Huerfano County, Colorado
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"SOMEWHERE IN THE MARIANAS”
A. How We Live.
Living in the Marianas is hardly romantic or novel enough to fill up a whole chapter like this one. It is not something totally new in our lives. Certainly none of us “chair corps” men will ever be able to boast to
grandchildren about how we hit the beach out here, or how we eked out existence on roots and berries in a jungle teeming with Jap snipers and insects. And we shall probably be glad of it. There are little details of our experience on these islands, however, which I will set down merely as a matter of record.
You know now where these islands are located, and a little about their history, their people, and the current scene. How to tell you a little about how we live.
The convoy-bivouac of last summer when we traipsed over most of "scenic" Kansas in six days and nights came in very handy during our first days on this island. We “fought nature," set up pup tents, posted a security guard, and dug fox-holes because the moon was full and enemy aircraft still harassed the islands. Guard duty those first nights was exciting, and risky. Not that we killed Japs lurking in the area, but "trigger happy" guards shot at anything that moved, often other guards. Officers of the Guard, or cattle roaming thru the area. Only during that first night did any of us feel we were in something approximating combat when you could not be sure of what would happen next. Two men were assigned to each post "to cover each other." This alone added gravity and romance to an already exciting situation. The tropical moon shone brilliantly, brighter than anything we knew in the States, and the wind whispered spookily through trees and cane fields. We all felt that at any instant a Jap would spring at us. Secret pass words, changed with each relief identified new guards taking over our posts. Along a certain boundary of our area our special orders were, "Shoot at anything that moves. It has no business being out there this time of night." Despite the shooting no casualties were sustained that first night, nor any night since. During one of those first nights we experienced a real air raid. Though we saw no enemy planes, we heard a lot of our guns go off, and we did see some beautiful displays as the shells burst in the sky. It was a little frightening, especially because our foxholes were inadequate protection, and we were not sure but that the next minute a bomb or two might alight in our area. That was the closest we have come to combat.
Before we landed we were lectured on the precautions we had better take the minute we hit the beach. "You men will be given ammunition to be used against snipers and Japs at large. Be careful how you use it, because it's scarce." But when the time came to debark, in what seems to be the rule in the Army--SNAFU, it was found that our ammunition was nicely packed away in one of the ship's holds under nothing less than a few jeeps and trucks. Not only our ammunition, but our entrenching tools--a hatchet, shovel, and a pick--and our trench knives as well. Luckily for us as we rode to shore in "ducks," no committee of snipers was around with a warm welcome.
I don't know what we would have done during those first days were it not for the Seabees quartered near our bivouac area. When they saw us picking at the hard clay and coral with sticks, they lent us picks and shovels of their own. And while we dug they stood by and told us of the fighting and their first days on this island. Strange how quickly we cursed the unyielding earth and coral when only one hour before we almost dropped to the ground to kiss it so good did it feel after those weeks at sea. The Seabees also invited us to see the movies shown in their outdoor theater every evening. That was when some of us were lucky enough to see Rhapsody in Blue. Some of our men were even extended invitations to hot meals in the Seabee mess hall. To all who were curious enough to listen, those men told their experiences here and on "the Rock" (Pearl Harbor) and illustrated their tales with souvenirs. Not many days later another Seabee unit provided ice and water for the men working in the warehouse area. From these Navy men we learned not only the story of the battle for the Marianas, but also such thrills as the arrival of the first B-29. Perhaps we had something of the same thrill the first time we sat down at tables for a hot supper in our newly-constructed mess hall. We saw in those men--most of us for the first time--the spirit of co-operation, respect, and appreciation of the next man which all outfits in combat seem to acquire to a degree never known back in the states. But these particular Seabees were our neighbors for only a short while. Not long after our arrival they left this island, eager to move on now "that the Army had arrived." A few of them whispered they expected to go to Iwo Jima or to the Philippines, and some hoped to get to the Asiatic mainland before the war ends. We shall always remember them with gratitude, and treasure the memory of their hospitality, friendliness, and cooperation.
Writing of them reminds me of one of their contraptions which amused us when we first saw it, prompting as it did many quips about "typical American ingenuity." They had built their own washing machines which were a wooden combination of a windmill pump and a plunger. As the wind turned the propellers, a piston was raised and lowered, churning the plunger in the wash tub. Smile if you must, but it happens to work, and rather well too. We do not rely on it altogether since our outfit brought an old Maytag along. Besides we have wash-boards, GI soap, and the Island Quartermaster Laundry which takes ten pieces of clothing about three times a month. We manage to keep our clothes clean.
We had been on land only an hour or so when we got our first C-ration. It tasted like manna from heaven after the hunger aboard troopship. For three days we fell into those little cans with the gusto of hungry bears in a honey cellar. By the end of that time, however, the diet suddenly became monotonous, over-seasoned, tin-canny. C-rations consist of small cans of meat and noodles, meat and beans, meat and vegetable stew (ugh!), meat and vegetable hash (more, ugh!), spaghetti and ground meat, and frankfurters with beans. One can of one of these items, with a companion can of biscuits, powdered beverage, sugar, hard candy, and sometimes cigarettes,
constitutes one meal. But the variety gave out all too quickly, and we were left with only stew and hash for all three meals. If we had been given doughnuts or angel food cake I'm sure we would have tired just as quickly-- though I would like to try it!
You might be interested to know the various types of rations the Army provides, and the contents of each. The A ration is made up of both canned foods and perishable items. This ration is the one usually served in all mess halls in the States. Dehydrated foods, such as carrots, potatoes, eggs, beets, sweet potatoes, and milk constitute ration B, but in addition there are larger cans of the same prepared foods as those in the C ration.
Overseas mess halls are supplied B rations. Occasionally, when the refrigerator ship comes in, we get fresh, perishable foods such as cabbage, carrots, potatoes, apples, oranges, butter, meats, celery, and so on. (Most of the produce raided on the Marianas is now being shipped to such outposts as Iwo Jima and Okinawa.) D ration consists of a single item, a bar of concentrated chocolate, so rich it must be eaten slowly to avoid ill effects. This is usually issued to men when an emergency is anticipated in which there is a possibility that mess trucks and other rations will not come through. This bar of chocolate contains all the food value and calories essential to survival. The famous K ration is, in my opinion, one of the Army's best. It is packed in boxes the size and shape of cracker-jack cartons, one box, plainly labeled, for each meal. Breakfast consists of ham and eggs, for dinner there is cheese, and supper, pork and beef roll. These items are in small tins, and are augmented with a dried fruit bar, chocolate, crackers, bouillon, beverage powder (Nescafe, coffee, cocoa, or synthetic lemon or orange juice), gum, cigarettes, and even a little roll of toilet paper. Flying personnel are issued a “flight ration" which is over and above the regular rations. This usually consists of such choice foods as boned turkey and chicken, canned fruits, and fruit juices. This is issued because the conditions of combat and flight require it for the well-being of the men.
