09 July, 2012

09 July 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
9 July, 1945      0845
Good morning, darling –

I’m writing you from our new Dispensary location – which is swell, although temporary. The Colonel still wants a place where the whole battalion will be together, so we’ll probably be here only a while. We have a 16 room mansion – in the better section of town. It’s a fine house and my boys have about 2 rooms each. I’ve got to get a phone installed today and arrange for a couple of more details – and will be all set.

Yesterday p.m. – I had a nice time. I believe I told you already that I had met a couple of nice families thru Dave Ennis. Well I was invited by them to play tennis yesterday at their club. It turned out to be a fairly swank place and definitely not public. We played doubles – the two madames that I know, and a young fellow. It was a swell match and I was thoroughly surprised. One of the women must certainly be in her late forties – and to see her get around the court – was a pleasure. I think in a game of singles she could probably trim me – although I’m no champ, of course. When we were thru – we sat around on the porch of the Clubhouse and drank lemonade. I was surprised when I was asked to become a member. There are no other American members and when I asked if some of the other officers in my outfit might join up – I was told ‘no’; I could because I was proposed by two members. I’ll probably join up – you can join by the month – season – etc and maybe if I can get to know a couple of more members – some of our officers may in turn be invited.

The club – by the way – is situated high up on a hill in the suburbs of town and is really smooth. The courts are excellent – and I’m mighty glad I brought along that liberated German racquet – it’s coming in handy.

The only mail I received yesterday, darling, was one letter from you – 23 June. You seemed a bit tired and fed up with things – and somewhat disappointed where – after 9 days of no mail and hopes that I might be on my way home – a V-Mail arrived at Mother A’s intimating no such thing. I know, sweetheart, how you must feel about things – but heck, dear, I feel just as terribly about it. By the way – what are your plans for the summer? You haven’t mentioned – even in your most recent letter of the 28th. I suppose it will just seem swell not to have to trek into and out of town every day.

You think it would be a good idea if I wrote Phil. I suppose so, dear, although there’s really not much point to it. He’s certainly got enough to do without bothering to answer – and he may feel obligated to write if he hears from me. I’ll think it over some more and perhaps jot him a note of some sort – at a later date.

What I’m more interested in then anything else, darling, is you – and I too – am pretty fed up with being away from you. It’s been so damned long. We’ve just got to hold out a little longer – and I know our love for each other is capable of giving us that ability. Because, sweetheart, I do love you so very very much – that time nor anything else can stand in its way.

All for now, dear. Love to the folks – and

My deepest, sincerest love is yours –


about Those who were Untrue

This article was published in TIME magazine, Monday 9 July 1945, Volume XLVI, Number 2.
"ARMY & NAVY: They're Always Short"

TIME Correspondent Carl Mydans, who has spent eleven months with U.S. fighting men and 21 months in Jap internment, recently witnessed a scene not infrequent in World War II. He set it down as he saw it.

Carl Mydans in 1936
War Correspondent and Photographer

Last week he cabled from the Pacific:

The ship's mail had just been thrown aboard, and throughout the destroyer there was that warm excitement, stimulation and laughter which always follows the operation.

The executive officer was a young one and he liked his men — which is saying that his men liked him.

I saw him that morning as we lay off the beach at Tarakan leaning on the rail, an enlisted man beside him, a letter in his hands. He was reading. Then he folded the letter deliberately, put his arm around the sailor's shoulders, and handed him the letter. A moment later he appeared beside me on the bridge. He lighted a cigarette.

A signal man standing nearby whispered: "The smoking lamp is out, sir." He jerked into consciousness, rubbed out his cigarette. He turned to me:
That's the third one we've had this month. And this time it's the best man we've got on the ship. I've watched that kid change slowly from a Middlewest farmer to the best machinist's mate I've seen in the Navy. When we wanted a job done we turned it over to him and that was like saying the job was done. But he's through now. He's through for a while anyway. We'll keep him busy. We'll keep him ticking. But we won't give him anything to do that has any responsibility connected with it.
He was mad. He reached for another cigarette, then jabbed the pack into his pocket. I let him talk:
He just got a letter from his wife. Just came in with this mail. He came up to me and I knew (here was something wrong before he spoke. Matter of fact he didn't say much. Sometimes they talk. But he just couldn't. He just handed me the letter and said: 'This is the first I've had from my wife in six months.' I knew what it was. I didn't have to read it. It was short. They always are.

'Dear James,' it read,
I know you will understand. I've met the only man in the world and I want you to give me a divorce. You can get one through the Navy. They say it's easier through the Navy. You can have Vicki. I hate to lose her but this thing means more to me than anything else in the world.
The lieutenant pointed with his chin: "There he is. He's sitting out there on the fantail alone."

On the black, oily beach a thousand yards off, a strip of LSTs and LCIs lay high & dry. Jap artillery and heavy mortar was splashing around them. Farther inland our naval barrage was laying in some white puffs amid the jungle green. We had been at general quarters since dawn and the machine-gun bursts from the shore side told of men fighting and dying there. But to the machinist's mate sitting alone in the quiet of his anguish, the war and all its noises had faded away. The war had lost its meaning. Everything he had been trained for had lost its meaning. "The best man on the ship" had been sabotaged.

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