Tag Archives: Aitape

Part 15: Sailing home at last

Notes from a son: Not all of John Steve Moses’ World War II stories involved death, and many of the antics that might have led to time in the stockade were not recorded in these notebooks. One day I pressed Dad to tell me something funny that happened in the Pacific.
Dad said that even after he was busted down from corporal he would still be called upon to take the lead on some recon or demolition missions. Part of the Recon Trooper’s job was to get rid of structures that could be used by the enemy, sometimes in advance of a larger body of troops. That sometimes meant going on patrol under a full moon and greasing-up with what he called “axelgrease” against moonlight. If one brought a watch, a patrol leader was to check the men and make sure the watch faces were hidden under the wrist to avoid a glint from a moonbeam. That’s how he often wore his wristwatch after the war.
On one patrol they were tasked with torching a missionary village so the enemy couldn’t use it, the way the Japanese did at Ugli Village in 1943 when Pap Morrell fell on the beach to enemy machine gun fire.
One building in the abandoned settlement looked like a church or a school, and there was an attic space. Dad was the one who went up the ladder with his rifle fully loaded. He popped open the trap door and above him was a dimly-lit figure with an upraised arm. He let loose a whole .30 caliber clip, and came down covered with plaster.
Dad had just taken-out a life-sized statue of Jesus Christ holding a small American flag over his head.
“Will you look at that,” said one of the guys. “Moses just shot Jesus.”
Other stories involved foraging for food in Officer Country. Let’s face it, when you teach a bunch of guys to sneak around and improvise, and then try to feed them tinned goat meat while officers got recognizable chow, that’s asking for trouble. Supply trucks must not have moved too fast behind the lines or been well-guarded, and at least once the officers found goat meat waiting for them, Dad said.
Despite what he said about swimming in shark-infested waters, he later fondly recalled taking a dip while guys on high ground with rifles kept an eye out for predators.
After the foxhole incident, where the Japanese soldier with the bayonet jumped in, Dad once recalled that he rigged special booby traps around his foxhole to keep that from happening again. Guys would call out when it was time for him to pull guard duty or go on patrol, because nobody was going to walk right up to his special security system.
Below is the end of Dad’s combat career.

October 1944
It’s been exactly two years overseas today, two years of hell and fun. If our luck holds out we’ll come out O.K. I have to admit we have pulled out of tight spots.
I’m the driver of a command car now, big-time stuff.
The Japs are going to town in China, losing their airports fast. I believe instead of the Philippines we’ll all end up somewhere in China. Anyplace would be better than these God-forsaken islands.
MacArthur finally hit the Philippines and had quite a beachhead on Leyete before the Japs woke up. Our Navy is giving the Japs a lesson in basic naval warfare. They’ve had three good scraps so far, and the Japs are coming out second best. Some Navy bigwig predicts now we’ll even hit China because we can use airports. Only 700 miles from Hong Kong and Shanghai now.
We have our area built-up really classy. All the tents are in a line and we even have flowers planted in front of tents. Now that we’re set up we’re sure to get orders to tear it all down because we’re moving again. We never get moss on our feet.
(Name unreadable, starts with an ‘S’) was taken sick with fever, which later developed into scrub typhus and got serious. He died today, Oct. 30, and had been unconscious for the last few days. We’re really going to miss him because he was one man in a million, the life of every gathering and a swell ball player. He lived in St. Louis. Now his folks are going to hear of his death instead of his rotation.
I got kind of sick again last nite. I still can’t get over my attack while at Yakamo. I believe I’ll go on sick call tomorrow to see what’s up again.
Nurses came in last week, and with them came trouble and rumors galore. They don’t think much of us GIs. During their initial appearance at a movie they came with .45 caliber pistols and had officers with them with loaded carbines.
Trouble came later when two enlisted men tried to get in their quarters while drunk. Both have about 11 counts against them, good for a vacation in Leavenworth. Only officers can enjoy their company. As representatives of American girls, they stink.
Our radio officers who stayed on O.P. with Aussies are being forced to move O.P. because a group of Japs are on their trail, Japs from Wewak on patrol or something.
The next day our planes bombed the village our O.P. had been in, and there’s no word from our boys as to where the Japs got to or if the bombs did the work. The boys are due back in camp between the 1st and 5th. Of November.
Another rumor last nite was that 18 natives raped three nuns on the island across from us.
The penalty for that is death by hanging if it’s true but, if true, it’s more than just.
Radio Tokyo scoffs at our claims, but not with the happy tones she used when we were at the Russells. From all appearances, Japan is in one hell of a spot, and her good friend Germany has plenty of headaches, too.
The boys are out on a four-hour hike now, there’s a nice, full moon but it’s very unlikely to be appreciated by tired men. I stayed behind in camp because I don’t believe I could take it.
It’s payday tomorrow, and the next day will start our 26th month overseas.

