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That’s Quite a Question.

Posted by on November 12, 2017

December 29, 1945 and January 3, 1946. Dad writes two letters home from Guam on the cusp of the New Year. In his letter of the 29th, he writes that he has enclosed some photos with this letter. I’m sorry to report that the photos did not seem to survive as part of the archive of letters, but at least we have Dad’s description of what was on the photos. “…our Chapel, Theater and view of the cliff and ocean on the other side of the camp just beyond the road passing along our area. The full view of the airplane is from our squadron while the ‘One Mo Time’ is another squadron’s ship. This ship was in the air on a 1-way trip to the States but had to return because of engine trouble. You’ll note the black bottom on the ship shown in full view. All were to be painted but the war ended. They were to be used on night raids. The picture of the ocean is facing Japan and although it looks close on the picture the water along the shore is hundreds of feet down.”

He mentions that they had a turkey dinner in Christmas Day and mentions that overall the food has been getting better, noting “a slight improvement in our Mess.”  Likewise of a recent USO show that included “classical music and singing” he reports it was “the best I ever saw overseas.” He also writes that the group library is now open and that he has “taken out a Physics book” and also has “a book on Air Conditioning which I borrowed from the fellow sleeping next to me. It seems he has lost interest in the course.  It’s right up my alley.”

As he continues writing on the third he notes that he finally received the Christmas cards that the family sent, with a comment that “mail has been slow around here…the last week and a half.” He goes on to comment, “Although there was no snow around here, I shared the Holiday Season with you mentally.” Almost as if to underline the difference in climate between Gaum and Albany, he continues, “It is around 10 o’clock in the morning. About a half an hour ago a C-46 sprayed our area with DDT, so now for about a month, we shouldn’t be bothered much by insects.”

Curtiss C-46 in flight.

He details, “For New Years we had a chicken dinner, and for about three years in a row we’ve had chicken.” He also writes that he went to the Service Club with one of his friends where they “got some refreshments and played ping-pong.”

Turning back once more to the subject of food, he writes, “The Army will now handle all of its food, fresh and dry. Before the Army handled all dry foods on this island while the Navy handled the fresh foods, which accounted for the fact that the Navy on Guam ate while the Army Air Forces starved. The last 3 weeks, we’ve had good chow.”

Dad writes about what seems to be “keep busy” duties on the part of the Army, describing “close order drills” in which he was put in charge of about eight men. They would march “from one airplane wing to another and rest until someone thought he spotted some snooping officer… After that we finished putting in shelves in our barracks… Had some trouble getting a saw but once I laid my hands on it, I kept it over a week until we completed our work.”

Dad also addresses his discharge prospects, “This just came over the radio from Marine Hq on Guam. They…said there were enough ships at Guam to take men below 50 points home. They said all we had to do was sweat out the next point drop, and transportation once we hit the Pacific Coast. The overall picture…seems that what eventually will remain of our group is going to go to the Philippines.” 

He further details, “There isn’t anything official as to when men in my category will be headed home, but I sincerely hope and try to believe that the good news will come by the end of this month… It would appear that I should leave with the next shipment, but when? That’s quite a question. I’m figuring on previous shipments, that we should be on our way by the 1st of next month.

In closing, Dad notes one more item that he has enclosed; “…an article on our Secretary of War. I have underlined the part where he himself did not know that points were frozen. He had to come overseas to find that out. Shucks, that would have given me around 55 points.”

The Navy News Clipping which Dad references about points required for discharge. As a layman’s observation, it probably was not helpful for the men who have yet to be discharged to see the number of men who have been discharged every day in the upper right hand corner on the front page of the Navy News.

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