MY DAZE . . .
in The 93rd Seabees
WWII Diary and Letters of The Pacific
of Robert W. Conner
edited by Susan Elizabeth Conner
© Copyright 2002 Susan Elizabeth Conner
For further information contact
Could you take an ordinary fellow and make him into a WWII SeaBee? Or did they come ready made? It’s hard to imagine Dad without his signature khakis or the ability to transfer what was available into what was needed. "I think I know a better/cheaper/faster way" could produce anything from a school project to a lady’s hat. That "can do-make do" spirit animated both my parents. It literally transferred me from bedridden infancy in a frog-leg cast into relatively upright mobility.
I grew up in the shadow of The Bomb and in the vortex of The Sixties. I proudly believed that my father had been, if not a conscientious objector in WWII, at least the next thing to it: a Seabee.1 He lavished us with tough, if not aesthetic, play equipment constructed from khaki tarps, duffel bags, etc. A grass skirt, wooden shoes with an Asian village carved in the heel, and various other exotica ornamented our house. There were photos of him holding the monkey that ate his shaving cream,2 surrounded by scantily clad islanders and lounging at "Hollywood and Vine." 3 His "fix-it" mentality ran to contraptions such as the South Pacific washing machine prominently featuring a plumber’s friend. I imagined him crooning "Some Enchanted Evening" in the makeshift jungle shower and joking with the WAVES as they jogged by.
As to the exact location of his sojourn, he said if South Pacific had been true, he would have been in it.4 He did not add that had it been true, most of those other people (especially the WOMEN) would not have been in it.
He never told me he aspired to be a crack shot with a carbine. He never referred to the plane crashes, the funerals of his friends, or the unimaginable loneliness and helplessness of his Island cloister. Mom, too, showed us only the pictures of herself having a grand time beachcombing at Duke or skiing at Smith.
In time, I gravitated to the desert island of a Carmelite monastery in Southern Maryland. One evening around 1997, Bettie and Melvin Clark5 were visiting her sister, Sr. Mary Anne. Mel pulled out a photo of himself as a dashing young Marine pilot at "Hollywood and Vine." I ran out and returned with a photo of my father at the same intersection! Obviously, they had been on the same island. When I told Dad about Mel’s photo, he told me about the background of the set.
On his next visit, Dad shyly pushed three little black notebooks over to me and suggested I might like to have them. They were his WWII diary.6 I really didn’t know what to do with them until my brother’s wedding when it dawned on me to transcribe some portions of the diary for him. I also threw in Web pages of the training camps, ships, and islands, as well as excerpts from Mel’s Marine album. I added portions at Christmas and birthdays.
Then I read about the movements to collect war letters and oral histories. I also found Web sites with people pleading for information about Seabees and service in the South Pacific. I wrote my folks anxiously begging for Dad’s war letters which were about to be discarded and began in earnest to complete the Diary. As I became immersed in it, I realized that it did convey some sense of what many fellows experienced and might be of interest to other people.
It was through the internet that I encountered Rick Thomas’ queries and rejoiced to learn he lived in nearby Winston Salem. Rick reunited Dad with his Battalion after 53 years and Dad regaled Rick with his Tales of the South Pacific.
As I write this, a third world-wide war is rumbling all around us. Emotions are running high and the heroes of the moment are those who put their lives on the line and lost them in a dramatic calamity. Within this fever, my father’s Diary again seemed mundane. But it is the real story of war. It is months and years of separation from families, friends, jobs, hobbies. It is missing births, weddings, deaths. It is hoping that spouses left behind with far more temptations will not yield to them as did so many SeaBee wives in WWII. It is living on rumor and submitting to the questionable judgment of superiors. A fireman’s comment caught my eye: "Our life is 99% boredom and 1% sheer terror."
I would like to have omitted derogatory references to the Filipinos and
even to the Japanese. They are embarrassing. My monastic community includes natives of Japan and the
Philippines. They are my friends and even superiors. A network of
Filipino-Americans supplies many of my weekly grocery "Gimmes." To
be honest, the war contained in these pages has never existed for me. I can’t
help wondering if it does my parents a disservice to remember these times.
In war, they did their civic duty. In peace, however, they achieved a higher
victory: working for a world free of the animosities and privations that
lead to conflict. So now, yes, we can look back on their sacrifices,
embraced the more fervently because they longed not to hate or disparage.
Thanks, Mom and Dad - you ensured that I was "carefully taught."7
* * *
Robert William Conner was born Sept. 9, 1914 in Wilkes-Barre, PA to Helen and Floyd Conner. Floyd was a fireman on the Lackawanna Railroad; he was killed in an accident when Bob was 16. Elizabeth Hatcher Conner is the daughter of Pearl and Edgar A. Hatcher, Jr. of High Point, NC. They met in a hiking club at Duke University where Lib was studying zoology and Bob engineering. They were married August 24, 1940 in Duke Chapel. Lib taught at Duke and Smith while Bob was in the Seabees. Inspired by Moede, Bob returned to N.C. State to study architecture after the war. Then they settled in High Point where Bob opened his office and Lib taught at several area colleges. I was born in 1948, my brother Bill (William Hatcher) in 1951, and Chris (Christine Roberta) in 1954. Bill is married to Susan Inglis and they live in Chapel Hill. Chris, her husband Steve Levin, and their three boys, Daniel, Samuel, and Matthew live in Philadelphia. Bob and Lib have continued their lifelong love and advocacy for the environment into "retirement," organizing a statewide network of Friends of State Parks. As for Bob, Lib has now had him longer than the Navy did. He still likes things "shipshape" but reverts to old train lingo for chowtime.
Camp Peary, Virginia
Nissan, Green Islands
USS Cape Johnson
San Antonio, Samar, Philippine Islands
Guiuan, Samar, Philippine Islands
USS Arthur Middleton
Camp Shelton, VA
MY DAZE . . .
Robert W. Conner, 93rd Seabees
* Volume One *
11/14/42,Sat. Sworn in – Raleigh, NC, 3:30 pm, same day
1/14/42 - 3/11/43. Wait – wait - & wait some more –
3/12/43. Received orders to proceed to Raleigh and then to Magruder, Va.
3/22, Mon. Reported in Greensboro and received transportation to Raleigh. Had lunch with Ed Allen in Greensboro and had picture taken at Mannings. Met John Fulbright and rode to Raleigh with him. Left Greensboro at 7 pm. Train loaded with prospective sailors. Met Sidney Risdon in Raleigh Station. Were supposed to stop at Homotel for the night. Didn’t like its looks so went to a hotel.
3/23, Tues. Reported at Raleigh P.O. for transportation to Camp Peary. Food in Raleigh was terrible. Twenty-six of us caught train 2 ½ hours late. Boys were fairly hilarious on train but behaved quite well. Old man on train tried to cause trouble but he was soon squelched. Seaboard train was too late in Richmond to make connections to Magruder. Took a walk after arrival in Richmond with Raper from Winston and Parker from Asheville. Stayed at Hotel Ruegar rather than sleep in day coach all night.#
CAMP PEARY,* WILLIAMSBURG, VA
3/24, Wed. Up at 7. Ate breakfast in the station. Caught C&O 8:30. Two boys almost missed the train. They caught it as it rolled by. Arrived Williamsburg 9:30. Camp "bus" (10-wheel truck) met the train. Were assigned to barrack #128. Received bedding. Started for chow at 11:30, reached mess hall ½ hour later and didn’t walk slow either. Food was fine. Received shoes, duffel bag, and coveralls after lunch. Took quite a kidding over my shoes. Everyone else’s came in a box. Guess there were no packing crates large enough for mine. Wrote letters till evening chow. All day long we have been listening to "you’ll be sorry."* We delegated a fellow as M.A.* for our platoon.
3/25, Thurs. Stood the graveyard fire watch last night 24:00-04:00. Managed to get 1 ¼ hour’s sleep. Wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Waited around all morning for our physical exam. Finally got around to it after noon chow. First man we reached was a psychologist. Then we stripped to our shorts and packed our clothes to ship home. We went through that place like a hurricane. A doctor or a corpsman at every turn. The x-ray man had the most monotonous job. "Take a deep breath – hold it – Next man." After the physical, we got the rest of our gear. We walked down a long hall and gear flew from everywhere into a bag we were carrying. Met a boy from PPG* Co. in Lynchburg. Took a beating with my maroon shorts. From there we went to get our gear stenciled. Then the hair cut and the photograph. I look like hell. After evening mess, we tried to roll our clothes and get them packed into our sea bags. I think we all failed miserably.
3/26, Fri. We spent this morning getting our insurance and family allotments straight plus an interview. After that, everything not stenciled was fixed and we started packing to move from the detention area to boot camp. After lunch, we moved. We are now in an entirely new camp. This area has only been open a few days. The Post Office will open tomorrow for the first time and the ship’s store this afternoon. Other platoons are in details cleaning up all the grounds. We have mopped our barrack thoroughly and washed all the windows. Two platoons making 60 men are in each building. In detention, we had about 90-95 men and were very crowded. There has been a lot of sweating so far carrying gear around. But it has been fun. We look like the devil but have a great time kidding one another. Chow this evening was not as good as it was at detention. There was not enough. Wrote letters this evening.
3/27, Sat. Rain, rain, and more rain. We were supposed to go out on a work detail this morning but the rain has prevented us from that. We got soaked going to chow this morning. During the day, we had to clean our shoes an innumerable number of times. The mud here is terrible. The morning was spent by most writing letters. Ten of us went out and hauled walks to our barrack to keep us out of the mud as much as possible. A little of the goo around here goes a long way. After noon chow, we hauled coal and built walks all over the place. Bogged down in the mud a number of times. After a long struggle we got cleaned up for evening chow. Went to a movie after chow, but stayed for only a few minutes. It was too noisy. Came back to the barrack and wrote letters.
3/28, Sun. Sunday makes no matter with sleeping here. Got up as usual at 5. After colors at 8 we were free till noon chow. Everyone busied themselves writing, reading, and rolling clothes. If we ever get that rolling down and how to get all that mess in the bags it will be a miracle. After chow we mustered and went out for our first drill. We had a funny-looking little instructor. He reminds me of a jumping jack. He is good, but also tough. At 15:30 we had an address by the commanding officer of the base. He gave a brief history of the Seabees and welcomed us to the camp. After that a lecture from a medical officer. We managed to get an instructor to our barrack to show us how to roll our gear and stow it away. After evening chow we were free again. I should have done some washing but the laundry was full of clothes. Fellows were hanging gear in the rafters. Started re-rolling my gear correctly.
3/29, Mon. We started the morning off with a run around the block and some exercise. Drilled again this morning. Used some sort of a rifle to learn the manual of arms. Just before lunch we got typhoid and tetanus shots plus our vaccinations. Somehow or other I got head detail this morning. After lunch we and our sore arms went out and drilled again. After drill we had 3 lectures, two in the field and one in the hall. The senior Chaplain spoke to us in the hall and has so far been the only one who has pulled no punches. Everyone seemed to get a good sun and wind burn today. One of the boys had to go to the dispensary. Managed to get some washing done this noon. There were a lot of sore arms here in D5-107 to night. Also a tired bunch of boys. Many of them were in bed by 8:30.#
3/30, Tues. The M.A. woke me up at 10:45 last night and delegated me to take a detail of men to the D.O.* for sentry duty. It was a shame to get those boys out of bed when they were expecting to get a good night’s sleep. I almost ended up on the detail myself. Three men from another barrack failed to show up on time. They did arrive 15 minutes late. A bunch of bad-feeling boys in the platoon this morning. Some felt sick in the stomach, some headaches, some sunburn and some blisters on the feet. All had sore arms. I felt rather faint in chow line this morning. Came back to the barrack and broke out in a cold sweat. As soon as I got over it, I went back in the line. Went out landscaping all morning. Moved dirt and dug ditches. After chow, I was delegated to go to small stores and make clothes exchanges for the boys. It ended up being a nice truck ride. After evening chow, there was a smoker. There was a very good program. Things around here have been very topsy-turvy. They’re gradually getting straightened out, however. Hope I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night tonight.
3/31, Wed. It was cold this morning. After chow we had to pass in review before the commanding officer. We looked quite good. A band played for us. Then we changed clothes and went out to drill. Mr.* Potts really worked us out. Some of the boys have been slow to catch on. After chow we went out and practiced squad formations. Had two lectures, one on military courtesy and one on the government of the Navy. There are plenty of red noses burned by the sun and wind. I seem to have fallen heir to a cold and the CB-TB, a cough that is common around here because of the dust in the air. Must do a lot of work tonight. Big inspection in the morning.
4/1, Thurs. No frost this morning. Was a trifle chilly but not cold. Had a barrack inspection this morning by our new ensign. Everything went quite well. Had a lecture right off the bat and drilled in the manual of arms the rest of the morning. We must be a tough crowd. We have a new ensign and are on our third instructor. The fellow we have now is the best one that we have had. After noon chow we had a lecture and drilled some more. I think they ran out of things for us to do for they had us doing a formation we will never do again. Ended the afternoon with another lecture. We were given copies of the 11 general orders to memorize. That is the only thing that I am afraid of. After evening chow I took time off to write Lib.#
4/2, Fri. I got the fire watch from eight to noon today. Managed to get all my clothes rolled and packed properly. Cleaned out the store. I am glad that clothes job is complete. The rest of the platoon had quite a time out running through the woods. Raper almost caught a rabbit. After noon chow had our first "field day." That meant turning the barrack upside down and cleaning it out thoroughly also getting all our clothes clean. We are supposed to have only one change dirty at a time. I had quite a wash to do. It was a good feeling to have everything up to date. We have to be ship shape tomorrow because of a captain’s inspection. It is too bad there is not a movie tonight because everyone seems to have a little time on their hands.#
4/3, Sat. No one got much sleep last night. Those who didn’t have to get up and go out on some sort of duty were kept awake by those who did. No drill today. Just work for everyone. We did a little landscaping around the mess hall in the morning and laid boardwalks in the afternoon. After chow tonight, we had to sign our identification cards and have our fingerprints made on them. These pictures are terrible. They are really worse than they appear for we have grown somewhat used to our haircuts now.#
4/4, Sun. Just before the lights went out last night we had a blackout. I don’t know what they would do if there were a real raid. The signal is sent out by a messenger. A very slow process. We got to sleep an extra hour this morning. After muster, we were free till 13:00. Went to church with Fulbright and Hamm. Had a wonderful dinner today. Would have cost a couple dollars in Richmond. This afternoon, we turned into groundhogs. We were out from 13:00 to 17:30 practicing platoon formation and taking objectives. It was fun excepting for scraping across the ground. Wrote letters after evening chow.
4/5, Mon. This morning we drilled again. This time on a rather light breakfast. We specialized on the manual of arms. We also managed to get one other shot. One of the boys got messed up some how or another and got two shots. He is really in bad shape. After noon chow, 20 of us from the two platoons went out on a "Wainright Party" that is a special work detail. We really worked too. Went out to the Guest House and cleaned up around it and planted some shrubs. There are a bunch of tired and sick fellows here tonight. Between the work party and the shot.#
4/6, Tues. What a day this has been. I have never seen so much dust in all my life. A cold wind has blown all day long. There were times when the tail end of a column couldn’t see the front end. We generated about as much dust as the wind. Wore our pea coats and I don’t think we will be able to get them clean very soon. One of the boys had to be carried to the infirmary this morning because of his shot yesterday. This afternoon, we went out and practiced a few platoon formations. One whole squad got lost in the woods for about 20 minutes. For the remainder of the afternoon, we had more lectures. A number of the fellows went to sleep. After evening chow we had pay day. Everyone was allowed $25 regardless of how much they were supposed to draw. Had to stand in line for over an hour.
4/7, Wed. Went out on KP duty for Charlie Murray as he was laid up a bit. Had to be up and at the mess hall by 5. Washed pots and pans as hard as I could until 10:15. Had to be back at work at 10:45. Served lettuce at noon and scrubbed and mopped floors till 4. Back to work at 4:45. Finished mopping at 8. I was really tired when I finished up. There was a lecture at 8 by one of the boys who had returned from the front. He was quite humorous. There was considerable discussion over whether he should have told some of the bad aspects which he covered. I think we should have as bad a picture as possible of what we will be getting into. Then if it is not bad, we will feel better about it. The ones who did not like the lecture were the ones who are always fussing anyway. Received 3 letters and a box of candy from Marion today.
4/8, Thurs. Warmer today. Had the manual of arms part of the morning and practiced squad formations till 11:30. Our platoon went out in the woods and attacked the other platoon in our barrack. We had a great deal of fun in it, because there were other platoons in the same woods and we frequently found ourselves sneaking up on the wrong crowd. Our squad captured one of the enemy’s squads without a bit of trouble. It was all by luck however. After chow we had some more on the manual, then three lectures. One was a movie on first aid and one on sex hygiene. The chaplain followed the last movie. Should have washed some clothes today, but too many others had the same idea.
4/9, Fri. This has been a very pretty day. There have not been the usual dust storms. Spent 45 minutes yesterday morning standing at attention. That was the whole platoon. Some few fellows have insisted upon talking in the ranks and that 45 minutes was to straighten that out. Before the morning was over we were crawling around in the dirt. We practiced crossing fields. Crossed one in 35 minutes when it should have taken about an hour and a half. Had "Rope Yarn Sunday"* in the afternoon. Managed to get a little washing done.#
4/10, Sat. What a night. I doubt if there was an open window in the place. I woke up this morning feeling terrible. It rained last night. This is the craziest place for mixing mud and dust. The rain made quite a few muddy places but in a very short time there was plenty of dust. We crawled through the woods in combat formations again this morning. The ground was very damp and no doubt did our colds no good. But it was fun anyway. After chow we had lectures on combat formations and a review on military courtesy. Seems there was a little trouble last night in this area on the subject of courtesy. Started learning the semaphore* this afternoon. Lounged around after evening chow; the first time I have done that since I have been here.
4/11, Sun. Caught the 00:00 to 04:00 fire watch again last night. We were supposed to get up at 05:30 this morning, but because of my watch last night I slept till 07:00. Seems like years since I have slept till after the sun came up. Each day seems to go by very fast but when I think back on when I left home it seems ages ago. We never started out on our work detail till 09:45 this morning. Then we went out and built boardwalks till 11:30. Had a pretty good meal this noon. Not quite as good as the one we had a week ago but still good. Built walks again this afternoon. After evening chow we had to clean up the mess in the barrack made by the table and shelf makers. Christened the table by eating up two cakes which had been sent to Ed West. My knee has been hurting today. Must have hit the deck too hard yesterday.
4/12, Mon. Cold is not much better this morning. Cough and knee are worse. Must have hit the deck too hard day before yesterday. It was about the rawest weather today that we have had. Hands almost become numb. After a little manual of arms we got two more shots. Before the morning was over, Blanton had to be carried to the sick bay. The shots really affect him. For some reason or another we had about an hour free before chow. Rained before it was time to start drilling so we had lectures all afternoon. I don’t know how many lectures we have had on sentry duty. Had a short drill on the use of the machete. Our class in semaphore was rained out so I had a chance to wash some clothes. Cut the cake tonight that Lib sent. It was good. The boys are busy playing card tricks on each other tonight.
4/13, Tues. Cold this morning but warmed up as the day progressed. More belly crawling this morning with a little semaphore this afternoon. Had the best lectures this afternoon that we have had so far. One was on picking a base location and the other was on incendiary bombs. We were supposed to get all our misfit clothing straightened out tonight. Some of the fellows got fixed up, but I didn’t. Had quite a rain tonight. The wind really blew it through the cracks around the windows and any others that could be found. They were numerous. Beds were everywhere except in the correct places against the walls.#
4/14, Wed. The little Warrant Officer who has been giving us our exercise in the morning has become quite a joke. He starts us off every morning with the jumping jack. That is what we call him now - and he looks like one too. Practiced with the machete again this morning. The ones we use are plywood and about all we can ever expect to learn from what we are getting are a few fundamental strokes. After the rain last night it would be only natural to assume that we would get a little extended order drill this morning. We did. But when we hit the deck we made sure it was a pile of straw. More lectures this afternoon. One was a movie on the cootie. The other two were on base location and camouflage.
4/15, Thurs. This has been the best day yet. Went to bed last night at 21:30 and got up at 23:00. One whole hour and a half’s sleep. Went on sentry duty at 23:45 and came off at 04:15. It was a very cold night. There were icicles on the mops this morning. It was very clear - and a good night for dreaming. I had a little business at my post. Mine was the only challenge post in the area. There was only about a half hour between the time I got off duty and would have to get up, so I washed clothes instead. Had to eat chow early so I could relieve the guard who had relieved me for breakfast. After I was again relieved, I went up to the sick bay to see if I could not get some help with this cough and cold I have. Then I helped to build some more boardwalks. Ate noon chow early and went out to stand sentry from 12-16:00. Had lots of business this afternoon. People were going everywhere. After a full day’s work of sentry duty alone I had to do almost a full day of work detail. Some fun. If it were not for writing Lib I would knock off early tonight.#
4/16, Fri. Really slept last night. Had quite a time today. Went out to practice extended order and wound up coon hunting. We went out in the woods to practice and I guess because we got so tuckered out yesterday, we did not feel like doing much. Someone started talking about coons and a few minutes later we saw one up a tree. After noon chow we went out on extended order again, this time with pockets full of stones. All of our stones were to no avail on getting the coon out of the tree. Junior* was a pretty good shot. Came the closest by far to hitting the coon. Finished the afternoon with lectures. Don’t know how many we have had on sentry duty and military courtesy. Mr. Coney, who has been our instructor for the past two weeks, came into the barrack to tell us he was leaving. He is headed for Chiefs’ school. All of the boys have liked him and hate to see him leave. Tailors came in tonight and are very busy altering the boys' clothes. Luckily mine fit quite alright.
4/17, Sat. Another "Wainright Party" today. Found out where the name came from. Mr. Wainright is head of the Public Works Dept. These parties work for his department. Our platoon went out on mosquito control. Either it was plenty warm today or we worked hard. Anyway it was hot. We were over in a swamp clearing out ditches. The work was hard. We wore hip boots - mine leaked of course - and were sometimes working down in the bottom of the ditch where we sank to our knees in mud. Took me about fifteen minutes to get out of the mud to go to noon chow. On our way back to work after chow, we caught sight of a possum. I shook him from the top of a tree to a lower limb. Then Junior went up after her. We knew it was a "her" because there were quite a number of babies in her pouch. Everyone was pretty whipped down by evening. Managed to get a few clothes washed. My fruit cake arrived today.
4/18, Sun. We were able to sleep till 6:30 this morning. Quite a treat. They have changed Rope Yarn Sunday on us from Friday to Sunday. Just another one of the many changes which have come up. Cleaned up the barrack and all our gear. Spent the afternoon acting as messenger. Lots of good exercise. Wrote letters during the evening.#
4/19, Mon. Caught the 4-8 fire watch* this morning for a change. The boys complained on my other watches of my keeping the place cool. Made it hot for them this time. We were supposed to have gone out on work parties today but only those who had mess and sentry duties went out in the rain that has poured down all day. Those of us who had no such duties kept fairly dry if we did not sit under any of the leaks in the barrack. We spent the day with a chief reviewing what work we have done to date. Tonight everyone is talking "liberty." We are scheduled to go ashore on May 1 and 2 for 48 hours. It may be a bit longer than that and again it may be canceled. Tailors are busy here every night getting clothes ready for the fellows. Mine all fit ok.
4/20, Tues. Took today off to get our clothes straightened out. Finished out our issue this morning and exchanged the other things that did not fit this afternoon. That induction area is certainly a mudhole. This evening the tailors were on deck to see to it that our uniforms fit. Aside from that, little was done outside of standing in the respective lines. We were told tonight that our liberty would start April 30 at 5 pm Everyone is very joyous and busy writing letters home.#
4/21, Wed. Still overcast today. Spent most of the morning messing around the place. Some of the boys still had some clothes to get straight on. The rest of us were secure in our barrack and were supposed to get the place cleaned up. After chow we went out and did a little extended order in a big way. This evening was payday but I was among the many who received nothing.
4/22. Thurs. After a long dry lecture on defensive tactics through which most everyone slept this morning, we went out for a long walk through the woods. After it was all over with, we found we were practicing security on the march. In the afternoon we went out on extended order and ended up with another lecture on government of the Navy. During the day the subject of our M.A. came up again. The boys got up a petition suggesting a change. Tonight the subject came to a head. We ended up with one of our platoon officers on the dock. It was finally decided to leave things as they are. Got one of those good ten cent haircuts. It was the second shortest and quickest cut I have ever had.#
4/23. Fri. Had to go out on messenger duty today. That was not such a bad job. Had it from 8-12. Had to go out on a work detail during the afternoon. A sudden streak of fixing up the ground around the barracks has broken out. We went out into the woods and got a lot of shrubs and planted them all around the place. The boys did a pretty good job. Had to go back on duty at 8 again. Up until 9:30 the messengers were quite busy. After that we just sat and shot the bull with the officers and chiefs. Had a swell box from Lib today. A huge angel food with bananas and Easter eggs. The boys really went for it.
4/24. Sat. We started out with our sixth instructor today. No wonder our barrack can’t get drill straight. We have had too many personalities mixed up with it. Each fellow seems to have his own ideas about the subject. Tomorrow we have some sort of a performance by company formations which we practiced this morning. Went out in the woods for a while and worked on some more of our miniature big scale operations. Everyone received his identification card this morning which means we have broken detention. This afternoon we went into the woods again for a while after which we had a pretty good lecture on combat. Ended the day with a lecture on gases and gas masks. We all donned masks and went into a room full of tear gas. Just before leaving the room we had to take our masks off to get a little of the effects of the gas. We cried for a half hour afterward. The mail has really been heavy into this area the past few days. The clerks are about to work themselves to death. We are loaded down with food in our barrack. Everyone was dressing as far as he could tonight in his blues. Some of the fellows have all of their clothes squared off while others have not received theirs back from the tailors. We are really going to be a terrible looking crowd tomorrow.
4/25. Easter Sunday - Easter Sunday and a beautiful day. We were to wear our dress blues but a lot of the boys were in the same boat I was in and had some of their clothes still at the tailors. I had to wear undress blues. After assembly, Frank Raper and I went up the road to call our wives - our first chance at free range - we waited two hours and then gave up trying. This afternoon we were in dungarees again. Went out on the drill field for a community sing and a field day with D-6. Haven’t been able to find out who won but it was quite a heated affair. I left before it was over to go do some washing. "Lt." Williams looked me up on the drill field today to see if I would care to be an instructor on the rifle range. The job of instructor is one thing I would just as leave stay away from.
4/26. Mon. More extended order this morning with drill and lectures this afternoon. Scuttlebutt started around shortly after noon that our liberty would start Wednesday instead of Friday. That of course produced quite a bit of excitement. Still more was produced when it was officially announced as being true. Western Union facilities were completely turned over to our Area after evening chow. I am glad that Lib and I had planned our meeting place in advance.
4/27. Tues. Frank and I went on Dispensary duty today. It was a gold brick job of the first order. I don’t want it anymore for there is not enough to do. We spent part of the morning mopping the floors. In the afternoon there was nothing to do. I had one of the corpsmen press my dress blues. Everyone was too excited to do much work anyway. During the evening the fellows were busy getting their clothes washed, pressed, and getting ready.
4/28. Wed. Had drill and classes as usual today till 4:15 when we were freed to get ready to leave. Did not have much time to get ready in. Had to march to the station to catch the Liberty train at 6:15. Excitement was very predominate all day. Arrived in Richmond at 8. The train made very good time to the outskirts of town where it was held up quite a while because of other trains ahead of it. Boy, was it good to see Lib. She looked prettier than ever. Didn’t recognize me when she saw me. I imagine it is hard to pick one person out of 1200 when they are all dressed alike. We had a bite to eat in the station then went to the Jefferson to clean up. Checked in at the USO and had a sundae at Whites.
4/29. Thurs. Really slept late this morning or should I say stayed in the bed late this morning. Had lunch at Miller and Rhodes tea room and shopped till 3 when we went to a show. After a good dinner at Daley’s we went to the USO to write some postcards and then back to the hotel again. Mary Douglas called to invite us out for dinner tomorrow night.
4/30. Fri. Came close to not getting up today. Left my watch with a jeweler yesterday to have my serial number engraved on it, so had no idea of the time. It was 1:30 when we went out to lunch at Whites. Had a very good seafood plate followed by a delicious sundae of course. Did some more shopping this afternoon. Went out to the Hatchers’ for dinner tonight. Lib took pictures of me in my various "boot uniforms." We had a very good meal and spent the evening visiting. Got to bed by 11:30.
5/1. Sat. Up early this morning – 3:30. Had to catch the Liberty Train at 4:30. Lib went to the station with me. There was really a mob there. Shore Patrol at the gates checked us as we went through. Some boys got by with their bottles and some did not. The train coming in had a lot of empty seats on it. We had muster at 07:00. There were about 450 men out of our area A.O.L. One of the Pennsylvania trains had trouble. Out of the entire camp, 700 were A.O.L. We moved at 09:00. It was a mess. All our gear had to be packed as we had never packed it before. Bedding had to be packed this time. We were transferred from D-5 to B-1. It has been a very dusty and windy day. Our new barrack is in a very pretty place. There are quite a few trees around and we look out over the York River. The grass around the buildings is doing very well. We are the 94th Replacement Battalion. As near as we can find out, we are held here to do work details until replacements are needed. Then we get our advanced training and head for Island X. Our original group is very badly broken up. Raper is now in another group and Fulbright is in Ship’s Company. The rest are here, there, and everywhere and our future is very foggy.
5/2. Sun. Caught the head detail this morning and after that the day was mine. Thirty-five out of our barrack went out on KP. Spent the morning sitting against a stump writing letters and taking a sunbath. In the evening Raper and I went over to B-3 to see some of the boys who are pulling out on Tuesday.
5/3. Mon. Caught the first fire watch last night. Poured down rain at chow time this morning so I did not go. Stopped shortly after. Those of us who were not on KP went out on work details. I pulled one that was mighty easy. Nine of us went to the B-4 drill hall to clean up. It was a huge building but the work was mighty light. Half of our barrack went out on liberty tonight – 37 ½ hours. Our half goes out on Wednesday night.
5/4. Tues. Caught KP today. It was considerably better than the last time I was on. I dispensed coffee for morning and noon chow. At evening chow I spent most of the time worrying the M.A. and making him think I was not doing any work when I was. He thought he was getting me into something when he put me in the galley to help swab the deck. I ended up getting through work a half hour before the fellows I had been working with.#
5/5. Wed. Spent today drilling. It was not as hard as the drill the fellows got yesterday. We got plenty dusty, however. Started our 37 ½ hour liberty tonight. Was afraid to try to make High Point. Four of us – Raper, Owenby, Keith and I decided to go to Norfolk.
5/6. Thurs. We made Norfolk ok, but what a time we had trying to find a place to stay last night. We walked for three hours around the town trying to find a room. Ended up sleeping on a string of chairs in the Portsmouth "Y" at one o’clock this morning. Had a fine trip on the ferry from Newport News to Norfolk last night. Took almost an hour. Everything except the shipyards was pretty much blacked out. It was interesting to watch the search lights pick up the planes as they flew overhead. Keith and Owenby left the "Y" before Raper and I this morning and we did not see them all day. Frank and I had a good breakfast at Child’s and a good shower at the Navy "Y" before starting our tour of the town. Spent the morning shopping for something for our wives. Ended up by buying them pajamas and hose, and sending Mother’s Day greetings. After a fish dinner we went to see The Lady of Burlesque. The ferry was supposed to leave Norfolk at 7:00 to catch our train in Newport News at 8. At 6 we decided to go to Newport News by a different route which Frank said would take about 45 minutes. We boarded a streetcar and went to Ocean View where we spent a few minutes between cars looking the place over. Then on to Willoughby Beach where we caught the ferry to Old Point and Fortress Monroe. From there into Phoebus by bus and through Hampton to Newport News by trolley. Instead of arriving there at 6:45 we made it at 10:20, some 2 hours and 20 minutes after our train had left. Found the next train would leave at 1:15, so ambled down to the C.G.O. station where we found a little mail train ready to pull out. It was not scheduled to stop at Williamsburg but the conductor told us he would let us off. A lucky break. Ended our jaunt back in camp at 1:00.
5/7. Fri. Caught regimental guard today. Was on the 08:00 to 12:00 and the 20:00 to 24:00 shifts. Had to haul our bedding to the guardhouse which was right alongside a drillfield and caught all the dust. It was filthy. I was on the fire watch and had a very hard time keeping awake. Went to sleep in the afternoon during my rest period. Saw a notice on the bulletin board that I was moving on Monday to Area 3. What that means I do not know. We may take our advanced training there.
5/8. Sat. We guards were off duty till 1:00 today, but to keep from having to go out on a detail we had to scatter into the woods. I started to wash some clothes but found out I could not after getting them into a bucket. Had to hide them in a hurry because of inspection but I did not do a good enough job for they were found and my name was turned in. Got by with a light bawling out from the chief M.A. Spent the afternoon on a work detail. The major part of the time was spent shooting the bull with the chief. After evening chow I managed to get my clothes washed. Went over to ship’s company area with Frank where he met a friend of his and went to the new camp beer garden. The place was really filled with fellows.#
5/9. Sun. Had a free day today. Don’t know how it happened. Spent the morning out on the riverbank writing letters. In the afternoon I started work on getting my sea bag in shape for moving tomorrow. I think somehow or another I will get everything in this time. Went over to the drill hall to see Stand by for Action. It was a pretty good show. Cooper* drew a "Seabee" on the back of my coveralls. He did a swell job.
5/10. Mon. Everything was hustle and bustle this morning. Boys for the 41st and 42nd special drafts and the 93rd Battalion are moving out. Those of us in the 93rd did not leave till right after noon chow. The others left in the morning. We are split up more than ever now. Moved into Area A-3. Called my name out for KP tomorrow. Had to go through "short arm" inspection* because of it. It has been very hot today. We were told tonight that by the first of next week we will be in Davisville, Rhode Island. Am glad it is not California.
5/11. Tues. Went on KP today. Caught the coffee urn again. I like that job about as good as anything in the mess hall. Managed to get some laundry washed during my rest period.
5/12. Wed. We had our first bag inspection this morning. Had to dump everything from our bags onto our bunks and line it up according to Hoyle. After that we drilled until we were chased in by the rain. This afternoon we went out on a work party digging stumps and raking up a field behind our barrack. It was little more than a gold brick job. Had a 12 hour liberty this evening. Went into Williamsburg with "Dynamite." He had a dollar and I had fifty cents. We both came back flat broke. Between showers we roamed the town. Went to the show and spent the remainder of the evening at the USO singing. There were some very good piano players there among both the civilians and the Seabees.
5/13. Thurs. Made out requisitions for our helmets today. So I guess we will be leaving in a few days. Spent the morning on the stump digging project again. The sun has been very hot today and I managed to get my arms burned a little. Went out on a 2 1/2 hour hike this afternoon after which we had a short arm inspection - another sign of pulling out soon. Managed to get all of my clothes cleaned up today, and ready for morning.
5/14. Fri. Had a pretty easy day today. Started drilling this morning but we were rained out and had to retire to our barrack. Spent the remainder of the day just reading and loafing around. Went over to B-1 to see if any of the old crowd which I left behind was around. They were mighty scarce.
5/15. Sat. Went on KP again today. Had it fairly easy. Put cream in the coffee cups. It has been very dreary today. The sky has been very overcast. We were issued our tin hats. By virtue of KP I did not have to go through bag inspection this afternoon. We had to pack all our gear this evening in preparation to leave tomorrow. We have been told that we are going to Camp Endicott and are living with that idea in mind. We may end up there and we may not.
5/16. Sun. Another dreary day. The sun is trying to peek through but with little success. Finished packing our gear this morning. Somehow or another I was able to get all that mess into the bags. Had a number of musters and were assigned to cars on the train. Noon chow came at 11. After lounging around the barrack for a while we stood in the inevitable line for a longer while and then boarded trucks for the train. It is the first time and I hope it is the last time that I ever start getting ready at 5 in the morning to catch a train at 3 in the afternoon. There was a band at the station to see us off. The train was really dirty from soot. The windows could hardly be seen through. It seems the windows were all opened as soon as the train was boarded. It was a very orderly crowd, perhaps because we could not leave the car to which we had been assigned. There were about 16 cars including those hauling our gear. Which meant there were about 600 men aboard. After we got under way we really caught every cinder that flew by. In Richmond box lunches and milk were put aboard. All the way up the line the Yankees were busy telling the Rebels of the virtues of the new land before them and how superior it would be to Camp Peary. In Washington we got out for some PT and bought sandwiches and milk, and mailed a few cards. We seemed to travel faster after the Pennsy took us over. It may have been just the effect of the electric train pulling us. In New York, our C.O. had $28 worth of coffee put aboard for us. We took up a collection to reimburse him. They were selling "dopes" for 15 cents in the station.#CAMP ENDICOTT, DAVISVILLE, RHODE ISLAND
5/17. Mon. It was very misty and foggy when we hit New England and there were quite a few swamps in view so the Rebels started working on the Yankees. We arrived in camp at 6:30. After we were assigned to our barrack J-4 we headed for the chow line. The barracks here hold a whole company rather than two platoons. The mess halls are also different from Peary. Food is much better and everything else looks better than Peary. Most of the morning and part of the afternoon we spent in trying to locate our bags. The remainder of the afternoon was spent in getting squared off. We have a small locker now which is a little more convenient than having to use a seabag all the time. After chow I went up to C Area and hunted up some of the old D-5 crowd. There are quite a few of them over there in the 74th. After 5 o’clock we have to wear either our dress or undress blues if we want to leave our area.#
5/18. Tues. We don’t have to get up till 5:45 now. And not then if we don’t want to go to chow. They have an amplifying system here which covers each barrack and every place else. All announcements and bugle calls are made over it. You really hear the bugle too. Had a lecture on first aid and our first one on judo. That is a rough game. Drizzled for most of the morning and poured down at noon. It was a good thing we were issued our foul weather gear yesterday. Our regular uniform of the day now is coveralls and the plastic portion of our helmets. This afternoon we went to a lecture on jungle warfare which I almost slept through. It was very dry and consisted mainly of the bugs we might meet in the jungle. After that we became acquainted with the pack which we will be issued before we leave.#
5/19. Wed. Hit the commando course the first thing this morning. It was not as hard as I had expected it would be. We ran up piles of dirt, jumped off embankments, climbed fences, rolled under barbed wire, crossed suspension bridges and such as that. It was quite a bit of fun. After we had finished that, there was a lecture on hand grenades. Caught the 12-4 fire watch last night and again this afternoon. Spent both times reading. Had to go to a propaganda movie tonight. The whole company had to attend that. We had to wait for almost an hour for another group to come out of the show. Some of the fellows had been drinking beer and had to do a lot of running to the head while we were waiting.