00-Dad's-Journal-Photos-fro
Here are some shots Dad took, most likely at his final post. The guys in the top photo are “The Bassey Group,” comprised of 1st Lt. Chapman, 1st Sgt. Wasp and S/Sgt. Sciarra. When Dad wrote notes on the back of the photos, Wasp and Sciarra were in the hospital.
The middle photo is a military vehicle labeled “Good Old Horse.” The 43rd Cavalry was mechanized.

The bottom photo shows a soldier next to a gun and gun emplacement, and simply is inscribed: “It works.”

November 1944
I got some negatives back I took while on patrol – three short because they showed Japs unburied at a village we burned to keep the Japs from using. And our censors are afraid the Japs wouldn’t like it. Boy! Are we suckers.
Natives are banging away on drums so some ceremonial dance is going on across the river. I sure hope they’re not mad at us tonite. I’m sleepy and I hate to be disturbed.
Lt. Ouzts killed a 10-foot snake. That would be nice to find on your pillow.
(NOTE: Lt. Ouzts is most likely Alamo Scouts team leader Wilmot Ouzts. That new unit set up a training camp in New Guinea before being deployed to Luzon. The elite Alamo Scouts led the famed raid that freed U.S. prisoners who endured brutal imprisonment after surviving the Bataan Death March.)
I went on sick call and was sent back to the 118th again, my third trip. Let’s hope it’s my last. I’m here for observation of syncope, whatever that is.
I saw plenty of movies here, two in the rain, and there are softball games every nite.
Later:
I don’t know what the docs found, but I was sent to the 37th Station hospital. It’s very nice here, beds, pillows and mattresses. The chow is O.K. and the treatment is the best so far. More check-ups, blood tests and high blood pressure.
We had nurses here, but before I got here they moved. Tsk, tsk. The doc told me I’m to be evacuated either to Hollandia or French Haven.
I was back to camp on a pass to see the boys, almost like going home. I had five Xmas parcels I split with the boys. I felt kind of funny leaving camp; I may never see some of my pals again because no one knows where I’ll end up.

Aboard the Hospital ship H.S. Maetsuycker:
I boarded the Hospital Ship in the harbor, really a lulu and comfortable.
One good point is it’s not crowded and the food was excellent. They even had ice cream and fried chicken. They had beer every afternoon. I swapped mine for root beer. The nurses were really swell to us boys and did everything to sheer us up.
We left the harbor with all the lites on. It seems funny to go this way when we’re used to blackouts.
We stopped over at New Britain to pick up a patient but since they had only one we kept on going. We sighted land late afternoon and pulled into Finschhafen and docked alongside another ship. We stayed on overnight but got off after breakfast and came here to 237 Sta. Hospital.
It looks O.K. The nurses are friendly but, as usual, they’re checking my blood, etc. There must be something wrong somewhere. The doc asked all kinds of questions, it could be here I’ll get results.
They have a Red Cross here, we heard Negroes sing last nite, pretty good.
Later:
Capt. Brown, in charge of the ward, diagnosed my trouble as a bad case of nerves, etc. He’s a nice guy for a medic. Gave us lectures most every day but claims in time we’ll be O.K. I hope they don’t believe I’m too sick over here, but it’s tough not knowing when we’re so far apart.
Editor’s Note:
Here’s a little bit about the hospital ship from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Maetsuycker_as_hospital_ship.png:
Maetsuycker
00 Dad's Journal Hospital ship

