23 August, 2012

23 August 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
23 August, 1945
My dearest sweetheart –

Remember the one about raining cats and dogs and stepping on a poodle? Well it’s one of those days today – thoroughly cold and miserable; the kind of day I’d love to have you here with me in a quiet room, the radio playing softly and no one to disturb us. Gee – when that time does come – it will be wonderful. Just think how much talking we have to do to catch up on each other; the questions I want to ask, and you too; the details still missing to complete our knowledge of each other. Counting the long time out for each episode of a little close lovin’ – well – it seems as if it’ll take years, but I don’t suppose it will.

I’m a little off the track – but nicely so. The fact is that this is a real old lousy New England day and only a New Englander knows what I mean. And Frank Morse was supposed to come down to Nancy today; it’s pretty rough for driving, though, and it’s a little over 100 miles.

It started raining last night and we decided to stay in. I don’t remember whether I’ve told you or not – but I have access to a clarinet – thru Special Service and I’ve been practicing up the past week. Last night the fellow in our outfit who plays the piano – and I – had a little fun playing some old songs. He’s much too good for me, played for years with a jazz orchestra; but he’s tolerant and slows down for me. Anyway, squeak or no squeak, darling, we have a lot of fun and last night we covered all the old songs from the “Sheik of Araby” all the way to “Lullaby of Broadway”. And after that – we played 3 rubbers of Bridge. It was a nice quiet evening at home. I got into bed at 2300 and slept well.

Let’s see – I’ve got to keep you up to date on the rumors, sweetheart. Here they are, not in order of importance – but as I think of them: 1) All Category IV outfits will be home no later than October. 2) There’s no such thing as a Category IV classification. There will be a new classification of A, B, C, D. Everyone with 85 or over = A, 75-84 = B, 60-74 = C and 1-59 = D. There will be a readjustment so that an outfit will be made up of 100% of one class. (This battalion has 70% of its men in the 75-84 group – so we’d end up as a B group and since there are only a few left now in the 85+ class, we’d go home soon. 3) As far as possible, medical detachments are being left intact and will go home with their outfits, and 4) there’s been no decision as yet as to how outfits will go home. There you are, dear; take your pick. I’ll tell you the way I’ve got it figured out. There were – at VE day – about 3½ million soldiers here. Since V.E. day – ie. in 3½ mos. – one million have gone home – leaving 2½ million. About ½ million remain as occupation troops, leaving 2 million. They expect to send another one million home in the next 3½ months. Now I don’t see why our outfit doesn’t fit into the upper half of that last two million. If it does – the 438th – if it remains intact – ought to be home by late November or December – or is this all wishful thinking on my part. I assure you, darling, that I have nothing at all specific to go by – all above is purely hypothetical.

Well – so much for that. The point is that I love you dearly, sweetheart, and I find myself – all day, every day – thinking of the time when I get home to you. Waiting is terrible these days – but I keep working on different possibilities in my mind. The above is just one example. But it’s coming, darling, – and closer all the time. This is surely the last lap and then – happiness.

I’ll close now, dear. Love to the folks – regards from Pete – and you have –

All my deepest and everlasting love –


about More from Hump EXPRESS

The following three articles were published in Hump EXPRESS (Volume 1, Number 32), published by the India China Division, Air Transport Command on 23 August 1945.
Ghost Ship Gets Signals from 1333, Lands Elsewhere

1333 BU, Chabua, Assam
- A plane was returning from China one night recently when this field was closed in by heavy fog. The pilot called the tower.

"Request landing instructions - ship is affirmative!"

The tower operator scanned the skies with his field glasses. "Landing northeast, blink your landing lights, please."

"They're blinking!" came the voice from the plane.

"We can't see you!"

"We're on final approach. Give us a green light!"

Again the tower operator searched the skies and saw nothing. He was trying to contact the plane when he heard the mystifying report from its pilot, "Where do I park her?"

The tower operator was frantic. "We didn't see you pass the tower."

"I'm on the steel mat in front of you!"

If this were some pilot's prank. it was time to become indignant. "No plane has passed the tower and none is parked on the steel mat!"

At another base several miles away, another tower operator was trying desperately to contact a strange plane which approached its runway without landing instructions and parked in front of the tower on the steel mat.

Navy Trick Fools Japs
Third and Fifth Fleets Are Same; Only Admirals Different

Washington (ANS)
- Now that the shooting is over, it can be revealed that the U.S. Third and Fifth Fleets were, for all practical purposes, the same, changing numbers as two admirals alternated in command.

When Adm. William F. Halsey bossed the fleet, it was the Third and when Adm. Raymond Spruance and his staff took over, it became the Fifth.

The two-name system was devised to keep the Japs worrying over the location of the Fifth Fleet when the Third Fleet was in action and vice-versa.

A fast carrier task force was the central striking element of the fleet and here again the Navy pulled a double. In Halsey's Third Fleet it was Vice Adm. John McCain's Task Force 38 and when Spruance commanded, it was Task Force 58 under Vice Adm. Marc A. Mitscher.

And finally, kudos to the Air Transport Command.
Made Hump Famous, Says Commanding General of China
Hump Cargo Credited With China's Survival By General

Hq., Calcutta
- "The United Nations are proud of the contribution made by the Air Transport Command to the final defeat of Japan," stated Lt. Gen. A. C. Wedemeyer, commanding general, China Theater, in a wire to Lt. Gen. Harold L. George, CG, ATC, and Brig. Gen. Tunner.

"Among your congratulations and praise, none will be more heartfelt and sincere than those which I tender you on behalf of all the Chinese and Americans in China," Gen. Wedemeyer continued.

"Upon their cargoes (ICD planes) China as a nation survived for three years when there was no other contact with the world. Your fliers made the Hump the most famous mountain range in the universe. Over these lofty and jagged ridges ATC lifted the gasoline, arms, bullets, bombs and other materials that made it possible for China to carry on the fight. A salute to your pilots, to your flying crews and to your ground personnel."

Along the same theme, Gen. George credited the personnel of ATC with an "accomplishment that has brought a new meaning to air power and a new era to aviation. This achievement belongs to everyone in this command," the general added.

Said Gen. H. H. Arnold:

"At this moment of final victory I extend congratulations to your command (ATC) for the far-reaching contributions you have made in bridging the endless miles separating our forces throughout the world. Your untiring effort and unselfish devotion to duty have been essential factors in the final collapse of our enemy."

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