Be it known, however, that no matter how well prepared or how sloppily "Peewee" slaps it into your mess kit, Army chow is never so wonderful that a package from home is not welcome. There is nothing nicer it seems to a gourmand like myself, than a snack in the evening just before bed-time. Then the men who got packages dig out of their foot-lockers such items as tuna, sardines, gefilta fish, salmon, cheese, Vienna sausage, pressed ham, Spam, olives, pickles, nuts, and candy. Three or four cans or bottles are put on the table in the center of the tent, and the host takes over the can opener and presides at the serving. Everyone digs in, relaxes around the table or on his cot, and another session of eating, griping, or contented silence winds up a day in the Marianas.
We have learned--sometimes by bitter experience--that unless our folks. pack such food as nuts, crackers, cookies, etc., in a glass jar or in a tin can, it reaches us in a stale condition. The average delivery time is four to six
You might like to know that the bread we get in the mess hall is surprisingly good. It is baked in a central bakery on this island, and is delivered to the mess hall by Quartermaster personnel. It is much like the bread we had on the ship, a cross between home-made and "store stuff."
Our water is a great improvement over the highly chlorinated distilled sea water we had the last few days aboard ship. Occasionally we get the same stuff, whenever the water supply becomes limited and rationing seems imminent, but on the whole we are provided with an ample supply. I'm not sure, but I think the water is obtained from a spring. Well water is used for showers, and it is a real luxury. We in the Marianas are extremely fortunate in this respect. Many bases on other islands have nothing but distilled sea water. The showers are a special treat when we recall bathing, shaving, and washing laundry in hard sea water, or in helmets the first week we were here. Hot water is still unknown, and just as well. The men prefer cool showers in this warm climate. More often than not, the water is not cool enough.
The latrines might have seemed a little odd to some men, but to others they are landmarks of back-yards at home. They are but a grander development of the out-house long famous for it is consumption of mail-order house publications. They are also well screened, covered, aired, and treated with insecticides. Periodically chlorinated lime is sprinkled into the pits, and the refuse burned with crude oil. Right outside the latrine is our most novel toilet fixture, the urinal, consisting of pipes driven into the ground. At the top of each is a funnel with a screen bottom. Before the nurses and Red Cross women arrived on this island these urinals were out in the open, but now they are properly enclosed in canvas. Promiscuous defecation and urination is strictly forbidden; the danger is obvious when you consider the number of men and the size of the island. Even in the camp for natives, the people are educated to this. The head of the family is held responsible for all violations, and must see to it that the area is promptly cleaned, and that all matter and soil affected are deposited in the latrine.
About three weeks after our arrival the Group Post Exchange, later designated as Field Exchange Branch, opened for business with S. Sgt. Ned P. Buchanan of Decatur, Alabamy, formerly our mess sergeant, as Steward; and Captain Adam. B. Ohle, our Adjutant prior to his transfer, as exchange officer. Merchandise includes such items as toilet articles, cigars, cigarettes, chewing gum (Wrigley's, Beach-Nut, Juicy Fruit, Spearmint, etc.), candy (Hershey's, Baby Ruth, and Mars), and such dry goods as towels, underwear, handkerchiefs, shower clogs, insect sprayers, etc. Three times each, week the PX sells each man two cans of beer--if there is beer on the island--and sometimes it manages to sell fruit juices and tomato juice in between. In an adjoining wing Pfc. R. B. Rainwater and Pvt. Alvin R. Strope, our Squadron representative, have set up a barber shop.
The matter of liquor here is rather amusing, or is $30.00 for a fifth a funny thing? Since this is not Normandy or Paris, we enlisted men must content ourselves with 3.2 beer. Now I don't suffer on this account, nor because officers can purchase liquor (other than beer) while we enlisted men may not. But some men are desperate enough for anything in sex and drink. In some instances Chamorro natives will sell a drink called tuba for 40¢ a bottle. Tuba is made by cutting a gash into a palm frond or a palm cabbage, collecting the sap in a bucket. By the time the container is filled, the sap has fermented in the warm sunshine. The drink is like beer, “only more powerful.” Then there is “raisin jack.” The men will take a jug, fill it with raisins, sugar, and water, and allow it to stand for two weeks. By that time it has cooked itself into a lulu. Another drink among the most desperate is pure alcohol or "torpedo juice." For the most part this is limited to Navy men with access to a torpedo or two. The only risk this beverage is life itself.
About a week of hitting the ground every night in pup tents, and we were ready to move into squad tents quartering twelve men each. This was a graduation from coral-boulders mattresses to a regular cot, from a claustrophobia-inducing pigeon-hole to a spacious castle, from one tent-mate to eleven. And along with electric lights came more rats and mice, ants and bugs, and violent flapping of tent walls and top with every gust of wind. Pre-fabricated (plywood) barracks are under construction for us now, but from the men in them we learn that tents are better. The barracks house 18 to 20 men, making "lebensraum" an acute reality. Moreover, they leak "like a sieve." But we will get used to them in time, and we may find them an improvement in ways we don't as yet know."
B. The Daily Routine.
Elsewhere in this account reference. is made to the number of men required to service a single B-29. Not only is the construction of new airfields a 24-hour task, but the work on the planes themselves is also a day and night project. For the most part, however, our daily work routine is a day-time affair. We get up around 0600, that is, the hungry men get up in time for breakfast. Work call is around 0645 at which time men pile into trucks and report for work at a "Service Center" or "down on the “line.” Work gets under way between 0700 and 0730, and continues until around 1130 when the men return to the bivouac area for noon chow. At 1245 they leave for work again. Supper is served at 1730. Usually the men get back in time to shave, shower, and change clothes before supper. While work hours constitute, "government time", all other hours are "free time."
But the daily routine is not so simple for all men. The Ammunition Section works on several shifts, sometimes days, sometimes nights. The same holds true for men working at gas dumps. In addition, each
section--Quartermaster, Ordnance, Communications, Air Corps Supply, and Headquarters--leaves a man on duty all night to take care of warehouses or offices, and to handle any issue of supplies which may come up with Bomb Groups or their Squadrons. Men thus detailed are called ''Charge of Quarters" or simple CQ. A roster is kept--a grave responsibility for any clerk roped into this job--so that every man gets his lick at it. For Headquarters, (the Orderly Room--of which, in three years time, I have learned that most are "orderly" in name only) the roster includes all "buck sergeants and corporals. Sometimes men of these two grades will act as CQ's at some warehouse one night and in the orderly room the next.
