San Antonio, Samar, The Philippines
See below accounts of the 93rd's month in San Antonio
Pacific Duty, Bob Conner's Diary, and Bob's letters

The death knell of the Japanese Navy in the Battle of Leyte Gulf brought Gen. Douglas MacArthur ashore near the Leyte capital of Tacloban on October 20. The U.S. quickly commandeered the Japanese base at Tacloban and set about establishing additional facilities in Samar. 

As Allies forces streamed into the Philippines, the 93rd Seabees were deposited on November 15 at San Antonio, Samar to construct a base by themselves. They were the only outfit sent to San Antonio, and their stay was barely a month.  Throughout that brief sojourn, the 93rd was hunkered down amidst the continuing combat in Tacloban and the Leyte Gulf.  Charles Lawrence Curtis was killed, and Bob Conner and others had stories of near misses. 

The Navy's bases in WWII polishes San Antonio off in two sentences To alleviate these conditions, an area was selected for the Navy base on the island of Samar, near the barrio of Basey, across San Juanico strait from Tacloban. Construction forces were moved to the area, but only a few days' work was necessary to show that this site also would not be practical. After a complete reconnaissance of Leyte Gulf area,  A Seabee Newspaper article gives a rather rollicking account of the reconoitering oand selection of Guiuan by two siccessive groups of officers.

newspaper emb  

At any rate, the ground was not suitable for a base and soon they pushed on to Guiuan.  But not without leaving behind the detritus of war.

Today, San Antonio is barely a spot on the most detailed map, but it boasts the beautiful, modern Samar-Leyte Beach Resort  http://www.slbresort.com

Co-owner Ben Gacud, Jr., tells us of lines of cable wires and drum covers unearthed during the resort's construction.  Various equipment and weaponry have been been found by residents and sold for recycling over the years.  Visitors can still hear personal accounts of the 93rd sojourn from residents of the area.

His uncle was recruited by the US forces and other elders in the community remember the Month of the Seabees.

Pacific Duty:
The 93rd Seabees Cruise Book: San Antonio, Samar

Reveille the following morning, 14 November, was at 0400. It was raining heavily as the Cape Johnson was
making its way into Leyte Gulf. General Quarters sounded at 0603 followed, a few minutes later, by another
explanation "Firing on the outskirts, not much else." A later announcement was made at 0751, as the ship was
being anchored in San Pedro harbor, at the extreme northern end of Leyte Gulf. "Two Jap planes have been
shot down; one by a P-38, the other by Army shore based (Leyte) anti-aircraft." 

At 0800 all men went over the side into barges. As each barge was filled to capacity it would circle the ship.
When all barges were filled it was expected to strike off for shore. This was not to be the case. Around and
around they went, around and around, until at noon an order was issued bringing the barges back to the side of the ship and everyone clambered aboard. While the two ships were at Hollandia, Lieutenant Hubert Schmidt had been transferred to the Middlemas. He was to have arrived earlier, as he did, and he was entrusted with selection of a campsite. When the Middlemas arrived in Leyte Gulf, Lieutenant Schmidt was not allowed to leave the ship, orders from the ship's captain. And so it was that when the Cape Johnson arrived and the 93rd prepared to land, there was no place to go. That night was again spent aboard the Cape Johnson. By next
morning, 15 November, arrangements had been made and the battalion landed, but on Samar, not Leyte, as
had been expected. 

WE LAND ON SAMAR 

The campsite was in a coconut plantation which fringed a beach. Nearby was a small village, San Antonio. It
consisted merely of a cluster of thatch huts and a few frame buildings one of which was a schoolhouse. Across
narrow San Pedro channel, the modern city of Tacloban, Leyte could be plainly seen. Just below Tacloban
was a landing strip and a very busy one. 

For the first two weeks ashore the 93rd did nothing other than to service its equipment, build some access
roads, set up a permanent camp, repair a native church which had been damaged and conduct surveys for a
coming assignment. The local terrain was found to be too unstable for any permanent construction, consisting
mostly of swampland and rice paddies. This led authorities to abandon the area. On November 30, sixty men
of the 93rd boarded small landing craft and traveled southward to the very tip of Samar, arriving at a fair sized
town of Guiuan. Here they found coral deposits that could be used in construction and the terrain presented
better possibilities. The battalion had to move again but this was only a short trip, so it moved in sections, via
small landing craft. 

