25 August, 2012

25 August 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
25 August, 1945
Nancy

Dearest darling Wilma –

It seems like ages since I wrote you last and actually it was only the day before yesterday. I just couldn’t get a chance yesterday and the reason was that I was entertaining Frank Morse. I believe I had written you, dear, that he was coming down and he brought another fellow – an old friend from the Beverly Hospital whom I may have mentioned before – a Harold Gregory – yes, dear, that’s his name and he was the intern who replaced me.

Well – they arrived, rain and all, Thursday p.m. about 1400 and I was tickled – because I had been finding the time boring. We talked and talked and drank and reminisced. Frank reminded me of the days at Camp Edwards when he was on detached service and I used to take his wife out. It seems like ages ago. In the evening we went down town, visited the Officers’ Club, came back about 2300 and talked until 0200. Yesterday, Friday, the weather was clear and I showed them all over town; we took pictures, visited the R.C. and generally loafed around. The same was true of the evening and then this a.m. I sent them back with my jeep. I can’t tell you how thoroughly enjoyable it was and I think both Frank and Harold enjoyed their stay. They’re both fed up with the hospital routine.

Now – to keep you up to date with things, sweetheart – I wrote the other day of a new division of troops into A, B, C, and D. Well that is now official policy for the E.T.O. and things are beginning to hum. Our outfit – like many others has been told to submit all names – officers and men with points 85 or over – and the story seems to be that they will leave us by 15 September to join other troops with the same score and together make another battalion. That will leave us with about 10 officers but still with the bulk of E.M’s. The next move presumably will be to submit the names of the 75-84 group – and darling – that’s where I fit! Every report – regardless of the source – insists that all this is going to take place very soon – and I’m very willing to be shown.

I almost forgot to tell you that day before yesterday I got two letters from you, dear, written at the Fine’s – and one of the letters came in six days. It’s such an odd sensation – reading something that you wrote only six days before. Gosh – if that proximity causes such a reaction – what will being with you be like? It’s wonderful to think about. I, too, was pleased to hear that Stan was happy, adjusted and settled down to a peaceful married life. There was a time I would have felt even better about it – but somehow the taste Stan left in my mouth after I left the States – still lingers and I guess I’ll never really forget it.

You mention Irv studying the violin. It’s amazing how a musician can pick up another instrument so easily – and I can believe that he is playing the violin well. One thing I never did know, though, concerns Verna’s like for things musical. Somehow she strikes me as being cold to it and yet that can’t be so now – even if it were so before. I’m so glad to know that she and Irv are so well adjusted – particularly when I’m sure they weren’t so at the start. But they’re both very intelligent and one way or another – they must have figured things out.

You know, sweetheart – I don’t think we’ll have any trouble along those lines at all. I just feel that we were meant to click together and with our love as a good background – we can’t miss. That’s the crux of the whole thing – as I see it – the fact that we do love each other so, darling. It’s wonderful – and I’ll show you what I mean when I come home.

So long for now, sweetheart – and love to the folks.

All my everlasting love and devotion –
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about John Birch


John Morrison Birch was born to Baptist missionaries in Landour, a hill station in the Himalayas in northern India. In 1920, when he was two, the family returned to the United States. He and his five younger siblings were reared in New Jersey and Georgia, in the Fundamental Baptist tradition. He graduated from Georgia Baptist–affiliated Mercer University in 1939 magna cum laude. While at Mercer, he decided to become a missionary and enrolled in J. Frank Norris' Fundamental Baptist Bible Institute, Fort Worth, Texas. After completing a two-year curriculum in a single year, he sailed for China, sent by the World Fundamental Baptist Missionary Fellowship. Arriving in Shanghai in 1940, he began intensive study of Mandarin Chinese.

After six months of training, he was assigned to Hangzhou, outside the area occupied by the Japanese fighting in the Second Sino-Japanese War. However, the attack on Pearl Harbor ended that; and the Japanese sent a force to Hangzhou to arrest him. He and other Christian missionaries fled inland to eastern China. Cut off from the outside world, he began trying to establish new missions in Zhejiang province.

In April 1942, Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle and his crew crash-landed in China after the Tokyo raid. They had flown from the aircraft carrier, USS Hornet(CV-8), bombed Tokyo, then flown on to the Chinese mainland as planned. After bailing out, they were rescued by sympathetic Chinese and smuggled by river into Zhejiang province. When Birch was told of the downed fliers, he went to meet them.

Colonel James Doolittle, said, "The boys and I just delivered a little present to Tojo, and we are having a bit of trouble getting home." John Birch personally worked to see that the crews of the twelve bombers reached safety. He did the job so well that General Doolittle recommended he be given a medal. Hearing of his bravery and abilities, General Claire Chennault of the Flying Tigers asked him to join them. Although John wanted to be a chaplain with the Army, General Chennault told him that, if he would gather intelligence during the week, he could preach on Sundays. So John became a Second Lieutenant in the China Air Task Force of the American Army.

For the next two months, John traveled more than 1,000 miles through the war-torn country, gathering information and preaching most Sundays. At the same time, he was preparing an intelligence network manned by his Chinese friends. Also, one of the most important and dangerous parts of the mission was finding the caches of munitions and gasoline that had previously been hidden and constructing emergency airstrips.

