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.

60) I really live for your wonderful letters.-- Dec. 12th, 1944

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

Philippine Islands
12/12/44, 10:15 P.M.

I just received your letters of Nov. 18 and Oct. 25th. I really don’t know what kept that Oct 25th one so long. I received Anne’s letter a long time ago. Guess it is too late to send back the cards now. I know you did a good job of choosing presents for all the family. I hope you all have a very nice Xmas. I wanted to send Xmas cards but the only things that were available were those U mail kind and they had pictures of flag’s, eagles, drums & stuff like that. That kind of stuff doesn’t have any thing to do with Xmas in my way of thinking.

I know you must be really busy what with the sorority activities and your studies. I hope you enjoy school as much now as when you first started. Sounds like lots of fun. I sure would like to sit next to you in some of your classes. Maybe you would do my homework for me.

Darling I keep wanting to see you more every day. Seems like the more I think about it the worse it gets. I really live for your wonderful letters. If anything can build up my morale it’s a couple of those letters from you. Please! Keep on just the way your going. I love it.

We have a swell tent now. It is up off the ground about 3 feet and has a nice wood floor and sides to keep out the rain. Boy! Does it rain up here. I never saw anything like it in my life. It is hotter here than it was right on the equator. Our camp is pretty cool because it’s in a coconut grove.

Well darling that is about all I can think of. I wish I could be with you tonite and every nite. I know that we will be together in not so very many months if everything works out.

Goodnite sweetheart and pleasant dreams.

I love you with all my heart.


59) Lonely and sad noise of rain beating down on the palm branches. ---Dec. 1st, 1944

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

Dec. 1st 44
9:30 PM
My darling,

I really have been neglecting to write to you. Sometimes it is almost impossible to write regularly. I’ve often said to myself, I’ll write every other day. It seems to work out for a while then something will keep me from writing then maybe I can’t write for several days. So you see any system like that simply doesn’t work over any period of time longer than just a few days. I believe that now that you are a little bit busy yourself, you can realize just how hard it is to carry on a regular correspondence. You must admit that I do write more regularly to you than I do to anyone else. Maybe the fact that I’m in love makes some difference.

We really had a feast in the tent tonite. Fried chicken again. One of the fellows from the kitchen fried them. They weren’t as good as when Ralph & I fried them but chicken is chicken I always say. We ate it down to the dry bones and could have eaten lots more. While you are doing that cooking around home you might as well get to know how to fry chicken. I will probably be getting you to fix me some.

Darling I am so glad you got in the sorority that you wanted. Sure will make it a lot more fun to go to school. I know that you won’t have any trouble keeping good grades for the whole semester. I really don’t see how you can write letters to me from the classroom though. However, I shouldn’t say anything as long as I am getting your swell letters. After all it’s those letters that keep me going.

Anytime I get disgusted and blue or feel lonely I get out some of your letters and look through the pictures I have and honestly it really helps me somehow.

Just knowing that your back there waiting and hoping. Maybe someday I can explain it better to you. Might sound a little crazy but its true.

I got the last copy of the Courier Journal today along with it a letter from you dated Nov. 16th.

You will have to excuse the writing if it is a little worse than usual tonite. The fellows in the tent all went to bed and when the last one went to bed he turned out the light so I am writing this from inside the insect bar. It is raining out now and the rain beating down on the palm branches and the tent really makes a lonely and sad noise. I have the flashlight on and I am laying here just thinking how nice it would be to be where I could see you and visit you once in a while.

Right now I am getting so tired I can hardly hold my head up. Maybe I ate too much chicken.

Anyway I can’t mail this till tomorrow so I’ll finish this then. I will close this now and get it in the mail. Remember I love you with all my heart.


My best to Anne & your Mom 

58) "Good eats around the tent!"---Nov. 26th, 1944

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

Philippines, Sun. Afternoon, Nov. 26th

I have been waiting for some letters from you for some few days now. I finally received 2 yesterday and then 2 more this morning. The first 2 were written on the 23rd & 25th of Oct. The 2 that I got this morning were mailed on the 6th & 12th of Nov. That’s pretty fast. Especially when you consider that it had to go to the other APO then come up here.

We are still seeing lots of air activity and once in a while we get to see them knock down a Nip plane or two. Just like you see in the news reels back there. Lots of fun if they don’t come too close to camp.