LIFE AT SAN ANTONIO 

The period spent at San Antonio was one that no one should ever forget. Air raids were common. At first they
came at all hours of the day. Later they started a schedule, every morning and every night. Then they stopped
their morning attacks. All this time the enemy was concentrating on the Tacloban airstrip, Tacloban itself, or
more often they were after the enormous shipping in the harbor. On such occasions Leyte-based anti-aircraft
units were firing in the general direction of Samar . . . and the 93rd. As a result, the battalion was practically
living in bomb shelters, dodging both friendly and enemy shrapnel. Not being very successful in high altitude
bombing attempts, the enemy resorted to mass suicidal attacks. It was not uncommon for the enemy to come in
low over the 93rd camp and attempt crash dives on ships in the harbor. 

On two instances "Conditional Black" was announced. This warning meant that enemy paratroops were being
expected. Extra guards were posted and everyone was armed to the teeth. The enemy did land some
paratroops, and in a Seabee camp at that, but on Leyte, in the 61st Seabee Battalion camp. These Seabees
posted ten parachutes on their score board. Ten Japs had gone their limit. 

ANOTHER ALERT SOUNDS 

Action had been heavy on 26 November. At 1100 another alert was sounded and everyone sought shelter.
One man reached a foxhole but never lived to tell about it. A projectile had his name written on it. That was all.
The 93rd had lost another man. Burial was at Tacloban's Cemetery. A man from another Seabee unit had been
killed at the same time. Both men were buried together, with brief and simple services being conducted by
Chaplain Ball. 

At the new Guiuan location only one thought prevailed and that was to construct an airstrip as early as possible

 

 Bob Conner's Diary and Letters
The sojourn at San Antonio: 11/14-12/17/1944

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.#

November 18, 1944 Saturday noon

There seems to be just as much mud here in the Philippines as there has been anywhere else. I suppose you had guessed we were here in Leyte. Our trip up was not without its air raids but they were without incident. We have several alerts here a day but the Japs seem more concerned with other spots than ours. We have not been troubled at all. A favorite pastime seems to be to go to the beach in the evening and wait for the alert. It is quite a sight to see the tracers go up and the planes come down. The Filipinos seem to be very happy that we are here and are constantly running through the camp looking for odd jobs for which they want clothes more than anything else in payment. The women - who are quite cute - seem to be the best off on clothes. The men are quite ragged and the small children wear dresses that sometimes donít even reach the navel. The fellows already have the women doing their laundry and they seem to be doing a very good job. No one pays much attention to the women when it comes time to taking a bath or what have you. If they did they would never get anything done. Our camp is gradually getting into shape. The night of our second day here our bakers were putting out hot rolls. We have been very much surprised by the climate for it is very hot during the day and quite the opposite in the evening.

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 Leyteís 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 Haleís* 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.#

November 28, 1944 Tuesday noon

The skies have really been cutting loose today with rain. Will have to dig out my boots again for the afternoon. Boardwalks were made for some of the muddier portions of camp but they have all disappeared for making foxhole covers. The honorable Nipponese still pay us frequent visits but we are thankful that they lay their eggs elsewhere.

We were able to get a little margarine and salt this noon after chow so now my belly is full of pop corn. It tasted very good. We have a new stove now which does a very good job even though it is somewhat dirty. It is some shoe dubbing which comes in a can and works very much like canned heat.

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.#

December 3, 1944 Sunday noon

More mail had better come in or I shall have to be resorting to V-Mail again which I do not like to do. This outfit is really a messed up affair and seems to be growing that way more and more each day. I wish I could tell you just what is going on now, but believe that would be out of order at present. It has gone beyond the disgusting stage.

I thought you had realized I had made the (grass) skirt. When I started out I thought it would be a small job but it turned out to be a major undertaking. I collected my materials and started out. How many trips I had to make for more before I finished I do not know, but I certainly had to chop down a bunch of trees to get it all. I started several but did not like them so tore them apart. One time some rats chewed part of one of them to help build a nest in my pack. I must have been over a month making the whole works.

There is a Strauss waltz coming over the amplifier now, which really sounds good. One of the boys just brought a small monkey into the tent. He is having a big time eating some chocolate up on the tent pole.

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. Havenít 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. Canít 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. Yesterdayís 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 didnít 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. Couldnít 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.

12/13. 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.#

December 13, 1944 Wednesday noon, Filipino Christmas Card*

These just came out today and I thought you would like one. The man leading the buffalo carries water in the bamboo on his back and it looks like my laundry on the womanís head. The stamp situation is growing critical out here, so you might enclose a book of air mail every now and then. If you have to send loose ones they should be folded in wax paper. If you would also send some larger denominations - say 10Ę and a couple dollars worth I could send you a package.

