Thursday, April 7, 2016

36) Advising Betty's cousins not to enlist-- Aug. 27, 1944

APO 920 = Base H, Biak, Dutch New Guinea
Mokmer Airstrip, Biak- Schouten Islands

Somewhere in the Netherlands East Indies
27 August 1944


I received your letters of Aug. 5th & 10th the day before yesterday and I started to write last evening but the lights went out after about 4 lines. I decided to get a new start this afternoon.

Honey, I’m glad you really did take your time about believing what I wrote. I know from that that you really must understand how a person’s heart can react to such things. I thought you wouldn’t believe me at first. That’s why I kept thinking about it and making sure I meant those things before I said them. I really was glad and relieved to read those wonderful words you wrote in your letter of the 10th. In fact I am still walking on that cloud. Please keep on being just like you are. Somehow I can’t see how any change could come to you that would make any difference in the way I feel now.

I got a letter from Mom & Pop telling what a nice time they had had at your house the other evening. I’ll bet that was quite a session. What did Ann do that made Pop think she was so cute? Don’t tell me I know. “Like her sister she is always cute.” All kidding aside Ann sure did make a bit hit with Pop. Glad you all get along so well.

It is raining here now and we are listening to recorded music from “Frisco.” The static is pretty bad at times but they do have news often so we keep turned to it. The programs they have at night are really good. “Command Performance” and “G.I. Jive”. “Melody Roundup” & once in a while we listen to Tokyo Radio. They have really good recorded American music and lots of it. And of course they tell about how they are winning the war. We listen to the music then turn it off when they start that silly talk.

I haven’t finished the picture frame yet but it won’t be long now. I had a hard time getting some of the stuff. I am sure you will like it.

Just how I will mail it to you I don’t know yet. I guess a wooden box would be best. I don’t know what it is you want to send me but I will request some nuts like Pop sent. Or you can send any little surprise you want to. Honey I would be glad to get any sort of package as long as you sent it. However cookies aren’t very good. I never saw any come through in very good condition yet.

I am glad Billy & Bob are doing a lot of flying. Tell them I said not to get into the army unless they absolutely have to. Kids their age won’t be criticized for staying out of this thing. When the European thing is over people will not worry so much about why this fellow & that fellow isn’t in the army. I don’t see any need for their joining up at this point. If there wasn’t a definite end within sight it would be quite different. Tell them to calm down and think it over.

Well that will have to be all for this time.
I love you with all my heart,

My best regards to Ann & your Mother

  1. Betty's letters--- How I wish I had the Aug. 10th letter that Jack references here!  It had him "walking on a cloud."  But I have no August 1944 letters from Betty.  The next one from her is dated Sept. 11th, 1944.  We'll just have to guess that she said some things that gave him hope that they could have a serious relationship when he returns.
  2. Command Performance ---widely considered the best of all the original Armed Forces Radio Service programs. The first Command Performance was recorded 1 March 1942 and was broadcast overseas via shortwave by 11 stations one week later.  During the War each program began "Command Performance USA ... coming to you this week and every week until it's over, over there." The theme song was George M. Cohan's "Over There." Command performance attracted a host of well-known Hollywood stars. Link to August 1944 recording of Command Performance featuring Judy Garland
  3. G.I. Jive---this was a 15 minute radio music program transmitted by the AFRS six days a week.  Click here to access recordings of G.I. Jive
  4. Melody Roundup---this was a country music/variety show.  Local radio stations would send copies of their live programs to the AFRS who would edit them into a 15 minute program and broadcast them.  Link to a Melody Roundup broadcast
  5. Tokyo Radio---the Japanese broadcast several shows like "Zero Hour" to the Allied Forces in the South Pacific during WWII.  They contained music and war news and commentary.  The most famous host was dubbed "Tokyo Rose" by the servicemen.  Click here for info on Iva Toguri, one of the Tokyo Rose personas    and  Click here to Listen to an August 1944 broadcast from Tokyo Radio
  6. Bob Hope Show on Biak---"Radio and screen comedian Bob Hope, with Jerry Colona and Frances Langford plus others, presented a very fine show at the 7th Service Group. The performance was in the afternoon in view of the restriction forbidding assembly of Air Corps personnel at night for entertainment purposes. Despite the terrific sun the presentation was greatly enjoyed by all." ( Ken Clark’s Unit History posted on **But, we will see in an upcoming letter that Jack did not attend this show because he didn't want to sit in the hot sun for hours-- even to see "all of Hollywood at once"  Here is a link to a recording of one of Bob Hope's August 1944 shows in the South Pacific: Bob Hope Special August 12, 1944
  7. 9th FS Unit History- August 1944---"Several red alerts were caused during the month by the activity of enemy planes. One evening a speedy Jap fighter made a run on Mokmer strip and dropped a few bombs, causing minor damage. The plane was caught in the searchlights, but our anti-aircraft fire was far behind it. As a gesture of defiance or contempt the enemy plane turned on its running lights after completing its bombing run!"  "Seven enemy aircraft raided nearby Owi Island one night and the squadron was treated to an awe-inspiring anti-aircraft barrage from the other island. After the bombing which set afire some planes on the ground, one of our P-61 night fighters attacked an enemy bomber. From the beach in our camp area we saw the tracers from the night-fighter followed by a sheet of flame on the horizon when the enemy plane exploded in the sea. A thunderous cheer echoed along the entire Biak shoreline! An alarm of sorts occurred one other time in the wee hours of the morning when anti-aircraft guns of a Liberty ship anchored just off shore opened up on an unidentified aircraft. No bombs were dropped and no damage was suffered by either plane or ship, which was just as well because the plane was one of ours."   (Ken Clark’s Unit History posted on
Again--many thanks to Ken Clark and others for their extensive information on posted on

