Sunday, March 20, 2016

21) Libby's Not Writing --early Feb. 1944

APO 713 = Base E, Nadzab, New Guinea
Stationed at Gusap Airfield

Feb. 8th, 1944, 10:30 P.M.
New Guinea

Betty Dear,

In the past 2 or 3 days I have gotten 3 letters from you. Sure builds up the old morale 100% or more to get your sweet letters. Don’t hear much from any body around Louisville except you and the family. Libby just don’t write to me. Don’t ask me why but she just don’t. If you see her don’t say anything about me telling you this. Please! Seems like the old feeling could be there but just isn’t. Funny how those things go isn’t it? Then, in a way, it isn’t funny is it? Guess I will be able to start from scratch when I get back. But that is at least a year or so from now so why am I bothering you with my troubles. But you’ve listened to my troubles before.

You sure are having a lot of good times these days according to your letters. You sure did give me a laugh with the story of the boy you didn’t like who escorted you to the Delphi dance. You sure stayed out late with him even if you didn’t like him. After 2:30 it ceases to be just sociable – or did it? Really don’t take that seriously. I know you won’t.

I went to the show last evening and sat in the rain to see “Presenting Lily Mars” with Judy Garland & Van Heflin. Sure was worth all the uncomfort. Tonite they have “The Major & the Minor” with Ginger Rogers & Ray Milland. “Jane Eyre” is coming soon.

There hasn’t been any thing exciting happening around here lately. Sure wish my turn for a furlough would hurry up and roll around. Australia will be a much welcomed change. We have had no improvement in the food. Don’t expect we will get any either.

Well I guess for you it will soon be spring. Every thing will be so beautiful and green. Well believe me if I have ever seen green I have sure seen it over here. There are variations and shades of green over here that you would never imagine existed anywhere. If I could only see some other colors for a change. The country is really beautiful as you can see from the pictures that I will send you as soon as I get the film developed. I had hoped to have them enclosed in this letter. Have patience maybe next time.

I have been reading a swell book, “Riflemand Dodd & The Gun” by C. S. Forester. What new books are out back there now? Don’t hear much about the books they are printing nowadays. Guess you are reading the dull old school stuff for book reports & themes. Bet I could really write some hair raising themes for those old cronies.

We really have a neat sign for our Cabin now. We named it “Sactime Lodge”. I will send you a picture of it too.

Well that is about all I can write for tonight. I will try to write often. Please keep your swell letters coming. Honey I enjoy hearing from you more than I can put into words.

Remember I’ll be thinking you you every day and wishing that I could see you again soon.

Love and more,
Jack “Good nite honey”

Regards to Ann & your mother


  1. 9th FS Unit History- Feb. 1944--- "Tokyo Rose broadcast an ominous threat that 'The boys at Gusap don't know what a real bombing is like - yet!', and the 9th waited. After 3 days of routine patrols the squadron finally got a possible chance to see action, being assigned the job of escorting heavy bombers to Wewak on 4 February. It was disappointing to the boys that the enemy decided to let the bombing go by default, and no enemy planes were seen airborne."   Ken Clark’s Unit History posted on
  2. Tokyo Rose--- During World War II, American soldiers dubbed the female broadcasters on Japanese radio, "Tokyo Rose." It was a name invented by the soldiers -- U.S. government research never found evidence of a person named Tokyo Rose in radio programs anywhere in the Pacific.
  3. Rifleman Dodd and The Gun---These two stories by C.S. Forester were printed in one volume. Rifleman Dodd is about a British infantry rifleman in the Napoleonic Wars. The Gun also takes place during the Napoleonic Wars and is about a guerilla band that acquires an 18 lb. cannon enabling them to break the French in the field.
  4. 9th FS Unit History-Feb. 1944 ---"On the 28th the valley saw a strange sight in this virgin (white) territory when Hollywood star John Wayne and two starlets in his USO troupe arrived on base. The entertainers appeared at our Officers' Club before their show and many of the boys had an opportunity to smirk into the camera with these celebrities. An attempted striptease by the young ladies during the show that night gave our M.P's an opportunity to add to their popularity by stopping the act. Strangely enough, no cheers arose from the audience! "  Ken Clark’s Unit History posted on
  5. USO ---The United Service Organization was founded in 1941, in response to a request from President Franklin D. Roosevelt,  to provide morale and recreation services to uniformed military personnel. From 1941 to 1947, the USO presented more than 400,000

    Again--many thanks to Ken Clark and others for their extensive information on posted on

    20) "Please honey! Don’t stop writing"--- Late Jan. 1944

    Almost all of Jack's letters are upbeat and asking for news of home. He rarely mentions anything about what was going on around him and on first reading them I thought that perhaps he had it pretty easy during the war. It was only later, when I happened to find online the monthly unit summaries provided by Ken Clark on the website, that I began to form a picture of what was really happening in the places where my father was stationed. I provide excerpts from these montly summaries in the notes section of many of these pages. These provide a picture of the conditions under which he lived and worked. The full summaries can be read here: Link to Ken Clark's Monthly Summaries