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.#

December 16, 1944 Saturday morning

About all this day is good for is staying in the bed. It is one of those mean drizzly affairs. It sounds good falling on the tent but does not feel good when you walk under a leak, and there seem to be lots of them. A little Filipino came into the tent a little while ago to get out of the rain. As is usual, he had not been here long before he started wanting things. First it was a deck of cards so he could play blackjack. A little bit later it was a pencil for school - now it is money to buy a pencil and a tablet for school. I did not give him any of the things for they can become too pestiferous. Up in our other tent a 15 year old boy came around for our laundry but he never asked for a thing. He was really a nice kid and we gave him lots of odds and ends.

This tent was taken over by a bunch of bugs last night that were most peculiar to watch. They had tobacco juice brown wings - flew in - swarmed around the light - sat down - shed their two pairs of wings - rolled over on their backs and just wiggled. This morning they were gone.

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.

November 18, 1944 Saturday noon

There seems to be just as much mud here in the Philippines as there has been anywhere else. I suppose you had guessed we were here in Leyte. Our trip up was not without its air raids but they were without incident. We have several alerts here a day but the Japs seem more concerned with other spots than ours. We have not been troubled at all. A favorite pastime seems to be to go to the beach in the evening and wait for the alert. It is quite a sight to see the tracers go up and the planes come down. The Filipinos seem to be very happy that we are here and are constantly running through the camp looking for odd jobs for which they want clothes more than anything else in payment. The women - who are quite cute - seem to be the best off on clothes. The men are quite ragged and the small children wear dresses that sometimes donít even reach the navel. The fellows already have the women doing their laundry and they seem to be doing a very good job. No one pays much attention to the women when it comes time to taking a bath or what have you. If they did they would never get anything done. Our camp is gradually getting into shape. The night of our second day here our bakers were putting out hot rolls. We have been very much surprised by the climate for it is very hot during the day and quite the opposite in the evening.

November 28, 1944 Tuesday noon

The skies have really been cutting loose today with rain. Will have to dig out my boots again for the afternoon. Boardwalks were made for some of the muddier portions of camp but they have all disappeared for making foxhole covers. The honorable Nipponese still pay us frequent visits but we are thankful that they lay their eggs elsewhere.

We were able to get a little margarine and salt this noon after chow so now my belly is full of pop corn. It tasted very good. We have a new stove now which does a very good job even though it is somewhat dirty. It is some shoe dubbing which comes in a can and works very much like canned heat.

December 3, 1944 Sunday noon

More mail had better come in or I shall have to be resorting to V-Mail again which I do not like to do. This outfit is really a messed up affair and seems to be growing that way more and more each day. I wish I could tell you just what is going on now, but believe that would be out of order at present. It has gone beyond the disgusting stage.

I thought you had realized I had made the (grass) skirt. When I started out I thought it would be a small job but it turned out to be a major undertaking. I collected my materials and started out. How many trips I had to make for more before I finished I do not know, but I certainly had to chop down a bunch of trees to get it all. I started several but did not like them so tore them apart. One time some rats chewed part of one of them to help build a nest in my pack. I must have been over a month making the whole works.

There is a Strauss waltz coming over the amplifier now, which really sounds good. One of the boys just brought a small monkey into the tent. He is having a big time eating some chocolate up on the tent pole.

December 13, 1944 Wednesday noon, Filipino Christmas Card*

These just came out today and I thought you would like one. The man leading the buffalo carries water in the bamboo on his back and it looks like my laundry on the womanís head. The stamp situation is growing critical out here, so you might enclose a book of air mail every now and then. If you have to send loose ones they should be folded in wax paper. If you would also send some larger denominations - say 10Ę and a couple dollars worth I could send you a package.

December 16, 1944 Saturday morning

About all this day is good for is staying in the bed. It is one of those mean drizzly affairs. It sounds good falling on the tent but does not feel good when you walk under a leak, and there seem to be lots of them. A little Filipino came into the tent a little while ago to get out of the rain. As is usual, he had not been here long before he started wanting things. First it was a deck of cards so he could play blackjack. A little bit later it was a pencil for school - now it is money to buy a pencil and a tablet for school. I did not give him any of the things for they can become too pestiferous. Up in our other tent a 15 year old boy came around for our laundry but he never asked for a thing. He was really a nice kid and we gave him lots of odds and ends.

This tent was taken over by a bunch of bugs last night that were most peculiar to watch. They had tobacco juice brown wings - flew in - swarmed around the light - sat down - shed their two pairs of wings - rolled over on their backs and just wiggled. This morning they were gone