The Maetsuycker, a Dutch Registered vessel, 4,131 GRT, 361 ft 6 in (110.2 m) in length,[1] owned by Koninklijke Paketvaart-Maatschappij (KPM) of Batavia, Dutch East Indies was completed in 1937. She was converted to hospital ship at the cost of the Dutch government, crewed by Dutch Officer’s and Javanese (Indonesian) sailors to treat transport 250 patients.[citation needed] She sailed under the control of the US Army for intra-theater use, but was a Dutch hospital ship flying the Dutch Flag and certified by the Netherlands Government under the Hague Convention. She served in New Guinea and the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) as part of the SWPA Command’s permanent local fleet with the local “X” number[Note 1] 12.[2][1] Maetsuycker officially became a U.S. hospital ship at a ceremony 4 February 1944 with an address by the Consul-General for the Netherlands. U.S. Army medical personnel staffed the hospital facilities.[6]

Later:
I was at the 237 for only 26 days when the transfer came in for the 13th General Hospital.

December 1944
The 13th General Hospital is pretty good. the nurses and doc s treat us as humans. Boys are leaving from here to the states. It sure makes us feel funny to see fellows leave for home.
It’s December here. Capt. Michael claims I need plenty of rest, etc., we’ll see. The mail is very slow, although a few packages did come through,
On Christmas Eve we went to Midnight Mass, my third Xmas overseas. Christmas Day was hot as hell. We have a tiny Xmas tree on the nurse’s desk. I put a can of Spam under it, but she didn’t appreciate it.
I got the best Christmas gift a guy could ask for. Doc told me I’d be boarded at 1 o’clock. I went before a board of a captain and two colonels, and I believe I’m on my way home. Now it’s only a matter of time before I get on board a ship for home and the folks. It still feels like a dream.
I was given a bag of woolens, etc. that brings (unreadable) one step nearer. Now we’re all anxiously waiting for a boat to go back o.
I’ve seen plenty of movies, but last night’s USO show was tops. Saw four Conoly Cover Girls featuring “Conoly Jones.” It was really O.K., even if I sat on a hard bench three hours before the show.
New Years we came in quiet and we had few casualties by drunkenness. It seems liquor is mighty scarce here.

January 1945
We boarded the Bosche Fontaine on Jan. 6, 1945 and sailed immediately – a Dutch troop transport.
We had 600 patients on board, including WACs and nurses as patients.
I felt pretty good seeing the lights of Finschhafen fade away.
I had quite a coincidence on board ship when I found another John S. Moses. Both of us are Pfc.s, so as a result he took all the K.P. on the way over. I lived the life if ease. That’ll teach him to steal my name.

Editor’s Note: When the John S. Moses who got stuck with double K.P. finally met my Dad, he had some colorful words to share.