5/20. Thurs. Caught the 12-4 fire watch again last night. Don’t think I shall ever get caught up on my sleep. Went out into a swamp this morning for practice with machetes. Cut brush and trees down to make trails and spread what we had cut down across the swamp to form a dry walk. Some of the fellows really got wet in the process. In the afternoon we had a lecture on first aid then started in on Judo. We got some actual practice this time. That is really a dirty way of playing. Charlie Murray caught up with me tonight. After chewing the fat for a while we went to a show.
5/21. Fri. Spent the entire morning drilling for a dress parade tomorrow morning. It was really raw out on the drill field. This afternoon it drizzled - probably will do the same thing tomorrow morning. We had a lecture on sex hygiene and another bag inspection. Wrote letters tonight.#
5/22. Sat. Our big dress parade was quite a mess today. It rained so hard we had to retire to one of the big drill halls which are still in the process of being constructed. We did not look any too hot. After the parade we had the morning off. Most of the fellows headed for Ship’s Store to buy their tickets to Providence. After chow the skies cleared up a little bit and the rain stopped. We went out to a lecture on gas masks and had practice on putting them on plus a trip through the gas chamber. After that we were free again to go out on our 36 hour liberty. There was really a line up at the O.D.’s office waiting for passes. Took about an hour and a half to give out the passes. While the line shortened I went to the mess hall for chow. After we got out of the gate we had another line to stand in waiting for the buses to Providence. Had planned on getting to Utica this weekend but found I could not get a train that would permit me to have any time up there at all. That caused quite a change in my plans so I had to decide where to go. Walked around Providence for quite a while looking the town over. It seemed very queer there as it was pretty thoroughly blacked out. The streets were very dark. There were plenty of sailors in town. Stopped in the USO and wrote a few postcards. While there I decided to spend the night in Providence and try to find Bob Fuller. Bob Minor* from Birmingham, Alabama dropped into the USO while I was there looking for a place to stay. The girls in the USO suggested the Volunteers of America so off the two of us went. We had a very enjoyable stay there. They really tried to make us feel at home. After cleaning up a bit we went down to the dining room for some refreshments they were serving. Met several girls who were acting as hostesses. Played shuffleboard with them after eating. Just before going to bed we spent a few minutes in the lounge where there were innumerable magazines, good chairs, and all such.
5/23. Sun. Got up at 8:30 this morning. Pressed my clothes and got in real ship shape. They served us a pretty good breakfast. Left about 10:30. Bob decided to go to Boston with me. After seeing the business side of Providence in the daylight we caught a 12:00 express to Boston arriving there in less than an hour. It was a very good train. The New Haven seems to have a good road bed. Both Providence and Boston have old buildings in their business sections. Ate dinner at Child’s and then set out to find Bob Fuller. After quite a bit of travel on subways, street cars, and buses and then a walk of several blocks we found the house. Had quite an enjoyable few hours with Bob, Aileen and "Joe." After a light supper we had to leave. They drove us down to the station and we saw quite a bit of the vicinity on the way, Harvard and M.I.T. being on the route. Had another crowded train on the way back. Wandered around Providence again. Bob wanted to stop at the Masonic Temple. After a short visit there we got something to eat again and then found the proper line in which to stand for the Camp Endicott bus. The bus station was really a mad house. Arrived back in camp at 11:30 after what I thought was a very enjoyable weekend.
5/24. Mon. Everyone seemed to have a little trouble getting up this morning. Some more than others. Started in on dry fire today in preparation for rifle practice next week. This afternoon we were supposed to have been issued our carbines but ended up on the commando course instead. I went over everything this time and am real proud of myself. I was really whipped down when I had finished. After that we had some bayonet practice and that whipped me down the rest of the way. Spent the evening writing letters.
5/25. Tues. More dry fire this morning. Spent a portion of the morning out on the drill field practicing some of the firing positions. This afternoon we were issued our carbines. They are quite a nice little rifle. Very deadly yet weigh less than the ‘03 Springfield. This evening five of us started to the show and ended up on a 2 1/2 hour walk which took us to about every section of the camp.#
5/26. Wed. Spent the entire day today on dry fire and the use of the carbine. Most of the time on dry fire was spent in practice of what we would have to do on the range when we get to Sun Valley next week. This evening we had to go to another showing of a training film. Ended up getting to bed at 10:30 instead of 9:30.
5/27. Thurs. Still more dry fire today. This afternoon we went out on the 1000 inch range and shot 10 rounds on the twenty two rifles there. I did considerably better than I had expected. I got all ten shots on the target and they were not too scattered which is to say there were others that were worse. This evening we had a 12 hour liberty which I spent in East Greenwich with "Junior" Morgan. We spent some time at the USO where I checked on room possibilities for Lib. They have one of the nicest USOs that I have seen. We got into a Bingo game. I came out second place and am to have my picture taken the next time I am in town. Missed first place by a hair. Three of us tied and had to cut the cards to see who won first which was a phone call home. One fellow dropped out because he lived fairly close. The other fellow pulled a six and I pulled a five. Got back into camp at 12.
5/28. Fri. Another day on dry fire. It is getting a little monotonous but if it will make a good rifle shot of me I sure will stick with it. The planes from Quonset have been taking off in this direction all day and have had us really stretching our necks. Kate Smith is in camp tonight putting on a show. Didn’t go as I had to write Lib.#
5/29. Sat. Wound up all of the dry fire this morning and then proceeded to get packed up all our gear in preparation for moving to Sun Valley. They brought us over here in buses after noon chow. We really like it fine. We are living in Quonset huts and as usual I am in the first group to move into a place. All previous groups have had to come over here from Endicott each day by bus. It is about 5 miles away. This place makes us feel as if we were camping out. There are only 12 men to each hut sleeping on army cots. The only buildings here are these huts which seem to be very versatile. Food is prepared in one hut,* cooked and served in another, eaten in another, and dishes washed in another. The chow line and dirty tray line sometimes get crossed up. But that merely adds to the humor of the thing. Washed some clothes last night. After lights went out we had quite a time playing tricks on each other.
5/30. Sun. The bugler went out on liberty last night so we were awakened this morning by the guards blowing a whistle into each hut. Had all morning free so we busied ourselves building a table and bench for our hut. Used some insulation for upholstery. Had the table setting outside and sat there with Beck* with a sheet of paper having the boys sign up for Liberty Passes.* We were about mobbed when they found out we were kidding. In the afternoon we went over to the range to clean our rifles and after that on a work detail building stone gutters.#
5/31. Mon. Went over on the range and fired 15 rounds on my carbine this morning. It really worked quite well. Did better than I had thought I would. My sights are a little bit off but am getting them adjusted. Went on KP this afternoon. We get that for the whole week. Got on officers’ mess which means we will get plenty to eat. Should have received 12 hours’ liberty tonight but all leaves have been canceled while we are out here. We were all pretty hot. Roamed around the camp after KP to see how well built the fence is. It has possibilities.
6/1. Tues. We can’t figure out why they get us out so early in the morning when we don’t go anywhere any sooner than before, unless it takes longer to dish out chow. Fired on the 100 yard range again this morning to get our sights lined up. Then we fired for a score. Moved back to 200 yards and fired 10 rounds. I did better at that than I did at 100. Have been surprised at doing it as good as I have. My sights seem to be lined up in good shape. Messed around this afternoon as it was raining and I am on guard duty.
6/2. Wed. Stopped raining by the time I went on guard duty last night. Don’t mind this beat as much as ones I have had in the past. It covers so much territory that it is like a nice walk. Then too, the mess hall is on the route so that food can be had every now and then. Fired all morning on both ranges and all positions. Still doing fairly well. Tried to get out of work this afternoon because of guard again tonight but ended up going out on a detail loading trucks with trash. Had to go on from 5:30 to 8:30 tonight.
6/3. Thurs. My firing seems to be growing worse instead of better each day. Did not do so hot this morning. Spent this afternoon on the range watching another group fire and taking a sun bath. Had to go to a show on camouflage tonight. It was really hot in that place. Our period for guard came today at a time when there are no guards on duty so had a vacation from that job. Called Lib tonight - took two hours to get the call through - but that voice was really worth waiting for. She will meet me in New York Saturday night. Am I happy.
6/4. Fri. Fired this morning for qualification and I messed it up pretty bad. Only made 88 out of 200. As bad as it was, there were worse scores. It has really been hot today. Went back on the range again this afternoon to watch the firing. Had a payday today. Also more guard, as was to be expected. Was on from 8:30 to 12 again. Esposito* and I were in rare form for some reason and spent most of the evening playing tricks on people. Received our usual handout from the bakers.
6/5. Sat. Packed our bags this morning to get ready to move back to Endicott. Most of my company was put on the loading detail which meant loading the gear for the entire battalion on trucks. We got to ride back while the others had to walk. The sun has been very hot but a wind has blown - also it stirred up quite a bit of dust. A lot of us were in quite a hurry this afternoon because we had a 36 hour liberty starting. Missed the 6:00 train to New York and had to wait till 7. The bus driver really tried hard to get us to the train. Had a cop chasing us part of the way. Had to stand most all the way into New York. The train was really jammed. Hardly standing room. Arrived in New York at 11:30. Lib was waiting for me at the Bristol. She sure looked good. After getting cleaned up a little bit we went out to get me some supper and then a trek around Times Square, which sure looks barren without its lights.
6/6. Sun. Did not get up in too big a hurry this morning. It has turned out to be a beautiful day. Had breakfast just before going to Radio City to a broadcast. Then for some dinner which we finished at 2. Walked around some more, checking on transportation to East Orange and rounding up Lib's baggage. Caught train out of Hoboken at 6 for East Orange where we had supper with Ginny Miller and her family. Had quite an enjoyable visit with them. Caught train back to New York at 10:20 leaving Lib to spend a few days with Ginny. After riding on several subs I managed to reach Grand Central an hour and a quarter before train time. They would not let me on the train I had expected to catch, so got on another one which left at the same time but arrived in Providence a half hour later.
6/7. Mon. Fell asleep on the train as soon as I sat down. Train was a half hour late which gave us only a half hour to get to camp. Three of us tried to hire a cab to bring us out but were turned down so we got in a two block long line for the bus. Waited for three quarters of an hour before we could get on a bus. Arrived in camp 50 minutes late. There were about ten of us from the 93rd in the group. We were told at the gate to wait for an escort from the O.D.’s office. From the way the O.D. acted when we arrived, I think we will get out of being late OK. Started the morning off with a lecture on extended order. After that we went out in the field to practice extended order. Started out on the same thing this afternoon but were forced into a drill hall by the rain. Spent this evening washing some clothes. Watson and I are both expecting our wives on Friday, so are still worried about having been late this morning.
6/8. Tues. Spent the whole day on KP. The worst came this afternoon. Had to go before our Commander because of yesterday morning. Intended washing my dress blues but had to wear them. I ended up being spokesman for our group. We were all given 10 days’ restrictions which means we have to check in at the M.A.A.’s office 4 times a day and miss two 12 hour liberties. Watson and I are sick over it. Wrote Lib about the situation. Saw the Chief M.A.A., Bumguard, to see if something could be done. He is going to try to get one of our liberties back for the two of us. Really feel low tonight.#
6/9. Wed. Back on extended order again today. Sure did not feel like doing anything this morning. Went up to see Chief Bumguard at noon with Watson. Watson will get his Friday leave and I will get my Thursday (6/17) one. Chief can really ask me to do anything and it will be done. Felt a lot more like working this afternoon. Had to go to a lecture this evening and then caught up a bit on my correspondence.
6/10. Thurs. Another lecture this morning followed by extended order again. Worked on a field problem this afternoon. Really cleaned up tonight. Pressed all my blues and washed everything that was dirty. Had a blackout at 9:00.
6/11. Fri. More KP today. This is our liberty night so we got off at 1:30. Received a wire from Lib that she was on her way this noon. Spent the afternoon writing letters and getting cleaned up. Met Lib at the gate tonight. We both arrived there at about the same time. The guest house at the gate is really a popular place. Men and their wives were all over the place even sitting on the floor. Lib is staying in a cabin just the other side of East Greenwich. We had to part at 9:45 so she could catch a bus back. It is a nice feeling.
6/12. Sat. More KP again today. Pressed my whites during my two rest periods to get them ready should I want to use them all of a sudden. Managed to get out of the mess hall a little bit early tonight so I could get down to the gate to see Lib. Saturday and Sunday nights wives can come in to go to the show. We had a usual Navy line to stand in to get the proper credentials for admittance. Arrived at the show ten minutes late and had to sit on the very front row. Stopped at the mess hall on the way back to the gate and managed to get a piece of cake.
6/13. Sun. Almost forgot to report at 07:00 this morning. Spent the morning loafing and listening to a rendition of the articles for the Government of the Navy. Was able to get all my shoes cleaned up at that time. Messed around this afternoon. Lib and I went to another show tonight. She is getting a full taste of Navy lines now. Had to stand for an hour and a half to get into the show.#
6/14. Mon. This week we go out on work parties. Got on a detail today that did not have to do too much work. Moved cans of oil in the morning and shoes in the afternoon. A plane carrying depth charges* crashed on an ammunition dump at Quonset this afternoon. The explosion really shook the place. Spent this evening with Lib again.
6/15. Tues. Managed to get a fairly easy detail this morning. Had to clean up A-B recreation hall which was done fairly quick and permitted time to play a few games of checkers and dominoes. In the afternoon 4 of us were sent out to repair some roads in one of the other areas. Met Lib at the gate again tonight. The Guest House was really bulging with people tonight.
6/16. Wed. Had to get up at 4 this morning to go on a two hour fire watch. Got on the same cleaning detail this morning that I had yesterday. But caught the works this afternoon when I had to go out and help unload about 1500 bags of cement. Managed to get very dirty at it and ended up doing a little washing tonight as a result.
6/17. Thurs. Caught the A-B clean up detail for the third time this morning. This afternoon I went down on a drag line in a swamp as a helper. Enjoyed that job even though it was rather bumpy. Had liberty tonight. Caught a ride into East Greenwich and met Lib at the USO. Went out to her cabin which is fairly nice even though noisy because of the railroad. Took a walk down to Aponaugh.
6/18. Fri. Up at 5 this morning to catch a ride back to camp. Had no trouble getting a ride. Worked on the ball diamond in the morning and in the rock pit this afternoon. Had to load a truck with rocks by hand - some fun. Managed to get a sun bath out of it. Met Lib at the gate tonight. Have decided to go to Lake George on the 9 days. Played Gin Rummy most of the evening.
6/19. Sat. KP all day today. Met Lib at the gate tonight as usual and brought her in to a show. Got off KP a little bit early thanks to Hoenstine who took my place.
6/20. Sun. My first Sunday KP today. Was able to get my share plus a bit more of ice cream. Lib came out at 2 this afternoon and I spent my rest period this afternoon with her. This evening we went to the show again. Met C.W. Ramsey again with his wife who it turned out also went to Duke and sat next to Lib in Chapel for four years. Rode to the gate with them after the show. Saw Howard Diffenbacher this morning.
6/21. Mon. We spent today on extended order and had two pretty good sessions of it. Did better this afternoon than we did in the morning. Huckleberries will soon be ripe but probably too late for me to enjoy them. Had payday tonight. A mighty thin one to get just before a 9 day furlough. Had a blackout tonight which was received quite favorably at the Guest House. Saw Chuck Murray as Lib was leaving. Talked quite a while with him. Raper and Fulbright are reported to be up here now.
6/22. Tues. What a day this has been. Went out this morning on field fortifications. In two hours we built a slit trench and then a fox hole. Under fire we will probably take less time. The place where we dug soon will be nothing but a solid hole for others had been before us. The short shovels and picks are not the easiest tools to use but it is surprising the amount of work that can be done with them. After that we had another lesson in Judo. I sometimes wonder if we are getting sufficient training and then again wonder if we will remember all that we have received. This afternoon we hit the commando course and then bayonet practice. A most tiring day. No water this afternoon and we really wanted some too. Had 12 hours tonight which I spent with Lib in East Greenwich. Danced at the USO during the evening. It was terribly hot.
6/23. Wed. Up early this morning to bum back to camp. The first car picked me up so I got back in time to wash some clothes before chow. We were scheduled to go out on the bay in landing barges this morning to "take" an island but ended up hiking to Sun Valley. It was about 15 miles round trip. There were some sore feet before we got back. Had chow served in the field which tasted mighty good. Was put on guard duty at the bivouac and came back in the rear guard. No water on the way back except what we procured and the rear guard alone was able to get by with that. Made one stop at a beer joint where we filled our helmets with water and ice which we carried till it had been consumed. Had short arm as soon as we got back. Should have gone to a training movie tonight but there was vodvil in "EE". Not many of the men who started for the movie got there. It was funny watching the fellows fall out en route.
6/24. Thurs. Today was a repetition of Tuesday much to our sorrow. First Aid took the place of field fortifications. Had bag inspection tonight then met Lib at the gate where the only seats available were on the floor.
6/25. Fri. No one has felt much like doing anything today as the thoughts of getting ready for the 9 day leave have been too strong. I went to the first aid class this morning but skipped Judo. Ran into Norman Warner who came into the 99th this morning. He brought a little more news of the old "boot" crowd. Raper, Owenby, and Cooper are in the Marines at New River and Red Giles was surveyed out because of stomach ulcers. This afternoon we were supposed to get some more bayonet practice but most of us failed to arrive at the field. We were given from 3:00 on to get ready for tomorrow. Met Lib at the gate tonight for the last time. It was so hot and crowded in the Guest House that they opened up the little unfinished outdoor park for us. It was quite nice there except for the mosquitoes.
LIBerty in the Catskills!
6/26. Sat. We were awakened at the ungodly hour of 3:00 this morning. Had chow at 4 and then messed around till 6:45 when we had a muster. Most of us who were not traveling by special train were not supposed to get through the gate till 8 but we were through by 7. Met Lib in East Greenwich and we caught the bus on into Providence where she ate her breakfast in the station. The train to New York was very crowded and hot. Ate dinner en route as the diner was a fairly cool spot. Mother, Marion and Sadie were waiting for us in Grand Central but we failed to find them for several hours. We got messed up on our messages. Spent most of the afternoon in the Vanderbuilt lobby talking. After supper we all got our bags located. Sadie and Marion would not be able to see Rosalinda with us on Monday night so we changed their tickets to tonight. Mother went to Tenafly and Lib and I left for the theatre where we were to meet Helen and Larry Godbee to see Arsenic and Old Lace. It was a very good play. I was much surprised to find so much humor in it. Spent the night at Bayside with Helen and Larry.
6/27. Sun. I got up this morning just in time to eat breakfast and catch a train to New York and there by bus to Tenafly where I arrived rather late for dinner. The bus trip provided a wonderful view of New York from the Palisades. Spent the afternoon trying to keep cool and chatting. Marion and Norman left for New York about 4:30 where Marion caught a train back to Michigan. Uncle Arnold and Mother and I drove Sadie to Route 4 where Sadie caught the bus to Butler and where Lib arrived from Hawthorne. After a late supper we went to bed rather early for a change.
6/28. Mon. Went shopping with Uncle Arnold this morning and after lunch got off to a late start to New York. Went to Radio City Music Hall for quite a good show. The Rockettes far exceeded my expectations and I believe have ruined any future and similar performances by anyone else. I don’t see how any humans could have such precision. Between that show and Rosalinda, Lib and Mother had supper while I went to Grand Central and bought tickets to Albany and transferred Lib’s bag to the Day Line dock. I met them at the show where they had a sandwich for me. I enjoyed Rosalinda in spite of the building being un-airconditioned and Sadie and Mother being disappointed with it. Arrived back at Uncle Arnold’s quite late.
6/29. Tues. Up early again this morning to get to New York in time to catch the boat to Albany. We really had a wonderful trip up the Hudson. It was the most restful thing I have done in quite some time. The scenery was quite beautiful and the weather nice at the beginning and end of the trip. Ran into quite a squall at Storm King Mountain. Saw the upturned and burned "Normandie" at its dock and the "Gripsholn" anchored up the river. The latter is the ship that has been carrying diplomats between the warring nations. There were a bunch of kids on the ship from a camp in the Catskills who were getting the autographs of all servicemen on board. I was among the honored ones. Arrived in Albany just a few minutes late. After a meal in the station Mother’s train arrived. Ours was just a few minutes later. Had a wonderful air conditioned coach with reclining seats to Lake George where we were met by Mr. Kneeshaw. Arrived at Rondack Lodge at Bolton Landing where we are to spend the next few days and where we went to bed immediately. It is delightfully cool here.
6/30. Wed. Slept till 11:30 this morning and it sure felt good. Out for a walk this afternoon just rambling all over the place. It has been a very pretty and cool day – a decided change from the weekend. Changed clothes after supper and walked into town and back to the Algonquin trying to find a place to dance. Found the other people there quite free with their nickels in the juke box.
7/1. Thurs. Up in time for breakfast this morning. Had the Kneeshaws pack a lunch for us so that we could go row boating all day. Left about 10:30 and returned about 5:00. Had a very enjoyable trip even though the wind battered us around quite a bit and made it hard rowing. It was necessary at times for both of us to row to keep the boat on a straight course. Rowed about 12 miles round trip into Northwest Bay. Sky was quite variable. I did end up with quite a sunburn on my legs. Ate dinner with Jean and took her down with us for a short boat ride after. Returned the boat and wandered around the town for a while before returning to the Lodge.
7/2. Fri. Thought I would be sore from pumping the boat yesterday but find the only soreness on my legs from the sunburn. Had another lunch packed for us today so that we could climb a small mountain behind Lake George. It was a considerably shorter trip than we had thought it would be. It was quite steep in places. From the top we had a wonderful view of the lower portion of the lake. Returned to the Lodge in mid-afternoon so that we could take a sunbath on the dock. After supper we walked into the village with Jean, Arthur and Eileen Shelan from New York and Tom and Henrietta Oldham from Schnectedy. Started to the Sogamore for some refreshments. The entire hotel had been taken over by a realtors’ meeting so we stopped at the Bolton Lights. Did not stay long. Three of the realtors, Joe, Paul and Barney spent last night at the lodge and provided us with a lot of joking today.
7/3. Sat. Just messed around again today walking into town, sunbathing on the dock and playing shuffleboard with the others at the lodge. Shuffleboard has really been fun. Jean left today. This evening Lib and I went to the Algonquin to dance again. Shad flies came in from the lake tonight and really had the light poles covered. The six of us walked into town this evening and bribed a ride on the bus back to the lodge with a bottle of beer.
7/4. Sun. Today has seemed no more like the 4th of July than any other day. Loafed again doing little more than we did yesterday. Rained this afternoon so that we were confined to the lodge. Played parlor games most of the afternoon. Walked into town again this evening for some exercise. Have been kidding Norma, our waitress all during our stay, about wanting some more of the delicious apple pie which we had several times. This evening she bought me a piece while we were in town. I am saving it for breakfast tomorrow. Had a very rough hour in a canoe this morning. Water was rougher than when we were in the rowboat the other day. Am hating to leave this place to-morrow. Have had such great food and such a good time in spite of thin walls and squeaky bed springs. Arthur has been an exceptional lot of fun.
7/5. Mon. Had to get up a little bit earlier this morning so we could catch the train back to New York. Mr. Kneeshaw drove us into the station. There was quite a mob waiting for the train. We had a rather hot and uncomfortable ride down the river. No diner on the train and I got stuck buying sandwiches on the train but they were all that could be had. It has been cloudy all day. After getting our baggage straight in New York we went to the Crossroads café in Times Square and had a real enjoyable meal. From there we went to see Judy and her husband, a friend of Lib’s. Spent several hours visiting before heading back to Penn Station – racing a storm – where Lib caught her train home at 10:00. The mob to the train was terrible. It was a very sad parting. She is a wonderful gal. From there I caught the subway and managed not to get lost to Grand Central where my train left at 12:45.
7/6. Tues. Had a swell coach to Providence. Slept most of the way. Train was ten minutes early in arriving instead of late as it was the last time I rode it. Was back in camp by 6. We mustered after chow and I found myself on KP for the remainder of the day. Had no objections as I had quite a bit of laundry to do and KP is a good time to catch up on such things. Scuttlebutt has us leaving for Livermore, Calif. on Friday.#
7/7. Wed. Went back on KP again this morning but were relieved at noon by another group. Managed to get a fair quota of ice cream before being relieved. Were supposed to have returned our foul weather gear this afternoon but rain prevented that. The battalion had a dress parade this morning – the first outgoing one to have such a display. The boys looked pretty good. Co. C received a blue ribbon on its guidon for having the cleanest barrack. I would hate to see the others. Continued cleaning up this afternoon. Norman Warner dropped around for a while this evening. Also had pay day.
7/8. Thurs. Today was spent in doing little more than getting ready for a bag inspection this afternoon. Everyone seems to be in mighty fine spirits for leaving to-morrow. Were assigned to our trains and cars today for the trip. Went to a show tonight after getting my bags fairly well packed. Took a long time for this barrack to quiet down tonight. Even had to call in the D.O. to help straighten the place out.#
Training for California
7/9. Fri. Tonight is the night. Finished packing our bags this morning and stacking them for shipment. Then did nothing till 6 except messing around. Our train section mustered at 6 and marched to the train with the assistance of the band. Pulled out at 7 on the New Haven. Had 15 cars on the train. The Pullmans here are fairly dirty but will no doubt be dirtier when we get through with them. Turned in about 10.#
7/10. Sat. Woke up this morning on the Erie Railroad at Port Jarvis. Avoided New York City by going from New Haven to Newburgh. It was a beautiful ride through the Poconos. Reached Binghamton at 8. Ate breakfast while passing through Elmira. Saw the Gennese River Gorge from the rear of the train. The country flattened out as we neared the lakes. Reached Buffalo at 1:45 and crossed the Whirlwind Rapids and the Canadian border at 3. The Canadian National took over from that point. Gave us swell food and service in the diner. The homes along the railroads in Canada look so very much nicer than the ones in the same location in the States. Reached Sarnia at 7:30 and crossed back to the States by going under the St. Clair River to Port Huron, Mich. Grand Trunk picked us up at this point. Did not see much of Michigan as it was growing dark when we arrived there. Went to bed near Durant. #
7/11. Sun. Woke up this morning riding the Wabash about 35 miles south of Chicago. I did not wake up while we were there at all. Thought we were headed for St. Louis but cut off somewhere in Illinois toward Kansas City. The towns have grown smaller and the country flat. Arrived in Decatur, Ill. at 9:30 and there had some PT Passed through Springfield at 11:30. Crossed the Illinois River, which had recently gone over its banks, at 1:30. Crossed the Mississippi River at Hannibal, Mo. at 4. Spent about an hour in Moberly where we again had some PT Reached Kansas City at 10:10 where we spent an hour and a half. While there we fed the Army. One of their troop trains arrived in the station the same time we did from New York. They had been traveling in day coaches and were a tired, dirty-looking crowd. We gave them ice water, candy and cigarettes. After we left Kansas City I took a spit bath and washed my clothes.#
7/12. Mon. Woke up this morning in the middle of a Kansas prairie. Reached Hoising at 10:30 and there paraded around the town. Stopped again at Horace at 3. Got off the train to stretch and found it to be hot and windy. Very desolate looking country till we reached Ordway, Colorado at 6:15 where there were trees and vegetable gardens. Shortly after this town we began to sight the mountains. Reached Pueblo at 7:45 where we saw Pikes Peak about 50 miles away against a beautiful sunset. USO put books and magazines on board for us here. After leaving Pueblo we began to climb following the Arkansas River into the Royal Gorge. The trip was beautiful in moonlight. Stayed up until midnight watching the scenery from the rear platform.
7/13. Tues. This morning we woke up along the Colorado River. Passed through Glendale at 6:45 and Grand Junction at 9. The Rio Grande which we have been riding since Kansas City put on a diner which was a converted observation car. Passed through Green River, Utah at 12 where we learned we were about 10 hours late. Reached Helper at 1:45 and Soldier’s Summit at 3:30 where the elevation was about 7,000. Went from there down a series of horseshoe curves. Covered about 9 miles to get about one. Arrived in Salt Lake City at 5:00 and after walking around the station for an hour left on the Western Pacific. Followed the Great Salt Lake for an hour or more before heading off into nowhere.
7/14. Wed. Woke up this morning to find ourselves in a very desolate part of Nevada. Very flat country surrounded by mountains which we never seemed to reach. Passed through Battle Mountain at 6:30 and Winemucca at 8:00. Saw a number of wild geese and ducks. Rode in the cupola of the caboose for about three hours before noon chow. Crossed into California about 2:30. Vegetation changed at 3:30 when pine trees showed up. Saw a number of dead deer which had become hung on fences in trying to cross them. At Partola we stopped for a while at 5 and marched around the town for exercise. From there till dark we went down through the canyon formed by the Feather River. At one point the railroad made a complete 360 degree turn to cross under itself. Passed through about 35 tunnels. In one spot the right-of-way was being repaired from a freight train wreck.* One car was still down in the bottom of the gorge. Passed through Orville at dusk which was at the bottom of the mountains. Never got chow till 9:30. Had a good turkey dinner.#
CAMP PARKS, CA*
7/15. Thurs. Passed through Sacramento and Stockholm during the night and arrived at Camp Parks on the Southern Pacific at 5. Got set up in our barrack soon after arriving. Very cool. Sun put in its appearance at 9:30. Spent the day cleaning clothes and looking the camp over. Don’t expect we will be here so very long. Camp is new and fairly nice looking.#
7/16. Fri. Loafed this morning while the third section which arrived yesterday afternoon got its gear cleaned up. Clothes really dry in a hurry here. Wind is blowing constantly. Spent the afternoon on the drill field in close order formations. Went to the theatre this evening. A very attractive place. California doesn’t seem to agree with me. Caught a good cold since I have been here.
7/17. Sat. Over the commando course this morning. Quite a few of the fellows got good soakings. Had demonstrations on pack rolling later in the morning. This afternoon we were issued our packs and after spending some time getting them packed and adjusted, we went out on the drill field to get used to wearing them. Spent this evening writing a few letters.
7/18. Sun. Managed to get on a KP detail today. Have enjoyed working under the M.A. He has been on Guadalcanal for 8 months and won’t take any horseplay from anyone. I have eaten so much that I feel I could go for several hours without wanting very much.
7/19. Mon. Started this morning out with a trip over the commando course followed by another one of those lectures on hand grenades. After that there was a demonstration on judo in which the instructors really threw each other around. They fell and dived on and off the stage. In the afternoon there was a short hike to the rifle range and back. Had liberty tonight. Had to go through an inspection before we could leave camp. Pop Bradshaw* and I bummed a ride into Hayward and spent the evening there. Most of the fellows went into Frisco but I have not been feeling too good and wanted to get to bed fairly early. We wandered around the town for a while before eating. After chow we stopped at the Hospitality House where we played rummy till 11:30. Were back in camp at 12.
7/20. Tues. Our company went on public works today. I caught a cleaning detail in the Officers’ Quarters on the hill which turned out to be a cinch. Managed to get the work done in a hurry and took it easy the rest of the day. A blimp caused quite a bit of excitement this afternoon by trying to make two apparent landings on the drill field. Went to a show this evening.
7/21. Wed. Public Works again today. Caught the best detail I have had yet. Several of us went by truck with our lunches to Mission San Jose which was several miles beyond Hayward. We were out to dig some shrubbery to be brought back to camp. Dug all the available plants in record time. Ordered a case of beer to drink with lunch. I stuck to my water as usual. There were several fig trees and apricot trees in the vicinity. We ate all the ripe apricots and a few figs apiece and brought about a bushel of figs back with us. Loafed the afternoon away in a beer parlor with me eating ice cream while the others drank the beer.
7/22. Thurs. Started the morning off fairly early with another trip to the rifle range. This time to get some practice shooting. I did fairly well but not as good as I would like to. This afternoon we took what we were told was an 8 mile hike. Did not seem that long but from the way some of the fellows talked it sounded like a hundred and eight miles. Went to see another movie this evening.
7/23. Fri. Hit the commando course again this morning with a practice session on throwing hand grenades. Lost my bracelet somewhere in the rush. After that we put some of our Judo training into practice. Company C went out on a hill and fought it out. They took us to an embankment that was close to 200 feet high. In some places it was so steep that it was necessary to use a rope to climb it. Platoons 1,2, and 3 were designated to go to the top and defend a flag. 4, 5, and 6 were to attack and try to capture the flag which they did in a little over ten minutes - the second best time to date. There was a lot of tumbling and throwing around in the process. Two broken fingers were the only casualties. Took a short hike this afternoon and prepared for liberty tonight. Pop and I went off together again. This time we caught the Liberty Bus to Oakland and the street car across the Bay Bridge to Frisco. Could see the Golden Gate Bridge from there. It is a beautiful structure. Found Frisco to be as cold as it was 15 years ago. It looked very much the same. Ate at the Golden Pheasant on Powell Street and had a swell meal. Walked around the main portion of town before dropping in at the Stage Door Canteen. They had a free snack bar there and a good army band playing for a dance. After that we wandered around the town some more before heading back to camp at 12:30 where we arrived at 2:30.
7/24. Sat. Up early this morning to go out on the 300 yard firing range. Was afraid I would not do so well after a night out and a very strong wind blowing across the range. But I did better than on the 100 or 200. Seems I do better the farther I get from the target. Did nothing more than clean my carbine this afternoon. Have very poor facilities here for that. Had a dance here tonight. It was very nice. Four bus loads of girls were brought in and there was a good band. Stayed there for two and a half hours and never danced. Came back and went to bed at 11:30.
7/25. Sun. Back on Station force KP again today. As last Sunday, I ate too much.
7/26. Mon. Spent today on extended order. Managed to get my arms pretty scratched up crawling on the straw stubble. Received my first mail from Lib in a week today. The mail system here is terrible.
7/27. Tues. More extended order again today. Crawled all over the fields this morning. This afternoon security of a bivouac was stressed. Had liberty tonight. Stopped in Oakland this trip but could find very little to do. Frisco seems to be the best place to me. Looked Oakland over for a while on foot and ended up going to a show.
7/28. Wed. Went off on a problem this morning. Our company split up to take offensive and defensive positions. I don’t know who won but we had a swell walk up through a ravine. Had a short lecture after chow and then started crawling some more. Went to a show this evening.
7/29. Thurs. Went on regimental guard this morning. Had a fairly easy post. Not much excitement. Washed clothes for part of the afternoon. More guard duty tonight from 8-12. I am glad my shifts do not come any farther into the night. I would really have to haul my pea coat out if it did. Beautiful sunset.
7/30. Fri. This day has been passed the same as yesterday. This evening Johnny, the chef at McNeills Cafeteria, donated a cup of coffee and two pieces of raisin pie to help me last my shift out. Have felt very miserable today. A number of the fellows here have had sick stomachs and loose bowels. Ate nothing till evening chow.
7/31. Sat. Got stuck on the cleaning detail this morning. Did not mind so much as it gave me a little spare time and there were a few things around here that I wanted to do. Had a lecture on map reading this afternoon. A 36 hour liberty started at 5:30. Bob Minor and I bummed into Oakland. Rode most of the way with our Commander Lynn.* Landed in Frisco at seven and found the hotel situation very unfavorable. Dropped into the USO where we were referred to the Harbor Club at 32 Clay Street which is sponsored by a writers and artists association in Frisco. It was a very nice place. Made our reservations for the night and started out with two soldiers to see the town. One was Jimmy Session - a former roommate of Bob’s whom he had not seen in seven years. The other boy was from Texas. Rode the cable car up California Avenue to the Mark Hopkins on Nob Hill. Rang the car bell all the way up the hill. Went to the top of the Mark where we had a good view of the town at night. From there we took a cab to the International Settlement where we visited a picture gallery and a clip joint by the name of Monaco’s Theatre Restaurant. The stage show consisting of a community sing and a hobby horse race by three of the customers with a bottle of wine for a prize. We sold out of there as fast as we could and went to a midnight show. Got to bed at two.
8/1. Sun. Were served waffles and coffee for breakfast. An elderly woman who had studied piano extensively waited on us. With a little persuasion we got her to play for us. She was really good. Left the Harbor Club and boarded the California Cable car again. This time we rode it up and down the hills to the end of the line. Tex left us there to go to Berkeley to keep a date. We boarded another car and went out to the beach and Seal Rocks where we found it was very cold and windy. By the time we had looked the beach over thoroughly, Jimmy had to leave. Bob and I rented bicycles and took a two hour spin through Golden Gate Park where we visited the Aquarium, De Young Museum, and the Tea Garden. We had a few sore muscles below the waist when we arrived back on the beach. From there we went by street car to the Presidio and the base of the Golden Gate bridge. Another street car ride put us close to Chinatown which we walked through and on to the Golden Pheasant for another good meal. After cleaning up a bit at the USO we went to the Stage Door Canteen where we remained till ten. The employees of the Pacific Telephone Co. had a very good orchestra and stage show. Caught the "A" train at 10:45 and landed back in camp at 12:30 rather weary.
8/2. Mon. Managed to stagger over the commando course and sit through a few lectures this morning. This afternoon everyone went out on a hike except Company C. We were selected by "the instructors because of our outstanding effort in training" to perform on the commando course for a general, admiral, senator, and a Life photographer who were to arrive by blimp. The blimp flew over but did not stop. We were told it had been temporarily canceled and were dismissed. Spent the evening writing letters.#
8/3. Tues. Went off on an all-day hike today. Were told we were going 23 miles but I don’t think it was that far. Started out toward Mt. Diablo. There were plenty of sore feet before the day was over. We took only a canteen of water and Ration K. We found some trees at noon and stopped for an hour. I had a breakfast ration. It included a tin of chopped pork and eggs and was fairly tasty. Also a fruit bar, two packages of dry cookies, enough coffee for two cups, and four cigarettes. There were variations of this in other packages.
8/4. Wed. Something new has been added. Had payday on the Navy’s time this morning rather than in the evening on our own. After pay we had a field day which gave me plenty of free time till 3 this afternoon as I had gotten every thing washed up last night. At 3 we mustered and had close order drill for the remainder of the afternoon. Gave up my liberty tonight so that I could try to get off to buy Lib a birthday and anniversary present. Had expected to get a lot of letters written this evening but spent most of the time chewing the fat with Hale.*
8/5. Thurs. Took a little time this morning to make another trip over the commando course. Had a few lectures and then some judo. Very few casualties this time. This afternoon we practiced tent pitching. I always get a place where the ground is hard and breaks all my stakes.
