January 5, 1946. Joe Damusis, who Dad sometimes refers to as his “Lithuania friend”, keeps up his correspondence with a letter to Dad from the Haneda Aerodrome in Tokyo. Joe mentions that he is working as a “Personnel man” at the VII Air Service Area Command in Supply Division Headquarters and that they are shorthanded; working with three fellows in his section instead of seven.
As with many of the soldiers in the immediate post-war era, it seems that Joe is looking forward to going home. He writes, “I don’t know about you, Tony, but I’m ready for my discharge. Now, I hope the Army decides on this three year service deal real soon. I see where you have 47 points compared to my 42. I got a battle star for the Luzon Campaign.”
Joe has been keeping tabs on Dad and remarks on their parallels. “…You’re in grade about 26-28 months now, if I recall correctly. It was 25 months for me I know. I don’t know what you’d call it, Tony, but our Army career has been running almost the same way. We came in the same time. Basic together. Both stationed in beautiful Kansas. Came overseas about the same time. Both had our SSN’s changes to 502. And most likely we’ll be getting a discharge at about the same time.”
Joe reports on what Christmas was like in his Command at Haneda. “We had a very enjoyable Christmas. The dinner was perfect. Enough of everything. In fact, better than the Christmas Dinners we had in the States – Army dinners! The 13th Supply Sq. has quite a large Squadron fund so Captain Knolman, our CO, and also a devout Catholic, sent the T/Sgt into town to buy enough Japanese silk handkerchiefs so that every man in the organization would get one as a Christmas gift from the Squadron.”
Joe also addresses some of the temptations that lay in wait off-base and writes about his success in avoiding them. “To date, I’ve been a pretty good boy. No doubt you’ve heard of the Geisha houses. Well, I haven’t left any money in any of those places. Joe D’Amato and myself did go in just for curiosity – just so we could say what they look like when we get back home – but that’s as far as we went.”
Damusis goes on to write more about D’Amato, detailing that he is from Brooklyn (just like Damusis) and that “before he came overseas he was a Catholic Chaplain’s assistant.” Damusis also writes that he and D’Amato have been “helping out the Servite Fathers who are located quite a ways out of Tokyo.” Joe also mentions that he “ran into a Lithuanian priest who has been out here 12 years. He was very glad to speak to me because he can’t speak English. We had quite a chat.” Joe mentions that there are also two Polish fellow who are studying to be priests, telling Dad, “I regretted very much that you weren’t there to talk to them in Polish…they both came from Poland. There weren’t any American Servite Fathers out there at all.”
Before closing, Joe says that he could write “pages and pages” about the Servites, “but then what would I have to talk about when I see you back home in Albany or Brooklyn which should be any month now.”