Paniqui, Tarlac, Luzon, PI
Thursday, 13 September 1945
Dear Aunty Clara,
I don't know how far along I'll get with this letter this evening but I'll do the best that I can. I'm typing in the office this evening and at any moment somebody may say "Jump" and then I've got to jump. I'm also letting sorne work go that should be done, but then I'm not going to worry too much about that since last night I was called up here at ten o'clock and had to get out a special report on these men with over eighty points as of V-J Day and men over thirty-five years of age. I called all the clerks to get the information and then after they went home, I began working on the report. Assembling, collating and cataloging the information was a job in itself -- then the typing took me a few hours. As a result I got to bed at six o'clock in the morning and woke up exactly a half hour later, at six-thirty, to begin a new day. What surprised me was that I was able to keep going all day today and I'm still ticking this evening without keeling over. There was utmost urgency about that report as it had to be in by eight o'clock this morning and anything relative to the discharge of us veterans I am willing to work on night and day. After all, the sooner those boys get out of here, the sooner our turn will be coming up.
Your letter of the 28th of August arrived in today' s mail and is the first letter I have received from you since leaving Manila on the 5th of September. In it you mention about hearing that Engineer Units were leaving Manila for Japan and that you hoped I wasn't among those. Well, fortunately or unfortunately, as the case may be, we are and have been slated for occupation of Japan. Before the war's end, of course, it was a military secret (and I didn't feel any too good about it after having lived successfully through more than two years of overseas service). That is one reason why the end of the war on any conditions was so appealing to myself and just about everybody else in the Philippines. Going there under the present conditions will be a lot different than what might have been.
We received word that future occupation troops could not reveal their impending occupation or the probably location until it was publicly proclaimed by the high command. Well, in the Daily Pacifican today it said that MacArthur has ordered the Sixth Army to move into the Osaka Area on Honshu in force by the end of October with advance elements going in at the end of this month. Since the Sixth Army is scheduled for that general area it is a good guess that we will end up either near Osaka or Nagoya. Seems funny being able to tell in advance where a person might be located, doesn't it?
Most of the fellows don't care to go to Japan thinking like you that it might mean a longer time in getting home. Yet, since I'm out here and the war is over and I haven't enough points for immediate release, I'm looking forward to seeing what was the "ultimate objective." Not many troops will ever be in Japan so to say that you went from Noumea, New Caledonia to Nagoya, Japan is something for the books. I, unlike the ordinary dogface, like being in all these far off and strange places. It is an experience which during an ordinary lifetime & person seldom gets; so we might as well take advantage of our extraordinary existences these days. And as far as going to Japan hurting our chances of getting home on time, I doubt it very much. They will undoubtedly move Replacement Depots up right along with us and the flow of men from the States can be directed right there instead of being directed through Manila.
We are really under a chain of commands now. After free lancing about the Pacific for two years as a separate Engineer Unit both as the 353 and the 1393, we are now under (1) another Engineer Construction Group, (2) the I Corps and (3) the Sixth Army. We are eligible to wear the I Corps shoulder patch of (I think) a black disc with a white ring and then an outer black ring.
But, going back to the discussion of Japan. I never thought I would be seeing the cold climates again while overseas but we are going right into it too. And the longer it takes to get there the colder it is going to be upon arrival. What gets me is that here we are in the hottest part of any of our stations and the next will be the coldest. It is likely to be colder in Japan than Camp White, Oregon. Brrrr.
Another thing. I'm a well man now but since I've continually taken those suppressive dosages of atabrine tablets, I may be keeping the malaria bugs under control. That is the bad part about taking that atabrine, it not only turns the skin a shade more yellow but also leaves you in doubt as to whether you are infected or not. After the tablets are no longer taken, it may be several weeks to a month before one could become ill.
Those "typhoons" you referred to in the Manila area, never materialized. We bad a few storm warnings and a high wind or two but for "veterans" of the New Caledonia hurricane, we couldn't see what the fuss was about.
Yesterday afternoon I received a letter from Eleanor Angsten in which I think she answers a former note of mine which she had answered once before. She hasn't much to say only that Dan Holenshade's second son was killed in the Pacific Theater just two days before V-J Day; that some of the boys have returned in uniform and are expecting out shortly on points (with the ominous note that there seems to be no place to put them); the Gary Walroths have a baby boy; Emma Berg's son was killed while a POW in Germany; and her brother is in the Tokyo area.
Here is a bit of the sidelights which I wanted to mention the other night but never got around to it, even though it was an 8 page letter. A Company was here in camp a few days before H&S came and they had their shower room set up. They tried to keep us out and even went to far as to put a sign up over the door "Company A ONLY" Then when H&S Company built their shower room and had it in working order up went the sign "H&S Company VISITORS WELCOME." A very neat bit of sarcasm which got the A Company boys riled higher than a kite.
Lest I forget, in those last letters I received from you as we pulled out of Manila after stopping at the post office on the way out (and which I read or tried to read while bumping along the roads) you mentioned getting some store teeth. Can you hold off until next summer or is the change over immediate. The reason I ask that is because it you want a real dentist to work on your teeth, Captain Stieler is your man. He practices up in Albert Lea, Minnesota and it would be an easy matter to take a run up there for a week or so to get a fitting. He is an A-l dentist and you can rest assured that any man who is so conscientious about his work in the army is going to be a crack civilian dentist.
If you have to have them flow, take as much money as you need for them from the bank account. Whatever you need is yours. That is the only possible way it can be. If you can wait until next year when Captain Stieler should be back in circulation, you will get the free vacation trip to Albert Lea, Minnesota thrown in to boot.
So much for that. With a final report for the day on how my sergeant majority is going, I'll close this letter. For one thing I'm feeling more and more like a Personnel Sergeant Major every day and am exercising the authority with more ease than heretofore. Last night I spoke to Lt Kuras about having Moskowitz promoted from Pfc to Cpl and he said he would look into the situation. When the orders were not forthcoming today, I put the bee on him again and had him call up Captain London to recommend Moscow's promotion. It is now okayed and in the office waiting for the special order. Knowing that my word carried a bit of weight made me feel good. I'm not just a nobody while I have this job.
But the job is tiring. There is no end to the amount of work and I'd just as soon chuck the whole works and apply for steady KP or something in the company for these last six months. Why? Well at those jobs, you do them during the certain number of hours and then you are off. No worries, no cares, no responsibilities and no one going to drag you down to work again at impossible hours. And another thing, I'm glad I took the prospects of early promotion with a bushel of salt. The Colonel has funny ideas (especially when it concerns me, it seems) and if I am still in this job when Sackett's discharge orders arrive, then and only then will I advance a notch from Tec 4. The only thing I wish, though, is that the fellows would stop calling me Tech and classing me as one of the first three graders. The reason I brought the promotion business up is that they are published on the 15th and my name will not be on them as Suiter would have tried to make me believe. What I want now out of this army is out. It is just six months now to the middle at March and at the end of those 180 odd days I want to be home.