 30, 1945 Page 16: South Pacific, July 5, 1945 Germany, Aug. 1, 1945 Page 17: Tokyo Bay, Sept. 2, 1945 Page 18: Okinawa, Oct. 11, 1945 Page 19: Nagasaki, Oct. 28, 1945 Page 20: Advertising
Home to Yanks
January 27, 1944
Home to Yanks â€“ Protected overhead by sandbags and shell cases, this dugout on Italian battlefront is home, sweet home to these Yanks.
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1942 L o g a n m e n o n Wa k e I s l a n d Jan. 22, 1942 Japan. According to these Logan people were particularly interested in the dispatches in the daily papers the past week regarding the transfer of prisoners from Wake Island to camps in
dispatches, some 400 prisoners were brought in one boatload and more than 1200 in another boat load to one of the Japanese islands for internment for the duration of the war.
As there were supposed to have been less than 400 members of the U. S. armed forces on the island at the time of the attack by Japan, and some 1200 civilian workers, it is assumed that all civilian construction workers have been transported to Japanese prison camps. This dispatch is of particular interest to Logan people as three Logan men, Ben Comstock and his son Franklin and Gene Henderson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Henderson, were on Wake Island at the time of the Japanese attack, doing construction work on government bases. No word has ever been received from these men, nor from the government regarding them. It is therefore assumed that these Logan men are among the prisoners taken to Japan. While their fate is not the rosiest, no one having any knowledge of the
kind of treatment accorded prisoners of war by the Japanese government, yet, the fact that they probably are prisoners of war is heartening to their families here, as it indicates that they are probably alive. Reports from the prisoners intelligence bureau, which is supposed to be a fairly reliable neutral organization, indicates that the prisoners are being accorded fairly good treatment, in accord with international practice. International agreements have been broken frequently by the Axis powers in the past, but those affecting prisoners are pretty well kept, according to neutral observers, because of fear of reprisals on each otherâ€™s prisoners. Logan relatives of Ben and Franklin and Gene can therefore take heart, as no doubt these men are safe in a Japanese prison camp, receiving fairly good treatment.
Logan men believed alive Jan. 31, 1942 Mrs. Ben F. Comstock of Logan has received the following reply from the United States Navy department to her inquiry regarding her husband, Ben Comstock, and her son Franklin. Both These men, together with Gene Henderson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Henderson were employed on construction work on Wake Island at the time of the Japanese attack in December. None of these men have been heard from until this letter from the Navy department, dated January 31, 1942, arrived this week. According to the letter, every hope is held out that the Logan men are alive and are prisoners of Japan. Following is the letter:
Navy Dept. Jan. 31, 1942. The names of your husband and son did not appear on the fatality lists received to date by the Navy Department from Wake Island. However records indicate they were on the island at the time it was attacked by the Japanese.As far as we know these men are not casualties but have been taken prisoners by the Japanese and are interned somewhere in Japan or on the Asiatic continent. The Bureau of Navigation thru official channels is making every effort to obtain information from the Japanese government concerning the status, location and well fare of the civilian workers. In addition, the International Red Cross thru its office in Geneva, Switzerland is adding its efforts to those of the Bureau of Navigation. Also personnel contacts have been made with the Spanish Embassy and the Swiss Embassy by interested individuals and the assistance of these embassies have been enlisted in the matter. Please be assured that every effort is being made to determine the where abouts and condition of these men.
We will never forget our Veterans
EBY DRUG STORE 423 Walker St. Woodbine, IA 647-2840
r We Honor ou Veterans! We will be closed on Nov 11 in observance of Veterans Day. We will reopen Nov 12. Dunlap 712-643-5442 Member FDIC www.communitybankiowa.com
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1942 Former Herald-News Editor tells of Army Following is a letter received Sunday from John Stuart, former news editor of the Harrison County Herald, who resigned his post here December 15, and enlisted in the Army several weeks later. John had made a great many friends in Logan in the year and one-half he was employed by the Herald, who we are sure will enjoy reading his letter—Editor: Aberdeen, Maryland February 4, 1942 Dear Mr. Bloom: Since working for you, I spent a pleasant three weeks vacation visiting with my parents at Lexington, Nebr., and then volunteered, enlisting in the army in the ordinance department, which is that branch of the army which test and maintains tanks, guns, ammunition, etc. which work should prove both interesting and exciting. I was sent by the recruiting office to Fort Crook, Nebr., where I took my oath of allegiance with a large group of new recruits then traveled by Pullman to Fort Leavenworth, which is 20 miles from Kansas City, Kansas, I slept very soundly in an upper, while two fellows shared each lower, which is the customary way for the army to travel in Pullman cars. Ft. Leavenworth is a huge camp known as a reception center, where all draftees and enlisted men in the seventh corps area, which includes nine middle western states, are shipped to be outfitted with clothing, receive other equipment, and to
be vaccinated for smallpox and typhoid fever. Most of the fellows get shipped out of there in an average of about four days for training camps, where they get from 8 to 13 weeks of basic training, although some soldiers are kept there as long as six weeks. On my eleventh day there in camp I chanced to meet in the mess (dining) hall Elmer Black, Arion Stirtz and the other draftees from Harrison county who had just arrived the night before. The next night I met Elmer again, this time at a dance for soldiers. He wore his army shoes to the dance and then suddenly became aware that the pair issued him had rubber soles, and since it was too late to go back and get another pair of shoes, he was mournfully looking on from the sidelines. Although there is a standing joke that there are two sizes of clothes in the army, either too big or too small, the army is very careful about fitting of shoes. Every fellow had to put on two pairs of socks before trying the shoes. That way no fellow is in danger of getting shoes that are too tight, which are pain killers on long marches. Although, I wore two pairs of socks while trying on shoes, I now wear just one pair of socks with those which are the most comfortable I have ever had on. This is the first time in my life I have received a complete line of clothes in so short a time – one half hour. My chief arti-
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cles of clothing consist of one overcoat, one rain coat, one pair of shoes, one dress uniform, two wood shirts two summer shirts, one fatigue outfit to be work on K. P. (kitchen police) and other dirty jobs, one black and one grey necktie, one cap, three pairs of socks, and three pairs of long woolen underwear that look more like sweat shirts and pants worn by high school and college athletes. Like all the other fellows, I keep one pair of underwear to use as pajamas. Since I am of average size, my clothes fit me well. I have one piece of advice to pass on to any boys about to be drafted into the army, and that is to take as few possible civilian clothes when going to camp because upon reaching camp all civilian clothes must be sent home. All you are allowed to keep is underwear and a pair of brown oxford shoes. We are even supplied with bath towels, razor and comb. About all I have to buy is shaving cream and soap. After spending 19 days at Fort Leavenworth, I was shipped to Aberdeen, Maryland, which is 34 miles from Baltimore, where I arrived last night for eight weeks basic training. The thing I was most surprised to notice when I got into the army was how little the boys talked about the war. Civilians are better informed through the newspapers on what our army and navy is doing in the Pacific than the army boys. Since I am a newspaper man, I greatly
Honoring our Veterans. Honoring our Heroes.