THE C Q
When you've been picked, and get this job--
Don't gripe and moan and yelp and sob?
Duty puts you in charge tonight,
The section's yours from dusk till light.
So bring your book and bring your mail,
And guard these portals without fail;
And in the morning, one thing more--
The NCO will sweep the floor.
— Pfc. Saul J. Kudisch.
Perhaps letter-writing cannot be considered a form of recreation in the strict sense of the word, but more a duty. Nevertheless it takes up, I would estimate, a third of our free time. Consequently, mail delivery through the Squadron Censor, 1st. Lt. Nate Weinstein, and the Army Post Office, as well as the receipt of mail is watched closely by the men. Outgoing mail is handled speedily, and sent out daily. Incoming mail is another matter, varying in quantity from little dribbles to several mailbags full of packages and periodicals. More often than not, though, mail service is good, much better than we dared hope for overseas service.
Next to letter-writing I suppose one would say that cards are the most popular pastime. But in recent weeks the long session of black-jack, pinochle, and poker have suddenly disappeared, as though they are too tiresome and monotonous to be enjoyed. Besides, the money doesn't hold out very well, or for more than a week after payday. Movies are usually shown four times a week in an outdoor theatre; that is, that is the way it has been during this "dry" season. No charge is made for movie attendance. Despite the rather frequent breaking of films at first, and an occasional recurrence of this all-too-annoying accident, the men as a rule are patient and sit quietly in the bright moonlight until the movie starts again. The films for the most part are new releases, but "repeats" are also thrown in. Like the average run of shows in our home-town theatres, most of the pictures are second rate and worse. No one denies that such films as Keys of the Kingdom, None_ But_ the Lonely Heart, and Wilson are immensely valuable to morale; but when men walk out of the theatre in disgust at something as crummy, corny, and insincere as Hollywood Canteen and Winged Victory, you can't tell me their morale has been improved. Three or four times we have been entertained by stage shows, some produced by various units on this island, and others by touring players sent out by Special Services from Hawaii. Of this type, the program presented by Claude
Thornhill with Jackie Cooper, Dennis Day, and company was exceptionally fine and thoroughly enjoyed. The same may be said of two USO shows, "Celebrity Session," starring Gertrude Lawrence, and Moss Hart and Company in The Man Who Game To Dinner.
Athletics is another important channel of recreation. Special Services has provided equipment, and helped men get started by preparing fields or courts for softball, baseball, and volleyball. Sharp coral gravel discourages football enthusiasts, and while there are some basketball and tennis courts on the island these sports are not yet available to us. In recent weeks the squadron has organized an Intra-Squadron Softball League. Much spirit, argument, and fun has characterized competition in this activity. The Champion team at present is Ammunition Section. Its lineup includes Pfc. Gene K. O'DeIl, catcher; Cpl. Russell F. Chapman, pitcher; Pfc. George J. Zimmer, first base; Sgt. James A. Hand, second base; Cpl. Joseph X. Snyder, third base; Pfc. Michael J. Gaudio
alternating with Sgt. David H. Allen as short stop; Pfc. William V. Johnson, short field; Pfc. Thomas J. Shader, left field; Cpl. Ben Govier--our Dean of all sports--center field; and Pfc. Kenneth B. Orr, right field. Quartermaster Section is second best in the League with the following players: Cpl. Carl Stark, catcher; Sgt. Jesse L. Martin, pitcher; S. Sgt. Hall W. Thompson, first, base; Pfc. Cecilio V. Diaz, second base; S. Sgt. Joseph A. Summa, 3rd base; T. Sgt. George E. Hardt, short stop; Cpl. David Chubb, short field; Sgt. David T. Spencer, left field; Pfc. Steve Garza, center field; and Pfc. Roy C. Smith, right field. The Headquarters team is bucking Air Corps Supply for the cellar position, but has been unable to secure it to date; but it was at Headquarters bloody hands that Ammunition went down to its first crushing defeat, with a score something like 6½ to 6¼. The players include Cpl. C. J. Barry, catcher; Cpl. Lloyd R. Glaus, pitcher; Pfc. Blake B. Cunningham, Sr., first base; Cpl. Armando Santangelo, second base; Cpl. Harold B. Hassler, third base; Cpl. David Goldstein, short stop; Pfc.
George W. Neeld, short field; Sgt. Andrew J. McBride, left field; Pfc. Adam J. Hercel, center field; and Pvt. Steve T. Jaworski, right field. .The cellar STARS of Air Corps Supply included Pfc. Louis M. DeGross, catcher; S. Sgt. Edward R. Williams, Cpl. Homer E. Jacoby, pitcher; S. Sgt. Ervin R. McLain, first base; Pfc. Thomas J. Nye, second base; Pfc. William R. Guida, third base; Cpl. Robert E. Hunt, short stop; Sgt. William A. Gannon, short field; Pfc. Robert L. Pow, left field; Pvt. James E. Wilson, center field; and Cpl. Harold J. Saunders, right
Boxing is considered the most popular sport on the island, but I am inclined to regard this as more true of Navy men than of the Army. Swimming has been made possible at one of the beaches, and since it affords excellent relaxation oh hot afternoons, it is widely indulged in. Though the salt water stings your eyes, swimming is made easier and more pleasant because floating is easier than in fresh water. There is nothing more soothing than to stretch out on warm sand after a dip in the water, and just lie there, half asleep, soaking up sunshine and heat, and feeling all your cares and worries slipping away like the sand between your fingers. Island Command recently issued this directive: Recreational swimming during free hours is encouraged. Lifeguards will accompany men on all recreational swimming trips. The 'buddy system' is used in all recreational swimming. It is one whereby swimmers operate in pairs, always being in sight of and never more than ten seconds swimming time from each other, so as to be able to render immediate mutual assistance." My own favorite sport--hiking--is only a dream here. Japs at large and run-away machine guns on B-29's hardly make such a venture inviting.
