15 May, 2012

15 May 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
15 May, 1945      0800
Germany

My dearest, only sweetheart –

I don’t know how to go about telling you how much I love you. You’ll just have to lean back, close your eyes – and imagine how much you’d like to be loved. And when you get that picture in your mind, just add 115% more – and you might get a rough idea. The fact is, sweetheart, I love you more than I’ve ever been able to tell you before and you’re going to be in for some very concentrated loving – once I catch up with you.

Things are looking pretty good these days – but it really is difficult to sift anything concrete out of the hundreds of rumors. It seems as if they’ll allow more time at home than we expected at first. On the basis of points alone – I don’t have very much – compared with the married officers – although points – for officers – is not all important. I have 34 for months in service, 18 for mos. overseas, and 15 for 3 battle stars – or 67 in all. But I don’t know how that compares with some of the other MC’s around here. Somewhere in the 80’s is the critical level for discharge – but hell – I don’t expect to be discharged; all I want is a job in the States. And that reminds me – I got two super-sweet letters from you yesterday – 3 and 4 May and in one of them you were particularly cute in your mention of a strong connection and pulling of strings. I don’t want to go into it more than that – because it’s not good stuff to write about – but I laughed at your almost unwillingness to mention it because I might take it wrong. I know you were remembering how I blew my top several mos. ago. Well – sweetheart – at that time I wanted to see this through – and I have. Now I’d like to go back to the States and marry you. I don’t expect to get out of the Army yet – but I would very much like to stay in the U.S. Wherever I might be stationed – camp or hospital – anywhere – you could be with me – and we’d be happy. Now I guess I’ve made myself clear, dear. As soon as I get home – we can talk more about it. I feel I’ve been with this outfit long enough and done my share of aid work. I happened to be at the Corps Surgeon’s office yesterday and talked with a friend of mine. As he put it – the trouble is – I’ve always gotten along with my C.O. The fellows who seem to get the breaks are the ones who get in trouble and get transferred out. Well – we’ll see, dear. I haven’t got the longest record – by any means – but I’ve had enough months in the Army, overseas and in combat to have some fairly decent talking points.

I enjoyed your reactions to that package with the medical stuff in it. Both cases were good when I sent them out – but it doesn’t matter, dear. I wanted them for souvenirs. The white sphygmomanometer is pretty and I’ll use that on my office desk – I think. And you can tell Mom B. that they were used by Germans – and that’s why I enjoyed taking them.

There’s still some packages out – although I’m darned if I know what. And by the way, dear – in the last several weeks – I’ve sent a whole mess of snapshots. You haven’t mentioned receiving any – although you may be getting some by now. I’ll be interested in hearing.

And now, sweetheart, I’ve some work to do – so excuse me, huh? Love to the folks – and remember that you have and will always have

All my deepest love –
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about How U-235 Came to New Hampshire on U-234

German U-Boat U-234 surrendering on 14 May 1945 at sea

From the web site of the Wright Museum of WWII History in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, comes this:
As the German U-boat entered Portsmouth Harbor with a cargo of a half ton of Nazi-produced uranium [U-235], it eventually became clear that the world would never be the same again. In the short term, this development probably hastened the end of WWII. In time, the capture of U-234 would help propel the U.S. into the space age.

On 15 May 1945, when the U-Boat officially surrendered, V-E Day was only a week old. With Germany knocked out of the greatest global conflict in world history, Japan remained a viable and dangerous foe. Kamikazes continued to rain their suicidal fury upon American warships, and resistance seemed to stiffen as U.S. forces closed in on the Japanese mainland.

Just prior to the Nazi’s unconditional surrender to Allied forces, a German U-Boat departed for Japan with the mission of delivering valuable military secrets to its Axis ally to help prolong the Pacific war. Aboard the 295-foot-long Unterseeboot were German scientists who were among the world’s leaders in nuclear and rocket power technologies. The submarine’s cargo included two disassembled Me-262 jet fighters and 560 kilograms of uranium—an amount even greater than that created by the Manhattan Project and enough to make eight crude atomic bombs.

With the end of hostilities in the European Theater, the Allies sent radio transmissions to all German submarines, instructing them to turn themselves in. U-234 was captured by the USS Sutton, which was trolling the North Atlantic on antisubmarine warfare patrol. Four days later, the U-boat was turned over to the Coast Guard’s cutter, the Argo, which escorted it to Portsmouth where the crew formally surrendered.

While the matter may never be fully resolved, there is considerable debate about the actual intended use of the nuclear material. Many have speculated that it suggests that the German nuclear program was much more advanced than Allied intelligence had previously suspected. Some have speculated that the uranium might have accompanied Japanese Kamikazes on suicide attacks on major U.S. cities. On the other hand, some scholars suggest that the uranium would have been more likely used in the production of an experimental jet fuel, a theory supported by the disassembled aircraft.

Conventional wisdom holds that the captured uranium was sent to Oak Ridge, Tenn., where it was used in the production of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. Indeed, the classified nature of much of the information surrounding the U-234’s capture makes it difficult to determine the exact fate of the uranium oxide. New research confirms that at least a portion of the nuclear raw material was shipped to Oak Ridge but suggests that it would have arrived too late to be used in the weapons used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

While the uranium’s seizure was significant, of greater long-term value were the individuals captured along with the craft. Among them were German civilian scientists who were bound for Japan to help the Axis ally in the development of cutting-edge aviation technologies to be used against their common enemy. These scientists would remain in America and make significant contributions to efforts relating to the development of stealth technologies, jet powered aircraft, and eventually guided missiles.
U-234 was carrying twelve passengers, including a German general, four German naval officers, civilian engineers and scientists, and two Japanese naval officers. On learning that the U-boat was to surrender, the two Japanese passengers committed suicide by taking an overdose of a barbiturate sleeping pill and were buried at sea. News of the U-234's surrender with her high-ranking German passengers made it a major news event. Reporters swarmed over the Navy Yard and went to sea in a small boat for a look at the submarine. The fact that she had a half ton of uranium oxide on board was covered up and remained classified for the duration of the Cold War; a classified US intelligence summary of 19 May merely listed U-234's cargo as including "a/c [aircraft], drawings, arms, medical supplies, instruments, lead, mercury, caffeine, steels, optical glass and brass."

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