8/6. Fri. More lectures this morning - mostly review of what we already had. Word came out this noon that all liberties will stop at 5:00 on Sunday which sort of cuts Company C short. Looks as though we will be shoving off for Hueneme on Monday. Went out on a detail this afternoon to build some boxes.
8/7. Sat. Ended up on a KP detail again today. Our Company’s four best gold bricks ended upon the pots and pans detail which kept them quite busy. They were constantly on each other’s throats all afternoon for fear one would not be doing as much work as another. After we had finished up for the day I spent the evening with Siggelkow* playing ping pong.
8/8. Sun. Up early this morning so we could get as early a start on our 9 hour (cut from 22) liberty. Siggy and I went out together. Caught an Oakland liberty bus as we were going through the gate. An "A" train was waiting in Oakland so we made good time into Frisco. Went immediately to the Greyhound bus station where we boarded a bus to Mills Valley which carried us across the Golden Gate Bridge. The tops of the bridge piers were shrouded in fog. From Mills Valley we started walking through a beautiful grove of redwoods toward Muir Woods, when we were picked up by a couple in a car. Instead of going on to the woods as we had planned we went on for a ride with them up to Stimson Beach. Our route carried us over some very rugged terrain and part way up Mt. Tomalpias which is now closed and being used as a military reservation. The crooked railroad has passed on. From Stimson Beach we returned to Frisco by way of a shore route. Our adopted friends dropped us off about three blocks from the bus station. Our bus back to camp was scheduled to leave at 3, but when it did not arrive we began to get a bit worried. After seeing the dispatcher and making him realize how important it was for us to be in camp by 5 he dug up an extra bus and agreed to shoot us straight back to camp. We lacked 20 seats of filling the bus up but by the time we left Oakland we were plenty full. Made a few stops en route to pick up a few worried stragglers. Our bus put us at the gate at 4:45. The barrack was really a noisy place tonight. Had not realized a crowd could get so noisy on only a 9 hour liberty. Siggy and I went to a show to get away from it all. Partially packed my bags after the show.
8/9. Mon. Up before breakfast this morning because I had to have all my gear packed before going on KP. We were relieved from KP for the day at 1:30 after the mess hall had been thoroughly cleaned. Wrote letters and took a shower and then early chow. Left Camp Parks at 5:05 on the Southern Pacific. Had been on board only a short time when we were issued, through the courtesy of the Red Cross, a ditty bag containing a book, deck of cards, cigarettes, matches, stationary, chewing gum, soap and soap box, shoe polish, sewing kit, razor blades, and a few other items. Later in the trip they passed out candy bars. Had reclining seat cars of a non-too-recent vintage - marked primarily by their gas lights which were so feeble they barely helped show you the way through the car. After quite a session of singing we sort of began going to sleep.
CAMP ROUSSEAU, HUENEME, CA
8/10. Tues. Woke up this morning riding along the coast. Arrived in Camp Rousseau, Hueneme, CA at 8 this morning. I think we have struck another dust bowl. Have Quonset huts to live in. There are 9 men in each hut which I like a heck of a lot better than the company barracks. While I was out the boys played a trick on me this morning and delegated me as the hut captain. Have spent most of the day loafing around on our cots. #
8/11. Wed. Most of the morning was spent in "A" Theatre listening to the "word" of welcome from the commander of the base. This afternoon had some close order drill and a first aid lecture. Went to a show tonight.
8/12. Thurs. Spent the entire day today out on the rifle range practicing dry fire. Our lunch was brought out by truck. No sun all day today. Went to a show again today.
8/13. Fri. Back to the rifle range again today for actual firing. Did the best shooting today that I have done so far. Were in a big hurry to get back into camp because we had liberty tonight. I went into Oxnard and saw most of it in a very short time. From there I bummed over to Ventura where the mountains almost come out of the ocean. After wandering around for a while I met up with a sailor from the regular Navy. The two of us went to a dance at the USO where he danced and I watched. Bummed back to Oxnard in very short order where I caught a Navy bus into camp. Managed to be in bed by 12:45.
8/14. Sat. Had an inspection in our dress blues this morning. Spent the remainder of the morning cleaning up in and around the hut. Had this afternoon off. Spent most of the afternoon washing clothes which had gotten a little bit ahead of me. After chow I went to the show.
8/15. Sun. Today was our own as well as yesterday afternoon. Messed around doing a few odd jobs this morning till church time. Four of us went to the Chapel which is a converted Quonset type warehouse with some modifications. The assisting Chaplain was Jack Courage from the 92nd who was in U.F.A. at the same time I was. We talked for a few minutes after the services. Spent this afternoon writing letters and went to the show this evening.
8/16. Mon. We went to a movie this morning on the manual of arms which I think we should have had back in boot. After that we had some close order drill. This afternoon we went out in a dusty field to practice pitching our tents. More letter writing this evening.
8/17. Tues. Caught guard duty as my two day detail. Have had to move my bedding to the guard house which we are not supposed to leave. On top of that I would get the 12-4 shift. Everything went without incident today. My post was the longest one of the bunch. We even have to sleep with all our clothes on.
8/18. Wed. Don’t get very much sleep on this guard detail. Today ran about the same as yesterday.
8/19. Thurs. Our battalion and two or three others were called at 11:30 last night to repel a mock invasion. I was on duty at the time so did not get in on it. They never got back till 3:30 this morning. Because Company C did so well last night we had this morning off. I spent part of the morning getting a liberty lined up for this afternoon to add onto my 12 for tonight. Went into Oxnard where I grabbed a bite to eat and had power of attorney for Lib notarized. From there I hitchhiked over to Ventura where I failed at trying to find something for Lib. Ended up sending her an album of records. Then wandered around the town till six when I met Siggy, Nestlerode,* and Watson. We ate chow and then dropped into the USO to see what was doing for the evening. While there we were caught on a minor work detail - carrying several buckets of dirt to the second floor. Ended up at a dance at the Civic Auditorium where Norman and I watched while the others danced. Before the dance was over the two of us left for a while to go up to town. Met the Ventura District Attorney who would have bought drinks till we were drunk had we been willing to do so. After the dance we found some food and then headed toward camp. Managed to squeeze into the last bus back to camp - and I do mean squeeze.
8/20. Fri. Had a little extended order this morning on the dustiest field I have seen so far. This afternoon we went out on a hike that covered about ten miles. Got in from the hike at 4:30 and at 4:45 had to eat early chow so we could go to the L.S.T. dock to help unload a boat of food. Finished up our end of the job at 10:30. Very tired.
8/21. Sat. Had our usual Saturday morning inspection the first thing. Messed around for the remainder of the morning except for bucking the pay line. This afternoon Fay* and I went down to the docks to look around for ourselves. Saw very little. Went to a show tonight.
8/22. Sun. On KP today. It will be the last, for a permanent KP detail has been formed and they will take over tomorrow.
8/23. Mon. Had to go to another training film this morning and then a little close order drill for the remainder of the morning. Hiked out to the rifle range this afternoon and went over the commando course. Had a 12 hour liberty tonight. Siggy and I went into Oxnard where we did little more than walk around.* Were back in camp by 10.#
8/24. Tues. What a place to be spending a third wedding anniversary. Had a beautiful letter from Lib this noon. Were issued our gas masks this morning. Went out this afternoon to practice with them and to learn how to pack a heavy pack. Went to a show this evening.
8/25. Wed. Was all set to go out on the hike this morning when I was called out to go to work in the Battalion Construction office. Spent the entire day checking interviews and classifying the personnel. I am at least fairly close to a drafting board now.
8/26. I guess I am on the office job for a while now. It seems to be a semi-permanent detail. There is a lot to be done in classifying
8/27. Fri. On top of what we have been doing we spent part of today interviewing about thirty men who are replacements in the Battalion fresh from Peary. Another show tonight.
8/28. Sat. We only worked for a couple of hours this morning. Knocked off at 10:30 to get ready to go on liberty. Siggy and I went in together to Hollywood. Caught the first bus out of camp and arrived in town at 1:15. Went to the USO as soon as we arrived to see about a room and found one right across the street from the bus station and only a block from the USO. After getting tickets for the Orson Welles Mercury Wonder Show* we went to Radio City and got tickets for the Hit Parade broadcast. For the afternoon we took a bus ride to Beverly Hills which we found to be a most beautiful place. We dropped in at the USO in the swanky Beverly Hills Hotel where we consumed their refreshments and watched the swimmers in the pool. Returned to Hollywood in time for the broadcast which we discovered to feature Frank Sinatra who seems to have taken the hearts of all the women out here. There were only a handful of men in the audience. He was good but not particularly outstanding in my mind. After getting some chow we headed for Orson Welles’ tent show. A bus driver headed in that direction stopped to pick up on the way what amounted to almost a bus load and would accept no fares.
Welles’ show was rigged up like a regular circus with all the trimmings. Charlie Chaplain was in the audience. All service men were admitted free while civilians paid from $1.65 to 5.50 for what few seats were available to them. Welles has proved to me to be a most versatile character. Tonight he was a magician and performed all the tricks in the books. Assisting him were Joe Cotton and Marlene Dietrich. A few cracks came from the audience every now and then and for each one Welles had an answer. After the show we went to the Stage Door Canteen where Kay Kaiser was putting on one of his usual programs. After the canteen closed we went to the USO to write our wives letters.
8/29. Sun. Woke moderately early this morning so that we could go to church. Went to the Hollywood Lutheran. After the services we were asked to go to the L.A. Lutheran Services Servicemen’s Center for dinner which we did and found it to be fine. Had roast lamb and all the dessert we could put away. It was one of the best meals that I have had in quite some time. While there I met one of the soldiers that we had watered and fed in Kansas City on our way from Endicott to Parks, also a friend of Annie’s* Jim who was drafted at the same time. From there we took a bus to Griffith Park where we wandered around for quite some time and took in the zoo. Bummed a ride up to the observatory and planetarium. We went back into Hollywood from the mountain top and to the Hollywood canteen. Had to stand in line for a while before we could get in. There was a dance orchestra composed of workers from aircraft plants which played a while for dancing. Kay Kaiser was back again, this time as master of ceremonies. Hoagy Carmichael played the piano and sang a few of his songs including Stardust. Jimmy Durante was there too, with some of his stooges, and did a good job of entertaining. From the Canteen we went to the Playtime Theatre on tickets given us by the USO for a series of short plays. Joan Leslie and Deanna Durbin were at the Canteen and there were several stars at the theatre whose faces were familiar but not their names. After the plays we found something to eat and then went to the bus station to find out about getting back to camp. The tickets we had were good only on the special bus leaving at 4 am. We wanted to be in bed by that time so bought a ticket on the regular bus where there was standing room only. I pulled a suitcase from the rack to sit on and Siggy crawled into the rack and went to sleep. We took a taxi from Oxnard into camp and got to bed about 3:30.#
8/30. Mon. Felt rather sleepy this morning - for obvious reasons. Spent the day in the office again working on the classification files. Wrote several letters tonight and got to bed a little early.
8/31. Tues. Was pulled from the office this morning along with three others* to work at the docks figuring the cubic feet and weights of our provisions. Made pretty good time at it. Went to a show tonight.
9/1. Wed. Back to the docks again this morning. Guess we have this job until it is done. It is not a bad one either. Could be a lot better if the officers would leave us alone. Some of the fellows are getting into cans of our provisions and eating them. Had liberty tonight. Went into Oxnard with Siggy. Stopped at the USO long enough to write our wives a letter and get tickets to a dance. Siggy danced and I watched. Were back in camp before midnight.
9/2. Thurs. It was a state of utter confusion on the docks this morning and we got very little done. Began to get straightened out this afternoon.
9/3. Fri. Had a whole warehouse to ourselves today and were able to get a lot of work done for a change. Did more today than the other days put together. Received a birthday package from Lib today.
9/4. Sat. Managed to get quite a bit of work done this morning before it was time to come back in for pay. Went back out again this afternoon. Show tonight. Package from Mother today.
9/5. Sun. Somehow or another I was permitted to sleep until 8:45 this morning. Has been a very dismal day. Washed some clothes this morning. This afternoon Siggy and I went over to the Maritime area to see the ocean and a movie. The waves were not running as high as the last time we were over there. Managed to get back to our area in time for chow. Started to go to another show tonight but got so disgusted with the line that we left. Wrote a few letters instead.
9/6. Mon. Back to the job of cubing crates at the dock again today. Don’t have Benedict* with us as he has gone to Hollywood on a detail to work on the Canteen down there. Almost finished up with the warehouse we have been working on. Went to a show tonight. The 71st across the street is making a noise tonight. They are leaving tomorrow.
9/7. Tues. Finished the warehouse and started on another today. Went over to the Maritime Building this noon with Fay to buy a few things. Got sort of wet from the waves splashing on the rocks unexpectedly. Went into Oxnard on liberty tonight. Did little more than get a good steak to eat. Two from our hut had a pretty wild night. Had my picture taken while in town.
9/8. Wed. Woke up this morning feeling no different from yesterday and I am a year older. Had to put on our dress blues and parade to the Maritime building where the 93rd was formally commissioned Acorn 15. The announcement that Italy had surrendered was made at the same time. Went back to work again this afternoon but there was very little to do. Tonight at supper the cake was cut which was "built" in honor of the commissioning of Acorn 15. It weighed 593 pounds and was 14 layers high in the center. It was really decorated. I got my piece when it was 8 layers high. Went to a show tonight. It was really funny.
9/9. Thurs. Back on the same job today. We were really rushed all day long. Chow has improved considerably in the past few days. There was plenty of room for improvement.
9/10. Fri. Spent today very much as the past few days. Liberty tonight. Went into Oxnard where I ran into Fay. We decided to go to Ventura and in short order were there. Spent most of the evening writing letters. Managed to be in bed by 12.
8/11. Sat. Our detail lasts all day on Saturdays the same as any other day. Went to a show tonight.
9/12. Sun. Got all my laundry up to date this morning and then read for the remainder of the morning. This afternoon Fay and I went to "Splinter City" to look the place over, then to the Maritime building to a show. This evening was spent packing my bags for the big move tomorrow morning.
9/13. Mon. Up early this morning so I could get my bedding rolled and packed. While we were at work all our stuff was moved. Our new quarters in "Splinter City" are very crowded. Had liberty tonight so got very little done toward getting straightened out. Went into Oxnard and found that most everything was closed on Monday nights. Wandered around for a while then went to a show. Caught the 12:00 truck back to "Splinter City."
9/14. Tues. Back on the same job today. There was quite a bit today. Liberty again tonight. Went to Ventura with Fay. Had a good meal and while he was skating I wrote Lib and sent her a telegram. Rode the bus to Oxnard. Terribly foggy tonight.
9/15. Wed. Almost worked us to death today. Spent this evening getting shelves and clothes straightened. Am fixed up in pretty good shape now. Fay and I took a walk down on the beach to the breakwater - A very good place to go to get out on unauthorized liberties. Saw a seal playing around in the water.
9/16. Thurs. There was not a great deal to do today. Things seem to have slowed up considerably in coming in. Fay and I went to Ventura again tonight. He went roller skating and I went to a show after we had eaten supper. I spent the remainder of the evening writing Lib. Were in bed by 12.
9/17. Fri. Had another light day today. Hardly enough to keep us warm. Was sent out on another detail tonight to unload a boat. By the time they got down to our stuff the winch broke down and we went to bed.
9/18. Fri. After inspection in our dress blues this morning we hit the pay line, and then were fidgety till we got our liberty cards. Fay and I caught the first truck into town and were lucky to get a bus that was just pulling out for L.A. Got off in Hollywood and had lunch. Ran into Breuninger. Fay went on into L.A. and Carl and I went hunting for a room. Found one at a Swedish Bath House. Scouted around town for a while and ended up at a broadcast which featured Otto Krueger and Gayle Paige. After eating supper we went to a newsreel show. Carl went from there to the Playtime Theatre which shows I had seen before and I went to the Hollywood Canteen. Marion Martin seemed to be the main character there. Jon Gray and Edgar Kennedy were also on hand. Wrote Lib a letter while I was waiting for Carl to get out of his show. Then we got a waffle and went to bed.
9/19. Sun. Up fairly early this morning and took a good steam bath followed by a cold shower. After breakfast we went to the N.B.C. Studios to get tickets to the Charlie McCarthy broadcast but were too late. Took a street car to L.A. to see the Mexican Section on Olvera Street. Did not feel very hungry this noon so we just ate a milk shake and sandwich. Spent the afternoon at the USO where a two hour show was put on that was very good. We caught a bus at 6:30 and started back to camp. Came back by the coast route which was very pretty. Spent a few minutes in Oxnard before proceeding into camp. Baker* and I tried to fry some of the ham that Lib sent me the other day but could not get into the galley.
9/20. Mon. We were kept pretty busy today with a lot of small crates. Wrote letters and washed clothes this evening.
9/21. Tues. Business was rather slack on the docks today for most of the time but when stuff came in it really came. Took it fairly easy this evening. Went down to the fire boat deck and watched quite a gang try to catch some fish. Got tired watching and turned in to read.
9/22. Wed. Moved over to Dock 13 today as we have started filling that place up now. Went to Ventura tonight and spent the entire evening writing letters.#
Last Liberty: Yosemite
9/23. Thurs. Booster typhoid and tetanus shots today. Everyone is quite excited as we are getting a special liberty next week from Wednesday night to Monday morning. Some of the fellows want to fly home. Were kept quite busy today. Spent the evening reading and writing.
9/24. Fri. Arrived in Camp Peary six months ago – seems longer than that. Kept us in pretty much of a strut today. Went into Oxnard and Ventura tonight with Carl and Fay. Got my pictures from the photographer and spent the remainder of the evening writing Lib.
9/25. Sat. Most everyone has been either on guard duty or on leave today. Very little going on at the docks. Fay and I were supposed to go on guard duty but managed to get off. Were reprimanded by our company commander for going over his head. This afternoon we even had to run the fork truck ourselves. After washing a mess of clothes this evening and putting more to soak I tried to catch up on some of my reading.
9/26. Sun. Was hauled out of bed at 11 last night to get a telegram from Lib containing the money I wired her to send me for my 4-day liberty. Went down to work this morning. Did not have a great deal to do. Went over to the Maritime Building this afternoon. Wrote tonight.
9/27. Mon. Back on the ball again today but without a great deal to do. Spent most of the day driving a fork truck. Spent part of this evening in Oxnard at the USO writing. Became too hot for me there so I left but only after catching a little cold first. Siggy and I went back to camp to a show.
9/28. Tues. Really had plenty to do all day today. Were almost snowed under. Wrote letters in Ventura for most of the evening.
9/29. Wed. Swamped again today. Had payday at 5:30 this morning. Quit work at noon to get ready for our 4-day leave. Carl and I managed to get off the base at 2. Caught the bus in Oxnard at 5 for Merced. Rode through some very rugged country. Lots of orange groves.
9/30. Thurs. Passed over several ridges and through Bakersfield and Fresno. Seemed we stopped every hour for a "twenty" minute rest stop. Arrived in Merced at 3:45 this morning only to find that it was inadvisable to take the train to Yosemite at 5:15. Then came the problem of passing the time till 2 this afternoon. Spent the wee hours looking the town over. After breakfast we did the same thing by daylight. Cleaned up at the USO which is one of the nicest I have visited. Had coffee with two of the hostesses. Caught the bus at 2 and arrived at Yosemite Lodge at 5 after a very pretty ride through rough country. Since Curry was closed and the Navy had taken over Awhanee, the only place left to stay at was the Yosemite Lodge where we got one of the little cabins. Had two swell beds. After chow in the lodge we took a walk and filled up with good mountain air. And then to bed.
10/1. Fri. Really did a good job of sleeping last night. Don’t know when we have had such a good one. After chow this morning we rented bicycles and spent the entire day riding over the entire valley. Doubt if there was any place which we missed. Were able to rent a camera and take a few pictures. One thing bad about the Valley this time of the year is that most of the falls are dry and Mirror Lake almost dry. Were ready to stop pumping bicycles at 5. After chow we took a short walk and then saw movies at the lodge on the Park and surrounding Sierra region. Met "Topsy." Quite a character, about four and a half feet tall and in her seventies. She spent all her time at the Park. Owned a ranch up in the high country and was in charge of the ski lodge at Badger Pass. We talked with her for quite a long time. She wanted us to stay at her cabin and have a dinner for us but we had other plans.
10/2. Sat. Spent today on a mule trip to Glacier Point. On the bus to Happy Isles where we boarded the mules we met Julie, a very humorous individual from Vienna. Every thing she said drew a laugh. The biggest was no doubt when she asked Carl and me if we were Catholic priests. For the rest of the day we were Father Brueninger and Father Conner. Had a beautiful trip up the trail by Vernal and Nevada Falls. Every turn in the trail brought a new view. Reached Glacier Point shortly after noon and roamed around up there till 2:15 when we returned by way of the four-mile trail which was very steep and made the saddle sort of hard sitting. Arrived back in the Valley at 4:15. Had a Javanese and a mining engineer from Frisco in our party. Ate supper with the engineer, Fred Pratt, and went to another lecture in the lodge with him. After the lecture the three of us went in by his car to Camp Curry to watch the Firefall from Glacier Park. It was beautiful. #
10/3. Sun. Hated to have to catch the bus at 8:30 this morning and leave the valley. Ate breakfast with Pratt and Julie. She as yesterday kept us going. Told us about the operas she had translated and stories she had written in poetry. Topsy was at the bus to see us off as she had said she would. Found when we arrived in Merced we had been misinformed about a bus to Oxnard. We had missed it. After a brief visit at the USO we caught a 12:30 bus south. At 9:30 in the evening we got off at Newhall Ranch to start bumming back to camp. Made it in three jumps, the last in an open truck to Ventura where we caught the one o’clock liberty bus back to Splinter City.
Looking West to The East
10/4. Mon. Back to the old job again on the docks. What a letdown after the past few days. Spent the evening writing a few letters.
10/5. Tues. Spent a long day on the docks – from 7:30 this morning till midnight. Stuff has really been rushing through.
10/6. Wed. Another day on the docks and tonight what probably will be our last liberty for some time to come. Spent a little time in Oxnard shopping, then to Ventura to write some letters. Back to Camp on the 11:00 liberty bus.
10/7. Thurs. Another day like Tuesday. From 7:30 till midnight.
10/8. Fri. We were secured this morning at 6:30 which means no more liberty unless we go over the fence. Spent the entire morning getting foul weather gear and on inspection of our field equipment. After chow this noon we had a bag inspection and then went out on another spending spree to get extra toothpaste, soap and such. Became so disgusted today with all the silly inspections that Fay and I have decided to do no more night work unless someone comes after us to do it.
10/9. Sat. More cubing and weighing today. Our boat came in today. There was a bunch of us at the docks to watch it arrive. Barracks have been mighty noisy the past few nights with accordions, violins and crap games. Boys are beginning to have their heads shaved.
10/10. Sun. Spent practically the entire day – that is after we stood colors this morning – writing letters. Am trying to get everything answered that I have not done so far. Never wrote so many letters in such a short time.#
10/11. Mon. Spent today in a combination of working and shopping. Have started buying extra things to take with me when I leave.
10/12. Tues. Worked this morning for the last time. Wound everything up on palletizing. Went to the main area this afternoon to buy some more items. Started packing our seabags tonight to get them ready for loading on the boat tomorrow. Pretty noisy tonight.
10/13. Wed. Had an inspection and review this morning that did not amount to very much. Spent part of the day eating ice cream as it will no doubt be a long time before I will get any more. Some of the boys have been drinking pretty heavy today. Went out on the breakwater to read for a while this afternoon. The 90th pulled out while we were there. This evening has the making of an all night session.
10/14. Thurs. Today is the day we have all been waiting for. Up pretty early this morning to get our remaining gear packed and ready to board our ship. Was afraid I would have a lot to carry – I did. Felt like a pack horse. When we reached the docks we had to add our duffel bags to our load. Boarded the boat at 9:05 and what a job. Thought I would sink through the deck with what I had. Am bunked on the first deck. Is very cramped with bunks four high. Where I am it is so dark it is impossible to read or write in the bed. Had to stay in our bunks for some little while to facilitate loading operations. Went topside till noon chow. I really think we are in for a chow line now with about 1700 men using the one line. Our ship is a freighter built in Germany for the Danes, named the Perida. Weighed anchor at 3:15 with our band playing on the main deck. Everyone was topside to watch us leave. Headed south. Some of the boys were feeling a little sick before the evening was very far along. Felt a little dizzy at times myself but spent as much time as possible in the open air. Went to bed at 8:30.
10/15. Fri. Quite hard to keep up with the deck this morning. Ocean seems fairly calm but the ship rolls quite a bit. Some pretty white looking faces around today. Ran into a number of fog banks during the day. Chow hall still sweating from condensation of the steam from the galley. Almost necessary to wear foul weather gear to keep dry. Salt water is no fun to wash in. I fear we shall all need a good soaking when we reach land. Considerable amount of speculation as to where that land will be.
10/16. Sat. Still maintaining my equilibrium. Except for Thursday night’s dizzy spells I have been feeling fine. A number of the fellows have been spending all of their time in their bunks or feeding the fish. Have been spending as much time as possible topside reading and roaming around. Was put on guard duty today for the remainder of the voyage. Will be on one day and off two. Had the 12 – 4 watch today. Am really enjoying the roll of the ship.
10/17, Sun. Had movies last night but I went to sleep to make up for what I would not get in the middle of the night. Other than being very sleepy I enjoyed my 12 – 4 watch last night. The moon was very pretty. Spent most of this morning writing a letter to Lib. Everyone seems to be getting over their sickness now. Spent most of the entire afternoon topside reading and taking a sunbath. The orchestra gave a concert after noon chow and the band gave one later in the afternoon. Sat on the deck quite a while tonight just looking. Another movie. Time is to change at midnight for the second time on this voyage.
10/18, Mon. Have done quite a bit of rolling around today but everyone seems to be weathering it ok. Spent most of the day sitting in my favorite haunt on the landing barge, reading and this evening, star gazing.
10/19, Tues. Another day like yesterday. The wind seems to be changing quite a bit now which does away with the swells so that we are having a much smoother ride. Saw numerous flying fish today. Went on guard at 8 tonight. A pretty good shift. Was on duty in the mess hall but had a cool spot.
10/20, Wed. Had a fairly good shower last night while I was on duty. Some of the fellows went out in it and took a bath. Back on guard at 8 this morning. The Shellbacks began to take over the ship today in preparation to our crossing the Equator. A warning went out to be clean-shaven but I shall try to hold on to my beard. A beautiful sunset tonight.
10/21, Thurs. Spent today as usual and was not worried by the Shellbacks as some of the other Pollywogs were. Something crazy was going on all the time by officers and enlisted men alike. Almost a constant watch of two men was kept on the mast amidship looking for the Equator through a couple of Coca-Cola bottles. Saw a few birds today so we must be near an island. Would assume it to be the Christmas Island. Another beautiful sunset tonight.
10/22, Fri. Today is the day* - Most of us turned from Pollywogs into a Shellback. King Neptune reigned supreme. He even had the ship turn two complete circles at eight this morning when the initiations started. Most everyone went through the initiation with the Shellbacks working harder on some than on others. There were a number of heads shaved before the day was over as a result of haircuts dished out by Neptune’s Court. I came out light with only a dunking in the tank and a light paddling in spite of what everyone said would happen because I had not shaved. On guard from 4 – 8. (Changed time ½ hour last night.)
10/23, Sat. Had to get up at 4 this morning to go on guard again. Managed to get a pretty good sunburn before the morning was over. Have never been able to find out what time we crossed the Equator yesterday. Read some more this afternoon. Am really consuming the books on this trip. Watched the sun set after chow. It was not as pretty as some we have seen. Did a little writing before going to bed. Set watches back another ½ hour tonight.#
10/24, Sun. Another day of reading. Stayed out of the sun as much as possible today. Have been a few birds flying around every now and then through the day. A beautiful sunset tonight. Set watches back another hour tonight. Should be fairly close to Samoa.
10/25, Mon. Spent the morning as usual reading but am staying out of the sun for a few days. Went on guard duty from 12 – 4 which was uneventful. Ran through a brief squall. Had to go to bed early because of more guard duty at midnight.
10/26, Tues. Had a little excitement while on duty last night. A sub was picked up on the instruments, which brought out all the gun crews. If there was one, it never found us. Everyone seems to be growing weary of the trip at this point. However I think a good bath in something besides salt water would help revive spirits. One of the peculiar circumstances of this trip happens every afternoon when the crap and board games continue on even when only a few feet from the daily divine worship services. Should have passed Samoa by now. Something on the horizon caused considerable excitement on the bridge after evening chow. Don’t know what it was. Star gazed after dark till about nine o’clock. Have been following a very crooked course all day.
10/27, Wed. Have not done a great amount of reading today. Had a restless feeling. Roamed all over the ship. Practiced with the anti-aircraft guns which always causes a commotion. Made another attempt to clean up this afternoon by taking a shower but as usual felt about as bad when I had finished as when I started. Beard is still growing fine. Have been wondering what effect this trip is going to have on our kidneys. So many fellows wake up in the morning with aches in that region. Still plenty hot. Saw our first land tonight off our starboard side. I understand it was the Island of Eva in Friendly or Tonga Group. Change time back another hour tonight.
10/28, Thurs. Felt as though we were on "Main Street" today. Saw three other ships. Did my usual amount of reading during the day with the star-gazing in the evening. Am anxious to see the Southern Cross. Was on guard duty from 8 – 12 tonight. Had more fire and abandon ship drills today.
10/29, Fri. (It never came.)
10/30, Sat. Went to bed last night when it was Thursday and woke up this morning to find out it was Saturday. I understand however that we crossed the International Date Line about Wednesday. Scuttlebutt, of course. Was on guard all morning. This has been the first day that we have not seen the sun. Has been rather chilly. A destroyer escort picked us up this morning to take us into port. Have been running through ground swells all day so assume we are close to land. Some of the boys who were sick at the beginning of the voyage are going through it all over again. They should be glad they are not on that little escort of ours which is bobbing about like a cork.
10/31, Sun. Still plugging along. Everyone seems to be quite restless today since we have the feeling of being close to land. Finished up Green Light tonight. A very enjoyable story. Set our watches back another hour tonight.
11/1, Mon. Land sighted at about seven this morning. Huge mountains. Put into harbor before noon and dropped anchor around 11:30. Word went around for us to get packed but these were later changed. I expect we will be here for several days and then shove off for other parts. So near as we know, we are at Noumea, New Caledonia. Scuttlebutt is of course all over the place and quite thick. A special draft is leaving us here. While they were loading into a dorry, a terrific explosion took place on land that turned out to be a huge quantity of ammunition being unloaded from a ship. Minor explosions and flames put on quite a performance for several hours. Embers started several grass fires several miles away. So near as we can find out, 200 were killed. Our medical officers and stretchers were sent to the scene. I also understand that another ship beat us into the harbor this morning and was put into the dock, thus preventing us from being there. A very lucky break for us. We get mail tomorrow. Went on guard at 4. Sprinkling before I went off at 8.#
11/2, Tues. Up at 3:30 this morning to go on guard duty till 8:00. Had a drizzle most of the night. Cleared up during the day even though the sky was overcast for most of the day. Was able to catch a little rain water this morning to wash a few clothes. Spent most of the afternoon trying to catch a fish but had no luck. We received our first mail this afternoon since leaving the States. There was a near riot in getting it distributed. Did a lot of letter-writing tonight.
11/3, Wed. Have been very lifeless today. Felt like doing absolutely nothing. Did manage to get a bucket of fresh water from a tender that came alongside this morning. Put it to very good use by first taking a bath and then washing my clothes. A fresh water bath made me feel good but not ambitious. Christmas mail for service men in these parts has been being unloaded today. We seem to catch a little rain here every night. Am off guard duty.
11/4, Thurs. Another day of reading and writing. Has grown quite monotonous just sitting here in the harbor. A liberty party of enlisted men went ashore this afternoon where there was nothing to do but swim and collect shells. We have been doing a lot of griping about not being able to go ashore but that is about all the good it will do. Another letter from Lib today.
11/5, Fri. Another day as busy as the last few have been. A load of WACs went by to-day which caused quite a stir aboard our ship. Had a pay line to night and naturally it had to form in Hold 2. We catch everything. Wrote Lib a real long letter and trimmed my beard a bit to-night.
11/6, Sat. Company C had liberty this morning – liberty such as it was. A trip over to a beach to say your feet had been on ground. Duffy* and I had to stay aboard ship because we had beards. There were a number of loose bowels around this morning. Men were standing in line in the head at 2 in the morning. I had to leave chow long enough to take care of myself this morning. Helped in the store for a while today to help pass the time away. We lost another man from Co. C today. Wannamaker had a fit and was taken ashore. To date we have lost Van Cise, Ramsey, and Thomas at Hueneme, Wannamaker, Smith, and Zorn*at Noumea. Co. D had their liberty canceled this afternoon. At 4 we weighed anchor and headed out through the coral reefs. It really seems good to get into motion again. The Sea Bass with the remainder of our equipment is following us. We took in some marines, soldiers, a couple of New Zealand soldiers, and some Red Cross workers today. I doubt if they will be with us in our work. To bed early tonight for a change. Another letter from Lib today.
11/7, Sun. This has been a very hot day. I guess they will gradually be getting hotter as we are traveling Northwest through the Coral Sea in the company of two other ships and two destroyers. Saw land for the last time this morning. Presume it was New Caledonia. Had the routine of drills this afternoon. The bridge was very active all afternoon picking up and sending messages. We have a group of USO entertainers on board who put on a good show for us tonight.#
11/8, Mon. This day has been pretty much a duplication of yesterday. Some gun practice this afternoon broke the monotony. One of the men on the anti-aircraft is really good. Several flares were also sent up. Bombers have been on patrol most of the day. There was a pretty good show put on for us after chow by both the USO and our own men. Spent a little while topside after dark watching the moon and clouds. It has put many thoughts in my head.
11/9, Tues. Still traveling a general northerly course. Sighted land several hours before sundown tonight. Could be Rennell Island. Also had an air raid drill during noon chow. It was not just a practice nor did any planes put in an appearance. Passed a convoy similar to our little one headed in the opposite direction. This has been the hottest day we have had on our whole trip. Water has just been dripping from us. The bath I got up at five to take has been quite futile.
RUSSELL ISLANDS, BANIKA*
11/10, Wed. Woke up this morning to find ourselves running along a very peaceful and mountainous island which turned out to be Guadalcanal. The mountains were huge and completely covered with foliage. We dropped anchor at Henderson Field. There were a number of ships, boats and barges there and a great deal of activity. We arrived there at 8 this morning and after discharging mail and the New Zealand troops we left at 1:30 in the afternoon. Followed the coast for several hours and saw a number of bomber groups leave toward the north presumably for Rabaul or Bougainville. Around 6, we pulled into the harbor at Russell Island with Guadalcanal’s peaks still in view. We were quite casually enjoying the view of the island with its plentiful share of coconut trees when orders came to prepare to leave the ship with all equipment. That really caused a stir. Shortly after that we pulled to the dock. The rail was lined with men catching coconuts from the men on the docks. Since I was on the unloading detail I remained aboard ship and along with others helped those who were leaving to get ready. Instead of going to bed tonight I was placed in charge of four other men to unload trucks at the various dumps with the ship’s cargo. Set foot on solid ground tonight for the first time since October 14.
11/11, Thurs. Armistice Day. Naturally I would be put on a detail even before the ship had docked. Have been placed in charge of four other men to unload trucks as they reach the dump from the dock. We left the dock shortly after midnight on the first truckload of lumber to go to the campsite. Were caught in a drenching rain shortly after leaving the dock. Were soaked clear through before reaching the dump. The five of us worked like Trojans till about 7:30 this morning. We were really whipped down. Slept for about three hours this morning. Packed my gear this afternoon and moved out to the campsite. Pitched shelter holes with Jack Stevens.* Went to bed on the ground at 8 only to have to get up at 11:30.
11/12, Fri. Another night like last night except that we had some water to drink and a crane to assist us with the unloading. It is mighty hard to put out so much after almost a month of inactivity. Spent the greater part of the day washing myself and my clothes in fresh water. It was a swell feeling.#
11/13, Sat. Another midnight shift and this time two cranes to help us. Just piddled around most of today trying to get my clothes and such in shape. Moved into big tents tonight. Had a very heavy rain this evening which caught me in the act of moving from the pup tent to the big one. Spent about two hours in the pup tent trying to keep my bags and other gear from being washed away in the river that ran through the tent. Managed to get to bed at 9 but only after pushing a puddle of water from my cot.
11/14. Sun. It was highly miserable to work last night. It rained most of the night and the mud was terrible. Our feet were wet and clothes covered with mud. Even had mud in our shoes. Thought there would be no end to trucks. Bought an extra pair of dungarees from the 33rd’s ship’s store so I could make a pair of shorts from an old pair. Wandered over the island (Banika) this afternoon. Found a number of pretty pieces of coral on the beach.
11/15, Mon. Woke up last night for work to find a red air raid alert in progress. There was very little work tonight but it was still muddy from last night. Tried to get some more of my stuff in shape today. Went out this afternoon in search of some chow different from the tinned stuff which we have been eating for 3 meals a day. Found some candy in the 35th’s ship’s store and stayed there for evening chow. It was not very good but we enjoyed it for a change.#
11/16. Tues. Thought we would have another light night but the trucks rolled in with the dawn and really kept us busy till 8. Had another good bath this morning. Wrote for part of the afternoon and wandered in the jungle late in the day with Nestlerode. We had quite a time and found the jungle a very easy place in which to get lost. We did not come out anywhere near where we went in. Found a tree which is all roots till it gets up about 75 feet and then forms its trunk. We were really wet from perspiration.
* Volume Two *
11/17. Wed. Did we catch the devil last night. We got on the detail unloading cement. It lasted the entire night and of course we were plenty filthy by this morning. Mr. Roberts drove us to the shower and we put in the whole morning washing ourselves and our clothes. This afternoon Fay and I went over to the adjoining island to find a lime tree. Found it but the limes were small and green. Sponged a sandwich from the 1009th Special. Came back to this island and found several trees with fruit that was almost ripe. Stopped in at the 4th Base Depot to buy some candy and eat chow. Arrived back in our camp to find that our chow hall had opened up and was serving a pretty good meal. To bed fairly early.
11/18. Thurs. Had a fairly light night last night but was tired this morning anyway. Went to bed right after morning chow as it was a bit cooler than usual and slept till late afternoon. Did get up soon enough to clean up a bit, write a couple letters, and get some chow. Then back to bed again.#
11/19. Fri. Last night too was light. Went to bed this morning and again slept till afternoon. Put out quite a washing before evening chow. The ball of my foot has been giving me a little trouble from jumping off trucks. Had the doctor look at it. All he did was give me a light duty slip. Got to bed pretty early this evening.