Perhaps you are wondering just what the American Red Cross does for us. I don't want to pretend that it needs any sort of pat on the back from me, but I would like to let you know a few things it has provided us. At the POE
(Port of Embarkation), the ARC stretched out its hand in a manner most of us thought impossible for it. On the pier, just to cite the leading instance, the night we boarded the troopship, Red Cross women served us hot coffee and doughnuts. It had been a cold, drizzly day in Seattle, and the rain fell unmercifully as we pulled out of Ft. Lawton in a truck convoy. When we reached the pier, after a number of songs enroute, we were too numb from the weight of all the things we were lugging, too cold and exhausted to feel anything about our departure. The hot coffee and the big doughnuts really hit the spot, and it was very pleasant to talk with those women. Their presence helped, immeasurably once we became rested enough to feel a fluttering deep in our chests. Then we walked up the gang-plank while an Army band—in true Hollywood fashion--played the Air Corps song, and when we got to the top another Red Cross representative thrust a little bag at us. We made our way down to hold "lower one", were assigned bunks, and dropped on them immediately to get out of everyone's way. We investigated the last-minute gift the Red Cross had given us. It was the overseas kit, containing, a soap dish with pine soap, needles, thread, buttons, toothbrush, a pocket book (in most cases a mystery), a deck of cards, a little candy, gum, and a couple of packs of cigarettes. Of course it all came in very handy, and we were quick with our appreciation. I am still using the little bag for all my toilet articles; the label reads "Made by Red Cross Chapter, Walla Walla, Washington."
Christmas Eve found us out on the sea after our second stop. That night I was too seasick to care about holiday festivities in hold "upper four" where the Chaplains and the Red Cross had put up a tree brought out of cold storage. In the warmly colored halo of its lights, a Santa--that stingy, corpulent ship's steward--handed each man a little box. These Red Cross gifts were taken aboard at Hawaii, and had candies, gum, cigarettes, two little address books, minute digests of novels, and so on.
Several times after we landed on this island we were given cigarettes, and candy by the Red Cross. Today there is in our area a building in which the Field Director has his office, and in which there are also facilities for letter writing, wrapping packages for mailing, a crafts shop where men may spend their leisure hours making souvenirs of leather, wood, metal, sea shells, etc. A radio and phonograph provide news and music, and a magazine shelf sports a large variety of periodicals. That is the Red Cross in the Marianas, in its extra-curricular activities.
If a man finds, after all the types of recreation already mentioned, that he has time on his hands, even after he has straightened out his bunk area, cleaned out his foot locker, and laundered his socks and underwear, there is the Chapel with its library and music room to which he can turn. The library contains a fairly good selection of books and periodicals. The music room is a separate tent, in which records of more serious music may be heard. The record library is surprisingly extensive, containing among others, albums of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Tschaikowsky's three major symphonies, Brahms' First Symphony, and Dvorak's From the New World.
You may not consider fads as recreational, and they probably are not, despite all the "bull” they inspire; but we might as well consider them here as elsewhere. GI haircuts continue to be ''the thing among particular people, the thing with men of vision" (please note, Pfc. “Goldilocks” Anderson!) As a result I--with my perpetual GI—am no longer the novelty I was back in Kansas. Beards used to be popular until a week, or so ago when they were put on the "verboten" list for "hygienic reasons.” Up until then, all kinds of beards and mustaches were cultivated on all types of faces. The Champs in our outfit included Cpl. John (Ernest Hemingway) Burke, Cpl. Dale E. (Idaho Canary) Aasa, and Sgt. Peter J. (Van Dyke) Reilly. The spirit of beard-raising and its reaction is pretty well captured in this poem.
(Ode in a Minor Key)
(Note: This Silly Symphony is to be chanted to the tune
of that old Russian folk song, "Minka, Minka.")
Rubin, Rubin, I've been thinking
That mustache of yours is stinking;
People around here are shrinking
From that face of yourn.
Rubin, Rubin, such behavior;
Now you really have to shave your
Mustache; that will be your savior,
Oh, that face of yourn!
Rubin, Rubin, you'll be sorry
You don't look like Mata Hari,
Better commit hari-kari,
With a puss like yourn!
If you don't, I'll never, never
Speak again to you, forever?
Better my path now should sever
From a puss like yourn.
You've got friends, but maybe, Olving,
This they really don't desoiving,
Better friendship you'd presoiving;
Suck a puss like yourn.
Take heed, Rubin, to my tale.
Better times will soon prevail;
Cut it off, and I'll shout hail!
To that face of yourn.
--Pfc. Saul J. Kudisch.
(And when T. Sgt. Irvin Rubin, the subject of the above, read this sad ode, he forthwith wrote this reply.)
You are no doubt a poet
And you want the world to know it;
But in all the days, since I was born,
Have I ever read such corn!
But what really makes my curiosity rise,
Is where did your puss ever win a prize?
D. Danger From the Enemy Today?
When we landed, these islands were still undergoing air-raids by enemy aircraft coming from bases in the Volcano and the Bonin Islands. It was not long, however, before the raids and the alerts they caused dwindled in frequency until now with, the capture of Iwo Jima and with the fighting for Okinawa we in the Marianas are pretty secure and, I would guess, virtually immune to air attack.
Japs at large still demand some of our attention, as the account below will illustrate. This danger is greatest in the hill districts and in places where coral cliffs abound with caves. Patrols of Infantrymen and Marines go out daily to hunt them out. Prisoners are rare, I am told. Occasionally a disguised Jap will slip into the civilian internment camp, and slip out before he is caught. Such occurrences never take place in the Korean settlement, for now these people are not as fearful and submissive as they used to be. This is their way to get even for thirty-five years of Jap rule.
"Saipan, the Marianas. — Official records list this B-29 base in the Western Pacific as having been, "freed from organized enemy resistance” on July 9, 1944, after bitter fighting. Since then over 12,000 Jap troops have been killed on the island and 1,100 more have surrendered.
"An island is declared 'secured' as soon as it can be used as an operational base against the enemy, but to many infantrymen here the word has another meaning. While B-29s have been taking off on their spectacular missions against the Jap mainland, infantrymen have been slowly securing this 'secured' island, regularly sending out patrols against enemy troops scattered about in Saipan's wild, hilly terrain. Twisting gullies and steep slopes are covered with tangles of vines, dense fields of tall sugar cane, thickets of banana palms and groves of taller trees . . .
"One night recently QPs on the top of Mount Topotchau, the highest point on the island, located a number of Jap campfires in the hills. Next day three patrols were sent out to investigate these bivouacs, burn the shelters and destroy the food supplies. . . .
"One squad moved out from Mount Topotchau about 0830, taking along a weapons carrier loaded with 25 gallons of gasoline for burning enemy shelters, plenty of TNT and some wrecking bars. Most of the men carried rifles . . .