Woodbine 647-3375 Earling
“Your Bank for Today and Tomorrow”
miss reading the newspapers. I look forward to seeing the Harrison County Herald which you so kindly send me each week, and I notice with great interest and satisfaction that it is showing constant and steady progression in news content and advertising value. I have difficulty in securing a daily newspaper, and as a result I have taken to reading Time magazine as the best substitute. With best wishes to you and my Logan friends. I remain. Sincerely Yours, Pvt. Leonard John Stuart Company B, First Battalion Barracks 4, Ordinance Training Center. Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
Harrison Mutual Insurance Association We Salute Our Veterans 312 East 7th Street Logan, Iowa 51546 (712) 644-2710 Fax: (712) 644-2003 Pam Parsons Paula Stueve
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1944 Feb. 10, 1944 (Jan.11) and was glad to get them, although I The Twiner has a letter have never received all of from Byron Cox, who is them. They sometimes get somewhere in Italy and lost in shipment as here he says: is a lot of mail to be handled and we cannot “Dear Steve – expect to receive it all. Received a couple of Anyway, I sure enjoy Twiners yesterday
reading them. “There is not much to say about Italy as it looks like it does in a geography and is far behind in every way of modern times. The natives are disgusting to try to talk to.
May 18, 1944 is hard to beat. I have don con-
Dear Steve – Four fellows from Iowa have asked me if I knew who won the state basketball tournament and I haven’t found out yet myself. Perhaps when the Twiners of the last six weeks catch up with me I will find out what is going on. The last Twiner I received was the March 16 issue and it arrived a couple of weeks ago. (Dear Dwight-The state tournament was won by Waverly. Woodbine was eliminated by Manning in the Sectional tourney. – Steve)
England is quite different from the States. For scenery it
siderable driving since I have been here, after supplies, so I have had ample opportunity to view the scenery. There is a definite lack of tall buildings in the cities and I don’t believe there is a straight street in all of England. The whole country is really blacked out at night. It is hard enough to find your way around in daylight and almost impossible at night if you are not familiar with the territory. If you ask directions from an Englishman and he ends up by saying “you cannot miss it” the chances are 10-1 that you do miss
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flies overhead. It makes a fellow think of all the bad things he has ever done, and good ones too. It does make the hair stand up, if you have any to stand up? As for me, I do not have much left any more.
Must be I skin my head when jumping for cover. “There is very little to write about but I am looking forward to seeing all of you back home and I hope it is before another year goes around.” March 9, 1944
it. Driving on the left side of the road does not bother me much, but it is a job to get a G. I. truck through these narrow, crooked streets and roads and dodge all the bicycles. Everybody rides bicycles and they take up as much room as a truck. At night you cannot see them until you are upon them, so all you can do is hope for the best. They won’t get out of your way. One of the fellows came in from a trip the other day and said his truck looked like a Christmas tree, with bicycles hanging all over it. I still have difficulty underContinued, Page 6
The Twiner is in receipt of the following letter from Paul Surber, who is with the navy somewhere in the South Pacific:
“Dear Steve – I have been getting the Twiner O.K. but a little late, so I thought I would give you my latest address. I enjoy reading about everyone at home and what my old schoolmates who are in the service have to say. “I am in the 99th naval construction battalion and we left the states in November, 1943. There are seven of we boys who have been on six different islands in the South Pacific. I am now on an island where there is a beautiful girl behind every tree – and no trees. “The other day I did not have much to do, or rather, I had a little time off so I went out diving and saw a small octopus, so I came up and got a spear and went down again and speared him. But the darned thing wound around the spear and got away. “The talk is that we have another job to do down on the equator, the I hope to come home on a 30-day furlough.”
Thank You Veterans! WOODBINE MUNICIPAL NATURAL GAS SYSTEM Paul Marshall Superintendent
425 Walker Street Woodbine, IA 51579
“Well, Jerry hasn’t given up yet but the end is going to be here pretty soon and I hope we can all spend next Christmas at home. “It isn’t any fun, spending a lot of time in a foxhole when Jerry
517 Walker Street
Woodbine, IA 51579
712-647-2550 Evenings & Weekends call: 647-2345
Phone: 647-2340 If no answer, call 647-2345 Chris Waite, Superintendent www.woodbineia.org
We’re Proud of those who Served LOGAN MEMORIAL CHAPEL 215 N 4th Ave. 644-2929 Logan, IA
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1944 From Page 5
any gum, chum?” A friend and I were standing the people waiting for a tram the when they talk. They other night when an don’t pronounce the Englishman came up to words like we do. Maybe they have a dif- my friend and said “put ficult a time understand- your butt to mine.” It ing us. They say the dif- sounded funny and we did not know what it ference between a cow chewing her cud and an meant. He wanted to American chewing gum light his cigarette from my friends cigarette. We is that the cow has an get lots of laughs from intelligent look on her face. It could be true, yet their expressions and no every kid you meet on the doubt they get lots of laughs from us. streets, asks “Have you
It isn’t at all difficult to get dates here, so the fellows tell me. I have only been on pass twice since I have been over here and I didn’t see anything of interest except the scenery. Not much to do except sit in a pub and drink ale. All the shows at the cinemas are a couple of years old. Cheerio, and I hope this war is over by the time you get this. – Dwight E. Willett.
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Fred Shipman killed in action June 1, 1944 Last Thursday Mr. and Mrs. Guy Shipman received a telegram from the war department telling them that their son, Technical Corporal Fred H. Shipman of the engineers battalion of the air corps, was killed May 19 at Wake Island, in the Southwest Pacific. No particulars were given. Fred was born at Woodbine March 25, 1921, and enlisted in the air corps on August 4, 1942. He has been overseas since last July. He is survived by his parents and two sisters and one brother: Mrs. Elda Mae Bice of Magnolia; Bertha of Kearney, Neb., and John, at home. The two sisters are here with their parents in their sorrow. This is the second Woodbine boy to give his life in this war, the first one being Lyman LeRoy Isom, who met his death on a submarine. The deepest sympathy of the entire community is extended to the Shipman family in their loss.
Somewhere in France July 1944 This letter was received by Vernon Pearsall from his brother Cpl. Julian J. Pearsall on July 4th, 1944.