11/20. Sat. Trucks kept us running pretty much of the night. Spent the morning putting a floor in our tent only to learn about a half hour after we had finished that we would have to take it out before so very long. We have our tent in pretty good shape now. The whole camp is shaping up very well. In the time we have been here we have more things up than some of the outfits which have been here for nine months. Took a bath in our new shower this afternoon and did quite a bit of writing. Our food from the mess hall is being quite good.
11/21. Sun. Had a mighty light night last night. Only two trucks of lumber and one of gasoline came in to my crew. The rest of the time we slept. Put out a wash this morning and wrote letters all afternoon. Had a couple cokes tonight before going to bed.
11/22. Mon. Another night that was not too heavy. Did catch a little cement but everyone chipped in and we got it out of the way in a hurry. Did some more laundry this morning and went to bed when a shower came up and cooled the air enough to sleep. Took a good bath and washed some more clothes this afternoon. Pretty clean now. Had a newscast this noon for the first time since our landing.
11/23. Tues. Last night was one of the heaviest that we have had so far. We were on the go every minute and really unloaded the trucks. There has been scuttlebutt around that we would be leaving for Bougainville before the week was out. That of course remains to be seen. Thought I was caught up on my laundry yesterday but found some more this morning to do. Wrote some more this afternoon. Have been doing a lot of that for not having received any mail since we left Noumea. Tonight we can sleep. The unloading operations were completed this afternoon so we will not have to go to work tonight.
11/24. Wed. - The first full night of sleep since we landed was really used to its utmost last night. Was assigned to nothing today so went out with Watson, Fay, and Siggy to hunt some shells. Found a few that I wanted. In the afternoon Fay and I went out for limes and lemons and got quite a crop. Almost got back to camp too late for chow.
11/25. Thurs. Bougainville has been called off for the time being at least for the 93rd. Went to work again today but did not get so much done. Still working on the dumps. * Had a pouring down rain last night that really wet things down. Another heavy shower this noon. To bed early tonight.#
11/26. Fri. Did a little more work today than we did yesterday but there are still too many bosses on the job. Went to bed real early tonight. Had our Thanksgiving dinner this noon. It was really good. Quite a bit better than I had ever expected to get out here.
11/27. Sat. "Something we ate no doubt." At least everyone seemed to be doing a lot of running to the head this morning. Did a pretty good day’s work today as a few of our bosses were missing and there was less change in orders. Fay and I went to the native village to do a little trading tonight. He got a few cat eyes and I got a grass skirt. It was quite a bit of fun. You can’t trade without showing them first what you have to offer.
11/28. Sun. Had this morning off so after the rain of last night we set about weather proofing our tent some more. Put out a little laundry and Duffy and I, after fifty one days shaved. We did it at what we were told was the request of the Island Commander the truth of which we doubt. Did not do too much work this afternoon. More writing this evening.
11/29. Mon. A very dreary day. Haven’t seen the sun at all. Our detail was changed around a bit and a little more to my liking. Found out today that I was up for an advance in rating - thanks to Mr. Roberts. Whether or not I will get it still remains to be seen.
11/30. Tues. Another day just like yesterday except today the sun did shine for a couple of minutes.
12/1. Wed. I really believe that the rainy season has begun. It has done little more than that all day. Did not feel too well this morning. Spent quite a bit of time running to the head. My case is mild compared to some. We are working in the general supply tent getting it set up. Expect we shall be detailed there for some little time. Don’t know when I shall get to see a drafting board. Quite a pay line tonight.
12/2. Thurs. Have about worn out the letters already that I received yesterday in our first mail since New Caledonia. Another rainy day.
12/3. Fri. More rain but a little sunshine mixed in. Water just falls from a perfectly clear sky. Still find the mud getting deeper and shoes wetter. Went to the sick bay tonight to have the rash on my feet looked after and get something that would permit me to walk to the head and not have to run each time. Wrote letters till after taps by candle light.
12/4. Sat. Not a drop of rain today. A day of sunshine seems to work wonders with the mud, too.
12/5. Sun. What a storm we had last night. Thought the tent was going to float away one minute and be struck by lightning the next. It went on that way for quite some time. It was really muddy today as a result. Put out a big laundry this morning. Had another heavy shower this noon. Went to work this afternoon but did not have much to do. Siggy was taken to the hospital with malaria tonight. Very sudden.
12/6. Mon. Another murky day with a normal amount of work. We are beginning to get the supply tent into pretty good shape now. Rain really came down at chow time.
12/7. Tues. Another day like yesterday except that I had to have a tooth pulled this morning which has grieved me very much.
12/8. Wed. Mail today. Had two from Lib which makes me very happy. Spent this evening sending Christmas cards and writing Lib and Mother.
12/9. Thurs. Wonders will never cease. No real rain today. In fact the air has been quite dry all day. Still rigging the supply tent up.
12/10. Fri. Another almost rainless day. Almost hard to believe. Work has almost dropped off completely today. Spent this noon finishing up my cabinet and writing desk. All I need now is a chair to go with it.
12/11. Sat. The third in a series of rainless days. Not very much work today. Four letters and two packages in the mail. A Christmas package from Lib and one from Naval Aid Society in L.A.
12/12. Sun. Completed my cabinet this morning and have my corner of the tent all ship shape. Asked to have this afternoon off which we got. Went to the N.A.B. Hospital to see Siggy. He does not have malaria, thank goodness. It has been a beautiful day.
12/13. Mon. One more beautiful day followed by a very pretty sunset and full moon. A good night for romancing if there was some one to romance. Had two cavities filled and my teeth cleaned this morning. We all - at work - had quite a discussion on food this afternoon just before quitting. Don’t believe that it did our appetite any good.
12/14. Tues. Almost rained today but it ended up behaving very well. Bergeron* and I started work on some brassware today from 105 mm and 40 mm shells. We have several good ideas if we can work them out ok. Wrote Lib a 7 page letter. She should be proud.
12/15. Wed. Guess the pretty weather is here to stay for a while. Spent most of today working on some more brass. With an evening of letter writing. Made a trip to N.A.B. dispensary to have a pair of glasses made up.
12/16. Thurs. Packed mosquito netting and put up a chicken wire fence around our area for today’s activities. Sent seabag home.
12/17. Fri. Not much work in the storekeeping department so spent most of the day splitting what we think is a mahogany log.
12/18. Sat. Did a fair amount of work today but still do not feel as though I was doing anything toward winning the war. Received all my back mail today - and am now up to date. Eleven letters from Lib alone.
12/19. Sun. Mostly rain today. Had a bag inspection this morning which left most of us in an ill humor. Read and wrote letters all morning. Went to work this afternoon but there was nothing to do.
12/20. Mon. A few light showers today but not enough to grow unhappy over. Have developed a little cough which bothers me some during the night. Had another tooth filled this morning which I hope will be the last for a while.
12/21. Tues. Six letters from Lib today. They are really coming in bunches of late. Worked tonight with Carl on a little brass ash tray.
12/22. Wed. Fay and I started working on an inventory of the dumps today. It should last for a while. Quite a bit of writing tonight.
12/23. Thurs. Went to sick call this morning to get something for my cough and wound up in the sick bay for observation. We have quite a group here. Bitching one minute and making fun of someone else the next. The Chaplain* comes in several times a day to bring mail and look after our interests. A little dynamiting down the hill from us brought quite a shower of rocks on our tent this afternoon.
12/24. Fri. Expect to catch up on some of my correspondence while here as well as my reading. No mail today but the Chaplain left a bag of candy for each of us. Christmas Eve has been rather noisy both inside and outside this ward. There has been a fair amount of beer and raisin jack in here.
12/25. Sat. Christmas under a coconut tree -Phooey! Had a short service with the Chaplain this morning and a whale of a big meal at noon. I managed somehow or another to get a turkey leg. In the afternoon we were given cigars, candy, and chewing gum. Received a package from Sadie in which every little thing was wrapped up by itself. We had quite a time guessing what was in each one. In the evening there were two bottles of free beer for everyone.
12/26. Sun. Another day of rest, reading, and writing. Had "ice" cream for dinner. Almost a second Christmas. Had a movie in our ward tonight.
12/27. Mon. Reading, writing, and resting is beginning to get me down now. Chow has about reached its low level of pre-holiday meals again.
12/28. Tues. More of the same as yesterday. This is a great place for getting into discussions on most anything. There seems to be one going on most all the time.
12/29. Wed. Rest, read, and write plus the same low level of banter through the day.
12/30. Thurs. Some big guns were shooting today with the shells whizzing over our heads. Rumor hath it that a ship was sunk off our coast yesterday afternoon. Am on light duty now.
12/31. Fri. Was discharged from the hospital this morning which makes me feel very good. Put out a whale of a washing this afternoon. And got everything ship shape while I had the chance. There was free beer and cigarettes tonight. The next tent to ours really started out on a New Year’s celebration but passed out or fell asleep several hours before they should have.
1/1/44. Sat. Back on the job today even if I was not supposed to go to work yet. The pay line ran all day long for the first time. Rerates came out today but I was not included. Had really expected to be.
1/2. Sun. Fay and I had the day off so went off on a trip to see some more of the island. I was particularly interested in finding some snail shells for a friend of Lib’s. We were very successful on the shells - found about five species. Wandered beyond the PT Base where the men practically live in trees. Found some beautiful trees which we believe to be mahogany. Had surface roots that were about six feet high by twelve feet long and not over an inch and a half thick. They were twisted and reminded me very much of ribbon candy. Came back to camp through the jungle. We were very wet and tired. After chow, Siggy and I went down to the landing strip in search of aluminum but made a futile trip. Spent the evening writing.
1/3. Mon. Spent all day in the jungle felling trees to do some work around the supply tent. Had quite a time getting them down and out of the woods. There were a number of showers all day long. Our generator was acting up tonight. I think the 100 octane gas in it is too rich for its blood.
1/4. Tues. Another day of rather hard work. Started putting the logs we procured up in the trees and put a few tarps up to protect the supplies. Has been a very pretty day.
1/5. Wed. Our construction job has ceased for the time being and we are busy hauling stuff from dump 3 and breaking it open. Were troubled several times during the day with rain. The boys working on the hospital for Mob 10 had a lot of trouble pouring concrete with the rain. Lots of ships in the harbor with round the clock details unloading them. Most of Noumea seems to be moving up here. I think this island will replace that base now that Bougainville seems to be under control.
1/6. Thurs. More of moving dump 3. Went to the show tonight but left early as they were too tangled up on the reels.
1/7. Fri. Spent most of today stacking our own little dump 3. Lots of rain today.
1/8. Sat. The scuttlebutt for today is that the Perida - the ship which we came over on - was torpedoed on its return trip to the States.* Finished putting up the main portion of the tarps around the supply tent today. It was quite a job.#
1/9. Sun. Had this morning off so went through my usual Sunday morning routine of a general clean up. Went out with Fay to get a few roots to make pipes. Paid a native four dollars for what I think is an ebony walking stick inlaid with mother of pearl. It was made by his father on Santa Isabel Island. Was sent out on the coconut detail this afternoon. It is a stinky job.
1/10. Mon. Continued our construction work of putting up tarps around the lot. My walking stick is not ebony. More like a mahogany that has been treated to get the black finish. I’m still glad I bought it. Tried to put a tip on the bottom of it tonight. And have started carving a pipe.#
1/11. Tues. More tarps raised today. Getting our loading deck in pretty good shape now. Sent the cane off today. Scuttlebutt for today - we are leaving for Burma on the 25th.
1/12. Wed. Some of the details which moved to the 35th’s area on their departure have had to move back here again. No one knows what the score is. Had some real good ice cream at chow this noon.#
1/13. Thurs. Started off on our little construction job this morning but did not get very far with it. Spent most of the day hauling stuff in from the dumps. Were caught in a pretty heavy rain late this afternoon.
1/14. Fri. Quite a bit of excitement last night. "Washing Machine Charlie" paid us a visit - the first since we have been here. Tojo’s son was supposed to have been killed at Guadalcanal on the 13th and each month on the night of the 13th a lone raider goes there to dump his load. Quite often he saves part of his load for here. There was all sorts of scuttlebutt around about the damage done. The closest to the truth is, I guess, that he aimed at White Beach but hit another island close by. He was apparently too high for our guns to reach him. I slept through all but the last two or three explosions. Helped the storekeepers on some inventory most of today. Heard about some sensible stacking of cement today. There was a large Quonset warehouse built here and cement stacked to the ceilings. Now it has all solidified either from weight of that above and from moisture in the air. Strong winds have been blowing here all day long.
1/15. Sat. Just a day of doing a little bit of everything.
1/16. Sun. Had quite a session last night. Was just on the verge of going to bed when Nestlerode came in to announce coffee and bacon sandwiches in his tent. It lasted till after midnight. They had four sides of bacon. Fay and I made another sightseeing tour this morning. Went to White and Blue Beaches and a ride through a pretty stretch of jungle. Just got back to camp in time for chow. Read all afternoon and wrote this evening.
1/17. Mon. Started packing some of our supplies today in preparation for the day when we should leave. Feel quite certain that we shall leave here before so very long. Think we shall go near New Ireland.
1/18. Tues. Spent the entire day making boxes in preparation for more packing. Today’s scuttlebutt from reliable sources - we are going to an island between Rabaul and New Ireland. Sounds like a mighty hot spot. We are going with two other battalions and a total of 10,000 men including Marines. The first wave is scheduled to leave on February 15. We shall wait and see.
1/19. Wed. More box making today. Lots of letter writing tonight. Word came in today that Rabaul had been invaded at two this morning. We are all hoping that is true and not more scuttlebutt.
1/20. Thurs. Made lots of boxes today. Went to a show tonight, The Keeper of The Flame with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn.
1/21. Fri. Tried to get the lumber pile into shape today. Have had two days without rain. Has been very hot. Considerable anti-aircraft practice going on here the past few days.
1/22. Sat. More work on the lumber pile plus lots of talk on a reported invasion of France - nothing authentic however.
1/23. Sun. Fay and I went off on another ramble this morning. Took the same trip we made last Sunday but had better luck in catching rides today which gave us an opportunity to hunt a few shells on Green Beach. Went to work this afternoon but there was nothing urgent so we just messed around. Lots of letter writing tonight.
1/24. Mon. Just about caught up with work now. There is a lot which could be done but there is no point in doing it if we are going to leave before so very long. Had a good rain tonight - the first in several days.
1/25. Tues. Spent most of today helping Chief Myers* with some figures with regard to our cargo for shipping out of here to our future Island X. Had a tropical storm of the first order tonight. Beside the seams leaking a spray seemed to blow right through the tent.
1/26. Wed. More figuring today. Glad I was working inside for plenty of rain fell. Two fellows were caught last night trying to get some food into the brig to the two boys in there on twenty days of bread and water. I understand our future Island X also goes by the name of Nissan and has more coconut trees plus banana trees on it. It is also overgrown with second growth jungle. Was able to get some more letters written tonight. Fay made a wrist watch band out of aluminum from a junked plane and gave it to me today. It is very nice.
1/27. Thurs. Got in a little bit of back mail today. November 26 on two of them. Figuring mixed in with a little stacking of our stock dump today. Went to a rather silly show today.
1/28. Fri. Nary a drop of rain today. Work was assorted as it was yesterday. Our bugler has gone boogie-woogie. He takes a beating from everyone when he blows the various calls and as a result fumbles a lot of the notes. Now he has taken a spell of playing "Beer Barrel Polka" or whatever comes into his head when he finishes with his call.
1/29. Sat. A fairly easy day today - seems like the lull before the storm to me. Scuttlebutt now puts us on either Green Island or Nissan both of which are between New Ireland and Bougainville. Chow picked up very much today. Had - via procurement - hot chicken sandwiches, fruit cocktail, and peach halves tonight. Very good.
1/30. Sun. Everyone had to work today for the first time in quite a few Sundays. There was not much to do today but fear that in several days things will move very fast. Six of our men are leaving early in the morning for somewhere. Are getting packs ready tonight and have been issued their clips of ammunition. They are going to some more dozers presumably to Island X. Scuttlebutt puts the 1st echelon on its way about the 13th. Also - via scuttlebutt - the Seabees will be disbanded after Rabaul has fallen.
1/31. Mon. Still marking time at work. Had quite a fire today. Burned a truck beyond repair. All work has now been secured. So the end of our stay on Banika will soon come.
2/1. Tues. Today the 93rd was secured and the day was started off with a speech by the Commander himself. Confirming most of the scuttlebutt that has been rampant of late - Nacherly - Company C marched to the theatre area in a military manner and no one else did, of course. I guess New Zealand troops are getting the island in control for us to land. Heard today the 93rd is known as "Harold Lynn and His Thousand Thieves" and that a man from the 93rd could be picked out because he wore Army shoes, an officer’s pants, Navy shirt, Marine hat* and when you spoke to him he answered "blow it out your ass." Did a little cleaning up after the speech and this afternoon went with Fay to the bomber strip. Got soaked on our way back.
2/2. Wed. Military training began today for the "Whirlwind Construction Co." Fay and I are out of that as our work is essential to the moving of the Battalion. So we continued to work while others brushed up on close and extended order. Lots of rain today and quite cool tonight.
2/3. Thurs. No sun all day today. Lots of misty rain and sloppy mud. We are getting things into shape now to get ready to pack. Guess it will be quite a job. Played with puzzles most of the evening.
2/4. Fri. The mad rush is on. Have started getting materials ready for the 1st wave today which is scheduled to leave in about 9 days. I am in charge of making out packing slips for all outgoing material. It is quite a job. Doubt if I shall have much time to myself for a while.
2/5. Sat. Another day of fast writing and checking. Sun came out this afternoon long enough to get some of my clothes fairly well. Have a slight cold. Wrote letters all evening.
2/6. Sun. Today was just another day. In fact it was not until ice cream at chow that I realized it was Sunday -- but then it could have been Wednesday too.
2/7. Mon. Finished most of the 1st echelon today. They will no doubt start loading it tomorrow or the next day. Not quite as much mud today as yesterday. Two cute Valentines from Lib.#
2/8. Tues. Still a little more of the 1st echelon dribbled in today. Also quite a bit of the 2nd. Paddled around in the mud all day long. A list of the men for the 1st was posted tonight. I was not on it.
2/9. Wed. Quite definitely finished up on the 1st today and was hindered by the rain from doing anything with the second. Was able to get a new pair of shoes without having to turn in an old pair today. Now maybe I can always have a dry pair. Found out tonight that I was on the last echelon. Started taking Atabrine this noon.
2/10. Thurs. Put out as much work as possible on the 2nd echelon today but was hampered quite a bit by rain. Went to N.A.B. at noon to get my new glasses. They are little round things. Went to a show tonight.
2/11. Fri. Managed to get quite a bit done today. Little rain. Thought I might have to go back to work again tonight but it did not happen. Sounds like the 4th of July tonight. The 1st echelon leaves tomorrow and everyone seems to be celebrating. B.A.R.s and carbines are spouting all over the place. Chiefs, M.A.A.s, and officers are running all over the place.
2/12. Sat. A solid day of no rain so a great deal was done. Was even able to get another crew to assist me. Went to a show tonight that was not out of the ordinary.
2/13. Sun. Were it not for the calendar I would never have known that today was Sunday. Worked straight through under a terrifically hot sun. My duties on these moving operations seem to increase every day. More than I can handle and do well now. Went back to help Modie* for a while tonight. Had a whole mess of mail today. This is the night for "Piss Call Charlie" to come around.
2/14. Mon. Another rough day. Sun shone HOT all day long and I had to be all over the place. "Piss Call Charlie" never showed up last night.
2/15. Tues. What a night last night. The heavens really burst. Had to get up at two this morning to spread raincoats over my bunk and gear to keep it from getting wetter than it had already gotten. One leak in a seam was right over my face and proved particularly annoying. The sun was very hot again today which gave me the opportunity to dry my mattress. Lots more of running around which grew less late in the day. Did a little packing tonight.
2/16. Wed. Quite a dry day again. Moved bag and baggage to the supply tent this morning. The second echelon leaves tomorrow and all of the tents had to come down to be loaded on the ship. Some of the structures that went up to replace the tents were really rare. All sizes and shapes of canvas and everything imaginable. The whole camp looks like a deserted village. Fellows from other areas are already coming in and carrying off tables, chairs, and a thousand and one other items. Did not have much more than odds and ends to pick up today. A bunch of the fellows slept in jungle hammocks tonight.#
2/17. Thurs. Very little to do today except get ready for tomorrow and the third echelon. The second left this afternoon. About 850 men. Fay and Modie both left. Never went to bed till 11. Received a beautiful Christmas card from Lib today. She quite definitely knows where I am at and that I am leaving very soon.
2/18. Fri. The second section of the second echelon pulled out today. About half of the cargo was left on the docks. Some of it made what had gone impossible to use. Spent the whole day working on the third echelon which leaves next Tuesday.
2/19. Sat. Another day of rushing around like a chicken with its head cut off. Must have been tired last night for loading went on 20 feet away from me and I never heard it.
2/20. Sun. Work was rather slack today. Was able to spend part of it getting some of my clothes and gear in shape for leaving. Had a party in the tent tonight with beer cooled by means of a CO2 fire extinguisher. There have been a number of outfits in our area today picking up what we are leaving behind. It is really funny to watch the proceedings.
2/21. Mon. Up early this morning to get packed before the supply tent was taken down. Spent the greater part of the day going to and from Blue Beach. Am sleeping in my jungle hammock in the mess hall tonight. Everyone is sleeping here on tables, cots, floors, and any other place that can be found. Thought I would have trouble finding a place to put the hammock but found a corner in the bakery.
2/22. Tues. The hammock worked out very much better than I had thought it would. Was supposed to go on the docks to work at midnight but was sleeping so well when the boys came to wake me that they let me sleep. Packed my pack and went to Blue Beach to help with the loading operations. It was quite a mess but I think we did a pretty good job with it. Boarded the L.S.T. at 2:45 and pulled anchor at 5:30. Blowing a farewell kiss to Banika. Was able to find a bunk in the crew’s quarters. Went to bed early.
2/23. Wed. Woke up along side Munda this morning. Took my first hot bath since leaving the states. It really felt good. Was surprised to find fresh water on these ships to say the least about hot water. Was placed on a gun crew and stood the 12-4 watch this afternoon and the 8-12 tonight. Our convoy was increased from 8 to 11 L.S.T.s this afternoon when we reached Vella laVella plus several smaller craft and some destroyers. We are supposed to be a part of the largest troop movement to ever take place in the South Pacific.
2/24. Thurs. Stood the 8-12 this morning. Spent most of the day passing Bougainville. There were quite a number of planes in the air all day. This evening I stood the 6-8 after getting a good haircut, shave, and bath. Got my 50 caliber in shape and ready to go at dusk. All gun crews are on duty and the barrage balloons are up. A task force of about eight ships was seen on the horizon late this evening headed toward Rabaul.
GREEN ISLANDS, NISSAN
2/25/44, Fri. Up at 4 this morning to go on gun watch which lasted till 4:30 this afternoon. Saw the lights from the bogs working on Green Island, our new home, when I first went topside. Looked more like Coney Island than an advanced war zone. Put into the harbor – a extinct volcano crater – at 7 and beached a half-hour later in a drizzly rain which lasted into the middle of the afternoon. Unloading operations began immediately. Ten days ago the first were landed, five days ago the second arrived. Two more days and the fighter strip will be ready. Our chow hall opened today, tents are up, generators are purring. Only a few snipers remain and the New Zealanders – wicked fighters – have them under control. Our dozers started pushing roads through the jungle as soon as they landed and oftentimes found themselves quite far ahead of the New Zealand patrols. Our boys can say only the best for the New Zealanders. Moved out to our camp area, which is in the middle of the jungle and scattered all over the place, just before dark. Had a tent to move into, thank goodness – and thanks to Fay and George Lecoq* who put the tent up and saved a place for me. All of the natives – most of them anyway – both men and women have been taken from the island.#
2/26, Sat. Up early this morning and off to work trying to get things straight in the dumps. What a mess. Mud boxes broken into, and the contents stolen. It is really pitiful. Managed to get filthy dirty and the only available space for a bath is the harbor.
2/27. Sun. Now we have to muster at 6 in the morning – one of the craziest things to do out in this place. Worked all day today as usual. The dumps are gradually getting under control but there are a number of items still unaccounted for and which will no doubt stay that way. Another bath in the bay tonight.
2/28. Mon. Another day in the dumps at work. Lots of rain today making mud ankle deep. Caught quite a bit of it for future washing. Fay and I are moving to a spot behind the supply tent, to sort of act as guards. Maybe the tarp we have up won’t leak as bad as the tents are doing. Heard Tokyo Ann for the first time tonight. I believe that she and her program are doing more to build our morale than break it. It was a very good program. Good music.
Feb. 29. Tues. Not so much to do today but tomorrow the fourth echelon arrives so business should pick up. Moved to our new home today which I believe may spoil us. Have lots of facilities for catching and storing rainwater. Used some of it tonight to take a good bath. We are just about settled and I don’t believe we will have much trouble with the rain coming in on us. I really got wet from that leaky tent again last night.#
3/1, Wed. Was shifted to the dock detail today to assist unloading the L.S.T.s of the fourth wave. We found out that our new home also leaks so put another tarp on top of the one already here. Found time to get out to the airstrip early this afternoon. Later went out with Bob Minor to check on a bulldozer that was way out at the end of nowhere. Have never seen such a rough road in all my life. It was into an area where there are still a few Japs hanging around so we took our carbines with us and did not have to use them. Left here at 3:30 expecting to be back in about an hour and a half. We got back at 8:45 instead. Had quite a long conversation with a New Zealand captain who like the other New Zealanders was a very nice person. Picked up a few shells while there for Hulda. Had to push a Jeep for what seemed like most of the way back.
3/2, Thurs. Back on the same old job again today. Having quite a time getting order in the dumps. Received quite a fistfull of letters today. Fay almost got in trouble with the fabulous Mr. Warren* this morning who wanted to take Fay’s rifle away from him when he shot some kind of a possum-like animal out of a tree. With a little talking Fay kept his carbine.
3/3. Fri. Might not have felt so secure here where we are living now had we known that there were three Japs living about 300 yards behind us. One of them was killed this morning and the other 2 are still at large. They had very clever shelters built out of branches and leaves. Tonight we even notice the pigs routing around in the woods and wonder if it is really a pig. Maybe some of the pigs we were hearing weren’t pigs after all. Had a rather light day today.
3/4. Sat. Another day of plodding through the mud. Scuttlebutt today was going the rounds that one of the 37th’s men was found on his dozer this morning with his throat slit, presumably by a Jap. How true that may be no one knows.#
3/5. Sun. Another Sunday that has not seemed like one. Work as usual. I guess all of the difficulties on the airstrip have been ironed out for today a plane landed. Doubt if the strip will be used for much more than an emergency field the way things are progressing in this part of the world. More rain today with the mud growing deeper.
3/6. Mon. Practically everyone in camp was on the unloading detail at the beach today. And of course there was a certain amount of procuring done. That just seems to be in the blood of the 93rd. The sun was really hot. Am quite red tonight. The air strip was very much in use today. Over 100 fighters and about three SCAT* transports used it. Am really tired tonight. To bed early.
3/7. Tues. Back in the dumps again today. Have been attempting to continue getting things lined up so that an inventory can be taken. This morning there was scuttlebutt that the 93rd received a very low rating on it’s work here, but tonight there was on the bulletin board a copy of a letter from Halsey commending us on it. So who knows.
3/8. Wed. Rain kept us from getting very much done today. Received lots of mail which included Lib’s Christmas present. Five beautiful colored photographs of her. I am tickled to death with them. Am about to wear them out looking at them.
3/9. Thurs. Not much done today either. This time it was the lack of a crane which tied us up. Cleaned a few snails tonight.
3/10. Fri. A day without rain. Even the mud is beginning to clear up a bit. Work has started on the roads in the camp now. Carry alls haul out a load of mud and bring in a load of coral. A large dozer dropped in a hole and almost disappeared last night. Mustering has grown to be quite a joke. Everytime a truck goes by an officer the fellows start yelling "Here." And when that starts in the mess hall the noise is almost deafening. Work is supposed to have started on the bomber strip this morning with a time limit of 30 days. The fighter strip was completed 10 days ahead of schedule with the 93rd doing over a third of the work and 3 ½ battalions working on it. Latest scuttlebutt: when the bomber strip is finished the 33rd and 37th will go home. The 93rd will remain here 6 months as a maintenance unit. We shall see.
3/11. Sat. Spent part of today touring the island picking up supplies. Seemed good to get away from camp for a little bit. The fighter strip looked good. Had a short blackout tonight. Was no doubt one of our own planes.
3/12. Sun. Understand there was another blackout early this morning with varied stories on the dropping of 2 bombs. Knocked off a bit early this afternoon to take a bath in the harbor. Received quite a bit of mail today. All kinds. The shouting of "Here" is still going on – now it happens everytime a stick of dynamite goes off or the half-hour bell rings.
3/13. Mon. Another day of getting the dumps in order – an endless job – and another day without rain. Am getting tired of feeling sticky from salt-water baths. Had a blackout for a few minutes tonight. No planes. Don’t know whether "Piss Call Charlie" will pay us a visit before the night is over or not.
3/14. Tues. Charlie left us alone last night for which we have no regrets. Worked all over the place today as usual. The officers are lowering their stock again in the eyes of the men. We have no floors in our tent and no prospects of any. They who have had floors are now proceeding to have a little screened in building erected over the water for a lounge and a place to fish while another detail cuts trees down in their area so they can get more breezes. The worst part of it is that it is the malaria control detail which is doing the work.
3/15. Wed. Something must have happened somewhere today from the number of planes that have been around here. It was rumored that Rabaul was the scene of an invasion. Caught enough rain this noon to provide me with a bath tonight and the makings of some clean clothes.
3/16. Thurs. Scuttlebutt today is that we may remain here as a station force. Heaven forbid unless a little much needed work is done around the camp area. Planes have been thundering over this place all day long.
3/17. Fri. The most important event today has been the rain we had at noon which provided us with enough water to fill all our cans. Now about have the dumps in order.
3/18. Sat. Fay and I spent today making an inventory of the supply tent. Saw a beautiful sunset tonight.
3/19. Sun. Rose real early this morning – even had breakfast for the first time in quite a while. Watson, Hale,* and I went to the ocean side of the island – eastside at this point. We found a beautiful beach with a small native church and cemetery. It was a beautiful sight from the top of the 100-foot cliff that rose behind it. It was quite a tricky job to get down the cliff. We spent the entire morning hunting shells and taking pictures. The waves were very rough and we found it necessary to wear nothing but shoes in our search. Managed to get back to camp in time to get some chow. Emptied my bag and went on another trip this afternoon. Caught a ride to the strip and after gazing at a number of planes – the place is lousy with them – crossed the bomber strip which is in the making to another cliff as equally steep as this morning’s. Roamed up and down the shore all afternoon dressed the same as this morning. The cliffs along the shore have been, by the ocean, undermined. Back in a number of the coves are native burial spots with sundry crosses and short lengths of bamboo for vases. The overhanging cliffs have a number of stalactite and stalagmites forming. Am realizing tonight that a certain region of my anatomy has not been in the sun before. A girdle in the region of my hips is quite red. Ice cream for supper tonight. Don’t know what was wrong with it but even I had to throw it away.
3/20. Mon. Work as usual this morning but this afternoon Fay and I were sent to the strip to learn a new trade – the good old 93rd couldn’t get along without us. The detail was for this afternoon only – we shall see. We went out to operate jack hammers. Never had one in my hands before. We dug holes all afternoon and found it wasn’t as tiring as wrestling with boxes all day. That strip is loaded down with all kinds of planes. The wings have to be folded on those which can to conserve space.
3/21. Tues. Back at the old job again today. Lots of scuttlebutt all over the place - a bonus after the war of four dollars a day for overseas duty - We are going to Mindanao on our next jump between April 9-18 - The Seabees will be disbanded July 1 -
3/22. Wed. A dreary day but we caught lots of water to make up for it. Worked on the tent all day getting it sorted out. We can write now as to our location. The newspapers in the States were telling about us so now we can.#
3/23. Thurs. Very little to do today so Perry* read our past, present, and future to us by numerology which he seems to have a great deal of faith in. Through his calculations we will be moving the middle of next month to a place where there will be a little civilization with resultant social life for us. Also the 93rd will never be in an extremely hot spot. Scuttlebutt seems to be quite persistent that the Seabees will be disbanding around July. What our future will be in that event has not been decided upon.
3/24. Fri. Another day of a fair amount of leisure. Went to a show tonight My Sister Eileen which I enjoyed very much.
3/25. Sat. More leisure till late in the afternoon when we got ahold of a crane and started stacking the heavy stuff.
3/26. Sun. Watson, Pop Bradshaw and I went out looking for shells this morning near where we were last Sunday. We had a fair amount of luck on some varieties. I went out alone this afternoon. Without much luck at all.
3/27. Mon. The job we were scheduled to do today was never started because we did not have the transportation. So we just cleaned up trash around the place. Bought some shell beads for Lib that one of the New Zealanders made.
3/28. Tues. Spent most of today putting a new floor in the supply office which was not so bad even though I can see little point to it. Got lots of letters written tonight.
3/29. Wed. Yesterday Bergy and I were in the flooring business and today it has been the furniture business. We spent the morning figuring out some mass production designs and this afternoon built four chairs and two tables for the supply offices. Went to see Holiday Inn tonight. Not so good for my morale.
3/30. Thurs. Mostly odds and ends today. Went out to the strip late this afternoon. The bomber strip is not quite finished yet but is being used. A Liberator crashed on landing last night, ended up on top of a grader. Five men were killed outright and three have died since. Only the navigator is lingering on. The plane was an ungodly mess. While we were there a bunch of the same came in from Trulo. A number of them had casualties. One signaled for the ambulance on landing. The tail gunner had been killed and one of the waist gunners was in bad condition. There are certainly a bunch of planes of all kinds out there. We hauled one P-38 pilot all over the place trying to find a general who landed right after him.
3/31. Fri. Hauled coral this morning for the supply tent to get rid of some of the mud. This afternoon it was tanks of acetylene from the regimental dump. Were tangled up with sky traffic for quite a while on the strip. We had to pull off to the side of the taxiway to let planes get by us. A show tonight.
4/1. Sat. I fooled Uncle Sam and did not draw any. No truck this morning so could do no work. More coral this afternoon.
4/2. Sun. Up and off to an early start with Pop Bradshaw this morning. The two of us really covered the ground today but have little results to show for our efforts in shell hunting. We at last found the "mission" which we had heard so much about. Also ran into an old Jap camp which was really a filthy place. Spent about three quarters of an hour visiting with a New Zealand gun crew. Those boys really stand high in our esteem. They are very friendly and do so much work with so little. We traveled about five miles back to our camp along the ocean side of the island. Ran upon a Jap machine gun emplacement at one point. Went to see Judy Garland at the show tonight.
4/3. Mon. We did a fair amount of work today in spite of the rain which has really poured down at times. A mean drizzle tonight.
4/4. Tues. More rain today so that we were able to do very little in the way of work.
4/5. Wed. Another day’s work hindered by rain. Very little done at all. Spent the evening cleaning house a bit.#
4/6. Thurs. There is a sun after all. Hung everything including bedding out to sun. Mattress felt soggy last night because of the dampness. Had a short blackout this evening.
4/7. Fri. Old Man Sun couldn’t quite make up his mind what to do today. All of the small trees and brush are being cut down around our place by malaria controls. This has been a very light day.
4/8. Sat. We seem to be getting a bunch of light days of late. This was another one. Fay and I went to the show tonight.
4/9. Sun. Up extra early to go to the Sunrise Services on East Beach. Last year it was the James River, this year the Pacific Ocean. Where will they be next year? After church Siggy and I went up the beach about five miles to meet Pop Bradshaw and do a little cat’s eye hunting. Siggy had to come back to work about the time we were getting started good. Pop and I got quite a few although they were not particularly nice. We were almost caught in a small cave by the incoming tide. We crossed the Island in the early afternoon to the Mission Landing where we caught the ferry to Blue Beach. Walked about a mile to a New Zealand camp where we looked up several boys I know. Arrived back at Blue Beach three quarters of an hour too late for the last ferry. After a little talking a boat picked us up along with a few other stragglers and brought us home. Made a stop at the PT Base which is lousy with PTs. We arrived in camp at seven.
4/10. Mon. There was not a thing to do all day today so we all stayed out of sight. There was a New Zealand band at our show tonight. They were very good. The latest scuttlebutt is that we shall soon leave for New Hebrides - there be reoutfitted and moved on to India. Don’t know what we would be sent to India for.
4/11. Tues. All was quiet today till a ship came in with some of our long awaited cargo. Which caused us to work till about nine tonight. The looting that goes on with the cargo is really terrible.
4/12. Wed. Fairly busy all day today with our new cargo. Had an alert early this morning. Chambers, the New Zealander, brought my water color today. I think Lib will really like it. Lots of packages today,
4/13. Thurs. Another alert last night. I believe they are caused by a few stragglers of our own planes. The tracers announcing the alerts look pretty going into the sky. Busy again today with our new cargo. Had to make a trip to the strip this afternoon to pick up some badly needed shoes that came in by SCAT.
4/14. Fri. We are still receiving a lot of stuff which has been due for quite some time.
4/15. Sat. Still a little more stuff coming in. Had a half hour alert tonight. The longest in quite some time. We have started doing a few odds and ends toward another move. When and where we still do not know. Scuttlebutt has us going to Darwin, Port Moresby, and Pearl Harbor.#
4/16. Sun. A very light and quiet day. Had to work as our off days have been canceled.
4/17. Mon. A few more odds and ends ready today for our expected move. It looks as though we shall leave here on a large ship - Liberty or something like that, so don’t believe we will be going forward.
4/18. Tues. We were almost out of water but the crisis was relieved today and all buckets are full again. Not much to do today.
4/19. Wed. Fixed up a few more broken crates today in preparation for moving day. A package from Lib and some newspapers came in today. More rain.
4/20. Thurs. Today has been a duplicate of yesterday so far as work is concerned. Packed a few of my shells tonight.
4/21. Fri. The rain today hampered our work so that we were able to do very little. Several nights ago a washing machine disappeared from the dump. Last night it was found on a barge down in the lagoon. It had been traded by someone in our outfit for two cases of beer. At two-thirty this morning I woke up to find the guard going through everything in the supply tent. It is a wonderful bunch we have here for guards. It takes several guards to watch the guards. The way our road is being worked on tonight they must really be intending to fix it up. A sure sign we are going to be leaving soon. Brisbane is today’s scuttlebutt.
