October 9 and 17, 1945. Dad writes two letters home from Guam. His letter on the 9th is relatively short while his letter on the 17th runs three pages. The main reason for the letter on the 9th is to send some negatives home and ask that his folks get some prints made and send them back. He specifies that in one photo, “you will see me entering our barracks”. He also writes about attending “a Catholic ceremony at Agna which was more or less for servicemen but there were quite a few Chamorros…”
On the 17th he indicates that he “is fine except for a grey hair here and there”. The weather on Guam “has been more bearable and I understand that’s how winters down here are supposed to be. While you freeze up there, I roast down here. …today it was like a cool June month. It rained only once, sporadically for 15 minutes. …We’ve been very fortunate in not having been hit by a typhoon, like the fellows on Okinawa.”
It seems that one thing that is on his mind, is his prospects for discharge. As he details, “Men with 60 points are leaving now and by the middle of November they all should be on their way home, that is the 60 pointers. I only have 47 and am sweating out another (3rd) battle star which would give me 52, over the 50 mark. The place is getting to look empty around here with a lot of fellows gone. I’m afraid I won’t make it home by Christmas and am sure glad that Stanley will be able to make it to help keep your spirits up. …It makes you feel lousy to see fellows leaving all around you and you still have to get up, go to work, eat and think a lot. …So far 3 of my ‘Albany’ friends have left… They had over 60 points.”
In typical Army fashion, just as the camp starts to empty out, things are just starting to come together. “This place of ours is getting to look de-luxe. Roads, service-club, theater, all nearing completion. There sure has been a lot of sweat and blood put in to make our place what it is now considering the fact that it was a Jap infested jungle when we of the advance echelon came to this end of the island.”
With censorship having been lifted, Dad is a little more free to discuss operations on base. He goes into some detail about what the B-29s of the 331st Bomb Group based on Northwest Field have been up to. “We still haven’t lost a single plane in our group since the war ended, and they have been flying quite steadily since then; Australia, relief missions to Okinawa, China, and U.S.A. and back, also search missions for planes lost in the ocean by other outfits.”
He writes that he now has “a Schaeffer fountain pen for which I traded my wrist watch band. The band broke on me on the boat and I fixed it a little by taking out a link….the casing of my watch is made of poor metal which ate away a little and I couldn’t wear it with the band.”
Before wrapping up his letter, Dad gets in a complaint about the food. “Our chow here isn’t so hot, but it does manage to keep us alive. SPAM, SPAM, and more SPAM. You get baked spam, fried spam, cooked spam, spam, and spam. After the war, Spam will have very few customers.” Hmmm, does Dad’s Spam rant sound familiar?
As Dad signs off he writes, “God bless you and may we all be together soon.”
At the risk of pulling you out of 1945, I leave you with the Monty Python SPAM sketch from 1970. I looks like Dad may have beaten these guys to the punchline by 25 years!