I was on board ship 21 days and the meals were pretty good. We had only one alarm. Some psycho patient was let out for air and decided to jump overboard. He was caught ion time but his life jacket fell overboard so some sailor gave the alarm (Man overboard!) the ship stopped dead and bells started clanging.
For a while I figured we’d been attacked by subs or planes, but everything turned out O.K.
We had abandon ship drills most every day – really nice days – and plenty of sunburns resulted.
There were plenty of flying fish and, every once in a while, we’d see a tanker off in the distance plodding along
The sea got heavy as hell a week out of Frisco and the boat seemed to be doing a balancing act. I saw an aircraft carrier going out into the Pacific. We heard a direct broadcast from the States for the first time in years. It sure sounded swell – we heard the Post Toasties program.
The morning of Jan. 26 we all got up earlier because land was to be sighted. It sure felt nice to even see a light off somewhere. Our pilot pulled up in pitch dark and headed us in for shore.
We saw land at dawn and everybody realized we were home at last – home up to now was a word in the dictionary.
We pulled into Frisco Bay and that Golden Gate never looked better. When we sailed under it everybody cheered – with the exception of myself. I was too choked-up.
We got off the Bosche Fontaine at about 10 a.m. they had a band play while we disembarked. We got into the hospital buses and found a woman driver. She got us to Letterman General Hospital, so she couldn’t have been too bad.
We really rubber-necked and looked at everything. The States sure looked plenty O.K.
We had our first meal as soon as we hit the wards – we went to a beautiful mess hall and had fresh food galore – most of us ate to excess.
While we lined up to get into the hospital Red Cross workers gave us a pint of milk and a sleeveless sweater. That milk sure went over swell.
I sent a telegram home, and to Violet.
We went all over the place, and everyone agreed Letterman is one swell hospital. I spent the first night at the Red Cross, played hearts and lost.
We saw a swell stage show put on my civilians from Frisco nite clubs at the Red Cross. Buses took us to a hockey game. We had on hospital uniforms so we stood out. We got a swell welcome from the people.
We saw Frisco on a sightseeing bus, pretty good. We also attended a concert at the Symphony Hall or something, we heard the Dan Cassan Chorus. We finally found out we were to be split up and sent to hospitals all over the states – I’m to see Wakeman Gen’l & Conv. In Indiana.

February 1945
We got on a hospital train and started off closer to home. They had beds fixed in coaches, so we slept and looked at the states all the way.
Even our meals were served by ward boys, so as a whole our trip was swell. I saw snow at Sacramento, Calif. and went through Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
I got to Wakeman at nite on Feb. 2. It was colder than hell. I was sent to the convalescent area.
Some fellows took off pronto. I hit the hay and called up home the next nite. It sure was nice talking to the folks, and Violet.
I took off on a pass a week later and almost got stopped by the S.P., but I got through O.K. (The pass was forged.)
Mom and Louie were waiting at the gate. It felt good seeing them, even if I looked like something the cat dragged in.
I had a 15-day furlough and got sick immediately – malaria sick. I was home 6 days and spent 7 in the Fort Wayne Hospital. I must have scared the hell out of everybody.
Liz came over to see me but I was O.K. when she arrived. I got a 7-day extension.
I had plenty of passes from the hospital, so no complaints.
I was sick as hell on my birthday, Feb. 26, but since Violet, Olga, Pearl and Elaine came over to help eat cake I came down – I went to the hospital the next day.
Elaine gave me a wallet. Bab’s scared stiff of me or something.

March 1944:
I got engaged to Violet on March 9.

John Steve Moses, in uniform, with Violet Margaret Moses in Detroit, Michigan on Easter of 1945. They were engaged on March 9 of that year and were married until he died on May 1, 1983.

John Steve Moses, in uniform, with Violet Margaret Moses in Detroit, Michigan on Easter of 1945. They were engaged on March 9 of that year and were married until he died on May 1, 1983.

April 27, 1945:
I got a 17-day leave again while the other guys start in processing for discharge. I had malaria again, but not too severe. It seems “furloughs” and “malaria” come about even for me.

June 1945:
I went before two boards prior to C.D.D. I believe I’ll be out and a civilian by July 4th.
Dentists fixed all my choppers, even made new ones for the missing ones. No trouble with them at all, since I leave’em in my foot locker.
I was discharged from the Army on June 22, Friday, at 1 o’clock – that’s all.

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Part 14: This is why they say war is hell

00-Dad's-Journal-43rd-Cav

Members of the 43rd Cavalry pose while enjoying beverages, probably on Aitape in 1944.