4/22. Sat. Some more new cargo came in today so we of the dump crew played guard on the trucks. It would not be such a bad deal if the roads were not so bad. Went to see "Stormy Weather" tonight. It was very good.
4/23. Sun. More cargo hauling today. This afternoon it was beer. That stuff is really a headache. Three bottles per man tonight. This has been a most peculiar day. It started off real hot this morning and has ended up quite cool tonight.
4/24. Mon. Another day very similar to yesterday so far as the weather is concerned. We did little more than haul beer all day long. That is over for a while now.
4/25. Tues. Turned painter today. Have started marking all of our crates which is quite a job. Just getting ready for moving day. Rain interfered some with our work. No mail. Cut a roll of film down to fit a small camera tonight. Quite a job.
4/26. Wed. More painting this morning but this afternoon was devoted to opening beer and putting it in the refer* for tomorrow night.
4/27. Thurs. Rained for a while today but did more reading while it was raining than painting when it wasn’t. Very little mail for quite some time now.
4/28. Fri. It rained just about all day today. Am certainly glad this is not the rainy season. Painted under the tent today.
4/29. Sat. Still getting ready to move somewhere and still don’t know where or when. Went to a lousy show tonight. Have a slight cold.
4/30. Sun. My cold is really getting the best of me. Painted most of the day. Not much to do, so I have been taking my time at it. The latest scuttlebutt is that the 22nd Regiment* of which we are a part will not be broken up, and since the other two partners in it are scheduled to go back to the States, we will go too. We hold the record for building a strip in this area - 19 days. The date set for our departure is May 18. I wonder.
5/1. Mon. Holtan* had today off so I took over G.S.K.* for the day. It was a good job for me for I felt lousy anyway. Made two calls to sick bay and went to bed early.
5/2. Tues. This was my day off but I gave it to Modie so he could do some more work on his painting. I too painted but a different kind. Went to a show tonight. There were two SCAT* nurses there - the first women most of us have seen since we left Hueneme. They really caused a commotion.
5/3. Wed. Cold about the same today. More painting and a show again tonight.
5/4. Thurs. For almost the whole day we have been out promoting shoes and managed to get a few too. Wrote tonight. Has been a rather pretty day. Guess all of the rain in the heavens fell out last night. It really came down.#
5/5. Fri. Back today to my job of painting - a few more days and I guess it will be done. Lots of scuttlebutt today about our securing tomorrow night and a celebration over the weekend of the 93rd’s first anniversary. More signs of our proximity to leaving burst forth every day. Now there is a daily inspection of the camp area.
5/6. Sat. Still splashing paint. Scuttlebutt still flowing fast and we still are not secure although a number of details have slowed down.#
5/7. Sun. Today is the first anniversary of the 93rd. So we worked as usual and had ice cream for chow tonight as usual and it rained as usual. There was, however a program at the theatre tonight put on by the men. It was a very good show. The band did a good job as well as the comedy acts. The wind-up was a movie of the life of the 93rd. It was rather poor photography.
5/8. Mon. Painted this morning. Am afraid that job will end before long. Hauled supplies for the ship’s store this afternoon. Thanks to the sun today I can enjoy my sleep a bit more tonight. Aired the mattress and that helps a lot in this damp climate.
5/9. Tues. This day will probably be most outstanding for the noon meal. We procured the necessary essentials from the galley for frying some doves one of the boys shot yesterday. So this noon we had dove fried in real butter and toast. When we had finished we had all reached a most immobile stage. We really ate.
5/10. Wed. Back in the hauling business today after quite a respite from it. Got a bunch of junk from the regimental dump. Fay and I went out into the lagoon this noon and found a few new shells. I caught some sort of a jellyfish* which delights me with its capers in a jar of water.#
5/11. Thurs. Spent all day today taking inventory for what reason we do not know.
5/12. Fri. My day off so I was off on my wanderings real early. Started off by riding the ferries back and forth across the lagoon to get to the north tip of the island. Spent the whole day there and in working back several miles along the lagoon shore in my search for more shells. Found some beautiful ones but not as many as I had expected. Ended up back in camp very tired and hungry. There was a special show on tonight. Lt. Commander Peabody with his bongo and a group of musicians including John Carter of the opera. They were all very good. I Married an Angel with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald was the movie and was very much of a flop to me.#
5/13. Sat. Was notified today that I was to appear as a witness at a summary court martial on Monday afternoon. Know very little about the case and doubt if guilt can be proved. More inventory this morning and not much of anything this afternoon. Three letters today which crossed the States and the Pacific in 6 days. Don’t I wish I could crawl in an envelope.#
5/14. Sun. Played carpenter most of today by building crates. And this evening wrote another long letter to Lib.
5/15. Mon. Hauled from the Regimental Dump all morning. This afternoon I was occupied with the court martial. Still do not know the outcome but believe it became rather involved.
5/16. Tues. This has been a rather quiet day so far as work is concerned but as usual it is just the lull before the storm. G.S.K. and G.I. are to be moved. After almost three months of being in a mud hole, it has been decided to move to higher ground. The inner workings behind the great minds of this battalion are simply amazing. Whether the dump is to be moved too is still to be learned as well as the location. Hit a mud hole today in which I sank to a point between my knees and hips.#
5/17. Wed. The biggest stir in the camp now is the CPO mess hall. The fellows have a right to be. Folks buying bonds to finance a war where officers and chiefs have to have their own chow halls. Spent most of the afternoon hauling beer and tonight a show.
5/18. Thurs. The new location for G.S.K. is gradually taking shape and will no doubt end up being as big a mud hole as where we are now. Had quite a rain today for which we are mighty happy. Fay and I made a little trip out to the strip after chow tonight to try to get a little Plexiglas but came back empty handed.#
5/19. Fri. No activity this morning and very little this afternoon. Hauled a load of oxygen tanks to the salvage dump. The strip is certainly a deserted place now. Very few planes there.
5/20. Sat. Did not do very much this morning but made up for it this afternoon when we had to move some pipe. Just letter writing tonight.#
5/21. Sun. Another shell hunting expedition today. Started to my cat eye cave but arrived there to find it very much cleaned out. Someone had been in with a shovel and really did a good job. So Fay and I moved on down the beach and covered the ocean side as far as Blue Beach where we caught the last ferry home. Really picked up an assortment of colors in the shells. To bed early.
5/22. Mon. Started the big move this morning. Cut bamboo and put it on palm legs to build a platform for some of the smaller stuff this morning and this afternoon stacked some of the larger crates. We were almost run out of our tent tonight by a bunch of bugs which suddenly appeared and then disappeared equally suddenly.
5/23. Tues. Today’s work has been a duplicate of yesterday only not quite so much. Sun is still bearing down. Since other details are operating only six hours a day we are now knocking off at four in the afternoon. Modie finished a water color of the fighter strip for me last night. I hope to be able to send it on to Lib but doubt if it will pass the censor.
5/24. Wed. Were able to complete our little storage shed today. Now Chief wants several more built. I guess it is as good to be doing that as it would some of the other things that are done around here. Wrote all evening.
5/25. Thurs. Spent the whole day on a new shed. I think our yard will be full of them before this mess is over with. Did a little work on my knife tonight.
5/26. Fri. Still in the moving and general construction business. A New Zealand civilian troupe put on a very good two and a half hour show.
5/27. Sat. Managed to make our construction job last through the day. We were not feeling too ambitious and saw no reason for hurrying anyway. Letter writing in the evening.
5/28. Sun. Another day of beach combing. Found a few new shells on a small island at the entrance to our lagoon. By the time Fay and I had combed the island it was too late to search anywhere else. In fact I don’t know where we have not been. Arrived back early enough to enjoy several hours reading in my hammock.
5/29. Mon. This has seemed like a typical fall day. Leaves falling, overcast sky, and rain. Our construction work is still progressing. Read during most of my odd moments.
5/30. Tues. Have had a sudden stunned feeling today - a realization of how far from home I am. Received a letter from Sadie today that Marion and Stan are to be married in June. That was the stun portion for she wrote me just a few days ago from Ann Arbor and made not even a hint of such a thing. Mother does not even know the boy. Yesterday Sadie wanted to have a shower for Marion with Mother on hand. The difficulties of religion also arise. Hope Mother knows more about the whole thing than I do.
5/31. Wed. Still down in the dumps over Marion today. Aired myself to Mother and Lib tonight.
6/1. Thurs. And the rains came. Spent this morning checking through the Regimental dump. This afternoon we were rained out. The latest scuttlebutt leaves us here for from 60 to 90 days as a maintenance unit. Also Battalions are supposed to return to the states 18 months after commissioning. So if that be true we may see a white Christmas and not have to dream about it.
6/2. Fri. Construction work progressing as usual. Fay and I took down the old tarp we live under and put up a new one tonight. It was quite a job particularly when we had to stop with the old tarp down and the new one not yet up and a misty sky to take Fay to the hospital for six stitches in a finger he tore open on a nail. The job is done except for a few finishing touches. Our new rain barrels too are almost ready to go into operation. Am expecting Lib to accept a year’s appointment at Smith College. Am quite sure she will like that part of the country.
6/3. Sat. The construction business changed from buildings today to chairs for the chiefs for their nightly poker games. Fay and I put the finishing touches on our new water supply system which should work ok.
6/4. Sun. The sketching trip Moede and I had planned for today had to be called off because of rain. Stayed in bed quite late reading most of the time this morning. After dinner I built a lounge chair and spent the afternoon reading some more. Wrote lots of letters this evening. Our water system had a good test today and worked ok. Everything is full. Caught a young possum tonight. Don’t know whether we can tame him or not.#
6/5. Mon. Practically nothing done this morning and the same might be said of the afternoon for we only worked on a poker table for the chief. Built a home for Junior our little possum bear. He sleeps most all day and roams all over his house at night. He is really a cute little fellow. Went to a fair show tonight.
6/6. Tues. Woke up this morning to find most everything in our tent pretty soggy. Five and a half inches of rain fell in five hours during the night and has kept a pretty good pace all day. Shoes were floating around in some portions of the camp and water up to within a few inches of mattresses. I don’t see what keeps this island from sinking. Had to do some hauling from Halis Dump most of today. Went to a show tonight the last portion of which it poured down.
6/7. Wed. It hasn’t stopped raining yet. Spent most of today working on the poker table. Tried to put up some scrap pieces of tarp tonight to make our shelter a bit more weather proof. Still lots of room for improvement.
6/8. Thurs. Today’s scuttlebutt is that we leave soon instead of remaining here as a station force. The sun shone today for a change. I may get my blanket and clothes dried yet. Did a bunch of odds and ends today. Everyone seems to be anxious to learn of the invasion now that it has begun.
6/9. Fri. Woke up this morning to find Junior in a very prone position on the floor of his house. He died around noon and Fay buried him this afternoon. Can’t understand what happened to him for he was quite himself last night. Made boxes all day today and went to show this evening.
Five men killed
6/10. Sat. Chief Myers is really on the ball. I think he grows more confused every day. He has G.S.K. making preparations for a move while he has a crew at the tool tent fixing the place up for us to stay a while. Tragedy struck the 93rd today for the first time. Several cases of dynamite went off on one of the jobs accidentally killing at least five of the men. Several were equipment operators and not on the dynamite crew. The identification of the fellows has been very hard since it is having to be done by bits of clothing and personal items. The whole battalion had to muster this evening as an extra check. Several of the boys I knew quite well. Sanchez and Zorn in particular.
6/11. Sun. Moede and I went off to do some sketching this morning but I think we were too full of thoughts of yesterday’s accident for we both felt lousy and headed back at noon. On our way down the road from Beach 21 we met the funeral procession and joined it. There was really a line of trucks. Seemed everyone in the battalion turned out. Only four caskets were lowered. The fifth fellow will no doubt be listed as missing. Spent the remainder of the afternoon in my hammock reading. Went to a show this evening.
6/12. Mon. Still pounding out boxes although I had a different detail this afternoon. One which I did not care for. Had to help pick up the personal effects of the five boys who were killed on Saturday: Zorn, Sanchez, Walters, Simmons, and Sowa. Wrote letters this evening.
6/13. Tues. On my box building all day today. A very hot sun. Spent tonight straightening up some of my junk. The latest seems to be that we are to get ready for a quick leave.
6/14. Wed. Another day on my boxes and the sun still coming down hot. Scuttlebutt is sending us to Brisbane again.
6/15. Thurs. This has been just about a carbon copy of yesterday. No fried chicken for chow tonight though. Today scuttlebutt is keeping us here to build a hospital. What would we do without scuttlebutt.
6/16. Fri. Japan bombed today. Best news since the invasion. Still on boxes and am now wondering when this supply department will stop getting crazy ideas. They want to paint all the boxes in the dump now. Have started working on a super grass skirt for Lib now.#
6/17. Sat. A terrifically hot day today. Doubt if I will ever get through with the boxes. Had to string a new electric line to our tent tonight. Did not discover we were without lights till after dark.
6/18. Sun. Have been real lazy. Never went farther than the chow hall all day. Just messed around.
6/19. Mon. Another pretty day and a few more boxes made. Spent the evening just messing around.
6/20. Tues. The rainy season has begun again. Helped with another inventory again today. Seems that is all that is being done around here now. Make boxes and inventories. We changed from wartime to standard last night.
6/21. Wed. A half rainy, half sunny day. The war news has sounded very good today which makes us all feel good. The scuttlebutt today has been most confused. Drew our rifles and cleaned them in preparation for a little practice on the range tomorrow.
6/22. Thurs. Went out on the range this morning and my shooting was not so hot. More boxes this afternoon. Thought I would have the evening to myself but had to report at the supply tent at six to help get requisitions ready for six months supplies. We worked till 12:30 with Mr. Eyre* supplying refreshments midway through the evening.
6/23. Fri. Back on the ball at 7 this morning starting where we left off last night. The dope now is that we will move forward around the middle of next month. We are wondering if it might be the Philippines. Saw a very good movie tonight. Edward Robinson in Eyes in the Dark.
6/24. Sat. Drew lines all day today again. Will be glad when that deal is over and I can get all the kinks from my back. Got a few letters out of the way this evening.
6/25. Sun. A day of rest; in fact I was too rested before it was over and had grown tired of resting. Caught up on most of my current reading. Saw a lousy show tonight.
6/26. Mon. I think that today wound up the drawing. Received 17 new trucks today which certainly are a contrast to the old ones.
6/27. Tues. Finished up the office work and retired to the outside chores. Had a very light afternoon. New chow hours now which waste a lot of time for me. And to make it worse it is pretty lousy anyway. Another bunch of newspapers and magazines came in today so no letters were written tonight.
6/28. Wed. Very little of interest today. It was pay day however and arrived just about in time for I have been running a bit low. Lt. Slutzky* has left the battalion. Who will take over Company C remains to be seen.
6/29. Thurs. We received a few long ordered supplies today. Mostly odds and ends. Another evening of reading.
6/30. Fri. Had a big time this morning hauling new clothes for everyone. Rained like the dickens this afternoon.#
7/1. Sat. Had to do a little straightening up of our new cargo today. We understand that one of the ships off the island had an explosion and fire today. Also that a south bound Seat developed engine trouble yesterday afternoon and had to jettison its load which included some of our mail and Slutzky’s gear. A show tonight which was good.
7/2. Sun. This has not been as lazy a Sunday as the last two. Managed to get a few shells from the natives. One of them enjoyed looking at pictures of Lib, Mother, and Life Magazine. Had a few more pictures taken of me. Including some without my beard. Shaved it off this morning. Have been the brunt of a lot of jokes today as a result. The whole supply department had its picture taken this afternoon. Siggy and I spent several hours paddling and bailing out a native canoe this afternoon. They are really tricky things to handle. We did not start bailing soon enough at one time and submerged. Had to swim to shore but recovered the dugout. Lost Siggy’s shoes in the deal though. Had such a good meal tonight that I had to go through the line twice.#
7/3. Mon. Waking up in the middle of the night to find a rat nibbling a hole through my mosquito net and the bottom of my foot is a new experience for me. Went out on the range this morning for a little practice. Made 120 out of a possible 150. Back to making boxes again this afternoon. Started a set of bookends for Lib tonight. Wonder if I will get them finished.
7/4. Tues. We had today off. Spent the entire day working on some bookends for Lib out of some kind of black wood. Finishing them up will be the hardest part of the job. The boys put on another show tonight. The first part of it was lousy but the second made up for it. The Commander made a speech which as usual was putrid.
7/5. Wed. Am beginning to wonder where we will ever get enough stuff to fill all the boxes I am still making. Wrote letters all evening. Received the wedding announcement of Marion and Stan. They were married on the 17th of June.
7/6. Thurs. Soon expect to have all the lumber on the Island used up in crates. Went to a show tonight. Not too good.
7/7. Fri. Changed from making boxes this morning to fixing the floor of the loading platform this afternoon. Managed to get a box off today to Lib of all the shells I have collected since we have been here. It only weighed 27 lbs. and set me back $3.10. Saw the Phantom of The Opera tonight and enjoyed it very much.
7/8. Sat. Fresh from the scuttlebutt machine came news today that our ship is due to arrive here on the 20th and we are to leave on the 25th. That is even supposed to be more than scuttlebutt. Work around the dump is moving at a fast pace now. We will probably be working night and day before long. If everything is done that is being planned there will be plenty to do in a very short time.
7/9. Sun. A very rainy day. Worked with Fay (my end of it was negligible) on a powderbox for Lib this morning and fooled around with the grass skirt all afternoon. He and I found a pound of margarine along the road this evening which along with the rain suggested popcorn. I burned two fingers building a stove to pop some over. Moede helped us to eat it and found it to be very good
7/10. Mon. Started work in the dumps in earnest today. Can’t see how we will possibly be able to get everything in order by the 25th. Scuttlebutt is sending us to Milne Bay (southeast tip of New Guinea). There we will join a convoy and go to Halmahera northwest of New Guinea and one of the Spice Islands. Will be able to use the Equator for a clothesline.
7/11. Tues. Rain held up most of the regular activities today. Had to make several trips to SCAT to pick up freight today. A while back we could get very little that way. But now that we are leaving, anything we want comes. There were 2 planes today loaded with nothing but our stuff. The latest absurdity is the erection of a replica of "Hollywood and Vine" by the OD’s office – complete to lamp post, fireplug, and concrete sidewalks.#
7/12. Wed. Had a bag inspection this morning. There was not much to it but we had to wait all morning to get it done. Our company chief had quite a time finding where we lived. Worked at the same old thing this afternoon.
7/13. Thurs. It looks as though my end of the moving program this time will be repairing the crates which are broken up. That is as good as anything else I guess. Had a cholera shot this afternoon which does not make my arm feel any too good tonight. Really had a downpour this afternoon. I thought everything would wash away. Can certainly appreciate our new roof.#
7/14. Fri. Managed to get a fair amount of work done today. Have about decided from Chief Myers’ attitude and some of his ideas that he should be given a mental survey.
7/15. Sat. A day without rain, but which otherwise followed the pattern of yesterday. Saw a very good show tonight. Tokyo Ann has announced for the second time since we have been here that the Green Islands have been bombed into oblivion.
7/16. Sun. A day of rest. Visited with a couple natives most of the morning. These two seem to come to see us every Sunday now and are quite nice. The way they come around and act I think they like us. After doing a little trading we carried on quite a conversation about the nuts and trees around here. Fay and I are gradually catching on to this Pidgin English lingo. Worked on Lib’s grass skirt this afternoon. I imagine it will rot before I ever get it to her. A fair show this evening.#
7/17. Mon. Has seemed like fall this evening the way the wind has been blowing and our ridge pole squeaking. The day’s work has been typical. This evening Fay and I made and ate toasted cheese sandwiches till I thought I would turn into one. Wrote lots of letters this evening.
7/18. Tues. It rained all day with the result that I was able to do no work. More sandwiches tonight.
7/19. Wed. Rain stayed away today so I was able to get something done. Had some good ice cream for supper. Moede received word today that his father had died on the 4th of July.
7/20. Thurs. Another good work day. The sun really bore down on me. Went to see White Savage tonight and learned all about South Pacific Paradises.#
7/21. Fri. The third good work day in a row. Something wrong with the weather man. Finally picked up some pictures from Duggun* today. When some good prints can be made from them I think they will be ok. Two of the eight were complete busts. Received some good pictures from Lib today.
7/22. Sat. Can’t understand this weather we are having these past few days. Heard today that we may possibly hang around here for two months, will become part of the 3rd Construction Brigade, and go with approximately nine other battalions to the Philippines.#
7/23. Sun. For the past few weeks my Sundays have really been days of rest. The natives were back again this morning. Spent part of this afternoon in the hammock reading and part watching Fay turn out a box for me. Saw quite a funny show this evening.
7/24. Mon. This weather becomes more amazing every day it lasts. Word came in today that our ship would arrive in ten days. This must be the real thing for everyone seems to be in a dither.#
7/25. Tues. It seems we know what a dry season is now for this is the sixth day of perfectly clear weather that we have had. When I went to the head this morning I came upon a beautiful gray cat. It has been a long time since I have seen such a clean animal. With very little persuasion he came back to the tent with me. I gave him some milk and went on to work. We never saw him again till after work tonight when he came bouncing back to our tent. We fed him again and named him Tommy. From all appearances he likes it here and may stay with us.
7/26. Wed. Except for the rain this afternoon which was just enough to fill our buckets today has been like the last few. Woke up this morning to find Tommy gone. Guess he has forsaken us. Have a little cold.#
7/27. Thurs. Still plugging at the same thing. Scuttlebutt has us back to staying here for two months. More good sandwiches this evening.
7/28. Fri. -- Ditto -- Saw a very good show tonight. Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire dancing with Zavier Cugat’s orchestra.
7/29. Sat. -- Ditto again but with a shower added to the day’s activities which helped our water situation. Spent most of the evening visiting with Bert Howard.* It has been decreed that we can no longer take food from the chow hall nor have any food in the camp area. If we could get food in the chow hall half as good as the officers get we wouldn’t want it in our tents.
7/30. Sun. Another lazy Sunday. Traded a bit with the natives this morning and spent the remainder of the day reading. Fay worked on the lathe and turned out several items for me. Wrote letters this evening.
7/31. Mon. Intermittent showers all day which produced very little work. Did a little hobby lobbying this evening and chewed the fat with Myers for quite a while.
8/1. Tues. More showers today but not as many as yesterday. Bob Hope, Jerry Colona, Francis Langford, Patty Thomas, and two others were on the island today to give shows on different parts of the island. The one we were to attend was at nine this evening on the SCAT cargo area. A general exodus from camp began about five and the gang looked like a bunch of refugees carrying boxes, cans, camp stools, or anything else to sit on plus the usual poncho. I arrived on the scene at six with a book to help pass the time. After dark my flashlight provided me with the necessary light. At seven-thirty it was announced that the show would be an hour late. Time passed quite fast as the crowd was quite congenial. Some of the fellows living close by went off to come back with a blow torch and all the ingredients for making a pot of tea. The show was very good - something quite refreshing to us. The two women of course produced quite a sensation, particularly with the costumes they wore.
8/2. Wed. Had to go to sick bay this morning with a finger that became a bit festered during the night from a scratch I received yesterday from a nail. Doc had it so bandaged up one would think it was broken. Was able to do no work. Sent Lib an anniversary present today. Wrote letters on a typewriter tonight since I could not wrap my finger around a pen. Went to see Human Comedy at the show - a good but very sad picture.#
8/3. Thurs. Another day of little work. And more letters on a typewriter.
8/4. Fri. A pretty day. The bandage and splint came off the finger so I have been able to do some work again. Have received a lot of letters lately from Lib. One today brought an excellent picture. A lot of fourth class mail came in today. I received only two magazines both of which were water soaked and are now hanging up to dry.
8/5. Sat. Weather about the same as yesterday. More reading matter today. Spent the whole evening reading.
8/6. Sun. My Sundays seem to have been nothing but lazy ones for quite some time now. Stayed in bed reading till almost chow time this noon. Came back from chow and read some more. It has rained almost all day. The natives did not get around till this afternoon and they had very few shells. Seem to have gone in for grass skirts now. I fixed a watch for one and a cigarette lighter for another. More magazines this afternoon. Wrote letters this evening.#
8/7. Mon. A clear day for a change. Read my recently arrived magazines during the odd moments of the day and all evening.
8/8. Tues. Sunshine all day except for one short shower this evening. Fay and I had to run around the Island on errands all afternoon. Chief Myers wants to put up a case of liquor that we will be home by March 1 next year. I hope it is even sooner than that. Spent this evening rather enjoyably with Moede discussing a set of plans he is working on for a home for one of the boys. Before the evening was over there were three others in on it.
8/9. Wed. A clear day with lots of work accomplished. Moede, Fay, and I had a round of sandwiches again tonight.
8/10. Thurs. No rain today. Sun has been very hot so I shall have an odorless bed in which to sleep tonight. Spent the evening writing letters.
8/11. Fri. These pretty days are about to get me down - because of the heat. Went to a show tonight.
8/12. Sat. Could have done quite a bit of work today but have run out of lumber. Hope to have more around the first of the week. Went to the show again tonight.
8/13. Sun. Managed to get a few pictures of some natives this morning. This afternoon Fay and I made a trip to the ocean to get a few shots there. Spent the rest of the day reading and making boxes to send stuff home. Wrote letters this evening.
8/14. Mon. Quite a pretty day. Received quite a handful of mail this afternoon for a change. Wrote letters all evening.
8/15. Tues. The big event today was the Jack Benny Show tonight. The whole camp turned out as it did for Bob Hope. There was a very good movie to pass the time away till the show started. Benny had Larry Adler, Carol Landis, June Bruno, and another girl with him. This show was even better than Hope’s. Larry Adler stole this one with his harmonica.
8/16. Wed. Was awakened early this morning by one of the heaviest rains I have ever seen. It has sprinkled and showered all day. Wrote letters all evening with my new fountain pen which I rather like after using it a few times. Has a very heavy downstroke which when used by someone with a pretty hand would be beautiful. The woolly worms are back with us. They have really invaded our tent.
8/17. Thurs. Started a six hour day today 6:30 to 12:30 which means I have to get up before breakfast now. It is quite nice to have free afternoons. Someone has taken to repeating some of the bugle calls as soon as they have been blown on a cow horn.
8/18. Fri. Am beginning to wonder if I will ever finish making crates. This six hour day business is giving me so much free time I hardly know what to do with it. Stenciled all my clothes this afternoon which is a good job done.#
8/19. Sat. Another busy day doing the same thing. Only papers and magazines in the mail today. Not that they are not acceptable but letters are more so. Read this evening.
8/20. Sun. Fay woke me up early enough for chow this morning. Since pancakes were on the menu I went for the first time in quite a while. Washed a few clothes this morning and then put everything I own out in the sun including my cot. Moede left some stuff with me to trade to the natives. I got him a mess of shells for most of it. Piddled around doing odd jobs all day long. Read this evening.#
8/21. Mon. It rained all day. No work at all. So I messed around with a gavel Fay helped me make for the Jaycees. Hope to get one made for the Civitans too. Still no mail. Almost caught up on current reading again.
8/22. Tues. Still no mail. It is growing disgusting at this point. A little hobby lobby this afternoon and evening. No sun today. Sent a radiogram to Lib.
8/23. Wed. A good day for working. Moede gave me a lesson in water colors this afternoon. And seems to think I did pretty good on it. Still no air mail. Guess the SCAT pilots don’t like our woolly worms. Did receive a nice birthday package from Mother today. Quite a show tonight. Wanted to see Miracle of Morgan’s Creek which I enjoyed very much, even though I had to see two shorts and one other full length show first.
8/24. Thurs. What a way to be spending a wedding anniversary. Worked as usual this morning. And this afternoon did a little painting. Spent most of this evening composing a letter to Lib.
8/25. Fri. Still no mail. Put out some good work this morning. Hobby lobbied all afternoon on a picture frame. Show tonight.
8/26. Sat. Had several to help me on my box detail this morning and we really went to town. Worked on a picture frame this afternoon which really looks good. Black wood with a tan inlay. Air mail is still on the want list. Received a package apiece from Lib and Mother today. Read this evening.
8/27. Sun. Surprised myself by getting up for breakfast this morning. Then after reading the morning papers - of July 9 - had to report at the ball diamond for a softball game between the supply dept. and another gang. Was quite successful in keeping out of the game. Read all afternoon after a good meal this noon. Some mail came in at last today. Three letters from Lib, one from Mother, and one from Marion with a picture of her and Stan taken the day they were married. He seems to be quite alright. Wrote this evening.
8/28. Mon. Started on the same old thing this morning but stopped very short when it was discovered that some of the lumber which is now all used up was for a floor in the personnel office. So some of the older crates from native lumber were torn down and used. Suited me ok for I would have to have torn them down and reworked them anyway. Finished up my picture frames this afternoon and read all evening. Received several books from Lib today.
8/29. Tues. Quite a bit of rain today which helped out our water supply which was beginning to get low. Read all afternoon and evening.#
8/30. Wed. Used this morning to tear open crates of water tanks to get lumber to build crates. Our ship is now scheduled to arrive September 5. No one really seems to know all about it yet. Wrote Mother this afternoon and went to a show this evening. An Army band put on a good concert before the show.
8/31. Thurs. Another rainy day but was able to get some work done anyway. Finished up a base for my picture frame this afternoon. Wrote letters this evening and filled out my absentee ballot.#
9/1. Fri. More rain than anything else today. Not very much work done this morning. Am afraid that with this new shipment coming in, we will have to start working afternoons again. Read all afternoon and wrote quite a bunch of letters this evening.
9/2. Sat. This has really been a pretty day. Hope tomorrow is the same so that my movies can be made. Went to see As Thousands Cheer. Very good.
9/3. Sun. This started out to be a pretty day but that was as far as it went. Moede, Fay, Cobb* and I went to the ocean to take some movies. After trying for an hour we had to give up. The film was stuck. We were caught in a pouring down rain before we got back. Had a swell roast beef dinner this noon. Read all afternoon and went to see The Song of Bernadette this evening.
9/4. Mon. An hour and a half late for work this morning. Woke up at the usual time but it was raining too hard to work so went back to sleep. The rain was just stopping when I woke up again. Did a bunch of odd jobs this afternoon and wrote this evening. This will be a good night to sleep.
9/5. Tues. There has been very little work done today. Moede received word this morning that he has been accepted for officers training and is to report on Nov. 16 at the University of Pennsylvania. He leaves day after tomorrow via SCAT. I started the ball rolling this noon on a party for him tonight. By party time I had procured three cases of beer, two buckets of ice, and a Bulova watch. Mr. Orr,* Eyre, and Huggins*plus the rest of the Supply Dept. were on hand and I believe every one had a good time. Party broke up at 10.
9/6. Wed. Learned that our party last night broke up into several smaller affairs that lasted till 1 and 2 this morning. Holtan was flying so high Myers had to send him home. Eyre is trying to get things fixed up so that Moede can fly straight to the States. If so he will be back in about forty hours. He is really excited and I guess is rightly so. Wrote letters this evening. There has been a very strong wind blowing for the past few days.
9/7. Thurs. Loaded Moede and his bag on 2C11 this morning and after all farewells were over we headed for SCAT. He did not make the first plane but was all lined up for the second when his seat was taken by an officer. After waiting for some time longer we learned that there would be no more planes today. So we brought Moede back. Read all afternoon and evening.
9/8. Fri. Back to SCAT again this morning but still no luck. The first plane was filled when it arrived. Moede was assigned to the second one again, but was pulled again for the plane had insufficient life preservers. Mr. Eyre tried to get him on a PBY or some other smaller plane headed south but no luck. We took a few pictures this afternoon. Wrote a pack of letters this evening. Only today did I realize what wonderful cooks we have in this outfit. We had salmon croquettes this noon with gravy and mashed potatoes. This evening it was baked corn beef with gravy on mashed potatoes. I wonder where the gravy comes from. Moede received word this evening to report to SCAT at 6:30 in the morning.
9/9. Sat. Up before breakfast this morning to get Moede to the strip. Only the three of us went this time. Had to use a flashlight on 2C11 for headlights. Arrived at the strip at 6:15 after running through a shower. At 7:15 the plane took off with Moede on it. I certainly hope that he does not get stuck on the Canal but goes through as fast as possible. Back to my old box making this morning. Our ship passed Munda last night. We are all wondering now if it will unload our new stuff here or if we will load onto it. Read all afternoon and went to a show this evening.
9/10. Sun. Am beginning to wonder if the natives have been stopped from coming around for they have not been here in two weeks now. Borrowed a camera this morning to take their pictures but guess I won’t be able to get any. There was a ball game this afternoon but the Supply Dept. lost without me. I understand a very large convoy has been going by here today. Each Sunday evening for several weeks now there has been a party for all the fellows who have a birthday during the preceding week. My turn came tonight. Steak and all the ice cream and cake we could eat.
9/11. Mon. Our long looked for ship arrived this morning but will not start unloading for several days. But before it loaded at Banika some of the fellows loading it found ten gallons of denatured alcohol in the cargo and proceeded to have a party. When the ship left four had died - several more were close to it and about twenty others were in the hospital. Heard today that all battalions from 40 down were being sent back to the States with the exception of the 23rd which is said to be on its way to Palau. It has rained most all day. Saw Going My Way this evening.
9/12. Tues. Another rainy day. It really poured down all afternoon. The war news sounded very good today all the way around. Scuttlebutt today is that we will be here for several months. Also that all cooks, bakers, storekeepers, and yeomen have been transferred to general services. Don’t know for sure just what that means. And that all C.B. Battalions will soon be broken up into C.B.M.U.s - we shall see.
9/13. Wed. Worked for only a few hours this morning as we are going on a different time schedule until our ship is unloaded. Took a walk out into the jungle this afternoon and almost lost myself. Went to bed right after chow so I could get up at midnight.
9/14. Thurs. When I first went to work at midnight it was believed the night’s operations would be over by 2, but something held the works up at the other end and stuff came in all night. Can’t complain about being overworked for all I have to do is direct trucks to the proper dump. Went to bed for a few hours this morning. Read in my hammock for the early part of the evening and wrote for the remainder. Instead of directing traffic on my shift this evening I had to go to the beach and spot cargo on the barges which was not so bad.
9/15. Fri. Slept rather late this morning. Back down to the beach at noon where I managed to get a little sun burn. Ate chow late tonight. Received a fair amount of mail today. To bed early.
9/16. Sat. Up early this morning for I had to be at the dock by six. Back again by noon. Four letters from Lib today. Really wrote her a long one this afternoon. Went to a show this evening.
9/17. Sun. Up early this morning to get started on our moving. Everyone outside of the living area has got to move back in. Some of the drinking and bootlegging which has been going on is the cause of it. But how the moving will stop that I don’t know.* We set the tent up and moved everything into it this morning and spent the afternoon straightening up. Was to have gone to the beach at six but the ship was unloaded so I went to bed early instead.
9/18. Mon. Back on the job as usual this morning. Started out on boxes but ended up getting ready to put up a new tent for some of the new cargo. Spent this afternoon putting out some laundry and spreading coral. Wonder how long we will be able to enjoy our new home. Read and wrote letters this evening.
9/19. Tues. Went to work this morning only to find that we were not working today. Made a wastebasket and lamp shade during the morning. This afternoon, Fay, Siggy, Carl, and I went out to take some pictures. Wanted to get some at North Nissan where the native huts were not in bad shape. Went as far as we could go by 2C11 and then took to the trail. Ended up at the village where the family of three lives. Took several shots of the village and then the man and his son. Marie "was not there." However after giving a few trinkets, Marie "would be there next Sunday." We shall see, weather permitting. Came back to the truck via the shore where there was an incoming tide and we spent most of the time wading in the water. Went to a show this evening. Tomorrow we start an eight hour day again.
9/20. Wed. Started in on our eight hours today. It really makes the day seem long. Am working on a new storage space. Why we need it I don’t know. Saw Lifeboat this evening. Went to see, mainly, how a whole movie could be shot in such a small place.
9/21. Thurs. Today we tore part of my new warehouse down so we could fill it up. I have never seen a place run the way that G.S.K. is. Received a letter from Moede today. He has reached the Hebrides and is now waiting for a ship to get him the rest of the way. The fellow who was supposed to be able to get him on a plane is no longer there. There was a concert after the regular movie tonight. It was fairly good.
9/22. Fri. Have been busy all day stacking boxes. And wondering how many times they will be moved before we leave here. Have had quite a bit of rain today. Enough to wash off the tent and give us clean water. Can hear the ocean tonight.
9/22. Sat. Frequent interruptions from the heavens today which rather hindered the progress of making an inventory of the newly acquired lumber pile. Read all evening. My stockpile of cokes certainly grew tonight. Have quite a bucketful.
9/24. Sun. This started off to be a fairly nice day. So nice in fact that Fay, Dinlocker,* and I got the truck and went to North Nissan to take some pictures, but by the time we arrived it had become too cloudy to do much good. Took a few shots anyway. Stopped at the same village as Tuesday to try to get a picture of Maria but no amount of bribery would do the job so we headed back and just got underway with the truck when the clouds broke loose and really drenched us. Wrote letters this evening.
9/25. Mon. Back on the box building today which was very uneventful. Those eight hour days leave very little time for anything besides work. Went to a good show this evening.
9/26. Tues. Box building and repairing was really going full blast today when it did not rain. Wrote a mess of letters tonight.
9/27. Wed. Weather and work today has been running just about the same as yesterday. Lots of rain this evening. Still trying to catch up on my correspondence.
9/28. Thurs. It has rained in some form all day today, enough to keep us from getting any work done. Heard today that I would be turned down again on a rerate because C.M.2/c was full. Went to see Hail The Conquering Hero tonight. A good show.
9/29. Fri. There has been a let up in the weather today so that work was able to get back to normal again. Spent the evening reading. A very strong wind has been blowing.
9/30. Sat. More rain today. So not much work has been done. Wrote this evening.
10/1. Sun. After putting out a little laundry this morning I put the remainder of the day to good use by writing letters and reading. Am just about all caught up on the former. The wind has really been blowing today.
10/2, Mon. Set up another saw today so we can really knock out the boxes. Can’t quite figure out what is in the wind, for we are turning in our carbines and will soon start making crates for our antiaircraft guns. Scuttlebutt still strong on Milne Bay. Am wondering if we will go there – leave our cargo and then go to Australia for a rest. Got into a bull session tonight that really covered a lot of ground.
10/3, Tues. The box production is still going strong. Having trouble with the switch on the new saw but I believe it is OK now. I seem to be wearing the crown right now for passing out scuttlebutt. It is getting so the boys won’t believe me but they come to me for more news. Read for most of the evening.
10/4, Wed. A sunny day at last. I put a bucket of water in a spot that would catch the sun all day and really had a hot bath tonight. The box company is beginning to see light. Am wondering what will come next. Wrote this evening.