Dear Folks: Greetings and Salutations from the Old Dog-face who is at this very moment seated in a foxhole somewhere in France. The 359th has been here since “D” day, having landed 6½ hours after the beach head was made. We waded in salt water up to our necks for what seemed miles before we reached the sharpnel swept beach-head. After reorganizing, we marched inland and since then have been in action constantly, sure is hotter than “blazes” because these “Heinies” are playing for keeps. No more “dry-runs” for us. We sleep in our fox holes and brother we dig in deep. Our rations are made up of field Ration “C”-“K” exclusively. As a matter of fact I haven’t had a hot meal or bath since getting on our landing craft. Have lost considerable weight and can describe my physical condition as just fair to middling. France is a very pretty country Continued, Page 7
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1944 From Page 6
consisting of mostly pasture and orchard land but the standard of living of the people doesn’t appear to be nearly so high as that of the English. We haven’t as yet visited a town of any size but the villages and Chateaus that we have seen, present a very ghostly, austere appearance. The people actually wear wooden shoes and look like the ragged end of hard times which testifies to the fact that the French peasants have been oppressed for centuries and that French history is indeed written in human blood. Have received no mail since arrival and am wonderiing if you ever received the money that you should have. I imagine I’ll receive a whole batch of your letters at once because one batch is all the company has received since leaving England. Space is becoming limited so give my regards to every one around Logan, take care of your selves and wish me luck because I’m really going to need it. So long and Good Luck. Joe. P.S. We aren’t right in “Flanders Field” but the poppies made famous by the poem of 25 years ago actually grow here.
We will never forget our Veterans
Eby Drug Store 103 N. 4th Ave., Logan 712-644-2160
Somewhere in Italy where we were given our assignments. hour day, 7 days a week. The army is August 19, 1944 We construct the heavy open wire and doing a grand job, feeding us, clothing cable lines for the air corps in this par- us and getting us our mail. And in Dear Sir: ticular locality, which I’m not at liber- my own battalion I have two fo the As you are mailing to me your ty to name. Even though a construcfinest doctors its ever been my good weekly paper, which my sister, Mrs. tion unit, we are subjected to raids fortune to know. John Earl Burbridge, so thoughtfully and strafing and the right-of-way I’d better get back to help winning subscribed for, I thought perhaps along which we build is strewn with the war. So to you, to all my brother you’d like to know if I’m receiving it. booby traps and land mines. We members of Chrysolite Lodge No. 420, I received the issue of June 29 don’t re-use many existing lines, for my relatives and friends, a cheery today, and from all the names in it the Germans are past masters at Hello from sunny Italy, and my that are strange to me, I realize I destroying everything of value behind apologies to all my friends to whom must visit Logan when I return. I’ve them. I’ve failed to write. spent very little time there the past As you know the tempo has been I enjoy the paper, thanks to Sis. twenty years, but as it was there I stepped up here, so ours is a 12 to 18 Sincerely, Lt. Col. C. E. White laboured through school and much to the surprise of many, graduated in 1924, Logan has and always will have a place in my heart. YOUR HOMETOWN AGENTS My days in Logan, the rowdy ele• Life & Health Insurance ment will recall, was when Johnson • Mutual Funds • Long Term Care and Miller ran the “Dirty Front” • 401K Rollovers barber shop and before Larson and Minshall watered their gasoline. (only fooling – they are grand folks.) After a year and a half in the states training signal personnel, I left 712-647-3268 • 877-647-3268 for overseas in charge of colored signal 416 Walker St - Woodbine, IA heavy construction battalion. Landing Mike Carson Lynn Clark in Africa after an exciting but safe voyage and later moving on to Italy, Securities offered through MTL Equity Products, Inc. 1200 Jorie Blvd., Oak Brook, IL 60523, 800-323-7320 Member FINRA & SIPC MTL Equity Products, Inc. and Carson-Clark are independently owned and operated.
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644-2280 403 E. 6th St. Logan, IA
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1944 South Seas August 31, 1944
Dear Steve – Here is a little souvenir from Guam (a piece of Jap money.) The Jap I took it from was not Tojo or I would have his left ear for you. Too bad, of course, that this Jap was dead. I saw a lot of Japs here, dead ones and few live ones. It’s funny, but true, that a dead Jap gets less pity than a dead dog would. They asked for it and are getting it good and plenty. Well, Steve, There isn’t a lot more to say, but I got through unscratched, Although I had a notch taken out of my helmet. Hope things are O. K. with you and your family and the rest of my friends, at home. I am still getting the Twiner every so often and am glad to have it – Jimmie Pugsley.
France all. Once we went in to less than 3000 Aug. 25, 1944 yards and sprayed a pill box with our machine guns. We could see a number of these gun Dear Mom and Dad: When American and French troops invad- emplacements destroyed by our salvos, and reports from our troops told of other effeced Southern France ten days ago, the ORDRONAUX was assigned the task of pro- tive results of our fire. In fact very early in the day Krauts lost patience with us viding gunfire support for the first landentirely and opened up with 75, 88 and ings from a position about 6000 yards off the beach. To seaward of us were stationed 105mm guns. Being closer to the beach other destroyers, then cruisers, and finally than any of the other ships, we remained the center of attraction and received a battleships, the larger ships having been good deal of “attention” which would otherassigned to knock out the heaviest coast defense guns (seven nine inch and five six wise have been directed at the landing boats. Although we were stopped most of inch guns in our area alone). the time, our angel never left the yardarm, Our job was to take care of the many and nothing came much closer to us than pill-boxes, and machine gun nests which threatened the landing beach. From 7 a.m. fifty yards. In fact our only casualty was a gun crew man who had the end of his nose until 4 p.m. we fired our five inches at burned by a hot shell. Vincent Brummer. these strong points – over 700 rounds in Southwest Pacific Fred. Would have sent it sooner October 5, 1944 but this is the first chance I Mrs. Guy Shipman has received the following letter from a friend of her son Fred, who was killed in action a few months ago, in the Southwest pacific.
Dear Mrs. Shipman – I’ll drop you a line to say “hello.” I am sending you a money order for eight dollars that I owed
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have had. And thanks very much. I am very sorry about Fred. He was a very good friend of mine, anyone could not ask for a better one. He was liked by every fellow in the company. Fred talked quite a lot about We Make Custom Hydraulic Hoses Gene Beckner Store Owner
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you and his Dad. He was a brave boy and had what a lot of boys haven’t got. Mrs. Shipman, I am not much on writing letters like this so I will sign off. You hve my deepest sympathy. Lots of luck to you and hope you get the money O. K. – Gilbert Hardin, Somewhere in the South Seas.