Notes from a son: When I was 5 a friend gave us a dog I named Snoopy. He lived with us loyally until I was about 19, and due to the dog’s advanced cancer I had to take him to the vet to be put down. My folks immediately brought in a new, yippy little dog that I didn’t want or like, and and told me to paint the old dog house.
I did.
A few nights after Snoopy had been put down, the new dog was next to the repainted dog house growling fiercely at a bush after dusk. I figured it was an opossum. I shined the flashlight into that bush and I could have sworn I saw my old dog, even the bare spot on his tail from where he beat it against absolutely everything. Now, I knew I couldn’t have seen my dog, he was dead. Just the same I ran into the house with the new dog close behind and found my Dad, who was in his favorite recliner watching TV.
“This sounds crazy,” I said, and described what I thought I just saw in the back yard. “I know I’m just acting nuts and I miss my dog.”
I was waiting for him to tell me that yes, I was acting nuts, and I should go do the dishes.
Dad paused, then said, “You know when I wake up sometimes, at night, and come out to the living room? Sometimes, when I wake up, I see a dead Japanese soldier I killed standing over my bed looking down at me. I don’t know what you saw, but some things you just have to live with.”
And that ended that discussion.
Now, I don’t know what my Dad saw during those nights, probably a bad recurring dream, but I’d like to think that if that if that soldier did pay Dad a visit, it was because he was concerned about the way Dad was handling the outcome of his days in the Pacific.
Here we rejoin the 43rd Cavalry as they hold a bit of Aitape and make defensive patrols.

Sept. 1944

We had to go relieve some boys below the Drinumor River. It seemed kind of screwy sending only one platoon to an O.P. where there are Japs galore. We went on an L.C.T.
The first nite we were there, Jimmy and I dug a shallow fox hole. Just at dark we both laid down to talk until we had to go on guard.
I heard a branch snap so I looked up and saw a Jap getting ready to jump in with a bayonet. I yelled to Jim, and the Jap gave a yell and jumped. I had time to hit him over the head with the barrel of my M-1.
By that time, Jim and I were out, and the yellow joker had our hole. I figured he’d toss our own grenades so I shot him three times through the guts. He got up and started toward us. Jim figured he was going to surrender so he told me to hold it.
I waited until he was three feet from me, but he jumped again so I shot him through the chest and through the jaw. The last shot blew a big hole through the top of his head. He’s the only one who slept that nite.
The next day we saw he was armed only with a bayonet. He had our biscuits in his pockets, and our cigarettes and a book of matches saying buy war bonds, help end this war.
We buried him in our old fox hole in the middle of camp
We went on patrols and saw fresh Jap tracks all over. The first patrol we had one shot fired by a sniper. The second patrol we saw tracks on the beach heading for the jungle, only a few hours old.
We scattered and started toward the jungle. When we were almost there, Collins spotted a Jap running like hell and fired. Upon investigation we found that three Japs were drying out their clothes when we surrounded them. They left everything but their shorts. Pass got a pistol, Briholez a big flag and a few bayonets. We burned all the equipment and threw their big cans of biscuits into the ocean. Made in Australia.
A gun boat came down to see what’s up. We kept going down, so the boat called O.P. to ask how many men we had. When they reported 11 the boat said there were 12, one way back. So we had a Jap for rear guard.
In camp, our area is full of sand fleas and mosquitoes, everybody’s all het up and there’s nothing to help.
The dead Jap now stinks like hell; even in death he bothers us.
The boys are shooting at Japs strolling by every nite, but they don’t stop.
Lt. Marcotte went out about 100 yards from our fox holes and a sniper winged him and heaved a grenade. Nice neighborhood we live in. We sent him back by boat.
We have a Lt. from the 112th Cavalry in charge. Hall sent back that he’d have more men and Cole the next day.

Later:
Early the next day after I drank my coffee I got up to wash my cup and passed out cold. My chest felt like it was on fire. I went to the hospital by the P.T. gunboat and found that I have high blood pressure and probably something out of kilter in my chest. Stayed five days, then back. All I got was (unreadable).
I’m kind of dizzy, so I guess I’ll be shoved out of 2nd and into something else.
After I left the boys went on patrol and bagged a 2nd Lt.
Jutras pumped four slugs into him. They captured a Superior Pvt. who spoke good English. G-2 got plenty from him. It seems he’s one of a few left from about 80 from Wewak.
The boys were relieved by Co. 172 and I heard later they were hit by an unknown number of Japs and lost one man.