35) The Nights Are The Best- Aug. 22, 1944

APO 920 = Base H, Biak, Dutch New Guinea
Mokmer Airstrip, Biak- Schouten Islands, Dutch New Guinea

Somewhere in the Vast Pacific Southwest
Aug. 22nd (1944)

My Darling Betty,

This is another try at writing down all the thousands of things that I think of during the day. I say to myself, “I’ll write Betty this or that.” When nite comes then I can’t seem to think of the things I wanted to tell you about. The nights are the best time of all over here. The nights give me a feeling of security and peacefulness that can’t last in the daytime. At night I can sit and dream & wonder about the things of both the past & future. Thoughts & plans for the future are the things that seem to preoccupy my mind on such evenings as these. I believe that my words are not adequate to fully and truly state my thoughts concerning our future. I hope that you can see the future through my thoughts rather than through my words. Sometimes it is easy to overlook the necessity of communication to make these same careful, tender thoughts as real to others as they are to myself. It is easy for me to sit and say to myself “If she were near I could simply talk to her and tell her of these careful plans and thoughts.” Then I look back at these crude inadequate words on a piece of paper. “How?” I say to myself “Can she have the required trust and faith in my love, with only these simple letters to hold us together?”

Yet, there are other things strong, silent and ever present that can deepen that love and hold it forever in perfect trust. Darling believe in me and try to feel these things I speak of. Someday I will be able to hold your hand in mine and explain as best I can the series of events and the train of dreams & thoughts that have brought about this deep love I now speak of.

Your letter of the 27th of July is one that I will never forget. The first time you ever said anything like that. I somehow feel the deep sincerity with which you wrote those beautiful things. Please feel free to write me any thing that you many have doubts about. I hope you can see perhaps a little more clearly just how I feel. Please! Please! Darling have faith in me. It means every thing to me.

We are living a very comfortable life here right now resting up so to speak. We are doing pretty well on the food here of late. We are getting fresh meat once in a while. They now have the Group’s ice cream machine in operation and tonite at supper we got our first in several months.

I got some pictures back from the sensor yesterday and will enclose some of them in this letter. Please exchange them with Mom & Pop as I am sending them a different set.

Well darling, that’s about all for this time. Keep your wonderful letters coming and stay away from the “wolves” Ha! Ha! I promise to stay away from the girls.

Your most sincere lover,


“Honey” Enclosed find fourteen (14) Photographs.

Jack's Photographs---It is hard to tell which of the few photographs I have belong with which letters.  I've included some here with Jack's captions.  I do not know the location or dates of any of these photos.

"On Guard"--Jack is on the right.  This is probably a "slit trench."

"One of the boys with a Nip silk flag. Notice how they write all over them."

"Ed, Pop, Bob"

"These are all the boys I work with.  The tall fellow on the extreme left has gone home."       Jack is the man in the front right.