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Pretty Well Fed Up

Posted by on December 3, 2017

January 6 and 8, 1946. Dad writes two letters home while stationed on Guam and awaiting his orders to go home. At the moment his is “disgusted with the whole Army and our Congressional War Dept. setup in Washington D.C.”  Of note is that discharge qualification points have been dropped to 48, just one shy of Dad’s 47. On top of that comes the news that he is being transferred to the 7th Fighter Command on Saipan. He writes that the 7th Fighter Command is ”supposed to be going full-strength to Oahu, Hawaii” and that he hopes to get there “in time to get on the boat and go to Hawaii without unpacking.”  For now he is “packed and ready to be shipped at a moment’s notice…” Writing, “Hawaii would mean being half-ways home.”

He is looking forward to leaving Guam and details that “getting away from Guam will mean getting away from fungus infections and jungle rot (skin diseases). The weather is a rotten wet atmosphere which gives you itchy pimples where you sweat… It’s along the lines of a heat rash.”

Before closing his letter on the 6th he writes that he is “pretty well fed up on all the crap in the Army” and hopes that “God gives me patience.”

As he continues his correspondence on the eighth we find Dad still on Guam waiting to be shipped out to Saipan. He writes about his typical day, “I’ve spent most of my time sleeping late on my sack, and go back to sleep after morning chow. I don’t fall out for any formations, and a new barracks chief has been appointed in my place. I’ve got quite a racket, no work since Saturday. The way they’re fooling around, they may cancel the shipment. Won’t worry me as I won’t be barracks chief, and already have had several days of doing nothing but eat and sleep. Like a furlough!!”

To be sure, Dad’s frustration with the demobilization process is not unique to him alone. There have been widespread protests among the servicemen in the Pacific about the process, which seems to have been precipitated by the abrupt cancellation of a home-bound crew ship in Manila. Some of the protests have received coverage in hometown newspapers. As Dad tells it from his perspective, “I sure hope something comes out of the demonstrations the soldiers put on. As you may know, Marines with 45 points are eligible for discharge on 1st Feb. Seems though the Army always screws up.” 

Front page of the January 9, 1946 Brooklyn Daily Eagle with a sub-headline referencing the Army protests about the demobilization process.

Although he does not detail any demonstrations or protests on Guam, he does speak to what is going on in his orbit. “In our Squadron a fellow, who used to be a newspaper man in No. Carolina, drew up a petition to Drew Pearson with a lot of clippings regarding Patterson, which was signed by about 200 fellows. Copies were sent to Senators, etc. and other newspaper offices. On Guam itself, a petition was made up and MP’s were stopping all drivers to get their signatures on it. Must have had over 1,000 signatures on it.” He then continues sarcastically, “Everything is under control though. No disorder at all!!  Looks like our Secretary of War didn’t know anything at all. We have boats on Guam to take us home provided we’re eligible.”

As Dad closes his letter he acknowledges, “Looks as though I don’t have much more to talk about, other than hoping I’m on my way soon.”

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