"Looking down from the mountain on the enemy-held territory, they could see no sign of Japs on the wild, wooded ridges below. Beyond in the distance, where the flat farmland of the Chamorros stretched along the shore on the far side of the island, they could see the new warehouses the Engineers were building and trucks and jeeps moving along the roadways. Still farther off, across a narrow stretch of ocean, the low island of Tinian was barely visible in the morning haze.
"Moving about in Jap territory in the daytime is a risky operation, with the enemy holding every advantage. There was a real danger of ambush this morning on the narrow trail down which the patrol drove, but a thorough search of the underbrush was possible only in daylight.
“. . . The air was full of smells. Hiding in the woods for months, the Japs hadn't had a chance to take any baths. At the very base of the cliff the men came to a large bivouac area built around a huge shoulder of rock. Caves had been dug into the rock, and in these the Japs had been doing their cooking. Some of the fires were still hot, though they had been hurriedly covered with dirt and rocks.
"The Japs were well stocked. Fresh coffee, rice, water, canned fish and meat and fresh vegetables were found in quantity. Some of the food was American, but most of the supplies must have come from gardens in the area which the Japs apparently cultivated at night. There were also blankets and articles of clothing.
"It was getting late. Before leaving, the men destroyed all the food and equipment. That night the mortars zeroed in on the targets the patrol had marked with fires. The next day the cannon company fired hundreds of shells into the area.
“. . . Although the patrol did not make actual contact with the enemy, the Japs were undoubtedly hard hit by the mission.
"The 24th Infantry's mopping-up operations are being aided by a propaganda campaign conducted by the language section of G-2, using leaflets and broadcasts from portable loudspeakers. Between February 14 and
March 3 of this year, 58 Japs soldiers and 86 civilians have been induced to come out of hiding and surrender.
"The loudspeakers are usually set up on high ground overlooking the caves and underbrush where Japs are known to be lurking. Every half hour, for four or five hours at a time, a spoken appeal in the Japanese language is made over the loudspeaker. Before and after each speech, recordings of Jap folk songs and children's songs are played. This music is chosen to make the listeners homesick.
"It is believed that Jap resistance on Saipan is led by a little fellow who stands about 5 feet 5 and weighs around 130 pounds. He wears a U. S. khaki uniform, leather leggings and a Jap officer's cap and carries a type-94 Jap automatic pistol with a white tassel tied to the holster. Most of his followers are said to fear him as much as they do the Americans, and he apparently maintains his control over them by a mixture of threats and promises.
"Early this year he promised his followers that on February 11, which was Empire Day (Kigen Setsu), the Jap fleet would sail into Saipan's harbor, and drive the Americans away. On that day a U. S. fleet of some 300 ships arrived off Saipan on its way to Iwo Jima. The 'boss' lost a lot of prestige on February 11."
There are times when Intelligence (G-2) learns that the remaining Japs on the island are planning a final banzai, only this time they are sure of its outcome for paratroopers will join in the fight, dropped somehow by the invincible Jap air force. Such information is given strict attention, even if it may be only a rumor, and every precaution is taken for any emergency. During such an "alert" carbines and other weapons are inspected, ammunition is reissued, knives are sharpened and oiled. The atmosphere becomes charged with a tension which makes things a little dramatic and exciting. Wherever they go, men carry their weapons, gas masks, and helmets with them. Sometimes the alert lasts more than a week, but to date none of them has materialized into anything more than a terse announcement that "the alert has been officially declared over."
Hardly an alert goes by, however, that does not produce some of the color and energetic officer-activity described in this poem:
WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN
(Dedicated to Tokyo Ted!)
Seize your helmets and your masks,
Grab those carbines, and your flasks,
Take a quick check, have your clips?
You'll need 'em, brother, to mow doen Nips.
Now run like hell, you fifty fine men;
The battle will start, we know not when,
But get to your posts, we'll be prepared,
(Out of fifty fine men, not a one was scared.)
Two men on the east, two men on the west,
Get in there, boys, and do your damn best;
There'll be no noise, so be still as a mouse,
And guard with your lives each embattled warehouse.
Now here they come, men, there must be ten,
Hell, we'll bribe 'em on with a couple of yen.
What's this? Hey! They're only scouts!
There are really ten thousand in our whereabouts.
Now, boys, it seems we are in for a fight,
Hit that ground, and hug it tight,
Don't fire 'till you hear my shouted command,
Ouch, damn that coral! I thought it was sand.
Now brace yourselves, men, if anyone hollers,
It'll cost him exactly twenty-five dollars!
THIS IS IT, MEN! Keep calm and stay cool
Or we'll send you guys back to some GI school.
Fire at will! Hell no, I mean Japs!
They haven't a chance, those lil yellow saps.
Look at 'em fall fast, watch that grenade,
Return it, boy, that's how heroes are made.
Hooray, they have fallen to the last gasping man,
I'm proud of you, boys, not one of you ran.
You are fifty brave men, and I have a notion
That each of you mugs will get a promotion . . .
Okay! You lug-heads, it's five o'clock,
Stop what you're doing, and grab hold of a sock;
Roll out of bed now, and get on the beam.
Holy Yehudi! That sure was some dream!
--by Cpl. Carl Stark.
E. Ideas and the Soldier.
One hears so much these days about what the soldier thinks and feels that it may appear presumptuous to add my voice to the chorus, but I think what I have to say here better be said, noted, and understood. Earlier in this book I wrote that we cannot expect governments or nations to outlaw war by legislation, just as we cannot make laws prohibiting racial discrimination and expect those laws to solve this problem of prejudice in our country.
Once a week, usually on Thursday evenings, we have an Orientation Hour conducted by First Lieutenant Theodore W. Shaffner. I feel these hours thus far failed in their primary purpose of providing us with some sort of guidance toward understanding our war aims, the causes of this war, our Allies and our enemies, our sister services, events on the home front, and getting some idea of the shape of the future. Because the meetings are compulsory at a time when the men feel they would rather write letters, or because the group is too large and unwieldy for an effective discussion, the meetings impress me as little more than an opportunity for "seekers for impression" to strut their stuff. The element of wanting to learn, of honest doubt, is lost or ignored in the noisy self-selling and declamation of strikingly immature notions and observations.