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Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1944 South Seas Nov. 6, 1944 Mrs. John Anderson is in receipt of a letter from her husband, who is in the South Seas with the navy. John says in part:
Dearest Grace: No mail
today – we certainly have been missing quite a bit of it lately and everyone is beginning to grumble. I have been answering 1001 quiries daily about the situation. We are able to get rid of our mail
but it is doubtful if it will reach you for several weeks as they are not flying it out of here yet. It goes by ship to a place I have never heard of until I came out here and it is flown to the
Thank you Veterans!
states from there. We are not getting an idea just how big this Pacific Ocean is. The water here is evidently pretty well loaded with phosphorous as the other night when it was especially dark a PT boat went by and it looked like it was plowing up snow. Have you had any snow in Iowa yet. We haven’t had a bit here – nothing but bright sunshine and occasional showers. I always give
you a complete weather report if nothing else, so you really are very fortunate. I have checked with the censor and we can now mention that we participated in the Leyte invasion and shot down our first Jap plane there. The above will explain the scarcity of letters and the brevity of those that I did get written – as we were all pretty busy but, of course, are very happy to
be able to paint a Jap flag and plane on our bridge. The island seems to be pretty densely populated with natives and they come out to our ship daily in canoes to trade Jap money for clothes. We did a bit of trading for a few days but they got to be such a nuisance that it had to be discontinued. It is time for met to get in a little sack drill.” – John.
Lt. Kenneth Reed met a chilly death Nov. 30, 1944 S. R. DeCou is in receipt of a letter from Dr. Harold L. Reed of Ithaca, N. Y. in which he gives the details of the death of his son, Lt. Kenneth Reed, in the North Sea. Dr. Reed writes:
Woodbine 712-647-2702 1-800-369-2703
Missouri Valley 712-642-4117 1-800-999-0568
“It appears that on Kenneth’s last flight it was discovered as soon as they crossed the North Sea enroute to Berlin, that a mechanical defect developed which made the crew think they could never get back. But because they led the formation and were equipped and trained for pathfinder work, they went on anyway and set up the target for the successful bombing on ‘the first all American raid on Berlin proper.’ They got back to within 40 miles of the English coast, but had to crash in the North Sea. Seven of the crew of 12 survived, but most of them were badly hurt. Kenneth was apparently unhurt, but suffered a shock in getting into the icy water. The last person who saw him said he became unconscious in about five minutes. This same boy was unconscious when picked up by a rescue boat a couple of hours later, almost frozen. Kenneth was not seen after
about five minutes in the water. An anonymous contributor to the Tomkins county War Fund made his gift in memory of Kenneth with these words. “His unfailing courage and loyalty meant much and will always be an inspiration to those who shared his friendship.”- Harold L. Reed. Mr. Reed is a former Woodbine boy, being the son of the late M. A. Reed, for years head of the Woodbine schools, and Mrs. Reed, who is spending the winter in Cleveland, Ohio, with her daughter.
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1945 Jan. 18, 1945 Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Moores received a card Monday from their grandson, John A. Moores, who was taken prisoner by the Japs when Corregidor fell. He is in a prison camp in the Phillipine Islands. He said:
Dear Grandparents – I hope this message finds you in good health. I am well. Tell mother and the rest of the family hello. Give my regards to my friends. Special regards to Clifford Brock and wife; also Patricia and Wayne Honaker, Regards – John A. Moores.” This letter is proof that the boys in prison camps do not get news from home, as Clifford Brock has been dead for some time.
Germany wounded, encourage them when they Jan. 25, 1945 lose courage, discipline them and lead them without having something Claude Peterson and daughter hurt inside when you have to leave. I Ardith are in receipt of the following let- gave them a farewell talk the other ter from their son and brother. Lt. day. I felt badly and probably showed Donald Peterson, who is in Germany it and so not a man said a word. I with the U. S. Army. wondered if perhaps I had said the Dear Dad and Ardith – Just anothwrong thing, but the next day I er line to let you know I am still kickreceived the six letters I am enclosing the Boche in the pants. The snow ing. After you read them will you is getting deeper but it has not as please put them in my safe deposit yet been below zero. We have plenty box. If I never get any other reward, of warm clothing, overshoes, these letters have convinced me that sweaters, fur underjackets, wool knit I have done my duty to my country caps, heavy mittens and sleeping and to my men. – Donald. bags, so I think we can whip Old Man Winter as well as the Boche. I am in a different assignment Feb. 15, 1945 now, that of executive officer of the same battery that I had been sound Pfc. Charles Peterson Writes officer in. I certainly hated to leave Little Poetry my platoon. A finer bunch of men I never hope to meet. There were some bad ones, but they are and always will be “my boys.” I led them into combat and we had success and many times rough going. Telling you can’t mould a bunch of men into a fighting team, promote them, eat, fight and sleep with them, read their letters, pick them up when they are
Whatcha Do, Daddy I never saw a Purple Heart. I’ve never even met one. But this I’ll tell you my part. I’d rather see than get one.
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1945 Philippine Islands probably read in the March 1, 1945 press, this was a
vessel in the battle of the Phillippines. The tremendous victory over other day we received a Mr. and Mrs. Charles the Japanese fleet, with message from a Smith are in receipt of the destroyer that one of following letter from little damage sustained their son Charles, Jr., who by our side. In the their men had an acute is with the navy around Leyte campaign we not attack of appendicitis. the Phillippine Islands: We were in rough water only engaged enemy Dear Mom, Dad surface forces, but also so it was impossible for and Buster – Because them to operate. We bombarded his shore we do not have stamps sent word that our docinstallations. Many with us I have not been enemy aircraft were shot tors would be glad to able to write very often. perform the operation down. Don’t look for many aboard the Denver. In “In the case of the of my letters for it takes a few minutes the Lingayen operations, a long time for them to mention should be limit- destroyer was alongget to the states. Don’t ed to the general state- side our port quarter worry about me as I ment ‘I participated in and the man was transhave been all right. the naval support of the ferred to our ship by They have given me breaches buoy, which in Island of Luzon on something I can write itself is a thrilling Jan. 9.” home, so here it is: Well Folks, that is sight. As soon as the “I participated in the man was received that. I can’t tell you support of the initial aboard he was put on a any more. landings in the On Jan. 21 Charles stretcher and taken to Phillippines, in Leyte wrote: the operating room, You will be proud to Gulf in October, and where our doctors were know that we had the fought in the battle of ready. The man was honor of firing the first Supigas on Oct. 24 operated on and he is shot of any surface and 25. As you have now resting comfortably. The next morning he said he thought our State Farm Providing Insurance and Financial Services ship was anchored Home Office, Bloomington, Illinois 61710 because it rode so smoothly in comparison Steve Keller, Agent with the destroyer. And 409 E Erie so another life was Missouri Valley, IA 51555 Bus: 712-642-3568 saved at sea and our email@example.com ship medical department P045151 4/04 deserved a “well done.” ®
Germany and explore the houses. The country is awfully rough and Feb. 18, 1945 wooded where I am, but I guess it is Mr. and Mrs. B. A. Barry and Dean are in receipt of the following letter not all like this. The people live mostly from Max DeForest, who is in Germany: in villages and small towns. I just wish we had them all run into the Dear Folks – How is everything river and I was back home in Iowa. going back there? Still kicking I supI haven’t seen any cattle over here. pose. I guess the last time I wrote you was from aboard a ship. I would like to I guess they push anything to eat out tell you about my trip over and across ahead of them as much as possible. This is a terribly rough life but all I all of these countries but I can’t. want is to get out alive. I’ll take the Where I am now is just a mess of rough going and not complain. I got a destruction. If we continue on as we little piece of shrapnel the first of the have been it will take Germany 25 month, from a Jerry 88. I am supyears to clean up the mess. I think posed to get the Purple Heart, but they will forget war plans for a while. some fellows never get them at all. I You would be surprised at the nice never want another one. I hope this modern homes they have. I sure was. finds you as well as possible. I am It is really interesting to go through a village to clean out snipers fine. – Max DeForest.