Later:
Last night the boys were on another O.P. and they killed another Jap just outside of the fox holes. Opened up with a machine gun. So we had plenty to talk about on our return.
The 3rd Platoon is back. Outz has scrub typhus so he’s gone. Mike came to the same hospital, he had 105 degree fever. Jimmy is also in the hospital with a fever. I have a fever over 100, so I guess I’m due for a return engagement to hospital as well.
At least the war news is swell. The 1st Army is through the Siegfried Line in 14 hours, 26 miles from Cologne. The Russians are too close for comfort. Should be over by Xmas.
Here we hit two isles, Palau and the northern part of Halmahera. The latter is ours, and opposition was negligible. At Palau we captured the best airport in the Pacific.
We’re in training now for open terrain warfare so we’re headed for the Philippines, probably Mindanao in the Southern Philippines.
We got a division commendation from MacArthur for our work here, so I guess we’ll be pretty well known.
I’m in the hospital again for Dengue Fever, I had a temp of 104 so for six days I felt kind of lousey. I had Mike and Shan for company. Shan was a malaria case. Transferred from 2nd to H.Q. Platoon. My attack wasn’t any too good, so I guess the boys figure I’m a non-combatant now.

Later:
We had some hell here the other night. Names were picked out of a box for rotation. Merritt, Miley, Frank, Eastwood, Hampton and Lamarre. Boy, they paled and almost passed out. They had one more drawing for a furlough and 12 of us put in for it.
The next day the brass hats at H.Q. changed plans, and a more disappointed bunch was never seen, from smiles to heartaches, but fast.
The plan now is to send guys who had more time in our advanced area. The 1st Platoon left New Zealand two days before us, so all of them go first before us. Fellows who paid a fine lose two days for every dollar paid, and one day for every day they were locked-up. Now we have nothing to look forward to at all. Our furlough is gone, too. Richardson took it, so I guess I’m here from now on.
Julius is now overseas, in England, I hope. Detroit lost the pennant by one day, the Browns are the new champs. Too bad, because they were our favorites here.
The guys were really drunk last nite from home-made brew and some rotgut they bought. They threw up all over the place. Now they’ll behave till pay day.

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Part XIII: Back to the work of war

July 5, 1944

First Platoon is ready to leave at any time, going on advance. I hope we stay for last for a change.
I spent July 4th under better circumstances than last year. Most of the fellows were in Auckland, and most imbibed heavily. As a result, many a sick fellow woke up this morning.
First Platoon is guarding the equipment on the docks. The ship came in last nite, so maybe we are on our merry way again.
Aaron is going home because of jungle rot on his hands.

Later:
1st Platoon departed on a ship called “Sea Dog” or “Sea Devil,” destination unknown. Now we’re all packed and ready to go on short notice.
I’ve been kind of sick lately, temp around 95 degrees, too low for comfort. Our vehicles are on the dock now ready to load. I guess this is our last weekend here. I went to Auckland Saturday but it was too damn crowded and almost impossible to get into the movies. Everybody was stinkeroo.
I got a quart of whiskey as a gift for my work as typist. I gave it to Mike. He was so surprised his eyes bulged-out.
Second and third parts of the platoon got orders to pack up, so we really moved things fast. At 6:00 we started off for Auckland for the last time, for who knows where.

Later:
We got down O.K. and found we are to sail on an old Liberty Ship converted into a troop transport called the “U.S.S. Carlos Carrillo,” one of the worst ships we ever sailed on. To make matters worse, we found we were to have sailed on the “Matsonia,” but due to last –minute changes we ended up on this garbage scow. The food was lousey and we had lines a mile long before we could reach the hot box called a mess hall or galley.

The ship in 1944 was not old, but it did look the part. The S.S. Carlos Carillo, at least among my Dad's bunch,  won the 43rd Cavalry Recon Troop's vote for least favorite troop ship. U.S. NAVY PHOTO/SAN FRANCISCO BAY

The ship in 1944 was not old, but it did look the part. The S.S. Carlos Carillo, at least among my Dad’s bunch, won the 43rd Cavalry Recon Troop’s vote for least favorite troop ship. U.S. NAVY PHOTO/SAN FRANCISCO BAY