10/5, Thurs. Back to raining a bit today. But not bad enough to keep us from working. Read all evening.
10/6, Fri. Woke up at 4 this morning to find my cot dancing around. Fay thought a pig was under his bunk and I thought Fay was waking me up until I heard water sloshing out of the next door rain barrel. Then I realized it was an earth tremor. Had another light one this evening. This must be my lucky day. Was on top of a slippery wet pile of lumber about fifteen feet in the air this morning when I slipped and landed on my chin but did not fall to the ground. After chow a coconut dropped from a forty foot tree and landed about two feet from me. Our morale is supposed to soar sky high now. Our Coke fountain opened this evening. It will be open twice a day for several hours with as many free Cokes as we wish.
10/7, Sat. A fairly clear day. Hope it is as good tomorrow for I would like to finish up the roll of film I have started. Made three 4.0s on inspection again today.
10/8, Sun. Went through my usual chores this morning. Was a bit overcast this afternoon but Fay, George Lecoq, and I got the truck and went to South Point to take some pictures. Found some good subject matter and hope they turn out ok. Wrote letters this evening.
10/9. Mon. Had a dental appointment this morning but it has been shifted to tomorrow because the corpsman forgot there was a Sunday this week. A good day for my box building. All of the older men are excited this evening. Word has been received that all over 42 can apply for a discharge. J.P. James is leaving for home tomorrow to report for V-6 training.
10/10. Tues. Seems my dental work is over for quite a while. Am pleased that I had no more work to be done. The box pile is steadily growing larger. Quite a down pour this evening.
10/11. Wed. A very rainy day. No work at all this morning. Fay and I tried to turn out a gavel* this evening but luck was against us. Heard today we would leave here within a month’s time.
10/12. Thurs. A good day for working. No rain and yet not too hot. Had a desire to see a show this evening so went to see Marriage Is A Private Affair or something like that. It was not too bad. The scuttlebutt about our leaving soon is really gaining momentum.
10/13. Fri. Another bright sunny day with lots of work done. Was busy reading this evening. It is beginning to look as though we will leave here in about two weeks. And head for Milne Bay. It is understood we will have about a six week stopover there. Present plans are making arrangements for enough cargo to be made available for a temporary camp. Our ship is not to be unloaded. Several outfits going there recently have spent the entire six weeks aboard the ship. We shall see.
10/14. Sat. One year ago we boarded the Perida and sailed from Hueneme for what we knew not, but we have certainly found out since then. Now we are about to move again and are wondering where we will end up. The boys really put out a mess of boxes today. We had a swell USO show tonight. Four men and no women. Still it was good. The M.C. could do just about anything. With him were a magician, an accordion player, and an excellent tenor - Clark Dennis who was formerly with Duffy’s Tavern. After that came the movie Dragon Seed which was excellent.
10/15. Sun. This has been one of the hottest days that I believe we have had. There was quite a bit of noise and singing at the end of our street this morning and I thought the boys were on a tear again but it was the USO troupe of last night paying us a visit. I imagine that close to a hundred pictures were taken in front of our Duffy’s Tavern.* Dennis and the accordion player performed and with the aid of a clothesline "Doc" Gunn pulled a few more rope tricks. The M.C. told us of an incident last night which of course the enlisted men enjoyed. During "Doc" Gunn’s performance the M.C. received a note from Stone requesting that the lights at the rear of the stage be turned out because they hurt his eyes. The M.C. sent a reply that the show was for enlisted men and they had as yet not complained. Spent this afternoon reading. We had a very good meal tonight of roast beef, baked potatoes, and ice cream. No lights tonight so I have had to write by flashlight.#
10/16. Mon. Have had a good day to work although it has been a bit on the hot side. Our cargo ship is due to arrive on Wednesday and Hollandia seems to be the object of present scuttlebutt. Began to think about packing up this evening but did nothing about it. Some of the boys caught quite a mess of fish this afternoon which were put away in short order tonight
10/17. Tues. My box building organization certainly has a lot with which to contend. I need a priority clerk, also someone to keep Myers and others from stealing my men. Got busy digging into my bags tonight figuring out which was going where, etc. Have everything fairly well lined up now. What a mess. Our cargo ship suddenly appeared today which has thrown Myers into a dither.
10/18. Wed. Trucks have been rolling to the beach all day today. And Conner’s Box Works has really been putting out. Had to clean out my little desk tonight so I can pack some of our tools in it. Our furniture and junk is being picked up now and hauled to the dump. Expect we will be on our way by this time next week.
10/19. Thurs. Put out a real day’s work today. About quitting time this afternoon a 625 refer was hauled into the yard to be crated and hauled to the beach by midnight. Which meant that Fay and I would work through till the job was done. We finished up at two this morning. Am really whipped down.
10/20. Fri. The Philippine invasion really made good news to us today. Slept late this morning. Fay leaves tomorrow on the cargo ship and I rather expect that the rest of us will board the troop ship on Sunday. Our destination has been changed so much in the past few days that it has become hard to keep up with. At first and for a long time it has been Milne Bay. A few days ago it was Hollandia and now it is Biak. Began to rain today. Hope it stops when it comes time for us and our bags to board that ship.
10/21. Sat. Spent most of today packing up all of our tools which was quite a job. More and more of our furniture is being hauled away. The new tents are being taken down, lights removed, and such so that our camp is gradually taking on the look of a deserted village. Quite a heavy rain this afternoon.
10/22. Sun. Not too much to do today for everything is pretty much cleaned out. More rain and the clothes I am wearing are really wet. The crate containing the officers' liquor was stolen from the beach today which of course makes the enlisted men very happy.*
10/23. Mon. Three of us had to go out to the cargo ship this morning to assist with a little work. We left Halis Beach at 8:15 and never boarded the ship till 11:45. We had quite a trip, for the bad weather provided us with very rough water. The cockswain of our barge was very scared for we had several cases of dynamite caps with us. The barge was really tossed about - we broke our moorings twice at the cargo ship and then returned to Blue Beach to reload onto another larger barge. Were successful in unloading the second time even though we broke our moorings again. Got aboard the ship in time to eat chow which was an excellent meal. The boys making the trip on that ship should have a very nice trip. There was no lumber available for building the catwalk so we busied ourselves lashing down the deck cargo. Caught an L.C.T. back to Halis which ended up being a two and a half hour trip. Had to read and write in the chow hall tonight since we have nothing to sit on or see by in our tents, yet the officers still have their plywood floors, chairs and lights. What a war for them.
10/24. Tues. Very little to be done today. Just a few loose ends. The major job came this evening with the final packing of bags. Everything that we are taking with us came down tonight. The galley is really a sad looking place.
U.S.S. CAPE JOHNSON*
10/25. Wed. Up at four this morning to put the finishing touches on packing. As is the usual case I have too much junk to carry with me. We mustered at 11 this morning and marched with our gear to CBMU* 552 for chow. And from there to Beach 34 where we boarded barges. It was then that I celebrated the eighth month of putting my feet on Nissan Island by taking them off again. Of course it has had to rain off and on all day. Arrived aboard the U.S. Navy Transport Cape Johnson at 3 and was assigned to quarters in A compartment which is in the top deck of No. 1 hold. The ship seems a bit small but we at least have fresh water in the head. We understand we are to make stops at Emirau, Manus, and Hollandia to let off and take on passengers. Chow tonight was very good. Left the Green Islands at sundown. The hold is very hot.
10/26. Thurs. Reveille was 5:30 this morning but we were informed by the Captain (L.C. Farley) of the ship that we did not have to get up at that time. So far our meals have been the best we have had since leaving the States which has really surprised us. The chow hall has tables high enough to eat at standing up - no seats to go with them. Read and roamed all day. Passed Tabor Islands.
10/27. Fri. Arrived at Emirau this morning and spent the entire day in its harbor. Three more excellent meals. Hope our cooks are learning something. Left Emirau at 5. Set our watches back an hour tonight.#
10/28. Sat. Woke up this morning to find we were pulling into the harbor of Manus Island of the Admiralties and the headquarters of the 7th Fleet. Our ship was certainly not alone for there were a few of most everything in the harbor. Expect to spend two days here. Officers and C.P.O.s as usual were permitted to go ashore. One of our boys (Sam Pegors?) learned that his son was aboard another ship here. The two had not seen each other in two years. Arrangements were made for the boy to come here and there was quite a reunion. We took on a few supplies this afternoon and of course I got on an unloading detail. It was not so bad for every time we made a trip into the refer we got an orange and they were really good. The shore was certainly lit up tonight. Looked more like Coney Island than a war zone.
10/29. Sun. Another day at Manus. Everyone seems to be a bit drowsy today. Don’t know whether it is the Sunday Influence or the chicken dinner. This has been a somewhat nicer day than yesterday. The anchor was pulled in at 5 this afternoon and we started off again. Pretty sunset over Los Negros this evening.
10/30. Mon. Very little land in sight today. Expect to reach Hollandia in New Guinea in the morning. Beyond our arrival we know nothing. If we go further we all hope it will be on this ship for we are certainly enjoying the meals.
10/31. Tues. Pulled into Hollandia, Humbolt Bay in Dutch New Guinea this morning. The harbor is quite a natural spot and is certainly being put to use, for I would hate to hazard an estimate on the number of ships here. It puts Manus to shame. I doubt if we will get off here but where the spot will be we still have not been told. Quite a bit of mail came aboard for us this afternoon which will be distributed in the morning. There are some huge mountains around this place, tops covered with clouds and rising directly from the ocean.
11/1. Wed. It looks as though we will be here for several days. And while we sit here in the harbor the officers come and go as they please. Received some mail tonight which was most welcome. Saw a movie topside which provided a few laughs.
11/2. Thurs. Learned this morning that the 122nd was here so sent word in with our mail clerk to get word to John Fulbright and see if he can’t get out here to see me tomorrow or sometime before we leave. I sure hope he can make it. More mail today which means the censors will no doubt have lots of work to do. Heard this morning we were headed for Leyte in the Philippines.
11/3. Fri. This has been a rather drizzly day. The mail we are continuing to receive proves a bright spot. Besides letters we are beginning to get packages. I and others too would prefer to see them left in the pouches and delivered to us when we reach our destination where we would have a place to put them, and the food contained could be enjoyed to a greater extent. Received one of Mother’s Christmas packages today. It had some good nuts and candy.
11/4. Sat. Learned today that John Fulbright is in the hospital at Milne Bay. That may be the reason I have not heard from him in so long a time. This has been a very cool day. I guess the boys are out working to replace some of the liquor which has slipped out of the officers’ hands recently, for most of the painters in this outfit have been put to work painting the ship. A small liberty party went ashore for a few hours this afternoon and was a typical 93rd affair. They were permitted to roam in a little roped off area and watch all the other outfits drink beer. Very cool this evening. Wrote letters all afternoon.
11/5. Sun. This has been a very hot day but surprisingly cool this evening. It became very cool before morning last night. The liberty party this afternoon had a better time than the one yesterday. They could go wherever they pleased. One of the boys paid $2 for a bottle of "wine" resold it for $3 and it was again resold for $5. The last man opened it to discover it was fly dope. Wrote letters this evening.
11/6. Mon. This has been a very warm day and for some reason dull. Have had no desire to read, write, or anything else. The electricity was off for quite a while which meant eating by flashlight and no ventilation below deck. Another Christmas package today. Went to bed rather early tonight. Quite comfortable.
11/7. Tues. This has been a rather quiet day and somewhat hot. As usual spent most of the day reading and writing. Saw My Gal Sal this evening which everyone seemed to enjoy very much.
11/8. Wed. Read this morning and went ashore this afternoon which I had not expected to do. The so-called "7th Fleet Recreational Area" is certainly quite a place. It consists of a roped off area surrounded by S.P.s and containing a large Quonset hut. There is beer for everyone if you bring your own. Every outfit there had beer except the 93rd. Other than drinking beer the main diversion was shooting crap and there was plenty of that going on. There are three ways of getting past the S.P.s. One is to flag a truck in the area or tell the S.P. you are from the Naval Base or get a pass. I found that by staying across the road from the S.P. and flashing my chow pass, I too could get by. Proceeded to the 122nd C.B. to see what I could find out about John Fulbright. The roads were covered with clouds of dust and passed over some very rough terrain. Rougher than I had ever expected to see in this part of the world. High spots afforded some very pretty views, particularly of the harbor with all of the ships. The shore line showed numerous evidences of shell fire with its topped and scorched trees. Found the mail clerks at the 122nd and learned that John was no longer at Milne Bay even but had been sent back to the Oakland Hospital. Spent quite a while chatting with some of the fellows, one of them being from Carolina. Bought a bunch of air mail envelopes for the boys and left for the beach. The ride back was really a rough trip and everyone got soaked except a few of us who had rain clothes with us. It looks as though we will leave tomorrow and will be traveling for an invasion, for we are taking aboard a number of new landing barges. Everyone is really wondering what we are in for. Quite cool this evening. All preparations were made this morning for our departure and we weighed anchor shortly after noon, setting sail with about 15 other ships plus the escort vessels. We have really been doing a lot of bouncing up and down which has had its usual effect upon some of the boys. Grew sleepy quite early this evening.
11/10. Fri. The general run of things was changed today. The Captain of the ship announced our destination as Leyte. Then there was a little gun practice by all the ships which of course attracted the attention of everyone. After that we had an "abandon ship" drill. To bed early this evening.
11/11. Sat. We were told today by the Captain of the ship that in the morning we would be 60 miles from Palau and would be joined by another convoy. He has told us more on this trip than Lynn has since the Battalion was formed. Another target practice this morning. We drew our carbines this afternoon and had the pleasure of cleaning all the grease from them. This evening we enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets that I believe I have ever seen. The sea was very calm and it, with the sky, ran the gamut of imaginable colors.#
11/12. Sun. A rather quiet day. Only one call to general quarters and that was only practice. We sighted a Jap plane this afternoon but he gave us no trouble. But each day brings us closer to it. A man fell overboard from a neighboring ship this afternoon but was picked up by one of our destroyers. The convoy which we joined this morning was almost the same size as ours.
11/13. Mon. A most exciting day.* We drew our ammunition and started packing our stuff this morning. And in the middle of the afternoon we had a call to general quarters which was the real thing. It lasted till 7 tonight. The Captain of this ship must appreciate our position in having to remain below decks, for as soon as he would learn something he would let us know over the P.A. system. Three flights of Jap planes came in on us but only one tried to do anything. After messing around for a bit he came in on a ship near us dropped his torpedo and was hit at the same time. The former missed its goal and the latter sank. P-38s came in about dusk but the enemy had retired. Captain Farley kept us posted. It was quite a relief to get back topside and cool off.
SAN ANTONIO, SAMAR, THE PHILIPPINES
11/14. Tues. After most everyone had gone to bed last night a hospital ship passed by all lighted up. It was really an odd sight. Shortly after we had another alert but apparently the planes could not find us. Woke up this morning to the tune of an alert. Were being attacked by four planes. Ack-ack* got one and a P-38 another. We ate chow very early this morning and dropped anchor off Leyte. Men were disembarking all morning but did not go far. For some reason or another the landing was postponed till tomorrow. Those of us who are to remain aboard for a while spent the morning trading with some of the natives who swarmed around the ship. The women are rather attractive and seem to do most of the bartering. They had coconuts, bananas, Jap invasion money, and various woven things. Their weaving seems to be very good. Read all afternoon and went to bed early.
11/15. Wed. Thought I would never get to sleep last night. Had to move to G compartment yesterday and it was terrifically hot. The boys went ashore today and we started unloading the ship. I had little to do other than watch but it was 2:30 this morning before I was relieved. Believe I caught a cold last night from the heat.
11/16. Thurs. We all came ashore this morning and are again learning what mud is. Found some natives to carry my clothes bags and stuff. The Filipinos are most anxious to get clothes and are happy to see Americans. To us it seems good to see some clean, courteous, and English-speaking natives. Set our tent up this afternoon between rains. G.S.K. seems to be in its usual mudhole. Have a bad cold now which makes me feel lousy. Went to the beach this evening to watch the show during the alert. The tracers are most impressive shooting into the sky. Our bakers had hot rolls for us at chow this evening.
11/17. Fri. Back to work this morning. Started putting up issue tents in the dump area which will be permanent. The mud is getting worse all the time. Found my boots today so perhaps I can keep my feet dry. Maggot Issue* has cleaned out all of the boots and rain gear already. We seem to be in for several alerts a day. There was quite a display this evening. Went to bed very early.
11/18. Sat. Still going strong on our construction program at G.S.K., considering the rain and mud with which we have to contend. The chow hall and other buildings are gradually taking shape.#
11/19. Sun. Lots of rain today, in fact there has been little else for about 24 hours. Of about 6 tents in our platoon, 4 have had to move to higher ground for the water rose to as high as a foot and a half. The work we were able to do amounted to very little. A little first class mail came in today.
11/20. Mon. Almost finished our first building today and started on the second. Trucks and "cats" are getting stuck everywhere. Saw one D-8 in a hole over the top of its brakes. Planes buzz overhead all day long, mostly P-386, P-61s. Went to the "show" tonight. Quite a few bombs were dropped on a distant portion of Leyte.
11/21. Tues. The sky was rather clear today. Were able to do quite a bit of work but have been without help. Had to go down to the beach area this afternoon to put up a temporary issue tent, for the roads are impassable into the regular dump area. Took a walk down the beach this evening to catch a breath of some different air.
11/22. Wed. The mud has dried up considerably today. Worked on the second of our two buildings and could have covered it had we not been called to put up a second temporary issue tent. Still having a lot of alerts.
11/23. Thurs. Back to finishing up our temporary construction work today and ducked the rain. Had the usual alerts, and with the moon growing full, expect to see more of them.
11/24. Fri. Started work in the dumps - merely stacking them up and not getting them in order as the present set-up is only temporary. This has really been an exciting day for it has been almost one continuous alert. Things started off this morning with a real display of fireworks. During the night a bombing raid took place on the ships in the harbor which means a convoy must have come in. One ship was struck which was still burning at daybreak. Around 8 there was another raid on Leyte’s strip across the bay from us which produced a number of huge fires. P-38s and anti-aircraft accounted for at least four Jap airplanes which went down in flames. A dud shell from one of the ships landed in our area and then went off which, with falling flak from firing over our heads, has made almost everyone foxhole conscious. They are being dug everywhere -- all sizes, shapes, and designs. Dug mine this noon. This evening there have been a number of attacks with quite a brilliant display which again dropped quite a bit of flak on us with everyone hitting a foxhole. More planes came down. One of our men and a native woman were struck by flak during the day, both rather seriously.
11/25. Sat. Another alert early this morning which put some of the fellows in their holes. Had a box drop on my toe in the dump this morning which was not so pleasant. Took the afternoon off to keep my weight from it. Was able to get some of my gear in order at the same time. The chow hall, barracks, and camp in general seems to be coming along in fine shape. Will be glad to get moved in and settled down. We really put in an evening. The Damn Japs took advantage of the bright moon. It seemed we have spent the entire evening climbing in and out of foxholes. Had quite a close call when a 20 mm dud went off about ten feet from me and tore the end from Tom Hale’s* bunk. The fragments really chewed up a bedspread which he has been using for a pillow. It was close to 10 before things cleared up. We did have the pleasure of seeing about four planes come down. Seems the gunners on the ships in the harbor are considerably better than those of the shore batteries.
11/26. Sun. This has been a very pretty day but not without its raids. Had two at noon. One came while I was in the head. None of us there lost any time in getting ourselves elsewhere. The 93rd had its sixth casualty this noon when one of the men named Curtis* was killed instantly when he was struck by some sort of a shell. He had been in a foxhole under one of the new buildings. Church services were only 100 feet away. The dump is still operating on the same old basis of doing everything backwards. Had a few raids this evening but they gave us no trouble.
11/27. Mon. I understand there were several raids during the night but I must have slept through them. Worked as much as possible today which was not very much for most of the time was spent in moving the crane. Skies have been rather quiet all day. Tonight though we had our share of alerts plus a new scare. About dusk, word spread around that Jap paratroops had landed here on Samar and Leyte. Everything was blacked out and a string of guards were placed around the camp area.
11/28. Tues. Did not see a Jap plane all day although we had the usual number of alerts. The skies really broke loose with rain today. It poured down all day and through part of the night. The paratroop scare was apparently true for Leyte, but not here on Samar. Quite a bit of mail came in today.#
11/29. Wed. No serious alerts today at all. It has been very quiet for a change. The outfit was really messed up this morning for word came in that we were leaving here. All work details were stopped and preparations were begun for leaving. An hour later all was changed and only a survey crew with guards amounting to about 75 men will be leaving tomorrow in the L.C.T.s parked on our beach for Baybay. The location is purely scuttlebutt. It is expected that we really will be moving before so very long.
11/30. Thurs. The 75 left around 8 this morning, not for Baybay but for a point on Samar about 65 miles distant on a southeast peninsula. Had our first meal in our chow hall, doughnuts and real live fried eggs. Chow this noon was not much. This evening the big meal began at 4 and was served by the chiefs. It was really a meal. Roast turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, corn, dressing, mince pie, and ice cream. It was really wonderful. Everyone seemed most happy this evening with full stomachs. So far as the Japs are concerned this has been a real quiet day.
12/1. Fri. Had several alerts last night, so I was told this morning. Heard this noon that Luzon is to be invaded from several directions between Dec. 5 and Dec. 20. Spent part of today getting some supplies ready for the second wave which is to leave in the morning. A little over 100 men will be in that group. Have had an unusual amount of rain today and unusually quiet sky from alerts.
12/2. Sat. More rain. Have started stacking (as well as unstacking) the dumps again. It seems to be the same old monkey business. Have also been getting more supplies ready for a third wave to leave in the morning. There is a little scuttlebutt out that a skeleton force of about 50 men will remain here to handle supplies for our new base to be hauled there in our own barges. The alerts seem to be tapering off considerably and we are all keeping our fingers crossed.
12/3. Sun. Another group was to leave this morning but the L.C.T.s never arrived for them. This has been another quiet but rainy day. Had communion in church this morning. For most of the day we were getting things ready for the next wave whenever that may be. Creamed turkey tonight.#
12/4. Mon. Fay and I moved back to the old dump to fix up a bunch of boxes. Have not heard the sound of a Jap plane for quite a while. Still getting too much rain.
12/5. Tues. The weather cleared up remarkably well. Not a drop fell today. Fay and I have spent our second day on rejuvenating a few boxes. Haven’t seen Myers all day. From Nov. 25 to Nov. 30 we had 42 alerts which is quite a few per day.
12/6. Wed. More repair work today. And another sunny day. Several alerts today with a raid this evening. The plane was invisible to us but must have been very low, for the tracers seemed to skip across the water. Something happened out there for there was a crimson flash with several white ones at intervals afterward.
12/7. Thurs. Alerts and raids jumped us out of bed all night. Heard this morning that the flashes last night were the result of a Jap crashing a liberty ship. Special guards were called out again early this morning. Parachutists were reported to have landed in the Tacloban area across the gulf from us on Leyte. There are spies reported to be in San Antonio and Basey, also several Jap transmitters in the vicinity. Several cases of dynamite have been stolen from our dump. A few light showers today but still quite hot. Another group left for the new location. We received about a hundred and fifty replacements this afternoon fresh from boot camp. They are certainly a crummy looking bunch.
12/8. Fri. The news of yesterday sounded very good. Another draft left for the new location this afternoon. Our chow hall is scheduled to begin to come down in the morning. Can’t understand why we can not be told whether some of us will stay and if so who. A little mail this afternoon. The perimeter guards are still on duty. Had a circus in this tent last night. George and Duffy were having a discussion that the rest of us instigated and kept prodding along. For a while I thought we would never get to sleep.
12/9. Sat. Yesterday’s scuttlebutt that the chow hall would begin to come down today became a fact this morning. The storage wing and the mess wing have both been torn down and we are eating under canvas. The rain really fell last night and lightning flashed everywhere. One of my boots had a cup of water in it from sitting under one of the leaks in the tent. Am afraid our box making will soon be over. It has been quite enjoyable working away from the general melee. Heard from Mrs. Gimbal today that Dick was assumed to be in the Philippines. If so I hope I will get to see him. Several drunken white boys attempted to rape several Filipinos this afternoon a few hundred feet from where we were working. They were from some other outfit.
12/10. Sun. Still pouring down. Lots of letters and packages today. Hope I didn’t get any of the packages yet unless I am to stay here. Am afraid our box repairing is about to catch up with us. Had a long alert tonight but nothing happened.
12/11. Mon. The planes (ours) have certainly been buzzing overhead today. Someone up the line must be catching the works. Had only a few showers today. No blackouts tonight.
12/12. Tues. A list came out at 10 last night that covered the first 3 platoons. The boys were to leave at 8 this morning - they are still here tonight which makes two groups of Company C. scheduled to leave tomorrow morning. Fay and I had to move from our tent. Went into Hdgt. Co. I slipped and sat in about six inches of mud while moving. Couldn’t help but laugh at myself. Japs pulled a sneak play tonight. Came in and were not detected till they had dropped four bombs near the strip and started several fires.
* Volume Three *
12/13/44, Wed. This has just been a day of general chores which did not tax my energies too much. Several planes crashed on the Leyte strip this morning which caused a fire that we could see over here. Had a short alert at sundown this evening. A lone plane came in flying directly over our heads but above the clouds. Not a shot was fired which led us to presume our fighters were up but we could not hear them. Several bombs were dropped in the vicinity of the strip. Two more groups left for Guiuan, our new base, this morning. The 75th is now in the process of moving too.#
12/14. Thurs. This has been a most quiet day for us. There has been very little to do although I was busy this noon packing all my gear for I am to leave tomorrow sometime. Packed most of my gear in the G.S.K. trailer so I shall have very little to carry. The 93rd has a Navy of its own now. Two pontoon barges and an L.C.P. I had the job of sorting and distributing the Company mail this noon which was quite a job, particularly when I got none myself.
12/15, Fri. Had a 4-hour alert last night that I did not know until this morning. Since my cot is packed, I spent the night in a jungle hammock. Fooled around all day trying to keep out of trouble. Our L.C.T. has neither shown up nor been heard from. Now have no idea as to when we will be leaving. This has been a very overcast day and this evening the heavens broke loose.
12/16, Sat. Our boat never came in till late this afternoon so I guess we will be leaving tomorrow for sure. Spent the whole day trying to keep away from work. Our showers are back on this evening after a water famine which has lasted for several days. Went to the beach this evening to watch the Filipinos buy groceries from one of the L.C.T.s. It was a circus. The women handled the cash giving the men small amounts to make specified purchases.#
GUIUAN, SAMAR, THE PHILIPPINES
12/17, Sun. Up way before daybreak this morning in a drizzling rain to eat and carry our gear to the beach where we waited till 7 for someone to show up who knew what we were to do. The L.C.T. could not make the beach so we were ferried to one of 4 beaches. Stitcheson and I made a cubbyhole under a tarp to get out of the rain and spent the whole morning there. C-rations were on the menu for noon chow but with the 93rd aboard we had tuna fish, peaches, graham crackers, and mixed nuts. Rain stopped shortly after noon and we sat around in the sun trying to dry out. Reached Guiuan at 4 and disembarked to stand on the beach till 6 waiting for transportation to camp 8 miles away. Went down many narrow and muddy roads. Through Guiuan though, we were on the first paved road since leaving the States. Everywhere children made Vs with their fingers and yelled "Vectory." A number of buildings in the town had fallen due to a recent typhoon. Passed a church reputed to be 100 years old and complete with flying buttresses. The road into camp passed the strip and was half submerged. Our new camp is on the ocean side and directly on the beach. Drainage seems to be very good because of the sand base. Lecoq had a place for us to park our gear. After chow, we had to report to G.S.K. to handle the cargo which came up with us. I caught the second shift and slept in the building in my hammock till midnight.
12/18, Mon. Went to work at midnight and had very little to do, for most of the cargo was on dump trucks and we just dumped them. Went to chow at 6 this morning. Worked around the tent till noon fixing up a bit and this afternoon just roamed around. Bought some of the local cat eyes during the day. Was setting my hammock up in GI for a good night’s sleep when word came to stand by at G.S.K. We hung around for a while and nothing happened so went to bed.
12/19, Tues. Woke up this morning too late to go to chow. Really slept last night. Did not notice till I woke up that the ropes had stretched and the corner of a box was sticking into my back. Worked in the dumps this morning and built chairs this afternoon. Fay got a bellyache from eating too many peanuts. Sat on the beach this evening chewing the fat with some of the fellows. My gear came in today so now I have a cot to sleep in. Learned that our first wave arrived 6 hours before the Army on this end of Samar.
12/20, Wed. A whole day of carpentry work – building shelves in the GI tent. It took us all day to run a row down one side. Trucks and Jeeps really pick up loads of men at chow time going from this area to the chow wagon. Fellows are hanging all over them. It is quite noticeably quiet here in the air. We have alerts every now and then but only one plane has been over that we know about and it kept on going. We are so far from any guns that we can not hear the signals, so our guards have to relay the word with their carbines.#
12/21, Thurs. More shelf building this morning. Started raining this afternoon. The wind breaks it up into very fine drops. Two trailers loaded with crates have been setting in the dump for several days. This afternoon, we had to unload them in the rain. The boys are up in arms tonight. An order has come out that chickens cannot be kept in the camp area and no plywood is to be used in the tents. Of course the officers have decks in their tents but the enlisted men can not. They will no doubt have their chickens too.
12/22, Fri. Back to the shelf building again. Our new chow hall went into operation this morning and we had our first meal there this noon. Trying to rain this morning. Took a long walk down the beach this evening but found nothing more exciting than a cow. I understand an Army patrol has several Japs penned up in one of the caves about a quarter of a mile behind us and so far has been unable to get them out.
12/23, Sat. Finished the shelf detail this afternoon and have no idea what tomorrow holds in store. Had quite a shower this evening. Finished reading a book in the recreation hall.
12/24, Sun. From fixing up the G.I. tent we have gone to the ship’s store to fix it up. Forgot until it was too late that today was Sunday so missed out on the Christmas church services. This evening there have been some Filipino singers in the camp singing both their and our Christmas songs. Some of them do very well. One young girl in one of the groups tonight tickled me the way she rolled her eyes and head. Everytime she rolled her head a little paper bird on her straw hat bounced up and down. I believe everyone appreciated the bit of Christmas atmosphere they added.
12/25, Mon. Work continued as usual today except for a 2-hour respite late this afternoon when we were issued 2 bottles of beer, a carton of cigarettes, and a nice little Red Cross Box. Our Christmas dinner was equally as good as the one we had on Thanksgiving. I ate more than I should have but some of the boys around me were stymied and I had to help them out. Lots of Filipinos in the camp all day with "Gimme Merry Christmas" on their tongues constantly. There were also groups of them singing and dancing plus a band of homemade string instruments with a drum that had "Swing Masters" painted on its head. One group of 6 girls all about 13 years old was dressed in white dresses and white sailor hats with red and blue bunting. They looked very cute. As they danced, they sang Christmas songs and in between told the Christmas story.
12/26, Tues. All patients who could possibly be discharged from our hospital were turned loose today to make room for some of the casualties who were taken from a troop ship which was bombed in the harbor at Guiuan last night. About 15 were killed. The bomb went through #2 hatch and into the ship’s sick bay. It was beached immediately and work details were sent out to build a dock to it so the casualties could be removed. The plane sneaked in before an alert could be sounded. That has happened several times lately. The boys are beginning to get fed up with the work they are having to do on a renovated house for the commander of the base which is to be built here. There is so much work and equipment going into the place that is so uncalled for during a war. A new order prohibits the keeping of chickens in the camp area. Several of the boys pooled theirs today for a feed tonight. Fay and I were delighted to supervise cutting them up and do the cooking. We fixed all 10 of them and they really turned out well.
12/27, Wed. Lots of rain today. The work at the ship’s store continues to keep Fay and me busy. An order went out tonight for all hands to carry arms with cartridge clip in place while at work particularly those details leaving the camp area. Don’t know what the cause is behind the order. Strong scuttlebutt out today on the companies living south of the chow hall moving up into our area so a pilot’s camp can be built there. Don’t know what changes that will necessitate in our living quarters.#
12/28, Thurs. The rains are still coming down. Everyone seems to be quite pleased today for 6 SCATS landed on the new strip. It is still not ready for regular use. Work has just begun on the taxiway and revetments. Played dominoes this evening with Jim Cullen* and Joe Duffy.
12/29, Fri. About one more day of work around the store and that job will be done. What comes next remains to be seen. Had some fairly nice weather. Have about decided that it would be easier to take a bath on Times Square out of sight of women than here. This place is lousy with women after work in the evening. Some look the other way while others come right up to me in all my nudity and ask if I have "dirty clothes to be washing" or "gimme candy."
12/30, Sat. Finished up for the time being around the store and moved to G.S.C. to raise the flaps on the building. Have been troubled with a lot of rain today. It cleared off this evening and a great big moon came over the horizon. Had a show at the theater tonight.
12/31, Sun. After church this morning, Fay and I were off till 6 this evening. We tried to get a pass to go into town for the afternoon but following the 93rd usual binder garden tactics we were turned down. So we caught a truck and went anyway. Went by the strip which seems to be coming along in pretty good shape. We were able to get a few pictures in town but did not leave the truck because we did not have a pass. After we returned we went out to the surf and picked up a few tiger-eyes. The work this evening did not amount to very much. The last of our stuff came in from San Antonio. By 8:30 we were through and spent till midnight eating fruitcake, cheese sandwiches and drinking beer, cokes, and coffee.
1/1/45, Mon. The New Year came in very quietly. There was a blackout at the time and most everyone was in bed anyway. Work progressed as usual today except that I did not have to work this morning because of last night. Everyone was off from 4 to 6 this afternoon for beer and another turkey dinner. There was another movie tonight but I could not take it. There was too much Red Skelton.
1/2, Tues. This has been another boiling hot day. Don’t know what we will do when summer arrives. The strip has certainly been used today. This is the first that it has been used to such an extent. There was one and perhaps two crack-ups. One pilot landed where the strip wasn’t, ending up in one of the huge waterholes out there. He is now in our hospital. We can no longer wear shorts, for a mite has been found in the vicinity which carries typhus. Pop Bradshaw left us to go home this morning with several other of the old bucks. We will all certainly miss him.
1/3, Wed. The sun is really terrific. Built the flaps out on the GI tent today to try to make it a bit cooler. Our chow hall is certainly running full tilt, for all the outfits in this part of the island are eating here, including the pilots and crews. There must be close to 2000 for each meal.
1/4, Thurs. Scuttlebutt out today that Luzon would be invaded on the 7th. Now we are not only feeding this end of the island, we are clothing them, as well as handling their supplies. The first load of about 4800 parachutes arrived today for us to mess with. Wrote letters all this evening.#
1/5, Fri. Fay and Dave are working in the dumps again to fill the places of a couple of the boys who have been sent to the hospital. Of course the dump is in the process of being moved again – this time for a road that is going to be put through. At least there is a reason for the change. Had to move the safe for the disbursing office this afternoon which was quite a job. Huggins* received word that he was to be relieved and is to leave for the States before long.
1/6, Sat. Still moving the dumps which as usual is quite a task. It has been very hot all day. Received a package from Mother today bearing Limburger cheese. Read all evening.
1/7, Sun. Work progressed rather slowly today for it was interrupted by a number of showers. Wind has been very strong. The pilots have certainly been flying low up and down the beaches yesterday and today when returning from their trips. Wrote this evening.
1/8, Mon. A very dull day so far as work is concerned. Our crane was taken to be used elsewhere. Did little more than try to find shady spots or dry spots when it was raining and read.
1/9, Tues. This was my day off so it rained almost continuously. That was no doubt good for it kept me in and I ground out a bunch of letters.
1/10. Wed. This has really been a rainy day. Spent our free time at noon dropping the sides of our tent and lashing it down a bit more, for a typhoon is expected in this area. Late this evening it had still not arrived. Hope it doesn’t. The Filipinos tell us this area is covered with several feet of water when such storms do come. Luzon is reported to have been invaded yesterday.
1/11, Thurs. Messed around with boxes again today – in between showers which were quite frequent. Had some very good ham for chow tonight plus ice cream which were so good I had to go through the line twice.
1/12, Fri. Fewer heavy storms today with none at all during the show this evening. This was a very easy day. Went through the dump picking out boxes to be opened. There was a sudden influx of mail most of which was quite old but still welcome. Have no end of reading material.
1/13, Sat. A few less showers today. The work that I did did not tax me too much for I was helping out in G.S.K. most of the day. We had a feed this evening which offered quite a variety of sandwiches.
1/14, Sun. Worked in the dumps this morning and in G.S.K. in the afternoon. Burned a mess of trash in front of the place and the smoke from it almost ran everyone out of the building. Quite a bit of back mail came in today.
1/15, Mon. The first B-24s landed on the strip today as scheduled. Tomorrow they are to strike at Formosa. The bombers landing this morning were cause for celebration so all work ceased from 4-6 this afternoon and we had a turkey dinner. The commander had letters of commendation posted on bulletin boards for all hands. This is the first all-American built field in the Islands and the planes are operating from here to Luzon, Formosa, Cebu, and Negros. The bakers built a multi-layered cake for display tonight and food tomorrow which had miniature coconut trees on top with a dozer plowing through the icing. This has been a beautiful day. Started work on a desk for Eyre. Went to a lousy show this evening.
1/16, Tues. My day off and not a cloud in the sky. Went out to the strip this morning which is a very active spot. SCATs, B-24s and fighters are parked everywhere, as well as coming and going constantly. The sides of the strip are littered with planes which have wrecked in the past few days. Two crashed this morning early, one of which was still smoldering when I was there. Because of it, the B-24s were unable to leave on schedule so went to Luzon instead of Formosa. The taxiways are being constructed now and are coming along in pretty good shape. Pilots claim this and the Green Island strip to be the two best in the Pacific. After lunch I roamed the reef looking for shells. There are very few of much importance in this neighborhood. Spent most of my time watching some Filipinos fish with a gill net. They bite the fish behind the head to stop it from wiggling. Read and wrote letters all evening.
1/17, Wed. Managed to put in a whole day finishing up the desk and chairs which were started on Monday. Knocked off a few letters this evening.
1/18, Thurs. Turned truck driver today. Had to make a trip into Guiuan this morning to pick up a few supplies for G.S.K. The strip was busy as usual and the roads plenty rough and muddy. The town and supply dump were worse than mad houses. All afternoon I hauled around the dump area.
1/19, Fri. Another day of truck driving. Made one trip into Guiuan this morning and another trip this afternoon. The clouds broke loose with everything they had in the way of rain. Some spots along the strip had several feet of water. Stopped at the 61st on the way back this afternoon. Their campsite is close to town but full of mud. Went to a show this evening but it was not so hot, perhaps because there were too many interruptions by rain and blackouts.