John Moores home from prison March 29, 1945 John Moores arrived home Monday after spending three years in a Jap prison in the Phillippines. John was captured when Corrigidor fell. He is looking much better than his friends thought he would after his tough experience. He says he got down to 110 pounds in weight, but has gained 30 pounds since he was released from prison. He said men in the prison had rice to eat every day, once in a while they got a little caribou meat and occasionally they got dried fish. John says: “How that stuff did stink – but we ate it.”
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1944 Okinawa April 27, 1945 Dear Steve – Just a few lines to let you know I am still O.K. and that I think of everyone back home. I was unable to find any of the Woodbine fellows when I was on Leyte. I would liked to have seen some of them, but no luck. It’s like hunting for a needle in a haystack. Most of us are in small outfits and that makes it harder. There is not much I can say about this island. It looks like a big Rock. There is a seawall around it, but a short way back there are mountains. The natives have a lot of garden spots behind the wall and we make use of all the garden stuff we can eat. They raise about the same things we do. I have not heard of any of the Woodbine fellows being here as yet. I have been here since the day we first landed. We were the first American son the islands. The weather a little different here than on Leyte. Sometimes I wish I had my winter clothes, but I get by. The next day you wish you could cool off. Well I guess this is about the size of the news from Okinawa for this time. – Howard Jacobsen.
Germany the peak of a hill in June 3, 1945 the Hagenau forest.
quite beautiful, of course, I wouldn’t trade an acre of it for My spirits were The following letter, darn’ low at that time a pound of Iowa, but postmarked June 6, was and it was the only considering it is in received last week by Mr. Europe it isn’t too letter I had received and Mrs. Howard Fox of bad. I think I probaLogan, written them by or about 5 days. It bly have enjoyed wandid much to soften up their son, Lieut. Ralph dering through the old Fox, stationed in the effects of the castles more than anyartillery the Boche Germany: was throwing at us. I thing. The Rhineland Dear Mother, received the minister’s is covered with them. At last I have Some of them date letter just shortly found time to sit back to the 700’s. after Saarbrucken. down and do some A day or so ago I We were rather shaky serious thinking. I got to wander through really believe that if I yet and mail helped the Kaiser’s old playus plenty. am lucky I may even house at Weisbaden. We have settled be able to write for He had himself quite down for a bit now 15 minutes or so. a little mansion. and we can look Mother, I want Some of Adolf’s around and enjoy the you to acknowledge scenery a bit. At least favored boys had been for me the letters I now we don’t have to using it as a brothel received from your for the last couple of service club and from wonder if that old years, but it was still castle overlooking the our minister. They came at times when I Rhine has a Jerry in a magnificient place. The Red Cross has it ready to call for needed letters very taken it over now and artillery the minute much. I received the it is used as a rest letter from the service you move from your cure for tired GI’s. cover. This country is club when we were on
I suppose you have read of the atrocities and the concentration camps. Mom, it was our misfortune to go through a couple of the worst. We hit the allied prisoner of war camp at Limburg, and all the information that the United Press and other news syndicates are putting out is mild compared to the real thing. It is unbelievable that any nation could sink so low that it could inflict such tortures on other humans. I thought this was bad until quite by accident I stumbled into a camp where they dealt with their own nationals. This war seemed pretty just to me after that. Don’t discredit any atrocity stories you read as being propaganda. It is very probable that the stories have been toned down considerably before being printed. Well, enough of this chatter. Being company commander does involve a certain amount of work. I’ll write again soon. Be careful and please don’t worry about me. Love, Your Son, Ralph Fox
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1944 European War knew we were on board Theater a train heading northMay 30, 1945 east traveling under sealed orders, and we Following is a letter didn’t know until we got written by T-4 Dwain E. there that our destinaGraham, serving in the tion was Camp Kilmer, European war theater, to his mother, Mrs. E. J. New Jersey (port of embarkation). It was Graham of Logan: there that I counted the steps of the gang plank It has finally hapthat took me aboard the pened. The ban has HMS Samiria, a British been lifted on censortransport and pre-war ship so I have quite a luxury liner. Conditions bit to write and I figon it were lousy., Poor ured that I can get to food, overcrowded, say more by using a typewriter. Believe me,, strict blackout discipline was in force at all it seems good to get to times, even during the write something and two days we were sitnot have a bunch of rules and regulations to ting in New York harbor. The thing that was follow. the worst of all was the I don’t suppose my whereabouts have ever Limey food. There isn’t been much of a mystery a good cook in all of the British Isles, and the to you, if you followed the radio very close you only thing they can make is tea, and there could pretty well tell is nothing in the world just where I was located. It all happened all of that I have less use for a sudden, and I’ll never than a cup of tea. Besides the food being forget it until the day I lousy and Limey at die. As I am telling you the tale it seems that it that, we only got two meals a day, and it took all happened about a a man with a lot of guts day or so at the most. to call them meals. We were all packed up While we were staat Camp Cooke, we were tioned at New Jersey, waiting the go signal when the orders finally we were granted a pass came down to evacuate for a few hours to visit the camp on the spur of New York City and the moment. Everything adjoining places. Even granted passes we were was happing so fast under such strict centhat most of us were left in a daze or trance. sorship discipline that we were always afraid Well the next thing we
to look at a man in civilian clothes, for fear he might be an espionage agent and we might get sunk on the way over, and I believe until this day that if we would have gone to France as it was planned instead of England, we would have gotten sunk, because after we landed in England, the German radio reported that the 11 armored division had been sunk on the way to France. (That is only the first time that the Eleventh took the well-known “super race” for a big spin. Well, it took us from the 28th of September until the 12th of October, a total of thirteen days, to make the trip across the Atlantic, and the conclusion of our trip found us anchored (after the fog lifted) in the beautiful city of Liverpool, England. We were welcomed by a 10-piece Limey band playing that old familiar tune, The Yanks Are Coming. on the trip over we touched the tip of the Azores islands a little northwest of the coast of Portugal, and we also saw the south bank of Wales. The only way we had of telling that there was land there, was the distant hills rising occasionally beyond the
horizon, and you had to have a strong pair of field glasses to see them through the thick haze of fog. When we went through the St. George channel and into the Irish sea the water was beginning to turn a little greener and you could see the sea gulls so we knew it wasn’t long until we would be seeing land. After we disembarked in Liverpool, that was our first sight of the destruction of war. Some of the big and famous buildings of the city were left totally in ruins, and nearly every window was complete gone or else badly cracked from the concussion of German bombs. While we were puffing like a steam engine going down the streets in Liverpool, our duffle bags and harness were getting heavier every minute and I think if we hadn’t reached the railroad station when we did, they would have had to take us, me especially, the reminder of the distance in six by sixes or ambulances. Well, I think we all thoroughly enjoyed the overland trip through England as everything was so quaint and the landscapes so green and picturesque. Those