As time passed, John Birch agreed with "Big Tiger" when the general said, "Some of the 'gentlemen' in Washington have written off China. They seem to forget that the Generalissimo [Chiang Kai-shek] has kept a million Jap soldiers tied down here, a million who would otherwise be in the Pacific fighting American boys." He also found that the few supplies to China were usually taken by General Stillwell so that he could, sometime in the future, avenge his past defeat in Burma. The U.S. commander, General "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell, had, in the beginning of his tour of duty in China, used the best of Chiang Kai-shek's troops and matériel to fight the Japanese in Burma. He lost everything and had to walk out. He spent the rest of his time in China planning revenge. Most of the supplies were not given to Chennault or Chiang Kai-shek for the defense of China against the Japanese. So John Birch continued building his intelligence network on foot and developing even closer ties to the Chinese people.

In 1944, General Patrick Hurley, as directed by President Roosevelt, arrived in China, as the U.S. Ambassador, to clear up the mess. He fired Stillwell and brought in General Albert Wedemeyer, who was able and fair. General Wedemeyer immediately formed a warm rapport with the Chinese and sent Stillwell's pro-Communist advisors packing. Things started to change in China. The Flying Tigers controlled the area from the Great Wall to Indo-China. No ships moved along the coast or on the Yangtze without coming under fire. As the Japanese were retreating, John Birch said,
The Commies are dodging around now so that when peace comes they'll be able to kill their brothers who are loyal to the Generalissimo. I keep telling people this, but sometimes I feel like a sparrow twittering in a tree at a tornado forming in the distance.
Once peace was won, the Russians and the Chinese Communists moved rapidly to make quick gains. Russian troops rolled across Manchuria, meeting little opposition and capturing huge quantities of weaponry that they would later turn over to their Chinese comrades. The Chinese Communists were already moving to exploit the inevitable chaos and confusion by accepting the Japanese surrender wherever they could be first on the ground.

Ten days after the end of the war, on 25 August 1945, a party of twelve men (four Americans, six Chinese, and two Koreans) were on an official Army mission to Suchow when they were stopped by a group of Chinese Communists. Two men (one American and one Chinese) were taken away behind some buildings where they were shot. The shots were heard by the rest of their party. The Chinese man taken away, Lieutenant Tung, lived (minus a leg and an eye) to tell what happened. He related that the American, Captain Birch, said before his death, "It doesn't make much difference what happens to me, but it is of utmost importance that my country learn now whether these people are friend or foe."

The evidence at his autopsy showed that, after he was shot in the leg, his arms and legs were tied behind his back. He was made to kneel as he was shot in the back of the head — Chinese execution style — and his face was violently disfigured by bayonets and knives. The murder of Captain John Birch was covered up. No reporter mentioned it, and neither did the State Department or the War Department.

In the 1950s, Robert Welch would create a right-wing, anticommunist organization called the John Birch Society (JBS). For Welch, Birch was "the first casualty in the Third World War between Communists and the ever-shrinking Free World." It was said that the State Department had not wanted the American people to learn that Mao's Chinese were Communists, not agrarian reformers. Welch saw "collectivism" as the main threat to western civilization, and liberals as secret communist traitors who provide the cover for the gradual process of collectivism, with the ultimate goal of replacing the nations of western civilization with one-world socialist government. "There are many stages of welfarism, socialism, and collectivism in general," he wrote, "but communism is the ultimate state of them all, and they all lead inevitably in that direction."

The JBS was established in Indianapolis on December 9, 1958 by a group of 12 "patriotic and public-spirited" men led by Robert Welch, Jr., a retired candy manufacturer from Belmont, Massachusetts. A transcript of Welch's two-day presentation at the founding meeting was published as The Blue Book of the John Birch Society and became a cornerstone of its beliefs, with each new JBS member receiving a copy. JBS's objective was to fight communism using communism's own techniques -- organization of front groups, infiltration of other groups and letter-writing campaigns." According to Welch," writes Political Research Associates in its analysis of the Birchers,
both the US and Soviet governments are controlled by the same furtive conspiratorial cabal of internationalists, greedy bankers, and corrupt politicians known as "the insiders". If left unexposed, the traitors inside the US government would betray the country's sovereignty to the United Nations for a collectivist new world order managed by a 'one-world socialist government.' The Birch Society incorporated many themes from pre-WWII rightist groups opposed to the New Deal, and had its base in the business nationalist sector...
In recent years the John Birch Society (JBS) has played a major -- and acknowledged -- role in the United States right-wing "Tea Party", which is better known for being funded by the likes of the Koch Brothers. The Koch Brothers, who deny they're JBS members, are themselves sons of a JBS founder, Fred Koch. "We've been helping train the Tea Party for some time, teaching it how to organize and avoid some of the mistakes we made," says Bill Hahn, a JBS spokesman.

On its web site, the JBS distinguishes itself from the Tea Party in this way:
The John Birch Society is not a politcal organization but rather educational. JBS President John F. McManus has spoken at various Tea Party rallies as well as at meetings of many other conservative organizations. The John Birch Society has been around for far longer, warning and educating regarding many of the same problems that Tea Party activists are now focused on. For over 50 years, since 1958, The John Birch Society has distributed an estimated total of well over 250 million pieces of literature ranging from warning about increased government spending, taxes, centrally planned inflation, the centralization of power in the government, and the gradual appeasement toward Communism to other topics heralding the virtues of sound money, withdrawing from the United Nations, and a foreign policy of non-interventionism.

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