1/20, Sat. Started out driving this morning but the truck broke down. Went to work with the crane, hauling coconut togs for the food dump for the rest of the day.
1/21, Sun. There seems to be a jinx on the strip. Three accidents today. The first one this morning was the worst and as a scare had far reaching effects. A B-24 crashed on the take-off and burned, exploding its fuel tanks and 6000 pound bombs. The whole crew was killed. The last explosion shook the tent so badly it woke me up. Later in the morning a fighter crashed but no one was hurt. Early this afternoon a fighter came in and for some reason its guns cut loose which put everyone low to the ground. Luckily no one was hurt. Late in the afternoon a plane crashed in the bay and disappeared immediately. Somewhere in between, two Corsairs tangled while taxiing. Worked in the dump all day stacking boxes.
1/22, Mon. Lots of rain. Did little more than go around the area setting refrigerators in place this morning with more dump work this afternoon. Went to see This Is The Army tonight which was very good.
1/23, Tues. My day off so it rained almost the entire day. Worked on a folding chair to carry to the show all morning. The finished product is so comfortable I sat in it all evening and read. Another B-24 today but not serious. He landed without dropping its landing gear. Mr. Huggins was around today bidding everyone good-bye. He leaves tonight and will really be missed.
1/24, Wed. Another really bad accident today. A Corsair went amuck and crashed through a couple shops and then caught fire. Five have died and over 20 very seriously injured from burns. Space was needed so badly some of the men, even the crutch cases, had to be turned loose from our hospital. Several carpenter crews were pulled from details to throw up another ward. One fellow had to have both legs amputated. The strip has very bad cross wind and we are wondering if that has anything to do with the number of accidents there. Hauled more logs this morning. Did a little work on putting up a fence around the dump area this afternoon. This has really been a beautiful day. Went to a show this evening.
1/25, Thurs. Believe this has been the hottest day since we have been here. Everyone seems to be feeling the effects of it. Drove the truck all day hauling logs and junk. Wrote this evening.
1/26, Fri. Think the heat must have gotten me down yesterday for I felt lousy all night. Back in shape today. Somewhat cooler. Have been looking for Eyre ever since Gator* made a rote the other day. Ron ran into him this afternoon and told him the story.
1/27, Sat. Eyre was looking for me the first thing this morning to tell me he was on the warpath to find out why I had not been advanced. He thinks I will get it. Will believe it when I see it, though. Went through with a bunch of crazy jobs today. Myers is developing more and more wild hairs every day. Everyone is quite elated over the news from the Russian front.
1/28, Sun. Went into Guiuan this morning after a truckload of items. The construction materials dump is really piled high with stuff there. Read all evening.
1/29, Mon. Drove the truck the entire day. We picked up odds and ends all around the old dump to move it to the new and moved the tool tent this afternoon. Tried writing this evening.
1/30, Tues. My day off, so of course it poured down. Went around all morning trying to keep everyone’s gear dry, for the tent leaked everywhere. A very strong wind blew the rain in where the tent was not leaking. It slacked off a bit this afternoon and I was able to clean up around the tent a bit as well as send off a package. I knocked off a few letters this evening.
1/31, Wed. Another rainy day. Messed around the dumps all day doing various odd jobs. Had to move a refer and an ice flake machine to the officers’ chow hall which will be quite a place when it is finished. Arched doorways – panel doors – Philippines mahogany furniture. The boys really become disgusted when they see such things.
2/1, Thurs. A very warm day but with a few showers. Moved a bit more of the junk around the dump this morning and set up a tool repair shop this afternoon. Wrote this evening.
2/2, Fri. Drove the truck all day picking up stumps that are laying all over the dump and hauling them off to the trash heap. Really got a sunburn. No mail of any kind now for almost a week. Must be the action on Luzon is taking all of the transportation for the present. Saw Vivacious Lady tonight and enjoyed it very much.
2/3, Sat. Had a very light day. Hauled a few loads of spare parts to the equipment lot and this afternoon did nothing for we had neither a crane nor a truck. Still hot with numerous showers. Show again tonight but in the new theater area.
2/4, Sun. Went to work today on a new tool issue building which is another hot number like the tool repair. It has been scorching hot. Spent the evening reading.
2/5, Mon. Finished up the tool issue shack this morning and started setting logs for a shed over one of the dump platforms. Worked on that till 4 when we knocked off for the crane had to go elsewhere to work. We were pretty well wilted from the sun by that time. Show tonight was lousy.
2/6, Tues. My day off and it has been a beauty. Drove all around the strip this morning with the water wagon to see what all was going on there. It is really packed with planes. This afternoon I rode the garbage truck to a point about 12 miles away above Mercedes. It was quite an enjoyable trip. There were loads of Filipino houses of all sizes and both wood and thatch along the road. One particular group of small ones along the way reminded me of a stateside tourist camp. The terrain was quite rough with deep holes and jagged coral hills. There were long stretches of road through banana trees which were growing along with a few inevitable coconut trees from underbrush that had lots of vari-colored flowers. The garbage dump was on a causeway that crossed an inlet of green water and was flanked on both sides by tall cliffs. While the garbage was being dumped, small naked Filipino boys were diving in the water for bits of meat and bread that floated about. Saw Pittsburgh this evening which I enjoyed very much.#
2/7, Wed. Had a good detail today which consisted of doing nothing but hauling sand from the pit into the dump in the morning and running into Guiuan this afternoon. Coming back from town we were held up at the strip for quite a while because of B-24s taking off to give someone the works. Wrote letters this evening.
2/8, Thurs. Hauled sand both morning and afternoon today. The sun was as hot as it has been. Had intended writing letters this evening but ended up reading. Finished Tale of Two Cities which was most enjoyable and went to bed early.
2/9, Fri. Poured down rain last night and this morning. Sand pit was closed down so I ended up working around the lot all day with the shed building program. Movie tonight.
2/10, Sat. Only a few short showers today. Messed around the yard all day putting roofs of tarps on some of the numerous unfinished projects. Scuttlebutt is very strong that we will be home for the first of the summer.
2/11, Sun. Went to work this morning feeling pretty lousy. Stomach bloated and a general nauseated feeling. Drank a cup of soup for lunch and went to bed for the afternoon. After going to chow this evening only for the ice cream, I hit the sack again.
2/12, Mon. Felt a little better this morning so went back to work again. Hauled junk around with the truck in the morning and worked on finishing up the roof on one of the loading decks this afternoon. Wrote Lib right after chow this evening and then went to bed.
2/13, Tues. My day off and a pretty one. Borrowed Baker’s camera and went into Guiuan to take a few pictures and roam around. Had not realized the filth and squalor of the place before. Sanitary facilities are unknown. People of all ages are everywhere doing nothing. Natives from outside the town have moved in placing their thatched shanties wherever there is a space for it – even under other buildings. The "Victory Bakery" and "Allied Restaurant" are now open for business. Sat in the tent and read all afternoon. Still feel slightly giddy. Show tonight. Made CM2/c after all these months effective the 1st of Feb.
2/14, Wed. Did nothing but a lot of odd jobs around the dump today that did not amount to a great deal. Wrote this evening.#
2/15, Thurs. Started making preparations this morning for putting a roof on the food dump. Rather short of lumber but think we will be able to make it ok. Began to receive quite a bit of fresh meat today which is really most welcome and in quantities which we are not used to handling. More letter writing tonight.
2/16, Fri. Continued work on trusses for the food dump roof. O’Neal* has left our detail to go into town on Shore Patrol. Meat is still coming in. Had to take tomorrow’s beer from the refer so that there would be a place for more meat and eggs. The meat on hand now should last us for well over a month. Roast beef last night with sunny side up eggs and sausage – hot dogs – veal today. Now that all the refers are full of meat and eggs we have got to dig up some additional refers to handle some in-coming fresh vegetables – if only the mail situation would clear up. News of the large scale bombing by B-29s and carrier based planes of Tokyo sounded good today and made us all feel rather happy. We are wondering if Tokyo Ann is chirping out her familiar – "I’m getting mine – Are you getting yours?"
2/17, Sat. Worked on the food dump this morning when the showers permitted. Made a run into Guiuan this afternoon with a load of empty oxygen cylinders but the barge to which we were to deliver them never showed up so they are still on the trucks. Show this evening.
2/18, Sun. Yesterday a Corsair crashed on the reef at noon. Thought the pilot was lost but learned today that he was saved which was really lucky. Corregidor invaded today. Things seem to be certainly traveling fast up above us. Messed about in the dump this morning catching up on a few loose ends. Back into Guiuan again this afternoon. These brakeless trucks are something. Almost crashed with a turnapull on the edge of town and made lots of noise when I backed into the L.C.M., crashing into the back of the barge and losing about 30 of the cylinders. It was 30 that the boys did not have to unload. Went to see Dumbo this evening which was cute.
2/19, Mon. A very hot day so that I was uninspired in so much as work was concerned. The foolishness of the jobs did not help either. The tarp we put over the food dump yesterday we took down. And the gates we built were for the fence that is not up yet. Another plane crashed in the ocean today. This time quite far out. I doubt if the pilot made it. Two planes were having a big time playing tag and doing all kinds of maneuvers this afternoon. Was quite disgusted today when my watch was returned from the factory in the same condition as I sent it. The package had not been opened. With it was a form letter suggesting that I take it to my jeweler. They could not handle it till Feb. 1st and then it would be April or May before it would be ready. Show tonight.
2/20, Tues. My day off. So it rained almost the whole day. Messed around the tent putting it in order and reading till late in the afternoon when I went out on the reef. The tide was not out far enough to do any good so I came in. Went to the show and wrote a letter this evening.
2/21, Wed. Made two trips into Guiuan today, one this morning and one this afternoon. Was unable to get what I was supposed to on either one of the trips. A B-24 crashed on the strip late this afternoon but no one was hurt. It just missed Duffy.
2/22, Thurs. Did very little today. Put some barb wire on a gate this morning and started cleaning up our deWalt for use this afternoon. It is really rusty. Missed out on the ice cream at chow this evening which made me most unhappy.
2/23, Fri. A very hot day but did not mind it too much for I worked on the saw some more and now just about have it in working order. We are all wondering what is in the wind, for the regiment has recalled all of the trucks which they have loaned us. And demanding that they have all 10 tires plus a spare. That puts us down to a handful of trucks for there is quite a shortage of tires and all the trucks have been having to operate on only 6. Now quite a bunch of our trucks will have to be put up on blocks to replace the regiment’s trucks with tires.
2/24, Sat. Bill Nelson* joined our crew this morning. He is a good egg to work with. We strung barb wire all day. Two fellows were swept into the sea today when they ventured too far out on the reef—and could not get back. Someone saw them and a Corsair was dispatched to drop a rubber boat for them which got them back to shore. Wrote a gob of letters this evening.
2/25, Sun. Several of us had to go close into town today to the 61st and the 105th C.B.s to pick up some toilet paper and lime of which we seem to be short. Were caught in a sudden downpour on our return, which stopped as quick as it had started. Had to unload a low boy of steel plate and lumber on our return and then got the rest of the day off. The whole tent had a sudden streak of ambition this afternoon and after procuring several bags of cement we put a concrete floor in our tent which will make it easier to keep clean. Show tonight which had an hour’s intermission toward the end of it because of a blackout.
2/26, Mon. The blackout last night was reported today to have been caused by 15 Jap transport planes loaded with paratroops about 40 miles from here. What happened to them no one seems to know. Spent most of today putting a tarp roof over the food dump. An evening of letter writing. 2700 men eating in our chow hall now. What a mob. Part of the 42nd battalion on top of everyone else.
2/27. Tues. Nellie and I spent the day putting up another tarp over the food dump. Two more and that will be finished. We really stretched them tight too. Show tonight. Began getting some fast mail today.
2/28. Wed. Had quite a wind and rain storm last night. Woke up once to find a real fine mist blowing over me but there was nothing I could do about it so went back to sleep. We did a little bit of everything today. Placed another tarp. Set a refer and a few odd jobs.#
3/1. Thurs. Started to put another tarp on the food dump today but did not get it finished. Went into Guiuan this afternoon. Why we had to go I don’t know for they always have a crew at ABCD to do the loading. We waited till almost 4 before a crew and crane showed up to do the job. Arrived back at camp in time to knock off work.
3/2. Fri. Nellie and I worked on the tarp detail this morning. Am getting rather tired of fooling around with them at this point. This afternoon we went into ABCD again to pick up a 75kw generator which really was a problem. The crane down there could barely pick it up. Up here we had to try to unload it between showers.
3/3. Sat. Dick and I had to go into Guiuan to pick up 30 bales of rags. Came back with about 2 1/2. Several other trucks have been hauling a whole mess of oxygen and acetylene. After lunch today several of us had to unload one of the trucks. Something slipped while I was on the truck and two bottles of the oxygen caught the middle finger of my right hand and banged it up. The break in the skin went in quite deep. The sick bay will get it back in shape. Drove a truck into town afterward to pick up some more oxygen but never got it. Show tonight.
3/4. Sun. Never hit a lick all day today. This morning it was a bit too dark for taking pictures. And this afternoon it was too hot to move very far unless I had too - so stayed in the tent and read the whole day except for going to church this morning. Saw The Great Waltz tonight.
3/5. Mon. Worked all day on the same job which is quite unusual. As a result the tarps are all up on the food dump. Had my finger dressed tonight and almost fainted when the corpsman put some alcohol and iodine on it. The burning really got me. That is the second time I have ever had that feeling. The other was when Lib banged her head. My constitution must be very weak or else I am becoming a chicken. Show again tonight. Have not heard from Lib in almost a week now.
3/6. Tues. Began a new project today, that of building a work shop. How much work will be done in it remains to be seen. The scuttlebutt for today is not good. The Army wants us with them for a quick strip job on a small island above Formosa to leave here within 30 days and abandon our equipment which would never be any good on another job. Lynn is supposedly fighting the move very much.
3/7. Wed. Straightened up around the yard this morning. This afternoon we laid a two inch concrete deck in the proposed workshop. Wrote all evening. The Admiral who is second in command of all Seabees is being quoted today as saying no Seabees should expect to be returned home in under two years. Most encouraging.
3/8. Thurs. This morning and part of this afternoon we worked on getting the shop into shape. About the middle of the afternoon Nellie and I were loaned out as muscle men to Mr. Benritter. Had to go to NSD* to pick up a few boxes of stuff. The lack of rain for the past few days has really made the roads dusty. The strip is just one big cloud of dust. Wrote letters all evening.
3/9. Fri. Nellie and I worked on the shop all day finishing up the awning which had to go up to keep the rain out. Out of the mood for letter writing tonight so I just wrote Lib and spent the remainder of the evening reading.
3/10. Sat. Caged in our shop today and got some juice into the saw. Guess it will be ready to operate before long but none of us know what on.
3/11. Sun. Had an inspection today so we had to do a little cleaning up this morning. After that was done I took a walk down the beach to where there were a few cliffs and dug out a few snails. Was amazed and disgusted at the number of fellows strolling around with Filipino girls on their arms. Went into town this afternoon and roamed around. Ran into a cockfight but did not linger long. Show tonight but it was putrid. Church today was the first in our new Chapel.
3/12. Mon. We just messed and fooled around today getting the shop fixed up the way we want it. Have been taking it rather easy lately. This afternoon we had to go into town but were unable to get what we went after. Bought Lib a huge hat while we were in there. This has been a rather cloudy day with a few short showers.
3/13. Tues. We really had a downpour last night mixed with a wind that blew a spray almost constantly through the tent. Everything was soggy. The rain and wind have lasted all day and through this evening although not constant but frequent enough to make foul weather gear essential. Have a soggy sack to look forward to for tonight.
3/14. Wed. Made a box today for sending the hats to Lib. It really is a huge thing. The canvas we put over the food dump several weeks ago had troubles today. Water had formed huge pockets in it that took as long as 20 minutes to siphon out with a 3/4 inch hose. After getting rid of the water we had the pleasure of repairing the damage. The rain and wind are continuing unabated. Sat in the rain to see a show tonight that was lousy.
3/15. Thurs. Still getting the wind and rain. Another shot in the arm today. Have been getting them for a month now once a week for all sorts of things. Had to do a little repair work on some of our log construction. Our tent leaks so badly that I have a terrible time writing. Scuttlebutt seems to be strong for our going home in July.
3/16. Fri. We are getting a new purification unit for our water supply. The boxes have been rolling in for several days and they are really heavy. When such things are marked "complete" they must mean it for there are huge boxes of sand and gravel with it. The rain took a rest for most of today and the sun shone bright. Had a short shower toward the end of the double feature show Our Hearts Were Young And Gay and Top Man. Both were very good.
3/17. Sat. Fooled around this morning making a table for the disbursing office. Took it easy this afternoon. Read all evening.
3/18. Sun. Loafed around this morning before and after Church as well as early this afternoon. Dinlocker has really painted a beautiful mural for the chapel. The depth is wonderful. Spent far more time looking at it than listening to the Chaplain. Late this afternoon Fay and I went down to the 61st to visit some friends of his. While there a 2 1/2 gallon ice cream freezer was dug up and put to use. We really ate until we could eat no more. It was the first time I have been really full of that stuff in a long time. Read this evening. The 10th Army is reported to be in the harbor - a part of one of the biggest convoys to be formed in this part of the world.
3/19. Mon. Messed around in the dump this morning tearing into some of the boxes. This afternoon we did next to nothing. The show tonight was lousy.
3/20. Tues. Rode all over creation this morning to pick up stuff but there was nothing to be picked up. This afternoon we just messed around doing a few pointless jobs. Wrote a few letters this evening.
3/21. Wed. It had been fairly nice today and with very little work. Went to see Winged Victory tonight which was quite good. Had quite a shower during the show. There was to have been an issue of beer today but there was something wrong with it. Tasted like kerosene so they stopped selling it after the first few cans.
3/22. Thurs. The wind and the rain are back with us and there was very little work done as a result. Tent is leaking again tonight which means no writing. Read all evening and ate popcorn.
3/23. Fri. Still more wind and rain today. Clear this evening however. A number of flares were shot last night. Was almost like the 4th of July. It was foggy or misty all night and several planes were overdue from a mission. The flares were to help them locate the strip if they were in the vicinity. Loafed most of the morning but repaired the fence around the dump area this afternoon. This place is like boot camp now. An order came out this afternoon that saluting and standing at attention and other aspects of military courtesy are to be practiced. "Aye, Aye, Sir." Went to see Up In Mable’s Room which was a riot.
3/24. Sat. Have been getting rid of a mess of worn out tires today. Most of our trucks are sitting on blocks because of a lack of tires. Rain slacked off today. Show tonight.
3/25. Sun. Loafed this morning after I found out that everyone with a camera had the same ideas I had. This afternoon the dedication services* were held in the Chapel. They were very nice and drew quite a crowd. After church I hustled down to the 61st to meet Fay and the gang of us had another round of ice cream - fig this time. Wrote this evening.#
3/26. Mon. This has been a very quiet day. We were going to do some work with the crane but it broke down. Widdowson has been broken down from 1st class to 2nd class for expressing his opinion about chiefs going to the head of the chow line. All of the fellows are really mad about it. The show tonight was lousy. Another one of those dim out affairs.
3/27. Tues. Word from Lib that Uncle Ed is in the hospital. Quiet this morning. Had to go into Guiuan this afternoon for some stuff for the chiefs’ chow hall. Managed to get a few letters off this evening. Storm warning and winds expected to be up to 40 mph reaching the peak about dawn. It would just be my luck for the tent to fall down.
3/28. Wed. The storm never arrived. If it did, it was no different from any other that we have had. It has poured down all day. Everyone else had to go out on a hauling job but me so I worked on hobby lobby. Late this afternoon I had to do a little work. Show tonight plus some letter writing.
3/29. Thurs. The rain continues to pour down. Had to go out in it for a while today which was too much. Bandage off my finger now. Still quite stiff. Show in the rain tonight.
3/30. Fri. Out in a pouring down rain this morning to get some beer. Stayed in the shop this afternoon and fooled around. Wrote letters this evening. Stateside scuttlebutt is flowing thick.
3/31. Sat. Still no let up in the rain. Roamed back and forth to Guiuan all day today picking up stuff for the chiefs’ mess. The poor fellows are having a terrible time here getting their place set up. Show tonight.
4/1. Sun. It has turned out to be rather clear today. Not knowing what the weather might be, the Chaplain made no arrangements for a sunrise service. Held communion at the regular service. Shot a roll of film on the chapel and myself and read for most of the day. Fay and I did not get to the 61st this afternoon for we had a roast turkey and ice cream dinner here. Show was not so hot tonight.
4/2. Mon. After messing around the yard for a while this morning we had the afternoon more or less to ourselves to fool around with hobby lobby. Show again tonight. Perhaps it was today being without rain that has brought out so much scuttlebutt about our leaving for the old country in May.
4/3. Tues. I thought two days of sun would be too much to expect. Had several showers today but very little work. What a Woman was a very good show tonight.
4/4. Wed. Had to make several trips into town today. Harry started burning up a mess of rubbish this afternoon only to learn that the fire would have to be put out before night. It only took two hours to put it out. A lot of B-24s took off late this evening.
4/5. Thurs. A trip into Guiuan this morning and this afternoon nothing but hobby lobby. The show tonight stunk so bad I had to leave it. The 24s are taking off again.
4/6. Fri. All we did today was make trips into Guiuan. Which was a very dusty job. Almost plowed into a Liberator in one cloud of dust on the taxiway. Scuttlebutt is becoming a bit confused at this point.
4/7. Sat. A nice bright day with more trips around the island to pick up material. The show tonight was not so good.
4/8. Sun. Can’t get up the necessary energy here to get out and around. Spent the entire day doing nothing more than reading. It has been very hot all day.
4/9. Mon. Had a few repair jobs on my hands this morning. Met a Red Cross worker by the name of Betty Post this afternoon drawing a picture of an addition to the ship’s Store. Seems we are getting a large supply and have no place to put it.
4/10. Tues. Fay and I worked today on cutting a lot of lumber for the ship’s store and now that it is done we find that the Brigade has to issue a building permit before we can put the addition up. Life out here is growing too complicated. Very hot today.
4/11. Wed. The sun is still bearing down. Made several trips into Guiuan today and were really a mess with our perspiration and everyone else’s dust. Two of our boys were injured by an Himy crews’ blasting today. One died late tonight. His condition from all reports was quite serious, head injuries, yet both doctors were at the show. One was called from the show and the boy died shortly after. Keys To The Kingdom was playing tonight. An excellent film but ruined by Harry the operator indulging in too much beer. Everything happened that could happen.
4/12. Thurs. Still too much heat. Four trips into Guiuan today through all of the heat. Went to the show tonight. Could have spent my time better in the tent. (Not mentioned: death of Pres. Roosevelt)
4/13. Fri. The heat and Guiuan seem to be becoming contagious. They are squawking in the States for the people to use more V-mail to save weight and space on the planes. And out here we see huge cases of non-essential stuff like china for chiefs’ and officers’ mess coming in by air freight. To Have and Have No" was on tonight and was very good. Lauren Bacall seemed to have what the boys wanted.
4/14. Sat. Had a very light day. The other fellows had to make a trip to Calicoan which lasted all day. I stayed in the yard and had nothing to do. Should have written letters tonight but could not work myself into the mood.
4/15. Sun. Had a bag inspection this morning which was the usual farce. Read for the remainder of the morning and part of the afternoon. Around 4 I went out on the reef. Found a few animals. The tides have been exceptionally low lately. A lot of the snails and other creatures are dying. Had roast turkey and ice cream for chow this evening. Held a memorial service in the Chapel tonight for Don Shackelford.* Then to the show.
4/16. Mon. On the first good rainy day in several weeks we got the go ahead on the addition to the store. In spite of the frequent downpours we got it up through the studs. The show this evening was somewhat mixed up but still good.
4/17. Tues. After a day’s respite we have the sun and heat again today. Put on all the siding, screening, and part of the roof of our big project today. Expect to finish up tomorrow. Read and wrote this evening.
4/18. Wed. Finished up the ship’s store project today only to learn that we have to build still another addition. And on top of that have a cribbing job to do at our fuel dump. I believe someone is making a wholesale offer of the services of the dump crew because they cannot stand to see us idle.
4/19. Thurs. Spent this morning putting some new screening on the ship’s store and this afternoon in making a couple drawings of the new store addition. Received word today that Moede has washed out of Midshipman’s school. I believe there was dirty work behind it.
4/20. Fri. Rescreened part of the G.I. and G.S.I.C. tents today. Started our job at the fuel dump this afternoon. We had thought it would take several days to do but are three quarters done in a half day. Wrote a pile of letters this evening.
4/21. Sat. Finished our job in the gas dump today and cut a little lumber for our next job - the newest addition to the ship’s store. Knocked off early this afternoon. Was minding my own business writing letters this evening when Perry walked in to inform me that our little detail had been called out to unload some food supplies. It was 12:30 when we finished with the 5 trucks.
4/22. Sun. Roamed around today and covered a little ground. Went into Guiuan this morning and looked around - then out to the 99th which has just arrived to see Norman Warner from Asheville and with whom I went through boot. After a long chat I met Fay at the 61st and we had our usual ice cream. Wrote some more this evening.
4/23. Mon. Because of our work Saturday night we had this morning off. A B-29 landed on the strip this morning - the first one there and the first that most of us had seen. There was really a mob on hand to see it. From there I went to see the much talked about batch plant which was built on the side of a hill to provide material for the Quonset warehouse floors we are building. It is quite a set up with the hydraulic system from a few junked cats opening and closing doors. Worked on one of our tumbling docks this afternoon. Felt rather tired this evening so hit the sack early.
4/24. Tues. Started on the second addition to the ship’s store this morning and had it well under way by tonight. This has been just about the hottest day yet. Show tonight was not so hot. Slept through a brief alert last night. The first one we have had in quite a while.
4/25. Wed. The addition to the addition is about two thirds of the way finished today. At least we should have it finished by tomorrow. Fairly good show tonight.
4/26. Thurs. It seems impossible that each day can be hotter than the one preceding but is must be working out that way. Really worked up a sweat today putting the canvas on the store. Finished it up this afternoon.
4/27. Fri. Went into the muscle business in a wholesale way today. All of the armory G.I. is being turned over to the supply department to handle. We had the job today of moving it - or at least part of it. There were really some heavy boxes involved. Scuttlebutt on the rotation plan for leaves is certainly flowing thick again.
4/28. Sat. Made a trip to Calicoan today to get some stuff for the ship’s store. The causeway is built but not the road, so the trip is still being made by barge. It is a 10 mile run and takes an hour and a half. We spent the whole time on the barge to unload the trucks while another truck went into the dump to load. Never finished till 6:30 this evening. It took a long time but was not hard work.
4/29. Sun. Truly a day of rest - very hot and a good day for reading. Almost melted in Church this morning. Three letters today from Lib - the first in quite a while. Fairly good show this evening.
4/30. Mon. Back to the armory again today to muscle some more boxes. Just about have the place cleaned out now. This weather is just too hot for me.
5/1. Tues. Inventory of the dumps has been a long time coming but is here at last. Can’t understand why it has not been done a hundred times by now. Perry and I worked on it this morning. Went in to ABCD* this afternoon.
5/2. Wed. Inventory all day today but still I seem very tired tonight. The heat really gets me down.
5/3. Thurs. Caught the regular ferry to Calicoan this morning where we dug up a couple of our low boys and spent the day loading them with beer. I doubt if there is any shade on that Island. Had to eat in the broiling sun because we did not have shirts and therefore could not eat in the mess hall there. Caught the 5:00 ferry back and had to bum from Guiuan into camp. Trucks picked the low boys up earlier than we had expected, so we were called out right after supper to unload them which lasted till almost ten o’clock.
5/4. Fri. Because of yesterday we had today off. There was a great deal that I could have done around the tent but was so lazy I just read.
5/5. Sat. Spent this morning on a jaunt to Calicoan to get a little lumber. Went by way of the causeway which is now open and a nice road. From the amount of cut and fill, it was quite a job. Into Guiuan this afternoon for some clothes for the store. There was a good show tonight.
5/6. Sun. Really cleaned house this morning. Aired all my bedding and washed my mosquito bar which was filthy from dust. Read this afternoon and evening.
5/7. Mon. To work at 6:30 this morning so that we could get to Calicoan and back in a fairly reasonable length of time. No water over there makes it a miserable trip in this hot weather. Instead of getting off early this afternoon as we had all expected, we had to make a trip into Guiuan. Good show tonight.
5/8. Tues. The sky has been rather overcast today with an occasional shower. Went to work again at 6:30 but never made a trip for transportation was lacking. Cut lumber most of the day for a couple of chiefs’ tents. The surrender of Germany has been all over the radio today. Waiting for formal announcements and details now. Truman speaks at 10 tonight. Wrote and read this evening.
5/9. Wed. The more hot days we have like this, the more I look forward to seeing snow again. Roamed back and forth to ABCD today to pick up lumber and steel. Had several good loads. Show tonight was moderate.
5/10. Thurs. Went to Calicoan this morning and waited till after 12 before we could load. Tried to eat at several outfits but because we did not have shirts we could not eat. When we arrived back here at 3, we had several sandwiches. Had the first stage show at our theatre tonight. The Army’s Stars and Gripes which was pretty good. The stage was quite an ornate affair.
5/11. Fri. We got the contract for the coke stand today and started work on it between the refers and the generator. It is just a small building. The show tonight was mediocre.
5/12. Sat. All day on the coke stand. Should have it finished by Monday night. Has been rather overcast for two days. Black clouds with thunder and lightning but never a drop of rain. Scuttlebutt had slowed down quite a bit the past few days. The latest addition to officers’ country is a guest house for females. A copper weather vane has been made with a heart in its design for the building. They have been trying to get a "Queen" or "Love" flag to run up a pole when women are in the area. I think that "Able" would be more suitable.
5/13. Sun. Up early this morning to take some pictures. Have finally used up the roll of color film. The sunrise was not very pretty but I shot it anyway. Went into Guiuan and caught the Filipinos coming from church and a few street scenes, then some shots around camp. Read all afternoon. Walt Disney’s Three Caballeros tonight. Most of the fellows did not like it but I did. Had beautiful colors and designs.
5/14. Mon. Just about finished up the coke stand today. The officers had a couple women at the show tonight. And tonight we are having a fair shower. Quite a surprise.
5/15. Tues. Worked on the coke stand this morning and a tent for the chief this afternoon. I was plenty burned up over having to fix his place up for him. Wrote letters this evening. Had another shower.
5/16. Wed. Had to do a little work around the yard today putting a couple of the buildings back in place where the coconut logs were giving way. This is the second anniversary of the 93rd. USO put on a play this evening which was well done but this is the wrong place for a play. Lynn spoke and as usual disclosed nothing. The battalion movies were shown covering our departure from Green Islands through some of our activities here.
5/17. Thurs. Something has been added. Fay and I are now the official battalion hammer handle makers. It was my first experience on a lathe and I rather enjoy it. Had to cut some more lumber for the chiefs’ tents this afternoon. Wrote letters this evening.
5/18. Fri. Back on hammer handles again this morning and worked on the chief’s tent this afternoon.
5/19. Sat. Started on a little job at the G.I. Tent this morning so the pay line can be run there instead of at the store. Were called off the G.I. job this afternoon to make a run to a ship in the bay. Betty Ross, the Red Cross gal went with us. The ship was preparing to pull out so we were able to get only a small portion of what we expected to pick up. Had a good demonstration of hypnotism at the show tonight by a fellow from the army. A couple officers made asses of themselves behind me with their comments.
5/20. Sun. Watson and I went to Calicoan this morning to take a few pictures. Did the most walking and climbing that I have done in quite a while and really feel the results now. Read all afternoon. Show tonight with an admiral or two visiting us.
5/21. Mon. Made a few changes in the G.I. tent this morning and to the former ship’s service this afternoon. Had a slight earth tremor sometime last night, enough to wake me up. Foley, a fellow who left us at Endicott, is now out here with another outfit and dropped in to see us this evening.
5/22. Tues. Had a very easy day. For some unknown reason Grumpy forgot to think of a job for me so I loafed all day. The first mail came in today in about a week. Wrote letters this evening.
5/23. Wed. Have gone into the furniture business. G.S.K. seems to think it has worn out the "Victory" furniture we built out of odds and ends upon our arrival and now wants a set of our "Liberation" suite. Worked all day on the tables.
5/24. Thurs. Fay and I went into mass production on chairs today. I cut out the pieces and he put them together. Managed to include two extras for ourselves. The USO show "Oklahoma" opens in Guiuan tonight for four nights. Would like to see it but there will no doubt be a mob, and the heart of the place turned over to the officers.
5/25. Fri. I understand there was a near riot in Guiuan last night over seats at the show, caused mainly by the officer business. Put out some more chairs today as well as some contraptions for Myers’ tent. National Velvet tonight and it was very good.
5/26. Sat. It was a special extra high table and chair which we put out today for McCarthy,* our extra long supply officer. Show tonight not so good. Fixed our tent up quite a bit after work. Spread the overhang out more uniformly which made a great difference in appearance and makes it cooler.
5/27. Sun. Fiddled around this morning mostly rebuilding the contraption over my bunk which keeps it dry. Read all afternoon and went to see Oklahoma this evening. The show was very good. My seat was far from perfect but still better than what I had expected. Hope to be able to see it again under more favorable conditions.
5/28. Mon. Had very little to do today. Perry is making chief so I guess Myers will be leaving us. Harry takes us over which does not please us at all. Rhapsody in Blue was on tonight and was wonderful. It was very long but I enjoyed the music immensely.
5/29. Tues. To work at 6:30 this morning. Made three trips to Calicoan for ship’s store stock. Wrote letters this evening during a nice shower.
5/30. Wed. Just made a few routine trips today to Calicoan and Guiuan. I wish we would get some cool weather or salt tablets, for my heat rash is giving me a fit. Everyone seems to have it in some form.
5/31. Thurs. Had to take the detail out myself today. Went to ABCD at Calicoan. It took us all morning to find a truckload of stuff. Were caught in a pouring down rain on the way back. Picked up a load at G-1 this afternoon. Was rained out at the show tonight.
6/1. Friday. Driving on the right hand side of the road is now the custom in the Philippines. It is hard to get used to it. Into G-2 this morning for a load of anchor chain which is being used on some job. Fay and I put in the rest of the day working on some more furniture. The supply dept. is making changes in assignment to take care of the possible leaving of the 42 year olds. Also the possible departure of Myers with Perry making chief. We have some new equipment coming in and are losing some of our maintenance jobs. Maybe we will be leaving here before long.
6/2. Sat. Put in all of today on the cabinet for G.S.K. For 20 months they have done without one and have permitted several in the dump to rot away. Read Kitty Fogle tonight.
6/3. Sun. Spent the day at the 99th with Norman Warner. They really have a nice chow hall and are putting up Quonset living quarters back of their present area. They seem to have the same scuttlebutt we have. A big convoy approx. 1000 ships is supposed to be forming here now. Wrote this evening.
6/4. Mon. Started off this morning to renovate the Ship’s Service and ended up being metal smiths making a sink for the coke stand which is now going into business five days a week. All beer and most supplies of all kinds have been frozen for fleet operations. Wrote letters this evening.
6/5. Tues. Fifteen of the 42 year olds received the "go" signal today and will leave day after tomorrow. They were really celebrating tonight. Stayed away from the show to write letters and had to give up because of the noise. Did nothing this morning and then got the afternoon off to wait for some incoming beer. The freeze on it has thawed. It came in earlier than we expected.
6/6. Wed. Loafed again this morning waiting for Ship’s Service to straighten out so we can work on the joint. Built and installed a work bench for the watch maker this afternoon. Wrote this evening. Duffy had to spend a couple hours in the Guiuan S.P. klink yesterday.
6/4. Thurs. Finally started - and finished the alterations to the Ship’s Service today. It was not much of a job. There was to have been a stage show tonight. "Rain or Shine" as the M.C. said. It rained so bad they had to quit though. Quite cool after the rain.
6/8. Fri. Had a fair fire in the chow hall last night or rather at 3:30 this morning. It was just by accident that I happened to be awake at the time. It did not last too long. AROU and Naval Station fire trucks put it out in a jiffy. Some AROU officer acted as though he was blowing his top. Meals went on as usual and a crew was put to work to make the repairs. The damage did not look as bad today as it did last night. I ended up today being a truck driver instead of a carpenter. Made a trip to Guiuan and one to Calicoan. Discussed "colors" all evening.
6/9. Sat. Caught quite a detail today. Had to take the Filipino workers to Calicoan to get some cement. It took us until their quitting time to get one load and unload it all because we had quite a time finding a place to deliver it. Just visited tonight.
6/10. Sun. Fried eggs this morning. Fay and I went to Calicoan this morning to see a cave we had heard quite a bit about. There was really nothing much to it. From there we went to the southern end of the island. A very nice Filipino village was across the channel from there but we could not go to it. After chow we went on a battalion sponsored tour of the vicinity which included every place I have been before with the PT Base thrown in. Lots of turkey and ice cream tonight. Wrote this evening.
6/11. Mon. A B-24 crashed on the edge of the reef around 4 this morning which caused considerable excitement. One of the crew was claimed to have been saved but that is only scuttlebutt. I took over the truck driving today. Made a trip to Calicoan this morning after picking up a little stuff at G-2. Returned to Calicoan again this afternoon and came back empty-handed. Have been getting quite a few letters written during the evening of late.
6/12. Tues. Off to N.D.D. early this morning in a pouring down rain which lasted all day. Picked up quite a load of ship’s store stuff. G-2 this afternoon and then knocked off early. Our tent has leaked like a sieve today.
6/13. Wed. Made trips to everywhere today picking up a bit of everything. The weather has been fairly nice today. Went to a show this evening and when I returned had the makings of a good cold. My head was thick, ached all over, and had a little fever.
6/14. Thurs. Stayed in bed today except for going to two meals and the sick bay. Have felt lousy.
6/15. Fri. Stayed away from work again today to try to shake this cold. Felt a little better so went to see A Song To Remember tonight.
6/16. Sat. Went to work this morning but did not do anything. This afternoon O’Neal and I started work on a dice table for the officers. What a war. A small fighter plane crashed just a few feet off shore this morning and burned. The pilot was killed. Felix, a Filipino strawboss - was telling us today that there were never more than 200 Japs in this vicinity. They camped near Guiuan and had two trucks. To bed early tonight.
6/19. Sun. Up at 4 this morning when another B-24 crashed on the reef as it was taking off. There was quite an explosion. As near as can be learned only the co-pilot escaped. Our gang had to go to Calicoan for some fresh meat this morning. We are supposed to get tomorrow off for that. While we were gone one or two planes cracked up on the strip. Early this afternoon a small fighter plane dropped nicely on the edge of the reef. The pilot got out before the plane sank. Read this afternoon and went to the show tonight. Bodies are still washing in from the B-24 which crashed last Monday.