railroads in England were really a novelty to us. They are about as big as our orange crates and when you get into them you enter from the side doors. They have first, second and third class booths, but the army wasn’t too much concerned about the class. So we hopped into anyone of them, and I was fortunate enough to get a first class one. Well, the conclusion of our over land trip through England found us in the city of Trowbridge, so with the well-known duffle bags we made our way for about another two miles to the half-moon shaped Nissen huts at Trowbridge barracks, a former Limey training camp later taken over by the U.S. government. The huts were cheaply erected and they had cotton bail straps running vertical and parallel over a two by four frame and that was what we called beds, but we all were very satisfied with them because we knew that less than a hundred miles away they were sleeping in foxholes, and we were very fortunate in having our destination changed from France to England. On our overland trip through
England we went through such places as Bath, Bristol, Birmingham, ect. Even though life in England go very monotonous at times it was still preferable to foxholes in Belgium. Well, while we were in Trowbridge some of the fellows fell for those nice-looking English girls, known to the Yanks as Wrens, but I don’t think there was any of them really serious and the only things left to them now is maybe a correspondence every now and then. Well, life in England was swell as long as it lasted. The English treated us very nice, of course. We were on road march one Saturday afternoon in Warminster (the camp we took over after leaving Trowbridge barracks), I forget the date, but it was around the 15th of December, when a messenger approached us in a peep and said that we were ordered back to the camp immediately. Upon returning to camp we were informed that we were to pack our duffel bags - again - and prepare for a movement across the channel to France. Don’t forget, it was around Christmas Continued, Page 14
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Letters Home: Letters from 1945 From Page 13
time and we were all preparing to enjoy our Christmas in England, as a matter of fact, a lot of the fellows were invited out for dinner in some of the fine private homes. We left England at Weymouth, known to the army as D14, and we loaded all our vehicles on the LST and set sails across the channel to France (Fortunately this LST was an American boat and during the five days we were on it, I never heard one gripe about the chow. It didn’t take five days to cross the channel, but we had to wait in Cherbourg harbor a couple of days before we got our orders.) It was on this LST that we first heard of the Runstedt salient in the Ardennes. They told us that he was tearing the guts out of the 1st Army. (Now don’t forget that all of this was taking place around Christmas time) and that our armor was urgently needed, that we were forced to attack without any battle plans. So you can pretty well see what we had in store for a Christmas present. We unloaded our armor at Cherbourg, France, and
immediately set it rolling for that well known bulge in Belgium! The sights going through France were beautiful with the exception of the ruins and destruction of battle on D-day. In St. Lo and La Hay DuPree, there was simply not a building left standing. I had felt sorry for the British until I saw France, and the sympathy for the Limeys ceased. Well, we spent Christmas day in Reims, France and it was two days later that our division got it is first mission – to guard the break through at the Meuse river. The German Col. Gen. Dietrich was driving a panzer spearhead toward the Meuse. Our mission was to see he didn’t cross it., He got stopped, but not only by us, so we were taken off the Meuse and sent 300 miles through sleet and snow, traveling day and night in tanks and halftracks to Neufchateau, Belgium. We had to stop Runstedt and we had to do it fast. He was about to cut the lifeline highway from Neufchateau to Bastogne and if he had succeeded our 101st Airborne division and others trapped in and around Bastogne
would have been completely isolated and left at the mercy of the Germans. We hit Runstedt and we hit him hard and sent him wheeling six miles in four days, a green outfit up against a bunch of African veterans. It was in Belgium that we earned our name of the Good Samaritans of the Belgium Bulge, when we helped free the 101st at Bastogne. The Eleventh won the admiration of every outfit on the western front, both old and young, for the achievement during the bulge, and after it was all over we got a congratulation from Old Grouchy George himself. The Bulge was pretty well settled so we were pulled back at Wind Borcey, Belgium, to get the needed replacements that we lost during the battling and also for a little recuperation and rest. We were told that the infantry was trying to penetrate the Siegfried line and if and when they burst the first belt of defenses, we were to strike through with an armored drive and a rush to the Rhine. This is exactly what happened. The infantry penetrated the line to
the Our river and when that happened the Thunderbolts struck, and after wiping up some of the bewildered remains of the Siegfried defense, we made a spectacular rush to the Rhine, which beyond any doubt will go down as one of the most important military achievements on the western front. I want you to know it wasn’t only the Eleventh involved in this breakthrough as the glory goes to every man who fought on or around the Siegfried line, and as a matter of fact, we were just one of many outfits that participated. I think that most of us fellows go the surprise of our lives when we entered Germany. We found the people west of the Rhine very well-to-do and there was scarcely a thing in the world that they were hurting for. Of course, this prosperity came from the loot of the countries held in bondage for five or six years under the handraising, heel-clicking Nazis. The originators of filth and corruption. We found their wine cellars to be amply supplied with the very best and rarest wines to be had. Their shelves were laden with the finest of
champagnes and cognac. Their homes, compared to Belgium, France and England, were very modern, furnished with hot and cold running water and radios, innerspring mattresses and the last thing in fine arts, paintings and priceless etchings. I am regretting to this day that we were so lenient in sparing their cities. The cities were, with few exceptions, left virtually intact after the surrender. Mayen, Budshim and Georlgstein, several of the largest cities west of the Rhine were, with the exception of the industrial sections, left intact. So ended the battle of the Rhineland. Then came the Rhine. We were in position near the city of Alshiem covering the crossing with our artillery. When our orders came to cross, we crossed the 200yard pontoon bridge under cover of a smoke screen at the city of Openshiem. After that, I am almost sure you could tell me more about our achievements east of the river than I could, because after we first crossed there was such a spectacular breakthrough and we went at such a speed we just barley could