I do not blame the men and Lt. Shaffner completely. It occurs to me that this condition of indifference to politics and government, this apathy toward the causes of wars and the ways for securing peace, this downright blindness to the "enemy principle" at both ends of our weapons, is not too difficult to explain. Despite its GI veneer, this Army still embodies and reflects practices, attitudes, convictions--or lack of same, prejudices, fears, hates, hypocrisies, devotions, and degrees of consciousness or aliveness which characterize the people of the United States. This citizen army is a synthesis of our country's men and women, and alongside its brilliant battle victories stalks this frightful specter--or omen--of spiritual and mental failure--the people's shortcomings. For all our tremendous strides in technology, our ideas by and large remain curiously medieval if not actually primitive. At the beginning of every war we have waved flags, pounded drums, and cried out our devotion to "the American way of life” to the rights of man. And in almost every instance, before those very wars ended, there were signs--as there are today--that no one really meant what he said or felt a few short months or years before, that racial discrimination are a part of the American way, that economic insecurity and bewildering uncertainty are to be expected because "human nature is what it is,” that the United States is the most powerful nation in the world, and “by God she'd better stop being so generous and start collecting what belongs to her." And so the wars have proved to be only so much wasted worry, pain, sorrow, energy, blood, and time. Men returned from battle to perhaps different conditions or even different environments, but to the same old ways of doing things, of thinking, of feeling, of struggling for money to live, or for its own sake. And because our country is physically large, and her material resources extensive, we have grown accustomed to believing the myth that America's greatness is due “to the American way of free private enterprise, of republicanism and democracy." We have grown accustomed, too, to living by routine, to expect it and demand it, for without it we felt naked and insecure. We have never had to think much, for we always managed to make our way somehow--and have fun besides. Only when death is the alternative to thought, do men resort to the use of their reasons, their minds for something other than to add figures, count dollars, or blame some scapegoat minority for their ills. We have almost knowingly permitted the dust and cobwebs of horse-and-buggy days to collect over our school teachers, textbooks, teaching practices, and in far too many cases over our little red one-room schoolhouses, while we have strutted by the lofty temples--the skyscrapers--of our economy and found then, and all they stood for to be good. Whatever this war has done to us as a nation--and sometimes I cannot help feeling that it has not touched us and scarred us enough, despite one
million casualties--it has certainly thrown up in stark relief the appalling backwardness of our educational system. The United States is perfect; to see a fault, to point out a weakness is to be an agitator, a foreigner, a red.
There are numerous illustrations to bear this out. A year or so ago it was learned that more than three-fifths of our people had never read the Bill of Rights, and most of these had never even heard of it. Romain Holland, the great French novelist of the early 1900's, wrote many years ago, "The world is a unity, but for this high state mankind is not yet fit." To make sure that Mankind will remain unfit, our schools persist in using the discredited Mercator projection maps in geography books, even though this war has shown the accuracy and need of maps made on the polar projection. Our histories continue to be glowing, narrow glory-tales with nary a black mark on our record. They leave the student with the impression that improvement is impossible, certainly unnecessary, that the status quo is sacred and must not be tampered with, that the yardstick to success is profit, a bank deposit, and a mansion on the hill.
One excellent illustration of our greatest weakness today was expressed as long ago as 1936 by H. G. Wells in his little parable of The Croquet Player. Said he, "'Animals . . . live wholly in the present. They are framed in immediate things. So are really unsophisticated people. Israeli, Sands, Murphy, a crowd of people, have been working on that.' He rattled off a score of names but these are all that I remember. 'But we men, we have been probing and piercing into the past and future. We have been multiplying memories, histories, traditions; we have filled ourselves with forebodings and plannings and apprehensions. And so our worlds have become overwhelmingly vast for us, terrific, appalling. Things that had seemed forgotten for ever have suddenly come back into the very present of our consciousness.'
"'In other words,' said I, trying to keep him moored to current realities, 'we have found out about the cave man.'
"'Found out about him!' he shouted. 'We live in his presence. He has never died. He is anything but dead. Only . . .'
"He came close and tapped my shoulder. '. . . only he was shut off from us and hidden. For a long time, and now we see him here face to face and his grin derides us. Man is still what he was. Invincibly bestial, envious, malicious, greedy. Man, Sir, unmasked and disillusioned, is the same fearing, snarling, fighting beast he was a hundred thousand years ago. These are no metaphors, Sir. What I tell you is the monstrous reality. The brute has been marking time and dreaming of a progress it has failed to make. Any archeologist will tell you as much; modern man has no better skull, no better brain. Just a cave man, more or less trained. There has been no real change, no real escape. Civilization, progress, all that, we are discovering, was a delusion, Nothing was secured. Nothing. For a time man built himself in, into his neat little present world of Gods and Providences, rainbow promises and so forth. It was artificial, it was artistic, fictitious. We are only beginning to realize how artificial. Now it is breaking down ... It is breaking down all about us and we seem unable to prevent it. We seem . . . . No escape appears. No, Sir. Civilization so far has been a feeble, inadaptable falsity. And now it is found out; Fate has been too much for it. A stunning realization, Sir! . . . unprepared men . . . show themselves too weak to face it. They refuse to face a world so grim and great as this world really is. They take refuge in stories of hauntings and personal madness--in the hope of some sort of exorcism, something they think will be a cure. . . . There is no such cure. There is no such way now of dressing up these facts and putting them aside.
"'So, Sir, they have to be faced,' he roared. 'They have to be faced.' He seemed to be addressing himself not simply to me but to some large public meeting. His vast gestures ignored me. 'The time when men could be put in blinkers to save them from seeing too much is past. Past for ever! There can be no more religions of reassurance. No churches of 'There--there!" That sort of thing is at an end.'
"'And then?' said I very quietly. Because the louder he shouted, the more coldly resistant I became.
"He sat down and gripped my arm again. He became persuasively confidential. From bawling, his voice sank to a deep heavy undertone. 'Madness, Sir, from mental side, is poor Nature's answer to overwhelming fact. It is flight. And today all over the world, intellectual men are going mad.' They are dithering, because they realize that the fight against this cave man who is over us, who is in us, who is indeed us, is going against these imaginary selves. The world is no longer safe for anything. It was sheer delusion that we had Him under. Him, the pursuing brute who never desists.'
'. . .'But then,' I said . . . 'What do you think has to be done?'
"Dr. Norbert waved his arms about and then stood up. 'I tell you, Sir,' he said, shouting down at me as though I was a score of yards off, 'in the end he has to do what we all have to do. Face the facts! Face the facts, Sir! Go through with it. Survive if you can and perish if you can't. Do as I have done and shape your mind to a new scale. Only giants can save the world from complete relapse--and so we--we who care for civilization--have to become giants. We have to bind a harder, stronger civilization like steel about the world. We have to make such a mental effort as the stars have never witnessed yet. Arise, O Mind of Man!' (He called me that!) 'Or be for ever defeated. ' . . . 'And that, my friend, means you! I say it to you' You!' And he pointed a lean forefinger."
