22 August, 2012

22 August 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
22 August, 1945
Nancy
My darling fiancée –

Colds and coughs are a dime a dozen over here right now, so please take care of yourself – or doesn’t that exactly make sense? We’re having the wave of upper respiratory infections that we usually see in New England in October. The weather here is terrible.

I don’t suppose this will reach you before you leave for Canada – but I hope you had a swell time, anyway. I’ve been into Canada, but not very far. It’s a lovely country and it should make a swell trip for you. I liked your discussion about gowns, tuxedos, the neighbors’ plans – etc. It sure reminded me of the good old days and what’s more important, those days are just around the corner. It’s still hard to conceive. It must be easier to comprehend at home because things have changed – according to what I read in the papers. Here – it’s absolutely the same – uniforms, ‘foreigners’, daily duty and the usual amount of Army ‘chicken’. But we’ll be able to appreciate the change back to the States, all the more. And I want to feel it and know it to the utmost.

Yes, dear, we watch the embarkation dates of the various divisions – without exception outfits with much less time than we have – and we wonder where we fit. No one seems to know a thing about separate battalions, which is what we are. But they’ll just have to come to us, darling, because we have a fairly high average in points – as a battalion. At the present time – 70% of the battalion has over 75 points; that’s not bad.

The day before yesterday Frank Morse called me – in the p.m., but I was out. I didn’t get around to calling him back until yesterday morning. He’s trying to come down to Nancy to stay a day or two with me – along with another fellow whom I know quite well – Harry Lewis – the anesthetist for the 16th General. They can get a ride down and I’ll be able to drive them back. I hope they can make it. I wonder where Frank stands when it comes to being essential. It’s going to be tough for some of these fellows to get out.

I did get to see that picture “Weekend at the Waldorf” and I found it quite enjoyable. It certainly made for good entertainment. There’s something else on tonight – “Ten Cents a Dance”. I don’t know yet who is in it.

By the way, sweetheart, you once mentioned the subject of double or twin beds, promised to take it up more fully in another letter – and you never did! And here I’ve been all the time – caught between the two ideas. It’s exhausting! Actually I don’t know what your preference is; I’ve heard the subject matter discussed in the past by various couples (married, of course) and there seems to be pros and cons for each side. Frankly – whatever will suit you – will be O.K. with me. I’m positive I can make the adjustment in either case. What a lovely problem to be ’troubled’ with.                     The space was for a lean-back and a long sigh, darling. Gosh darn it, let’s get going!! Boy, am I going to love you, dear! Because I love you so much now – and actually being with you – well, it may leave me spellbound, but I’ll bet it won’t leave me muscle-bound!! I think I’d better stop right here and now. Love to the folks, sweetheart, and

All my sincerest love is yours –
Greg


* TIDBIT *

about the First Japanese Post to Surrender

The following comes from the Destroyer Escort Sailor Association's web page titled "First Japanese Surrender On Board USS Levy DE 162".
On August 22, 1945 USS Levy DE162, was host to the first formal surrender of Japanese territory as World War II ended. Although the Japanese Empire signed the Unconditional Surrender terms September 2 aboard Battleship Missouri, the historic beginning of the end came aboard DE Levy in the lagoon of little-known but strategically important Mille Atoll in the Marshall Islands group.

Chuck Hays, a crewmember of the Levy, recalls
We went over to the island in the whaleboat, five or six of us...I think this was on the 18th....we had a .50 caliber mounted on the bow...and they started shooting, rifle fire...it came close but no one was hit. We returned fire and so did the ship.
Soon the situation was corrected and the truce term were to be worked out. Japan had capitulated August 15 (Japanese time). Four days later, on the 19th, a Japanese party from Mille boarded Levy to discuss surrender terms and left after about three hours saying that it had to discuss the specifics with Tokyo.

When the island was ready to formally sign, the Japanese would signal that they were giving up by building a cross out of white sheets and uniforms and place it where Navy patrol plane pilots would observe it. That signal was viewed on the 20th. Sporadic shelling of the island took place in the span, recalls Woody Story, crewmember of the Levy. He added, "We were trying to shoot out the tops of their trees to reduce their food supply."

Levy entered the lagoon early on the 22nd and awaited the arrival of Capt. H. B. Grow, commander of Majuro, by PBM. Grow had been present at the meeting aboard Levy on the 19th. Grow was taken by whale boat to the DE and then the ship's boat went ashore to pick up the Japanese party. The signing began at noon and was completed within an hour. Hays recalled
Generally the mood aboard the ship was one of happy relief. The captain used the PA to pass the word of what was going on as it happened. Not a lot of shouting and such, just back slapping and congratulating each other among the crew. There was a saying in those days in the Pacific: Golden Gate in ‘48...well we knew we wouldn't have to wait that long anymore to get home.
After the surrender was signed, the Japanese were given five days to make the island safe for the occupying force. On the 28th of August the American Flag was raised on Mille Atoll. Here is a picture of that flag-raising.
U.S. Flag flies over Mille Atoll - 28 August 1945

The following photographs came from the U.S. Department of the Navy's Naval Historical Center's page on the Surrender of Mille Atoll, 22 August 1945

Boarding the USS Levy on 22 August 1945

Negotiating Surrender of Mille Atoll on 22 August 1945

Negotiating Surrender of Mille Atoll on 22 August 1945 (Close up)

Signing Surrender of Mille Atoll on 22 August 1945

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