11 February, 2012

11 February 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
11 February, 1945

My dearest sweetheart –

When we’re on the move and the days are long and difficult we don’t know Sunday from any other day – but today I know it’s Sunday and by that I imply then, dear, that we’re taking things easy. Despite that – and I hate to write this darling – we suffered our first casualty in the medical detachment since landing – the other day. Oh – we’ve lost one fellow before this due to combat exhaustion – he never came back to us – and a couple due to illness, but this was the first actual case of being wounded in action – and I’m worried about the effect it will have on the family. I’ll make myself clearer, dear – although I can’t be too specific due to security reasons – and because there’s some regulation about not mentioning casualties until a certain time period has elapsed. I wouldn’t mention it to you either, dear, because I know you’ll worry – but the soldier was one who lives near us and I know that when his mother is notified – that he was wounded – she’ll certainly call Mother A and tell her about it – and that’s all she’ll need. So far I’ve been able to keep her reasonably convinced that all is well with our set-up and that we’re hardly ever exposed to danger. I’m writing all this – darling – so that if and when she hears about it and perhaps tells you – you’ll be able to tell her that the soldier in question was at a line battery and nowhere near me and that I never go or have to go where the others have to and anything else you can think of dear. I know you’ll do this for my sake and the folks – and that includes yours too. I debated long before writing this to you but I know what would happen and it’s best that someone at home be informed – and darling – it had to be you – naturally. Incidentally – he was severely wounded.

Well I didn’t intend to become morbid on the first sunny morning in a long while so we’ll change the subject – right? Yesterday was a comparatively quiet day except for a visit by the Provost Marshall. He had heard about the trial involving one of his Sergeants and he was investigating the facts. When he heard the story – he called his office and had the Sgt. arrested and put in solitary confinement – because there’s nothing worse over here than an M.P. doing something himself that he’s arresting other soldiers for. What will come of it all, I don’t know – but the whole thing smells. In the evening we had a movie – the first in some time. I thought it was lousy – E.G. Robinson in “Tampico”. I thought I had seen the last of the German sub – torpedo – oil tanker – rescue-at-sea – German-spy pictures – but apparently there are still some in circulation.

I came across one of your letters yesterday, darling, which discussed rotation etc. – and I don’t remember whether I answered your questions or not. You asked me to apply for rotation as soon as my 18 mos. overseas were up. I don’t know where you got your information, darling, but if there is such a plan – they’re keeping it a mighty big secret. We’ve had 3 fellows go home for 30 days in this outfit so far. All three joined us as replacements in France and had been in Iceland for 2 years – so that up to a few weeks ago when they left – they all had about 30 mos. overseas service. There hasn’t been an inkling of news concerning rotation in less than two years. So you see, dear – I couldn’t very well apply. And you don’t apply, you get selected; and furthermore – almost every rule that’s written applies almost always to GI’s and not to officers. Certainly I’d love to come home, dear – although I’d like to be around when the firing ceases. There are outfits here – overseas longer than we – infantry mostly – but we are pretty well up on the list. Our seven months in England helped a lot. Also – we’ve had about 8 mos. of continuous combat duty – and that’s quite a bit. Well – we’ll see, dear. I hardly know how I’d respond to a transfer to the States. I know darling that I’d be terribly happy to be back with you and that I’d want to get married soon. Suppose I got 30 days leave some time in the future – would you want to get married some time during that period or would you prefer to wait until the whole thing is over with? Oh – yes – I’ll propose all over again, dear – and when you say “Yes” – I’ll put the ring on your finger myself. I still get the biggest thrill imaginable out of the realization that we are in fact – engaged, that more than that – we still love each other after all these months, and that separation and distance haven’t led us away from one another. It’s a wonderful thought and there must be quite a bond between us that has kept us so. May it continue – and I know it will.

I’ll have to stop now, sweetheart. I do love you terribly – and there isn’t one little shadow of doubt in my mind that we’re going to be very happy together as man and wife. Love to the folks dear and

All my deepest love,


about "Tampico"

(1944) Tampico is a port city in Mexico. During World War II, Mexico supplied the US with raw materials. Mexico declared war on Germany after they sank tankers taking crude oil to the United States. Because of its proximity to our country, spies from both Axis and Allied countries were active there. German spies were intent on discovering when U.S. ships were going to leave port and at what speed so their submarines could intercept them.

That is the basis for the story of “Tampico.” The captain of an oil tanker, Captain Bart Manson (Edward G. Robinson), impulsively married Katherine Hall (Lynn Bari) who was rescued by his tanker from a lifeboat from a ship that had been torpedoed by a U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico. When the tanker arrived at the port, the crew was ordered not to breathe a word about their plans.

Subsequently, when Manson's ship sinks under suspicious circumstances, Hall becomes the prime suspect due to her mysterious past and lack of identity papers. Believing his beloved to be innocent of the crime, Manson sets out to uncover the real culprit. Manson discovers that his first mate, Fred Adamson, is a German agent responsible for the sinking.

Here is the review from The New York Times published on 2 June, 1944:
"Tampico," which opened at Loew's State yesterday, has all the elements of good, suspenseful drama. But somehow as yard after yard unrolls it becomes increasingly evident that nothing unlooked for is going to come about. The picture deals with seafaring people along the Tampico, Mexico, waterfront and all the attendant rum-happy espionage and counter-espionage.

A tanker is torpedoed, and that is an impressive, as always, scene, carrying along with it the highly appropriate message of what happens when inadvertent words or actions give away military information. Then there is the business of wiping out a nest of Nazi spies and that is, as always, nice entertainment for a June day. But except in these two scenes the action consists mainly of Edward G. Robinson squaring away for a clinch with Lynn Bari and even that, when it finally comes off, isn't too shattering.

Mr. Robinson's role as a love-chastened ship's captain is carried off in his usual businesslike manner, although his admirers will likely feel that the chastening isn't particularly advantageous to his traditional characterizations. Miss Bari does an appealing and sympathetic job, and Victor McLaglen struggles along with not much of a part.

It would seem the chief difficulty with the Twentieth Century picture is that it starts off with the speed of a tanker and then, almost immediately, slows down.

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