Into my copy of that book I have pasted this footnote written by Chester Rowell, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, in August, 1934. "Our misfortune is not that we are thrust into a time when thinking must be done, but that we do not do it. It was a thousand years after the Roman Empire fell before men realized that they were no longer living in it. Many of us still imagine that we are living in the world that died forever on August 1, 1914 (and we in 1945 might add the dates 3 September 1939 or 7 December 1941). Recent events are shaking us out of that illusion. The process is painful, but it may be salutary. It challenges us to think new thoughts. The first and the hardest step in that process is to unthink the old ones. Or, perhaps, for some of us, to think at all. This is no time for the slothful."
My next illustration of our sickness was written by Lillian Smith, the author of Strange Fruit. In her column "Dope with Lime" in the current issue of the magazine South Today, appear these two paragraphs.
"Recently, I heard John Mason Brown say "that he felt it almost a disaster that we in America had not been bombed. He has no more desire than you, or I, to see American children mangled. But he feels, and justly so, the need for imaginations to be shaken, hearts wounded, until complacency is torn out of us. He feels, as do others fresh from the front, that his attempt to give us realization of men's experiences at war is too often a shouting on deaf ears. Lavish spending . . . . black market weaving a sinister ugly mesh of lawlessness and greed and hardness of heart throughout our country . . . unwillingness to make room even on the edge of our imagination for the psychic injuries that killing inflicts, for wreckage of men's dreams, for the terrible loneliness which is harder to bear than physical danger: this turning away, this refusal to identify with the suffering and sacrifice of the young is a sight hard on eyes that have so recently looked at unnumbered acts of heroism done so simply, as jobs that must be done. Though many of us have never for a moment believed that war is necessary, that it solves human problems, or that 'good' can come out of it, few of us realize the profound evil that it loosens in men's spirits. When we learn to assess this psychic damage, when we place its total side by side with the awful waste of lives and energies and materials, when we find the intellectual courage to add to this sum the appalling stunting of children's bodies and emotions, then surely the human spirit will turn in loathing, and refuse to use war as a means to get anything, whether it be riches, or national power, or 'sovereignty'--or freedom, for what will freedom mean to a generation too weak to use it!
"Like insanity or childbirth or degenerative organic disease war seems unavoidable because human beings are naive in the art and science of timing. It took man a long time to discover that today's child is the result of a brief,
pleasurable moment, nine months ago. It took him--and her--a long time to "bridge the gap "between, remote ecstasy and immediate labor pains. It is almost as difficult for us today to see in the catatonic schizoid, or the raving paranoid, the little child whose path to maturity was "blocked" by obstacles grownups rolled across it, forcing him to detour. It is the gaps in time we find so hard to pull together. We have mastered space more successfully. Our imaginations encompass the globe with ease. But how many of us are able to travel backward forty, thirty, twenty, even ten years to the beginning of today's dilemma? Or to travel ahead, and see the result of today's decision? This ability to swing through time, back and forth at will, is a skill most of us are curiously inept at. We refuse to accept cause and result as part of reality if the span of time is wide. We refuse to shape decisions to the curve that past and present and future make. The bending of time . . . we do not believe in it. Past and future meet . . . we turn away, we will not look at the meeting."
I am too convinced of the need for established standards of progressive education throughout the country, and of the need for increased federal aid to education throughout the country to dwell on the matter for any great length as the solution to our ills. Not that education is the panacea, the cure-all, but since we have never really tried it, and since our every discussion of the world's ills finds its solution in ''education" it is the direction, at least, in which we can move most quickly in our race against World War III. The untapped resources of education in radio, motion pictures, and in communication and transportation facilities can be put to work, enlarging men's vistas of their own regions, their country, of the world, and of themselves.
Before we proceed to define exactly what we Shall have to fight in the years to come, I think we'd better look at two more instances of how far-reaching in effects is our indifference to the activities abroad, to the drama daily enacted in Washington, and, worst of all, to ourselves.
"Strangely applicable to current history, is the thought that every tragedy of Shakespeare--and nearly every tragedy of life--could have been stopped at several points before the climax, had any character realized what was happening, known what to do, and possessed the will and capacity to do it. Germany's own Goethe observed that art lends a pattern to life.
“'The present war,' says Mr. Waverly Root, 'could have been stopped in Manchuria in 1931. It could have been stopped in Ethiopia in 1935. Or in Spain a year later. It could have been stopped in the Rhineland, in Austria, or in Czechoslovakia. But it wasn't. It must now be stopped, he writes, in a struggle which has spread over the six continents of the world.
"It could have been stopped, one ponders, in 1925 at Locarno, or in Berlin by the end of 1919: wishful thoughts that resurrect the annoying ifs of history. 'The history of the origins of the war,' the author tells us, 'is one of tragic misunderstandings, blind stupidities, lamentable weaknesses, despicable treacheries.' What, one wonders, of the pattern for decades to come. Surely history is useful, not merely entertaining.
"To have stopped this war any time short of the ultimate destruction of the German and Japanese armies would have required farsighted and forthright statesmen, open covenants openly arrived at, and public information of movements back-stage in the international tragedy. We didn't have them. We ought to have them in the future.
"British, French, and American appeasement, he charges, fostered oppression and contributed seriously to the war . . .
"We read of the hidden movements that facilitated the German blitzkrieg through Poland, Scandinavia, and Low Lands, and France. Blunders of the democracies, he tells us, scored as heavily as Nazi arms. After Hitler
was allowed to take Czechoslovakia, the Luftwaffe shuttled back and forth to Warsaw. . . .
When the crisis for Czechoslovakia came, Mr. Root tells us, Russia told Czechoslovakia she was ready to honor her pledge. 'But France, with England behind her, was not. The French and the British made their deal at Munich in a conference with Hitler and Mussolini from which the Czechs were excluded. Prague was told to accept it. The Czechs answered, "We are going to fight. . . . If a war begins you will be obliged to enter it . . . We have decided to resist and thus force you to keep your engagement."
"The democracies answered: 'It is perhaps true that if you fight, we will be drawn in. But if we are drawn in, and if we are victorious; we will punish you for having forced our hand. There will be no Czechoslovakia after this war, whether we win or lose.' The Czechs gave up.
