Friday, June 17, 2016

61) Tent all fixed up with a blue parachute--Dec. 15th, 1944

Tacloban, Cancaboto Bay, Leyte, Philippines
APO 72 Leyte, Philippines

Philippine Islands
10:30 PM, December 15 ’44
My darling,

I haven’t received one single letter since I wrote the other nite. I am really sweating it out. There should be a big bunch of letters come in tomorrow. (I keep telling myself) Guess I can’t have everything. I did get a package of nuts from you yesterday. Believe me they were sure good. We haven’t had any lately. Sure did appreciate them.

We have our tent all fixed up now with a blue parachute, the kind they drop supplies with, fixed on the inside. We have indirect lighting and everything.

We have a boy who works around the tent. He is a boy about 17 years old. He can speak & understand English fairly well. He cleans the tent & makes or beds and shakes our blankets and rakes up outside. Also keeps the water cans full. Sure is nice to come back to a clean, dry & comfortable tent in the evening.

Darling, I really am looking forward to the time when we can be with each other in something besides our thoughts. I really shouldn’t do it but when I don’t get letters from you for a while I read all your old letters. It only makes me feel bad though.

Please darling continue to be the same sweet patient and thoughtful girl that I have been so much in love with for all these long months. I will always feel the same about you.

Don’t you see that I really love you? Please don’t study too hard and have a good time in your sorority activities. Wish I could be with you right now.

Well that is just as good a place to end this as any.

Goodnight sweetheart.


My love to Anne & your Mom

Notes from the 9th FS Unit History- December 1944
  • December started unexcitedly with routine patrols the first few days. We were still encamped at the "temporary" area upon which descended October 24, and awaited orders to move to the "permanent" campsite a few miles nearer the airstrip. 
  • Dec. 6th some of the personnel moved into the new camp area. There were a few air raids and several red alerts at night, and at 7 PM a blinding flash was observed in the direction of the strip. In the morning a Jap Sally bomber was found scattered over the east side of the strip. Several Jap bodies were around the area, a satisfactory, if slightly gruesome sight. It was learned later that this was an "honor mission" in which the purpose was to fly into the traffic pattern, crash land on the strip, and disperse the occupants of the plane in the vicinity of the landing. The Japs were equipped with mines, which adhered to the plane until detonated. Obviously a great deal of damage could have been wrought with such a surprise attack. Unfortunately for the Japs, our anti-aircraft defenses penetrated the deception and when the Sally came over the south end of the strip it was greeted by everything that could be thrown up, and it 'augured' in, as only the Japs seem to be able to do. Our technical intelligence lads were on the job early, much to the disgruntlement of souvenir hunters who were also on the scene as early and faithful as ever! At least 2 Samurai swords were in the wreckage, and subsequent checking showed all of the enemy were officers and all had civilian clothes beneath their uniforms except one who wore an American army uniform under his Jap one. 
  • Dec. 7th--The squadron moved to the new campsite without mishap.
  • Dec. 10th (early)--, a blinding flash and one of the loudest explosions heard to date, awakened the camp. It was not a bombing but the destruction of approximately one hundred tons of TNT near Palo. Its cause was not determined although the electrical storm going on at the time might well have accounted for it.
  • Dec. 12th---  a very proud day for the 9th Fighter Squadron, when General MacArthur personally decorated Major Bong with the highest honor a grateful nation could give, the Congressional Medal of Honor (Photo of Bong Receiving his medal). The ceremony was simple but impressive and made a lasting impression of the minds of on-lookers. At the time, Major Bong had 38 enemy planes to his credit and before leaving for the United States later in the month he found time to run his score to 40.
  • Dec. 21st---the squadron was stunned to receive orders to move within a few days. It was thought originally that our stay at the "permanent" campsite would be a protracted one and nearly every tent had fine wooden flooring.  Morale was nil for a while.

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