The mud is still pretty bad around where we are but today the sun is out strong so I guess it will start drying up. We put up a new supply tent the other day and now we have a real nice place to work & keep our stuff dry.

We really have been having some good eats around the tent in the last couple of weeks. Fried chicken & eggs & all sorts of things. We had 8 chickens & 5 ducks, then the other nite Ralph Lofton & I decided we would fix the boys some real “Southern Fried” chicken. Ralph is from N. Carolina, (Thomasville). We had a swell dinner & that left 5 chickens & 5 ducks. We were saving the ducks for Thanksgiving but the Government came through with turkey for everybody so we are saving the ducks for some other occasion.

Must go now—will write more tonight.

I got a letter from Mom this afternoon and none from you. Maybe I will get some tomorrow. I hope so anyway. Seems that the more letters I want... I guess you will really be busy from now on. I hope you got in the sorority that you wanted. Let me know which one you are pledged to. Guess that will take up more of your time. Honestly I am jealous of anything that may keep you from writing as often as you have been. Your wonderful letters make the time seem to pass, not quicker, but more smoothly. I really can hardly wait to get back. I want to see you more than I ever wanted anything in all my life.

Your courses sound like they wouldn’t be too hard. Nice selection.

If you started in Nov. when will the semester end? In March I gather from what you said. Sure hope you like it as well all the way through as you do now.

We are beginning to get our Xmas packages now. I’ve received 2 from the folks so far.

Darling keep on writing those wonderful letters. I will try to answer as often as I can. Sometimes it is hard to get a chance to sit down & write.

Remember that I love you with all my heart and always.


My best to your Mom & Anne. Tell Anne that one of these days I will answer her letter.

57) Fried Chicken Dinner amidst a Red Alert---Nov. 17th, 1944

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

Somewhere in the Philippines
Nov. 17th, 44 4:15 P.M.
Betty darling,

I really don’t know how to take it. Two more swell letters from you. I really was disappointed when I read the first one and then found that you hadn’t enclosed the photos as you promised. Then I opened the second letter and the old morale went up 1000% and fluttered there. Gosh. I really can’t think of anything I like to get better then pictures of you. I have quite a few by this time.

Anne sure looks good. She really can get dressed up in the crazy outfits can’t she? What was she doing the day that shot was taken? Bob & Bill really have grown seems to me.

I really am glad you acted that way with Jimmy. He is a nice boy, I am sure, but ---! So please be careful. If you ever see Jimmy’s father tell him I said hello and that I looked for Vernon in New Guinea but didn’t have any luck.

That boy you are with in the one picture sure looks familiar. Did he ever go to Anchorage? What is his name? Maybe I know him. Tell him to be very careful!!

1 question please. Where did you get the pretty rings, one on the right hand & one on the left hand ??? Just curiosity.

We went out this morning and traded with the natives (we shouldn’t call them that.) Filipinos for 2 more chickens and a bunch of eggs. Also, our duck laid an egg this morning. We had almost given up hope.

Later (about 9:45 P.M.)

Well Ralph & Don & Bill came in from the strip and were hungry and the dinner at the mess hall didn’t look so good. We decided to cook 2 of our chickens. We naturally fried them. Ralph & Lou killed & picked them & Don started the hot water & got the gas for our stove. Dick got the flour & salt and pepper and Bill got the bread & cake from the mess which was about all that was any good. John came in last so we made him clean up the mess. I cut up the chickens & cooked. We really had a swell meal. We made gravy and had bread & gravy. During the dinner we had a Red Alert but no bombers came over. We all had a piece of fried chicken when we went to the slit trench. After a while we would come out, 1 at a time, and dash back to the tent for another piece while the others listened for planes.

It is really like the fourth of July when they open up on a plane at nite. Thousands of red tracer bullets going up from various angles.

We ate most of the chicken while we were in the trench sweating out the raid. Fried chicken comes first with us even over here.

Darling this is getting to be a long drawn out letter that doesn’t make much sense. I really am getting too tired to write anyway.

I still and always will love you with all my heart. I really delight in knowing that I have my love returned. Please have faith in me & I will be home before you know it. Please study hard on that cooking and don’t practice on any body but Anne & your Mom. Anybody else could sue you in case of poisoning! Ha! Ha! Honest, I’m just kidding, I really want you to do lots of cooking for me after this is all over. Steady. Want the job still?????----???????

I love you very very much darling

Yours & Goodnite,

Give my best to Anne & your Mom.