Everybody was sea-sick for the first three days, including myself. Later on we could eat, but the chow was so bad no one could eat it.
We knew we were heading or New Guinea, a place called Aitape. The Japs are trapped there, but fighting to break out. The first we saw of New Guinea was Moresby Bay, where we anchored all day and pulled out at nite. It’s very hilly and looks like hell. The next day we pulled in at French Haven. It was the same as the other place. I had K.P. here, had to haul garbage cans to the stern and leave them there to dump at nite. I never worked harder in all my life. Two days later we pulled in to Aitape, where we saw 16 ships anchored. We stayed onboard all day because other ships had priority on unloading.
We got off the Carillo and loaded onto an L.C.T. and pulled ashore. The beach was very sandy and we walked ¼ mile to camp (as set up by “”1st H-Q,” for us there were only two tents available. There were no cots, but the cooks were anticipating our arrival and had a swell dinner prepared.
I found we’re on the right flank of the front lines. It’s quiet in our sector, but on the left the 169 and the 172 have trouble, but so far the score is 272 Japs to 5 of us.
Marcotte and the 1st are on a three-day recon patrol now. The sun is so hot here it even gets in the shade. We’re digging-in the M-8s and M.G.s in case the Japs attack. We’re pretty well set up, 6 men to a tent and, best of all, we have cots to sleep on.
The 20th Jap division lost to our O.P.s. They’re probably going to try to hit us as an escape through the swamp.
Later:
The patrol is back. They report that the Japs are eating snakes, etc. in the swamp and, according to the natives, hanging themselves.
We have movies here every nite lites are on all over the place. One would never believe we are only 5 miles from thousands of Japs. We all look like (unreadable) and have out hair out to the bone and our mustaches are getting fuzzy.

August 1944:
The 3rd Platoon was ordered to relieve the 32nd Ran. We had to walk 6 days behind the Jap line to reach O.P.
1st Platoon headed back from an 8-day patrol. One man had malaria. I hope a news correspondent is along. They’ll probably have a story on us. Our 2nd Platoon reached its objective, the 32nd boys were on the way back when ambushed by the Japs. It seems the natives double-crossed them.
The natives are reportedly being held as prisoners, and will probably be shot for dead.
So far, 4 men from the 82nd. Recon have made their way back to camp. The rest are not accounted for.
We’re working our area now, plenty of work but getting on pretty fair. Movies all over the place. Can see one every nite.
Our artillery really is banging away. It’s sure nice to listen and not be on the receiving end.
I went to the airdrome today and saw a group of P-38s taking off. There was plenty of activity.
Rotation is now very much in doubt, according to plans now only two can leave per month. So I guess we’re here for the duration.
Mail won’t arrive, so I guess we’re sort of screwed-up.
The war in Europe is drawing to a climax and Japan is being hit 600 miles from home now. They lost lot of planes and ships last night when out task force hit them. I believe we’ll hit the Banin Isles and we, the 43rd, will hit some isle before long.
The boys are going pretty far past the Drinumor River. So far, 10,000 Japs are counted dead. This place should be cleaned out soon.
First Platoon is out on a 30-day recon. Now only the 2nd is here, plus H.Q. We’re reserves to relieve the 3rd. or, if needed, to use the M-8s. Rumor has us getting more vehicles.
I am now a gunner on a 37 in M-8 so maybe we’ll go somewhere yet on patrol.
Japan and the Philippines were bombed, the latter for the first time. Japan is due for some more headaches.
There’s still no place to set up my darkroom so chances are I’ll develop only my own film. There’s no chemicals here at all, so that’s another headache. This war is really provoking at times.
Mail comes once a week. Seems to me we deserve better service than that, very good for our morale.
I shot up plenty of .30 caliber slugs to try out my new rifle. It’s really a swell weapon. Too bad a few politicians weren’t lined up in the sights.
We swam in the ocean yesterday, but it’s not much fun when you have to keep an eye out for sharks.
I was up in a plane two days straight, dropped rations to the 1st Platoon. It’s really nice way above the clouds. Those were my first two rides, but they won’t be my last.
We’re building a ball field now, we named it Morrell Field in memory of Pap.

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