catch some of the highlights of our gains. The allied success and rapid advancement can almost be traced to one thing – the boner that German pulled when someone forgot to blow up the Ludendorf bridge and the Ninth Armored division surged across and quickly established a bridgehead. The Germans were so dazzled from our rapid advancements west of the Rhine they forgot all about themselves being the so-called Master Race. They were worried about one thing, and that was getting out, and getting out fast. We led the way for the battle of inner Germany. The mighty Third army was taking the lead and the Fourth and the Eleventh armored divisions were spearheading the thrust. They told us that our mission was to be Kassel and after almost succeeding in getting there our mission was again changed to Thuringer Wald, the approaches of Erfurt and Arnstadt, both of these cities falling to us like a big ripe plum,. The Germans were all petered out and were in full retreat. The country that lay ahead was Continued, Page 15
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Letters Home: Letters from 1945 From Page 14
ours for almost the taking. I never will forget the arsenal city of Suhl. When we took that the civilians and all were firing at us. We were meeting savage resistance and our infantry was 45 miles behind, mopping up a German division which was retreating from Frankfurt which threatened to cut off our supply lines. A few rounds of our artillery and a handful of our infantry made them decide that the best thing to do was to leave our supply lines alone and continue in retreat. That is probably the way you have heard about the “Battle of Germany.” Still there is one thing to remember. One of the greatest, most important things while all this history was being made.. It does justice to take a glance at the human side of the story; the sacrifices that were made to gain such a victory. Blood, sweat and toil. It is always good to remember that there is no 98 cent bargain sale on the battle field. The price is paid in full! It was a very disagreeable day on Thursday, April 19, but it is a day that shall
live in my memories. We were driving on the city of Chams, our objective, on the Czechoslovakian border, and I am sure there wasn’t a man in our battery who wasn’t griping about the wind, snow and sleet which was hitting us in the face like the sharp needles as our spearhead was rolling onward. Our column came to a halt near an intersection not far from the city proper. We had thought our forward achievements had run into some more fanatical SS men trying to stop an armored division with scarcely more than their bare fist, which is generally the case during that kind of halt, so we began to build a fire and thaw out our halffrozen feet we had gotten riding in the tanks during that frigid weather, when along came a sight to set us all back a couple of notches. A first class example of the ruthlessness dealt our allied PW’s by the Germans. We actually saw the American and Russian soldiers bleeding from fresh wounds dealt them by the SS men prior to their liberation. I don’t know who was the happiest, they or us, One Yank soldier
was so happy he wanted one of our patches to frame and hang on the wall in remembrance of the best damned outfit in the United States army. The Germans dealt the worst grieve to our Jewish American boys. They were largely victims of the worse atrocities committed. So we drove into Austria on the 1st of May to see if there was anything to the stories we had been hearing about the famous redoubt area Hitler was bragging about having. Also for a junction with the Red army driving up from Vienna. We didn’t find so much in Austria along the line of resistance but maybe a few road blocks and our battery still the same day, which was a day before the war ended, was under a few rounds of harassing fire, but fortunately not a thing was harmed. So the next day we drove on Linz and took it without firing a shot; the third largest city in Austria which had a pre-war population of 130,000 and was later increased during the war to approximately 160,000. As our infantry entered the town, they were actually greeted with flowers
and white flags, a common sight on our last march. The Russians had had these people so scared that when we took over a town you would think that we were coming to liberate them instead of conquering them. The Russians have an inherent hatred for these Germans. They respect nothing, male or female. I don’t blame them really, because they could never do the damage to Germany that she did to them. We met up with the Russians the same day we took Linz and I am writing this letter at exactly the same place we were at the time the war ended. So it was at 0001 the 9th of May that they told us the war was over and the only place they did any celebrating over it was at home. When these fellows here heard it, it didn’t even change the expression on their faces, because they knew what this one had cost and that there is another going on just as bad. It just meant maybe a little more rest for us. So ends our little adventure temporarily, that gave us the well-earned three stars on our ribbon, and after heaving spent Labor day in Camp Cooke,
Thanksgiving in England Christmas in France, Valentine’s day in Luxembourg, Easter in Germany and May day in Austria, WE DO NOT CARE ABOUT
SPENDING THE FOURTH OF JULY IN THE CBI! (ChinaBurma-India theater of operations – Editor’s Note.) Dwain
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1945 South Pacific July 5, 1945 Mrs. Charles Milo Smith is in receipt of the following letter from her husband, who is with the U. S. navy in the South Pacific:
The USS Denver has had some mighty interesting duty on this cruise. You are hearing about Iwo Jima in the news and we were there bombard-
Germany August 1, 1945
ing that island last Fourth of July, one of the first American surface ships to get that near to Tokyo. Then we have had a hand in the Philippines, being selected for the opening salvo at Leyte and participating in the action at Mindora and Lingayen Gulf on Luzon.
give all of you my general idea of this country. Germany, Czechoslovakia, The following letter was recently received by Holland and the countries the Herald-Observer arond here are all of the from Pvt. Victor Gravett, stationed somewhere in same category. They are all Germany: agricultural and industrial Dear Friends at home, contries. In talking of farmAs I have been away for ing, they all grow the folsome time, I imagine some of lowing crops, wheat, rye, you have wondered what has oats, barley, potatoes, and of become of me. I am in course they have the crop of Germany at the present time sugar beets, which takes the and will remain here for some place of corn for the cattle, time as far as I know. which they all raise. I know most of you don’t Their chief industrial know what the country products are steel and iron around this vicinity in which I ore. This is in the central have lived is like, So I will and northern part of
We were also nominated to cover subsequent landings on Luzon. We provided protection for army landings at Narcisco and San Felipe in Zambles province. Then we participated in the landing at Subic Bay and on Grande Island, which guards the mouth of the bay. We covered
the landings at Nsugbu on Bataan peninsula, which forms the southern area of the entrance to Manilla Bay as Bataan peninsula does, on the north. No wonder they call us the “mighty D…….” We certainly go place. I am well and hope you are the same. – Bunny.
Germany. France and Belgium are have the same resources. They are almost all farmers, now that the Germans took all of the things which they at one time had. Not only did they take from these people, they destroyed everything else that the French and Belgiums ever had. That is the reason that we have to help the French and the countries that have no way or means of getting what they have to have to make their living. I am at the present time
taking care of the people that are displaced from their homes in which they live in other countries other than Germany. We have to guard all of them or else the people that are in those towns would come and take everything so they could live as they did when they were all at home. As everything is coming along all right I will close for the present, wishing you would say ‘hello’ to all my friends there at home. I will close sending all of you at home my regards. Pvt. Victor D. Gravett
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1945 USS De Haven use this cache (get DD727 me!), so that puts us September 2, 1945 right in there again.