6/18. Mon. Another B-24 this morning. This one just beyond the reef. It burned for about 5 hours. Another one is said to have crashed about 25 miles out. The co-pilot who escaped from the crash yesterday morning is said to have died today from shock. We were off today because of working yesterday. I stayed close to the tent reading because of my cold which is improving.
6/19. Tues. The wind changed this morning so the planes took off in the other direction. One Ventura crashed in the middle of the afternoon. Fay and I finished the crap table this morning and I went out for a load of pipe this afternoon but we did not get it. Have a former corpsman on our crew now. Wrote this evening. We are said to have contracted an asphalt paving job that will require 360 days to complete. Also there is scuttlebutt that the original men of the outfit will remain here to go home while the 93rd with replacements will move up the line.
6/20. Wed. Had nothing to do this morning which is most unusual so helped another fellow clean out some drill steel. Made a trip to Calicoan this afternoon. Found ten gallons of denatured alcohol in the road en route. Some of the boys were running it off tonight.* They were smoking too close to it and the fumes caught fire. Wrote tonight.
6/21. Thurs. Made trips to all of our ports of call today but they all turned out to be dry runs. Show tonight.
6/22. Fri. Arrived back from a trip to Calicoan this morning and had just knocked off for chow when we were called back to make a trip to the L.C.T. docks to pick up some fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables. Managed to pick up some oranges and lemons on the side for myself. We were late getting back for chow so had some of tonight’s food which the cooks were preparing. Had the afternoon off. Mexican Hayride played here tonight. It was not so good. The officers were dunked with flour at one point which of course took the enlisted men by storm.#
6/23. Sat. To Calicoan and NSD this morning for a truck load. G-1 this afternoon for another load.
6/24. Sun. A cloudy day but no rain fell. I guess it all came down last night. Went to church this morning and took a long walk this afternoon. Went up the coast and watched several groups of Filipinos catch fish. They had them every color of the rainbow. Some they were eating raw on the spot. Had to wade most of the way back for the tide came in. Wrote this evening.#
6/25. Mon. Had to take a crew out on my own today. We managed ok with a trip to Calicoan in the morning and one to Guiuan in the afternoon. After getting to the show tonight it looked so much like rain I came back and read. It poured down,
6/26. Tues. Into G-2 this morning for a load. The sun was really bearing down. NSD this afternoon for some small stoves. Had expected to get quite a bit and ended up with almost nothing. Off fairly early this afternoon. Wrote and read this evening.
6/27. Wed. Hauled cement again this morning with the truck and lowboy. Which was not without its share of excitement for we had an accident on our return to the camp. A bad trailer hitch, no load on the truck, slick roads, and a curve added up to a jackknifed lowboy and truck. Cement went everywhere - one fellow jumped from the truck and cut his forehead and came close to being run over. After a half hour’s work we got the load back on and were on our way. Hauled tents this afternoon.
6/28. Thurs. Went out after cement again this morning but made a dry run. This afternoon it was different and we got quite a sizable load from a ship. Scuttlebutt seems to be popping up again here and there. Today it is the tale that half the Seabees will be disbanded the first of the year.
6/29. Fri. Took my boys to Calicoan this morning to pick up a few crates. Got hold of a dumb checker who knew next to nothing. Had to go to personnel this afternoon to write a statement on our accident the other day. From there we all went out to a troopship to pick up some food. We got 3 truckloads of meat and butter and really worked. For a while we were in one refer that was 18 degrees and then sweating it out up steps and through passageways. I think storage areas in such ships are designed for inconvenience rather than convenience. It was dark when we left the ship and we were all very much whipped down but we still had the barge to unload and the trucks to unload at the galley. Had a steak for chow and fell into bed at 10:30.
6/30. Sat. Joe Witke* and I went out this morning to pick up part of a 675 refer for the regiment and ended up getting the whole thing. Borrowed a lowboy from 6-2 for the job. The regiment is so messed up we couldn’t unload this morning so had to go back this afternoon. It was 2:30 before things were straightened out so we could unload and after three before we finished up. And this our afternoon off. Good news was flying around camp when we arrived. 88 men had been picked to go home on rotation. George Lecoq is back with us from the lumber camp on his way home on the 42 year old basis.
7/1. Sun. Put in 12 solid hours of solid sleep last night and feel much better for it today. It has been rather cloudy today so have taken it easy and read. AROU-2 put on a show in our theater tonight and did a very good job of it.
7/2. Mon. Went into G-2 this morning to pick up a few odds and ends. Between trips Mr. McCarthy tried to persuade me to take over Holtan’s job since he is leaving but I turned it down. Had this afternoon off so went into Guiuan to get Annie a hat. Took some junk along that I have had for quite a while and traded my way into a hat, three hootenannies for holding a hat on plus a cigarette case for 5 bottles of perfume and a bracelet. Wanted to get a pair of slippers but could do no trading on that. After the show tonight there was a short meeting to rouse a little interest in a post war 93rd organization.*
7/3. Tues. Made several trips to Guiuan today but picked up very little. Received quite a jolt tonight when Pat Fowler* walked in. I did not recognize him and was very much embarrassed when he had to tell me who he was. We had quite a chat during the evening.
7/4. Wed. Just another day. Went to Calicoan to get a load of cement this morning but had no luck. Back again this afternoon to get some steel and picked up cement instead. Went to the show tonight but it was pretty lousy.
7/5. Thurs. Did nothing today but try to swap some boxes at ABCDEG-2. There was a mix up a while back on a purification unit. Understand that the NATs offered to fly all men of the 93rd & 61st to the States on rotation for favors, etc. granted to them by the two outfits. I hope their generosity still prevails when my turn comes. The fellows are leaving in small groups on as little as an hour’s notice. Fleet Hosp. M4 put on a good show tonight. They have a drummer who can really beat it out.
7/6. Fri. Hauled beer this morning which is as much of a pain as it has ever been. Just fooled around in the yard this afternoon. Wrote letters all evening and we had our first blackout in months. It lasted only a few minutes. The last of our first bunch of boys left today. They were called this noon on very short notice.
7/7. Sat. This has been a rather dull day following the same routine. The show tonight was slightly on the putrid side
7/8. Sun. What a day. Never have I been so lazy when I was feeling ok. Only got out of the sack to go to chow. In between chows I just stretched and read. It drizzled or rained all day which made it quite delightful. Had intended tracking Pat down and taking some pictures but the weather squelched that.
7/9. Mon. Went to Calicoan for some cement but none was to be had NSD this afternoon to pick up some small stores. 400 black dress shoes should make the boys rather happy. The Picture of Dorian Gray tonight which sent a few shudders here and there.
7/10. Tues. Got a fair load of cement from a ship this morning. The latest bunch of old bucks left this morning via ship for their discharges. George Lecoq was among them. It seems our camp site will have to be moved before long. Certainly hope that I am away from here before the move takes place.
7/11. Wed. Went to NSD this morning to pick up some stuff for the ship’s store. We ended up taking the entire day to draw one truckload. The ships get first crack at everything there, so we had to wait till their orders were filled. Had several heavy showers during the day. Wrote letters all evening.
7/12. Thurs. Went in for hauling heavy timbers today. We got several good loads for the new asphalt plant. More letter-writing tonight for it was quiet and cool. After the show played a game of hearts with the boys. Something different for a change.
7/13. Fri. Calicoan this morning to pick up some stuff they did not have. Back again this afternoon for a trailer load of 4 x 8s which we had to load by hand. Wrote and read this evening.
7/14. Sat. Picked up the rest of our lumber at Calicoan this morning. And then made a trip into Guiuan that bore no fruit. Back to ABCD again this afternoon. The orders we were supposed to have picked up had not cleared the office so we picked up some pipe which, when we arrived back here, we discovered we shouldn’t have picked up.
7/15. Sun. Today was a duplicate of last Sunday. It rained all day so I stayed in bed and read. Made some popcorn this evening.
7/16. Mon. Spent this morning trying to get some stuff from ABCD but ended up with nothing. This afternoon we went to NSD with a load of empty oxygen bottles. Sat through a rain tonight to see Saratoga Trunk which was quite good. A wind blew for a few minutes during the show which I thought would drop some of the tents, but everything held.
7/17, Tues. Made a couple trips today after pipe. The concrete pipe at G-2 was the meanest to get. That section was a real mess. Read for a while this evening. Part of the shed over the food dump blew off last night.
7/18, Wed. Hauled lumber all morning for G-1. This afternoon, we were thwarted on several trips. Wrote this evening.
7/19, Thurs. Were supposed to pick up a mess of lumber at G-2 this morning but ended up with just a few pieces. The major portion of the order was not in stock. Made a return trip for a load of 8" pipe. After chow, the pipe was unloaded after a fashion on the beach – the process took all the side boards from the low boy* and made a great deal of noise. Read all afternoon.
7/20, Fri. Began getting the yard ready for an inspection by a Commodore Meade on Monday. This job should have been started a week ago. There is plenty of trash to be picked up and straightening out to be done. These inspection trips can cause more work and bring forth more foolish monkey business. Snortin’ Morton makes a trip through in the morning in preparation for the Monday trip, which means there will no doubt be plenty of criticism. A 60 mph gale is scheduled to come through here this evening or tonight. Quite a storm blew up during the show, but not as bad as the one several nights ago. Lots of lightning. People in the States would think us nuts to see us sit through a movie in a pouring down rain the way we do.
7/21, Sat. Snortin’ made his inspection this morning and even though we have worked all day trying to get the yards all straight, we shall have to come back tomorrow to finish up. Made a dry run to ABCD this afternoon. Read all evening.
7/22, Sun. A beautiful day to take pictures and look up Pat – It would be when I have to work. Spent the whole day cleaning up the yard. Show this evening.
7/23. Mon. ABCD this morning to pick up a couple pumps for the AROU-2 job. We were out when the Commodore made his tour of inspection. From all reports our area pleased him. Two trips into Guiuan this afternoon. Had quite a downpour this evening. New drainage in the dumps throws all that water into our area. Some even came into our tent tonight.
7/24, Tues. Spent the morning at Calicoan picking up a few odds and ends. This afternoon we worked in a drizzle getting some lumber to the shop so that boxes can start being built tomorrow. Perry seems confident that we shall be leaving here before long. Read this evening.
7/25. Wed. This has been a beautiful day. Went into Guiuan this morning and bought some slippers for three of my girlfriends. Then went out to 1022 where after quite a hunt I dug up Pat. We chewed the fat for several hours. Went to the show tonight which was rather corny. Must have had too many figs for breakfast this morning the way I have been trotting tonight.
7/26. Thurs. Am back on my old detail again of building boxes. That of course is always a primer for the scuttlebutt mongers. Managed to get a few blisters on my hands.
7/27. Fri. Dextradeur* seems to have about as hard a time to get work out of the dead end kids as I have had – so I guess it’s not me. Banged away on boxes all day again. Had my teeth cleaned by the dentist this afternoon. Good show tonight.
7/28. Sat. Boxes, boxes and more boxes – and I guess it will be that way for a while now. My hand will need the weekend to rest from the hammer. A few packages came in this afternoon and included one for George. One had a fifth of good port wine which we started on right away and was excellent. An order was posted on all the bulletin boards this afternoon prohibiting the storage or consuming of any liquor except in the officers’ mess, officers’ quarters, and the officers’ clubs. Things like that certainly make the enlisted man feel good.
7/29. Sun. All of the liquor notices were torn from the bulletin boards by this morning. The PT Base was represented at the Chapel this morning by a choir which sang very well. After Church this morning a card game started in the tent which I joined. It was the first time I had played any in a long time and I rather enjoyed it. Pat came around this afternoon with a jeep. We drove around and took a few pictures. A USO show of six singers and a pianist were here tonight. They started off rather badly but grew better as they went along. They sang everything from the classics to bogey wogey. One of the girls sang in Rosalinda two years ago and one of the men was on the sound track of Rhapsody in Blue.
7/30. Mon. Still more boxes. Good show tonight, A Royal Scandal.
7/31. Tues. The pile of boxes is steadily increasing while the lumber pile is doing quite the opposite. It has been very hot these past few days.
8/1. Wed. A miniature drawing was held today and as a result 6 men will be leaving for home shortly. There is plenty of scuttlebutt about drawings but that is as far as it goes. Harry spent the night with us for his tent was a bit on the tipsy side.
8/2. Thurs. Got away from boxes for a little while today. Had to make a couple runs in search of cargo nets. Not even a good show tonight.
8/3. Fri. Heard today that we had been scheduled to secure on the 15th and that it is still not certain that we won’t. Also that the destination would be Kyushu. Why in the world we should go on another job with all these outfits around that are on their first ones is more than I can see. Ten more men had their names pulled to go home.
8/4. Sat. Fourteen of the old bucks left this morning. Put out a few more boxes today. Scuttlebutt out now that about 250 replacements are on their way to us. I would like to believe it.
8/5. Sun. A scorching hot day. Had a light shower late this afternoon. Read most of the morning and wandered this afternoon. Went over to see Pat but missed him. Wandered down a road behind his camp that led for quite a distance through the hills. There were a number of native huts hidden away in the brush and among banana trees. When the road gave out I came back and wandered down another one that branched from it and put me on the main highway fairly close to camp. Was surprised at the number of cows I saw during my trip. Needless to say I was quite tired when I got back to camp. Played cards for the remainder of the afternoon and first part of the evening.
8/6. Mon. Back to my boxes again. The pile is certainly growing bigger. Several times this afternoon there has been an announcement over the P.A. that there is a "possibility of an air raid." Everyone is curious about it.
8/7. Tues. The staggering news of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima reached us today and is being talked about by everyone. The reports are most fantastic.
8/8. Wed. Had a tooth filled this morning. The news is still heavy with stories on the bomb and the more they come the more fantastic they become. They have overtaken and passed Buck Rogers.
8/9. Thurs. Spent most of the morning trying to pick up some materials that we couldn’t get. Back to boxes again this afternoon. O’Neal has started his painting. More good news today. Another bomb (atomic) dropped on Japan. Nagasaki got it this time. Also Russia has declared war on Japan. If they don’t quit now, atomic bombs should be dropped all over them. Had quite a down pour last night.
8/10. Fri. Worked on the boxes again this morning. And went on a run to G-1 this afternoon for a load of lumber. Had settled down to write a raft of letters this evening and was doing very well at it when at 8:50 the news arrived about Japan’s willingness to accept surrender on the one condition. Stevie carried it to the show to be put on the P.A. system. It sounded like a riot up there. And everyone was pretty keyed up. Jimmie set us all up to a beer – his total stock and we all talked for over an hour. The search lights were being played crazily all over the sky.
8/11. Sat. I guess some of the parties lasted most all night. Made a dry run to Calicoan this morning and back to boxes again this afternoon. Everyone has been most attentive to the radio today but it has not put out much news. Were quite surprised at 4:45 this afternoon to have a red alert which lasted about a half hour. Show tonight.
8/12. Sun. Hope the news continues to grow better. Last night the Allies sent their affirmative answer to Tokyo. Went for a long walk this morning. Ended up on Tubabao – a neighboring island connected to us by a bridge. The non-joy riding order even applies to an enlisted man on foot but I notice the officers can still ride their gals around. Outside the service we are fighting for democracy and in the service it is demockracy. Had to talk my way past several S.P. check stations to get where I wanted to go. Read all afternoon and wrote letters this evening.
8/13. Mon. Have been troubled with rain today. It had provided some relief from the heat of the past few days however. Made a dry run to both ABCD and G-2 this morning. Back to G-2 this afternoon for a load of lumber. Everything at ABCD is frozen right now for a big trans shipment which is being made up there. Scuttlebutt at G-2 this afternoon reputedly from Commodore Meade is that all Seabee construction will cease with the end of the war and that 90 percent of the Seabees will leave immediately. Of course the odds would no doubt be in favor of the 10 percent remaining, including the 93rd. However all of our work is about completed – we are in a bad spot if a typhoon should come. We will have to move elsewhere before the typhoon season arrives – also we have been out for a long time, so why shouldn’t we go home first. Everyone is in suspense tonight waiting for news from Tokyo and Washington.
8/14. Tues. We are still waiting for the good word. Japan was reported to have accepted this afternoon. Made several runs today. Picked up a load of lumber this afternoon and delivered it to the job to discover the job was already done.
Peace at Hand
8/15. Wed. Made several dry runs this morning and received the word that Japan’s surrender was acceptable. Started doing a little packing this afternoon of stuff in the dumps. While most outfits were getting a half day off, the 93rd knocked off an hour early. And drank six bottles of beer or coke while the officers entertained some high-ranking officer. The area was more quiet than would be expected tonight. The anti-aircraft searchlights put on quite a show along with some fellows down on the beach who were shooting flares.
8/16. Thurs. Now that the surrender is almost over the return to the Promised Land is the day to which we are looking forward. Scuttlebutt is running heavy that we shall leave next month. The Navy has announced a point system for discharge: ½ point a year for age – ½ point a month for active duty – 10 points for dependents – which would leave me with 7 months to go. Heard today that approx. a third of the married men in the 93rd have lost their wives through divorce since we have been out. Picked up a few odds and ends at G-1 and ABCD today. Wrote letters all evening.
8/17. Fri. Had to make several runs today. ABCD this morning for lumber and G-2 for odds and ends. Pat was over for a while this evening.
8/18. Sat. G-1 and G-2 this morning for not much of anything. We did a little more packing in the dumps this afternoon. Scuttlebutt in favor of a stateside invasion is very strong now. Securing the 1st of September – leaving the 15th and reaching Frisco on Oct. 3rd. A mob at the show tonight to see Betty Grable. Fay and I went into Guiuan this morning to take a few pictures and do a little shopping. Bought some small slippers for some of my small girlfriends. This afternoon we pitched a few horseshoes and this evening went to the 10th to an amateur entertainment they were having.
8/20, Mon. We are getting a little variation in our days’ work now, for besides making a few runs, we are doing some packing around the yard. Scuttlebutt still seems to be running strong for our early departure for the states – mid September. The 44 pointers all signed up today.
8/21, Tues. Packed dishes all morning. Ran into GI this afternoon for some lumber. Shortly after our arrival there at 1:30 there was a terrific explosion at the end of the airplane jetty. We were a half-mile off and were almost knocked from our feet. Debris fell all around us. Demolition bombs were being loaded onto a barge to be dumped into the ocean and some went off. A number of fellows were killed as well as injured. Some natives in a canoe were either killed or wounded. Traffic was tied up for quite some time to make way for ambulances and fire trucks. About every ambulance on the island was called. Pat Fowler dropped in tonight for the evening. It was really most enjoyable with refreshments and all. The fellows seem to like him very much.
8/22, Wed. The 42-year-olds who were to secure the 31st secured tonight. Guess the 44 pointers will do likewise in a day or so. Finished packing dishes this morning. And made a dry run to Calicoan this afternoon. Wrote this evening.
8/23, Thurs. Have been in the lumber business today, hauling typhoon bracing for the AROU and Caso jobs. Show tonight.
8/24, Fri. This has been a very hot day and evening. The 44 pointers were secured from work beginning today. Scuttlebutt keeps growing stronger for an early departure next month for those of us with 21 months overseas. Hauled more lumber today. Spent a few minutes this afternoon figuring the score between Lib and the Navy. I lived with her 949 days and with the Navy to date 868. Fine thoughts for my Fifth Wedding Anniversary.
8/25, Sat. Made a dry run this morning and loafed for the remainder of the morning. This afternoon went to G.I. for a few items. We have found one way to keep supplied with bananas. Every time we make a run, we take a bundle of rags and do some swapping. Show tonight was good.
8/26. Sun. Had eggs for breakfast and then spent the remainder of the morning reading. After all these months I climbed the oversized hill in back of our camp this afternoon. I was wringing wet when I got back down. A USO show tonight. This is The Life. It was very good – both gags and acting. After the show there was a get together in the chow hall with some dancing.
8/27. Mon. As of today I guess we shall spend most of our time in the yard working on broken boxes and getting everything in good order. We finished up all of the Armory and G.I gear today.
8/28. Tues. Worked our way in a broiling sun through the tool deck today. Some of the boxes were in pretty bad shape. Wrote letters this evening.
8/29. Wed. We are making pretty good headway through the dump. Are taking care of just about a dock a day. Pat came over this evening for another session which the fellows enjoyed a great deal. They really appreciate an officer letting his hair down with them.
8/30. Thurs. Had to make a trip to ABCD this morning for a load of lumber. Were late getting in at noon so knocked off early this afternoon. There was a typhoon warning out for a while this morning but it never arrived.
8/31. Fri. Finished up Dump 4 today. Am wondering if it is actually getting hotter or am I growing to mind the heat more. We had a little party of our own tonight. Tried to contact Pat by phone but was unable to get him.
9/1. Sat. Had a little rain last night with a lot of lightning. Went through Dump 7 this morning. Threw out a lot of stuff that is no good. Got off early this afternoon and went with Harry Rees* to take the Filipinos home who work with us. The chatter that goes on while they are being paid off is something to hear. They were hanging Jap invasion money on each other and shouting "Victory." The last Filipino to get off lived near Mercedes but we extended the trip onto the PT base. A lousy show tonight.#
9/2. Sun. V-J Day – and it is just like any other. Our chow has grown lousy since we ran out of fresh meat. Peanut butter came out on the mess tables this morning bringing back memories of Green Island. Some of the peanut butter jars this morning wore a label of some government agency and "Not For Sale." "For distributing by State Welfare to school lunches and needy welfare groups." Read and wrote letters all day.
9/3. Mon. This has been a very clear and also very hot day. Walked into Guiuan and back this morning by way of the strip. Bought Lib a pair of carved slippers in town. Some more of the 44 pointers left this morning. Read all afternoon and went to the show this evening but did not stay, for it was not too good and it looked like rain. Harry bought a quart of alcky and brought it here to drink. It was a long drawn out session, for by 11 this evening we had 3 officers and the bartender from the officers’ club in here with one of the officers furnishing an extra quart. The party broke up around 1.
9/4. Tues. Back to the job again. Have worked all day on some of the returned G.I. gear. Wrote letters and read during the evening.
9/5. Wed. Finished up today what we started yesterday. Scuttlebutt today is that we will board ship on the 13th. The stories that start around are really funny. A few light showers this evening. Censorship has been lifted on the mail today. What a field day the fellows will have now.
9/6. Thurs. It has rained this entire day and we, on our detail, haven’t done a lick of work. I read magazines most of the time. Had some popcorn this evening and wrote Lib a real long letter.
9/7. Fri. This has been a very light day so far as work is concerned. Did very little. It rained almost the entire day, with a fairly good wind blowing.
9/8. Sat. My 31st birthday has been quite uneventful. A mist fell almost all day and I read, for there was little else to be done. Wrote a couple very, very long letters to Lib and Mother.#
9/9. Sun. Have been lazy all day doing nothing but reading and playing a little horse shoes. Went to a show this evening.
9/10. Mon. There was nothing to do at work today so I started working on a knife handle. News came in this noon that effective the 15th, we would get credit for overseas service, which will give me 46 points, two more than necessary for a discharge. There was more yelling when that came over the radio than there was over the Japs’ surrender. We are wondering now what Stone will dig up to keep us here. Went out tonight to try to find a set of blues but was not successful. Wrote letters all evening.
9/11. Tues. A clear day and again no work to be done so I piddled around all day on my knife handle. It has been more of a job than I had expected. Wrote several letters this evening and played Casino with Cullen, Fay, and Killer Kane.*
9/12. Wed. Another of those very hot days. Finished my knife this morning and spent most of this afternoon running around taking a few last minute pictures. Went to the stage show portion of the show tonight and then wrote some letters.
9/13. Thurs. We had to go to work today. What a pity. Had to make a G.S.K. draw from NSD which wasn’t so bad for we could not get everything we went after. Fooled around the shop this afternoon and went to the show this evening.
9/14, Fri. Into Guiuan this morning to get my dress jumper. Spent the remainder of the morning running around doing odd jobs toward getting ready to leave. Read all afternoon. The show tonight was fairly good. Still no word about our securing.
9/15, Sat. Another day of leisure. I guess they will all be that way from now on. Went to a show this evening that was not too good.
9/16, Sun. Put out a little laundry this morning. Have to keep caught up these days. Read all of the rest of the day and wrote a few letters this evening.
9/17, Mon. We have devised a game to play at work now to help pass the time. It is a miniature quoit affair and much harder to play than it looks. Wrote more letters again this evening.
9/18, Tues. Our incoming mail has been lousy this past week. Played quoit most of today. Pat came around with a friend this evening and we had a little party.
9/19, Wed. Fooled around this morning trying to pass away the time. Ran across one of the Red Cross girls and learned that Scottie Slingsbee is here. Went to the Canteen this afternoon and found her working there. That is a busy place. We were able to carry on a conversation every now and then. It was really good to see her. Wrote letters again this evening. Cullen has been working for the past few days on trying to get transportation for this tent. He was able to contact Mr. Conroy at N.A.P.O. this afternoon. So now we have filled out our request for transportation. We have all of our stuff ready to leave on a moment’s notice now.
9/20, Thurs. There was very little work done anywhere today. I turned in my G.I. gear this morning and had my card signed this afternoon. By late afternoon the camp was a madhouse from fellows running around. We in this tent even had our papers in at N.A.P.O. before chow tonight. There was a big party in officers’ country tonight with wine, women, and song. Trays of turkey, beef and ham were in the butcher’s shop but all of it did not get to its destination. A couple fellows a few tents away made off with a ham and we really had a feed.
9/21, Fri. Practically everyone who is leaving secured himself from work this morning. As soon as we were paid, Duffy and I went out to N.A.P.O. We expect to leave Sunday or Monday. Have spent the rest of the day fooling around and writing letters this evening.
9/22, Sat. Now that we have nothing to do but wait time is really dragging. Bergy took me to the 64th this afternoon to see Pat, but Pat was not to be found. Went to a show this evening but it stunk.
9/23, Sun. Have sat around all day reading and writing. Pat was in this afternoon and came back this evening to go to the show. Another stinker.
9/24, Mon. Another day of waiting. Lots of rain. The scuttlebutt that the 93rd and the 123rd were going to merge is becoming a reality. Some of the 123rd moved in today. Now we are trying to get on a ship as well as a plane. Had to work a few minutes this afternoon. Not too bad a show tonight.
9/25, Tues. Rather drizzly today. Have spent most of it reading. More new fellows coming in all the time from both the 123rd and the 88th.
9/26, Wed. From the dampness and coolness of yesterday to lots of heat today. No news at all of when we might be getting away.
9/27, Thurs. Read all day today with the exception of a short while to put out a small laundry. Show tonight very good.
9/28, Fri. And so we continue to sit and wait. Go to work twice a day to check in and then leave.
9/29, Sat. We did a little work today – very little. Most of the material is being moved to our dump from the 123rd. It has been a very hot day.
9/30, Sun. Went out on the reef for a while this morning and played horseshoes all afternoon. As a result I have my share of sunburn this evening. Pat came around late this afternoon and stayed for chow and the show tonight. I strolled down the beach with him after the show. We were told today that we could not apply for surface and air transportation at the same time. It looks as though we won’t get very far by air so we turned our papers in for a ship.
10/1, Mon. Worked this morning long enough to unload one truck and then read for a while. Have had a lot of fun wearing a flashy tie tonight that I found this morning. Almost all of our officers who came out with us have gone now and we continue to sit here.
10/2, Tues. Another day of reading and horseshoes. We had an excellent stage show tonight put on by the 111th C.B.s. It was probably one of the best we have seen. A monkey which has been running loose the past few days paid a visit to our tent today and played havoc with the things we had loose. We still have not found all our stuff. Hot scuttlebutt came out today that we were leaving tomorrow. No official word has come out yet. A few of the fellows without points but with 24 months are expected to be relieved in the next 10 days.
10/3, Wed. Fooled the day away reading and playing horseshoes. There has been hot scuttlebutt out today that we would board ship tomorrow. How we hope that it is true.
U.S.S. ARTHUR MIDDLETON
10/4, Thurs. Everything was going as usual today when word came that we should get ready immediately to leave. I had not had noon chow but that did not stop me.* An hour later we were at the receiving station dock. And by 4 pm were aboard the Coast Guard troop ship Arthur Middleton. It is 25% overloaded with troops so everyone is mighty cramped.
10/5, Fri. We left Leyte Gulf and the Philippines at 10.30 this morning. The sleeping quarters are too hot for me so I slept on deck last night and was quite comfortable. The fresh water is on for only 3 - 20 min. periods each day. Chow has been pretty good so far.
10/6, Sat. Was run in by the rain this morning at 1:30. Spent the remainder of the night trying to sleep sitting in a companion way. Have been reading most of the time. We are taking the northern route to Frisco. From all reports we shall reach Frisco on the 21st.
10/7, Sun. Rain again last night. Did not have to come in till 4 this time. We have had very rough water all day which of course has brought on a lot of seasickness. Won’t be sleeping out tonight for there is a mean driving rain.
10/8, Mon. Slept in the hold last night which was like a turkish bath. The sea has been rather calm all day. A number of planes passed us this morning in their search for a B-29 that went down last night. We had boat drill this pm which was cruel, for we had to spend almost an hour in the hold. We set our watches ahead an hour tonight. At 11, we pass about 60 miles from Iwo Jima. Our great circle route will take us quite far north but will knock 1000 miles from the trip via Guam and Pearl Harbor.
10/9, Tues. And so we go on into our fifth day. The water was quite calm today and we had smooth sailing. Slept topside in my hammock last night. Thought the wind would blow me off the ship.
10/10, Wed. A very calm sea today. Practically no motion to the ship. The skipper must like to play war for every day at 1 we have general quarters and boat drill. I stayed in the chow hall this noon so I would not have to mess with the drill. We have been having very good chow on here. Until further notice the water will be on only twice a day instead of three times. Quite cool this evening.
10/11, Thurs. Time seems to be passing quite rapidly. Yet I have a job keeping up with the days. We came across a mine today. No one spotted it till it was right along the ship and not many yards to port either. We circled around it while the 20 mms fired and sank it. This afternoon, we ran several miles away from a school of whales. No boat drill for a change. The weather is growing quite cool now. The moon has been quite pretty in the evenings. We are at approx. 33 degrees north today which is about the same as L.A. 42 degrees N should be about as far north as we will go.
10/12, Fri. Still traveling on a calm sea. There has been quite a noticeable change in the weather today. Jackets of all kinds began to come out this evening. Quite a few whales, porpoises, and albatross around the ship. We were at about 33 degrees north and 160 degrees east this morning.
10/13, Sat. Quite cool during the night but warmer today. We had to slow down from our usual 16-18 knots this morning to a mere 6. It seemed as though we were hardly moving. The trouble is in one of the boilers and is expected to be fixed before the day is over. Have been reading all day with a few hands of cards this afternoon.
10/14, Sun. Two years ago today the 93rd left Hueneme. The weather is certainly growing rough. We have been in a fog all day and the heavy clothes are coming out. Quite a few of the fellows have colds including me. Will sleep in the hold tonight for it is too damp topside. Our course has been changed today for we received word to put in at Portland. Frisco is filled up.
10/15, Mon. I guess we will be having this foul weather all the way in to Portland. The fog lifted for only a short time all day. The fellows in the forward hold are going to bed to keep warm. Very few fellows go on deck except for chow. At 10 this morning, we crossed the Dateline at about 41 degrees north. To bed early tonight.
10/15, Mon. Two Mondays per week are not impossible. We have been traveling through some mighty rough water today. This ship has been in about every position except upside down. Waves have been breaking over the bow. It is still foggy and cold. Changed watches again.
10/16, Tues. Very little change in anything today. The weather did break a bit tonight.
10/17, Wed. The ship has really been rolling all day. We walk like a bunch of drunks. And of all things the sun has been shining. The decks have been fairly well populated by the fellows taking advantage of the sun. Beautiful moon on the water which shone on the billows. Watches go ahead another hour.
10/18, Thurs. This has been a beautiful day. The sun has shone most of the time and it has been quite snappy. Have played quite a few cards. Watches changed again. The moon is certainly getting its share of admiration these nights.
10/19, Fri. Fairly warm, for the sun has been out all day. Not so many on deck tonight for it is quite snappy, but the moon is beautiful. Our northernmost point has been reached: 48 degrees N at 140 degrees. Have played cards most of the day both above and below deck.
10/20, Sat. Cards again today. The sun has not been too cooperative. Everyone has been looking for land today but no luck. Changed time again.
10/21, Sun. Woke up this morning to see that good earth ahead. Entered the Columbia River and had passed Astoria by 8. It was quite a sight. Fellows were picking out everything – boxcars, churches, Coca-Cola signs, breweries, women, and everything imaginable. It is very foggy and drizzly. We are all like a bunch of kids with a new toy. This afternoon shortly after we turned up the Willamette River, we were met by a "Welcome Home" barge all gaily decorated and with music and waving women. At 4:15 I debarked. The pier was full of Red Cross women handing out doughnuts, plums, milk, and coffee. The milk was wonderful. Our bags were loaded on trucks and we on buses. After which we went in a convoy under police escort with sirens blowing through Portland where there was plenty of hand waving. We are at Swan Island living in a shipyard housing project. Lots of HOT water. Liberty comes every night. I went out even though I do not have a complete uniform. Others went out in their greens. Sent a bunch of telegrams and waited 3 hours trying to get Lib on the phone. At 11 I learned that Smith won’t accept calls after 10. Back in camp by 11 to sleep between two sheets.
10/22, Mon. Have spent this whole blessed day standing in lines trying to get a few clothes. Mostly I wanted to get a pair of dress shoes but they laughed at me when I told them my size. When I returned to camp at 5:15, I learned my draft had been called. Some of the fellows were out looking for me. I threw my stuff in a bag and sold out. We were scheduled to leave at 5 pm but it was 2 am before we boarded the train. Several other drafts left while we were waiting. It was a long disgusting wait.
10/23, Tues. Around 2:30 am, we left Swan Island. I had been in bed barely 15 minutes when I had to get out and go to work in the galley. The first thing we did was fry some bacon and eggs for ourselves. We will have troop operated galley to Chicago. I worked through till 1 this afternoon both cooking and serving chow. From Portland we crossed the river to Washington and followed the Columbia for some 200 miles. The scenery was beautiful as the sun came up and brought out the reds in the rocks. Saw my first frost in quite a few years. At Bingen, Wash. we were able to see Mt. Hood. Every time this train stops for a few minutes the boys pile out to get some beer. It comes on by the cases. At 4 we pulled into Spokane. Two boys missed the train but we stopped down the tracks to wait for them. Have been enjoying lettuce sandwiches while in the galley. Went into Idaho shortly after leaving Spokane.#
10/24. Wed. Passed through Helena, Mont. before awaking. At 1:45 pm we passed through Livingston, Mont. Worked in the galley this noon. A women’s organization supplied us with candy apples and oranges while we were in the Livingston station. At 5 pm we passed through Billings. Was able to get some ice cream while there. Indians roamed up and down the street. We left 3 of our cars there. Snow covered peaks all day.
10/25. Thurs. Passed through Jamestown, N.D. at 8:15 this morning. Temperature 20 degrees. We are in rolling country now which is rather drab. Fargo at 11 am. Crossed into Staples, Minnesota at 2 pm and saw a few snowflakes. Passed through Little Falls, Lindy’s home this afternoon. Pulled into Minneapolis and St. Paul at chowtime this evening. Tried to get some ice cream but failed.
10/26. Fri. Woke up this morning in Chicago this morning where we had arrived at 5:30. We spent several hours being switched around the yards. Managed to get in the station for a while. We left at 10:30 as the second section of a regular train on the N.Y.C.R.R. We made as much as 90 mph at times. Had noon chow in the diner which was quite a treat. Passed through Lafayette, Ind. at 1 and Indianapolis at 2:45 where we picked up a car of draftees – poor fellows. Reached the Ohio River at 4:30 which we followed on to Cincinnati arriving at 6. We ate chow in the station dining room. We were able to put through calls to Lib and Sadie. Their voices sounded wonderful. Walked around town for a while and then returned to the station for a shower. Just before we left at 10:20 on the N & W, 3 or 4 boys jumped the train to stay with some girls they had picked up in town. They should have their heads examined.
10/27. Sat. Woke up in Welch, W.Va. The mountains look wonderful with the leaves beginning to change. Passed through a number of tunnels. Lots of frost on the ground. Through Bluefield at 8:15. Chow in a diner again both this morning and noon. Were in Roanoke from 11:15 to 12. Passed through Lynchburg at 1:15 and Petersburg at 4:15, one hour late. Pulled into Norfolk at 6 making our trip of almost 11,000 miles in twenty-two days, A bus met us at the station to take us to Camp Shelton which is somewhere between Ocean View and Virginia Beach. We had chow in camp and after checking our pay records were shown to our sleeping quarters. Called Sadie again and got straight on meeting her and Mother. Will meet them in Richmond on Tuesday and Lib on Wednesday.
10/28, Sun. Up early this morning but we did not start doing anything until mid-morning. Had our health examination which was a farce in spots. This afternoon we had nothing to do. I still can’t get a pair of shoes to fit me. It has been a delightful day. Took a walk after chow. Lots of WAVES around here and German POWs serve us chow. Checked over my insurance tonight; don’t know what to do about it. Expect to be out of here sometime Tuesday.
10/29, Mon. We had a rather busy morning getting a bunch of papers signed, attending lectures, and being interviewed. This afternoon we signed more papers after waiting 2 1/2 hours because one fellow got messed up. He is a dumb cluck anyway and we were ready to beat him up. In the morning we expect to get our final pay and papers. Guess I shall have to leave with G.I. shoes and dress blues.
10/30, Tues. No one had to call us to get up this morning. The first thing after chow we turned in our bedding then proceeded to the disbursing office to be paid off. After about an hour wait we went to the auditorium and received our discharge papers after a talk by the base chaplain. 210 of us went through the mill. It was a good feeling to feel free again even though still in the confines of a uniform. After some fast walking made the Norfolk bus and caught the 1:30 N.E.W. to Richmond. Bought a pair of shoes first thing and met Mother and Sadie at 8:30. Spent the night at a tourist home.
* * * EPILOGUE: LIBeration * * *
10/31, Wed. Did not get up too early this morning. The three of us ate breakfast at the Jefferson and then wandered through the stores. Ate lunch at Whites. Drove around the town this afternoon. Checked into the Marshall at 4 and took a bath. Was to meet Lib at the Broad St. Station but she came in earlier and messages became all fouled up. Met her at the station anyway and did she look good. From then on is censored.