    APO 713 = Base E, Nadzab, New Guinea
    Stationed at Gusap Airfield

    Jan. 29th 1944, Thursday evening
    New Guinea 

    Hello Betty dear,

    Well here I am again. I received your letter of Dec. 27th and when I started to file it away I came upon a letter of Nov. 13th that wasn’t marked “Answered” like I usually do when I answer a letter. I don’t remember if it was just a failure to mark it or I actually didn’t write. If you didn’t received an answer to that letter, please don’t think that I didn’t answer it because of my not appreciating your letters. It is very hard to get your letters straight over here. Someone will bring you a letter when you are out in the field and you read it and put it carefully in your pocket and say “I will answer this tonite.” Something happens and your mind is not on the letter and when you answer the letter that nite you forget to mark it and when you do find it, you have forgotten wether you answered or not.

    Please honey! Don’t stop writing or even letting more time pass between your letters. Truly yours are the sweetest and longest and most interesting letters I receive regularly. They are so newsy and that is what we like over here.

    I was so glad to hear that you like school. School is a whole lot easier when you like it. I have gone to schools all over and when you are in one you don’t like the whole thing is tough.

    Do you ever see any of my family around? Guess not or they would say something about seeing you. How are you getting along with the male population? Bet the boys are really clammoring for your attention. Why not share the beauty by sending me a nice picture. Don’t you want me to know you when I get back? How could I ever forget!!

    I got six or eight rolls of film for Xmas. That is really something over here. Film of any make, size, shape or form is worth a small forture over here. As soon as I take some good shots of the camp and country and the natives I will send them to you. There are all sorts of interesting things around here just waiting for some one to come along with a camera.

    Well that is about all for this time. Just can’t seem to write much over here. 

    Give my love to all your family and tell Ann to stay away from the EggNog and liquor.

    Please write soon and don’t spare the pen.

    Love and remember I’m thinking about you and miss you,

    1. 9th FS Unit history- January 1944---“… on 15 January at dawn the Japs strafed Gusap and dropped anti-personnel bombs. Two of our planes were damaged and the Communications and Engineering tents were hit. A jeep load of our men was strafed on the road, but fortunately none of the men were hit because the enemy plane was so close that the fire from its wing guns hit on both sides of the jeep, missing the vehicle itself when the crossfire converged beyond it.  The only casualty was pilot McElroy who was jumped on by other men joining him in a small trench, and he was not badly injured." Ken Clark’s Unit History posted on
    2. Laundry at camp--

      Photo from: "The Flying Knights - PHOTO HISTORY OF THE 9TH FIGHTER SQUADRON"- privately published.  Posted on

      Again--many thanks to Ken Clark and others for their extensive information on posted on

    19) "I can’t even keep track of the days anymore." Early Jan. 1944-Gusap Airfield

    APO 713 = Base E, Nadzab, New Guinea
    Stationed at Gusap Airfield

    Jan. 4th, 1944
    New Guinea

    Betty dear,

    I received your swell letter of Nov. 26th just the other day. I happened to put it in my back pocket and just got around to answering it today. Please forgive me for this delay in answering. I will try not to let it happen again.

    I sure wish I could have been at the big Thanksgiving Day game with you. I’ll bet it was fun to see them turn the tables after that many years. You said that you went out to celebrate the victory. Where did you go and what did you do?

    I sure do remember last Thanksgiving, that was a sad nite. We had a pretty good Thanksgiving and Xmas over here. I got a lot of presents from home and we had a good turkey dinner. P.S. The next day we had to go back on the “Bully Beef” diet! And we will probably stay on it.

    I hope to get a furlough to Australia sometime in the next few months. At least I will be able to get milk and fresh meat down there. But only 10 days of it. Sure hope it comes soon. This place is getting on my nerves.

    Gosh! Its hard to write letters over here. The ink is lousy and the paper is poor and the wind almost blows it away. To think of anything to write in this place is a task in it self then when you go to write it all those things hinder you. Sometimes it is just too much. I start a letter, get about half way through and get so mad I tear it up in little pieces and don’t write till the next day or maybe the day after that. I can’t even keep track of the days anymore.

    I do so appreciate your letters. Please Honey! Write me all the news and ask me lots & lots of questions (???)

    I remain your loving pal,


    Give my love to Ann & also your mother


    1. “Bully Beef” --- was canned corned beef, similar to Spam. It was a diet staple for many soldiers in WW 2. 
    2. Dengue fever--- January 1944--The 9th Unit History mentions that in January of 1944 many of the men came down with Dengue Fever. I know from conversations with him that Jack did had Dengue Fever sometime during his service in the South Pacific. There are no letters in which he mentions being sick, but it is likely that he was one of the men referred to in the January 1944 report. I don’t have any letters between January 4th and 29th, which gives further evidence that this was the time of his illness. All mail was censored so perhaps the men were instructed not to reveal that they had been sick. Dengue fever is an infections disease carried by mosquitoes. It can cause severe joint and muscle pain, high fever, severe headache, nausea and a rash. Most people recover in two weeks with rest.

      Again--many thanks to Ken Clark and others for their extensive information on posted on