Dear Folks: This is sort of an extra-special letter to give you the details of what is probably one of the most eventful days of our lives. How certain ships are chosen for special assignments is beyond my simple powers of comprehension, but we must have been sitting in the lap of the Gods at the right time, for we were picked to take an Admiral into Tokyo Bay to witness the official surrender ceremonies as a representative of our Task Group, and to be his flagship for the occasion. So, our twostar Rear Admiral’s flag was broken out as our guest, Rear Admiral J. F. Shafroth came aboard. Before you read any further, take a look at the postmark on my envelope. Only ships actually in the Bay itself are permitted to
To describe the affair chronologically: We were all broke out of our bunks about 0430 for breakfast this morning, in order to get everything in readiness to anchor in the bay at 0630. It was daylight very early, so we did some firstclass sight seeing on the way in. One of the scenes we will all remember is that of the big Yokasuka naval base with the Japanese battleship Nagsto dominating the scene with her ugly pagoda mast, so typically Jap. She is lying there now, harmless, a ship with her “teets” pulled. Upon arrival in the bay we were ordered to drip our hook about one thousand yards off the port bow of the Missouri, the big battlewagon on which the surrender ceremonies actually took place. In this made-to-order
position, we had a ringside seat to watch the various ships bringing the Generals and Admirals and high ranking officials from the different Allied Nations to witness and sign the documents. The climax of the ceremony, when a giant fleet of B-29’s and carrier planes flew over the Missouri, was indeed a display that made us all proud of our Armed Forces. Imagine, 500 Superforts plus 800 assorted varieties of Navy planes, all sweeping across the sky in one sprawling group! It was a sight that we shall probably never see again. Geographically, the spot where we anchored is about six miles from the city of Yokohama, with Tokyo itself up the bay about 15 miles further. We are able to see many of the industrial buildings of the former city and even a few of Tokyo’s land-
marks are barely visible. Our one big regret is that Mount Fujiama, ever present on all the postcards of Japan, is hiding behind a heavy layer of clouds. When General MacArthur left the Missouri after the ceremony, the destroyer flying his flag passed only a couple of hundred yards from us. The General and his Staff officers were out on deck at the time so we had a good longdistance look at him too. I must close this now and drop it in the mailbox pronto. Our Admiral will be returning soon and we will be getting underway shortly to return to our Task Group. By the way, today established an endurance record for our ship so far. This being the 63rd straight day underway, at sea. A long time steaming in any man’s language. Dallas Peyton.
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1945 Okinawa October 11, 1945
October 15, 1945
Belgium and into Germany. On the day your husband Mrs. Harold Evans is Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Mesenger are in receipt of a letter in receipt of the following was wounded, he was due to from their son Lyle, who is on Okinawa. He said in letter from Mrs. Susie M. go back for rest period, but part: Eastman of East gave his turn to a wounded Hardwick, Vermont, Just a few lines to let you know I am comrade. When Bernard was O.K. again. I am out of the hospital and which explains itself: Dear Mrs. Evans – My working over patients in the about ready to go to work again. I had a cellar, he heard shelling close call. I expect to be home in a couple son Bernard was proud to have a friend so fine a per- upstairs and rushed up and of months and will not go into details, only to say I was mixed with a land son as your husband. They found Mr. Evans hit in the mine. I had a D-7 “cat” pulling a carback by a shell and badly met in England and from ryall and I hit a land mine with the cat. I there went through France, wounded. Mr. Evans gave was lucky and thrown clean, but the cat was a complete wreck. My head was badly cut, right arm injured and I have a stiff shoulder. Hope to be out of the hospital in another week. I am the first man in our outfit to get a Purple Heart. That is five more points but the catch is this happened after Sept. 2 and I cannot count it yet. I had 77 points as of Sept. 2, so it should not be long until I get out of here.
In a letter to his wife, who lives in Shenandoah, Lyle tells a little of his trip from France to Okinawa. He left France July 9 and arrived at the Panama Canal 14 days later, then on to the Marshall Islands.
“It was hot and life on the crowded boat was terrible and the food was worse. We lived on bread and coffee three times a day for two weeks. Stopped a day and night near the marshals and sailed on to the Caroline.” We hoped our trip was over as we stayed on the ship 18 days and at last on to Okinawa. Then I, had a boil between my fingers and was in the hospital 15 days.
Bernard his bible, saying “when you can, send this to my wife.” Bernard replied “I’ll take it, but you will be around yet, taking it to her yourself.” Bernard helped put him in an ambulance and said he was told later that he died before he reached the hospital. On November 8, three days later, Bernard was
captured by the Germans and carried the bible through his imprisonment. We will mail it to you. Bernard has said: “Mr. Evans should have been cited for the sacrifice he made – he risked and gave his life for another, and a greater gift has no one.” – Mrs. Susie Eastman, East Hardwick, Vermont.
Nov. 10, 2010
Letters Home: Letters from 1945 Nagasaki, Japan October 28, 1945 Mr. and Mrs. H. G. Browning are in receipt of the following letter from their son George, who is in the navy:
Dear Folks: - Well, I am in Japan, but if there is anything interesting here, I doubt if it will be founds. An atomic bomb was dropped here and what a mess. I can’t tell you much about it as I have not been ashore. The Bomb
was dropped at the far end of the harbor which is quite long and surrounded by mountains on both sides leading down to the water’s edge. As you go out the harbor it makes about a 60 degree turn to the right. As I said before, the bomb hit at the innermost end and the concussion followed the harbor out to sea, tearing up everything on the left side.
I would judge the distance from the point of explosion outward to be approximately five or six miles. Tomorrow I am going in to look it over, but I have the idea of what it might be. Right where it hit, for a circumference of a mile and a half, it is absolutely flat. Not even a chimney withstood most of the explosion of the regular bombs. For
instance, there is a factory in France that was completely leveled off but the chimney was not even cracked. That’s about all there is to tell but I wanted you to know where I am and that I am still O.K. I will probably have a long letter for you after I do a little sight seeing for myself. – George Browning.
1944 Death Trap Set for Nazis Tuning up for New Britain Attack January 20, 1944
January 20, 1944
Many sided trap which is expected to smash the German military machine and culminate with an allied march on Berlin. From every direction men and planes will swarm toward this city which is already said to be a smoldering ruin. From Russia, the Balkans, Corsica, Italy, and from England will come the final crushing blows.
Maj. Gen. William Rupertus, U.S.M.C., who commanded the marine units that attacked the twin Japanese airfields behind Cap Gloucester, New Britain, is shown (left) coaching a Leatherneck gun crew during preparations for that action. Soon after this attack marines were reported to be advancing in the face of stubborn enemy resistance.
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