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After This Cursed War

Posted by on August 16, 2015

November 9, 1943. Dad’s friend, Joe Damusis, writes him a letter. Joe is still stationed at Pendleton Field in Oregon. Joe marks his 10 month anniversary in the Army, updates Dad on a few of the guys that they both met in Basic Training in Miami Beach, writes about getting together after the war and tells Dad a little bit about the Serviceman’s Club on his base. Joe is from Brooklyn, NY.

Joe starts off with the mention that he has been in the army 10 months, the same period that Dad has been. He writes that it feels like he has been in longer than that. He hopes “Two more months and I may be able to get a Good Conduct Medal.

Joe writes that he received a letter from Dick Wood (who was in their group in Miami Beach) that mentioned that another one of the guys from the Basic Training group (Stein) has passed away. Joe mentions the Dick Wood is from Utica, NY and is currently with the 2009th Ordnance Maintenance Company in Jackson, Mississippi. Joe writes that Dick “is a swell guy” and that they should make plans after the war to get together with him.

Like many soldiers, Joe was looking forward to the end of the war. He lays out what the road trip to visit some friends in New York State might look like. “Why after this war I’ll be able to stop at Albany, pick you up, and then we can head for Utica, and pick Dick Wood up, and we can all head to Fulton, New York. Tom Sheldon, who comes from Fulton, and is in the 11th Service Group, also, said that he would be glad to have me visit his home and his wife. Sheldon sure brags about upper New York State. He mentions Saranac Lake a number of times and Oswego, and the Thousand Islands, and then he also mentions some castle that was being built but it was never completed … Did you ever see this castle? I am determined to see upper New York State after this cursed war. And you fellows are all invited to see that place known as Brooklyn.”

Enough about future plans. Back to the present, Joe writes, “Note the stationery I am writing on. We have a new Serviceman’s club here on the Base, and it’s quite a place. They have a Stromberg-Carlson Radio up there that easily costs $750 or more. It’s a combination of radio and record machine. …And they have albums and record galore.  Almost everything from Tchaikovsky to Victor Herbert.”

The letterhead from Pendleton Field on which Joe Damusis writes his November 9, 1943 letter.

The letterhead from Pendleton Field on which Joe Damusis writes his November 9, 1943 letter.

Before closing, Joe notes, “It looks like we’ll be here at Pendleton for some time yet. This coming Wednesday we’re having a beef and bear party. Sounds peculiar I suppose, but it’s true – one of the fellows in headquarters went hunting the other week and his prize was a bear which he’s going to treat us with. We’re paying for the beer. I never tasted bear meat so it’s going to be quite a treat for me.”

Joe signs off with the thought, “So long, Tony, and the best of luck, and the quicker you make Staff the better.”  

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