"In only one country outside of the Axis was it untrue that diplomacy was decadent during the years that preceded the war, Mr. Root accuses. 'That country was Russia. Just as Nazi diplomacy was of a new kind because it was born out of a new political conception, and just as it was successful because it refused to be bound by the rules of conventionalized diplomacy, so Soviet diplomacy was also new and successful . . . To the newspapermen who covered the sessions of the League of Nations, the Soviet utterances were often the only breaths of fresh air which blew through the musty corridors of Geneva diplomacy. . . .
"'Russia's fundamental objective was to achieve a system of collective security through regional pacts, of which the Franco-Soviet pact, which Czechoslovakia later joined, was one example, under which all the contracting nations would agree mutually to defend any of them against an aggressor.
"'But Russia's realistic policy demanded pacts with teeth in them; and the timorous diplomacy of most other countries was concerned with avoiding even the mention of dentists. Each nation was concerned with saving its own skin. None of them really believed that peace was indivisible. They hoped to be able to stave off aggression by turning the aggressor against somebody else. They were not ripe for collective action.'
“. . . The abandonment of Poland and Czechoslovakia was not entirely diplomatic blindness at the time. True, Mr. Chamberlain said, 'Mr. Hitler is a gentleman; he has given me his word.' But collective security had broken down. English and American arms were in a state of atrophy; French force was inadequate; their public opinion was largely isolationist.
"Much that was going on, the publics of the democracies did not know. (Would they have cared enough to act if they did know?) People in the democratic nations did not seem likely to support really corrective decisions--until the actual invasion of Poland, the bombs on Pearl Harbor, and the reconstruction of the old, old answer of force. . .”
"Amid taking pictures, defying fate and inviting the hardships of the front line (during the bitter, expensive, and heart-breaking fighting last Winter on the Italian front), she--Margaret Bourke-White--had time to ask soldiers why they are fighting. The answer she got revolved around 'getting home' and 'getting back to things.' She asked one soldier if the 'average man does much thinking about whether there's a connection between our war aims and getting rid of Fascism.'
"'I don't think that's a subject for the average American to think about,' he replied.
"Perhaps in that one sentence there is the warning of another war. Reading the views of the soldiers the author interviewed on the future, you get the impression that, if our schools and parents, newspapers and radio have not
educated the men to the issues of war and peace, then they are not going to discover them in the Army.
"Miss Bourke-White is somewhat aghast at this, and not without reason. She says, 'Why was it, I wondered, that the “average American" in and out of the Army shrank from digging into the issues of this war when they concerned him so deeply? I knew, from my previous experience during the Russian war, that all you had to do was give the average Russian an opening, and he would break into impassioned oratory on the subject.
"'He would trace all the relationships, as he saw them, among book burnings, oppression of minorities, racial injustice and war. The average Britisher would make shorter speeches, but would discuss articulately the issues of war and international politics. Even in Chungking, I had heard thoughtful and comprehensive opinions expressed by the Chinese.'
"The battlefront courage of Americans is famous, and so are American ingenuity and speed in getting things done. . . .
"But, like other of the more capable correspondents, Miss Bourke-White gives a warning picture of American minds failing to face up to the grave responsibilities of the political issues of this war."
With this firmly fixed in our minds, let us turn now to the greatest danger and evil which looms up before modern man. Although I have quoted material elsewhere in this book which defines fascism well, I believe the necessity for our complete grasp of all that fascism is, and how fascists operate, compels me to include here this long quotation of excerpts from a War Department Information and Education pamphlet dated 24 March 1945.
Nowhere have I found so terse and succinct an exposition of fascism as this, slanted as it is to enable us ordinary men to identify and fight it even after we have taken off our military uniforms.
“Fascism is not the easiest thing to identify and analyze; nor, once in power, is it easy to destroy. It is important for our future and that of the world that as many of us as possible understand the causes and practices of
fascism, in order to combat it. Points to stress are: (l) fascism is more apt to come to power at a time of economic crisis; (2) fascism inevitably leads to war; (3) it can come in any country; (4) we can best combat it by making our democracy work.
"You are away from home, separated from your families, no longer at a civilian job or at school, and many of you are risking your very lives because of a thing called fascism . . .
". . . If we don't understand fascism and recognize fascism when we see it, it might crop up again--under another label--and cause another war.
"Fascism is a way to run a country--it's the way Italy was run (and Germany and Japan) . . . Fascism is the precise opposite of democracy. The people run democratic governments, but fascist governments run the people." (Note; The United States is not a democracy, and never has been. The Founding Father at the Constitutional Convention drew up the charter for a republic; nowhere in the Constitution does the word "democracy” appear. It is believed, in fact, that the Convention of 1787 was made up of men representing the reaction against the ideas of such revolutionists as Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry; that the membership consisted of men of the propertied class who feared that the unpropertied people might seize control of the government. Therefore they worked out a republic, a controlled or limited democracy, the middle ground between dictatorship and direct representative government. When the writer of this War Department article refers to our "democracy," let us understand that democracy, as such, has yet to be established in the United States. Our generation may well realize this goal, if it chooses.)
"Fascism is government by the few and for the few. The objective is seizure and control of the economic, political, social, and cultural life of the state. Why? The democratic way of life interferes with their methods
and desires for: (l) conducting business; (2) living with their fellow-men; (3) having the final say in matters concerning others, as well as themselves. The basic principles of democracy stand in the way of their desires; hence--democracy must go! Anyone who is not a member of their inner gang has to do what he's told. they permit no civil liberties, no equality before the law . . . . They maintain themselves in power by use of force combined with propaganda based on primitive ideas of 'blood' and 'race' by skillful manipulation of fear and hate, and by false promise of security. The propaganda glorifies war and insists it is smart and 'realistic' to be pitiless and violent.
"Question: How does fascism get in power? How can a violent program that enslaves the people win any support?
"Fascism came to power in Germany, Italy and Japan at a time of social and economic unrest. A small group of men, supported in secret by powerful financial and military interests, convinced enough insecure people that fascism would give them the things they wanted. . . .
"At the very time that the fascists proclaimed that their party was the party of the 'average citizen,' they were in the pay of certain big industrialists and financiers who wanted to run the people with an iron hand.
"The fascists promised everything to everyone: they would make the poor rich and the rich richer . . . To the whole nation they promised glory and wealth by conquest. They asserted it was their right as a 'superior people' to rule the world.
"As soon as these methods had won them enough of a following to form their Storm Troops, the fascists began using force to stifle and wipe out any opposition. Those who saw through the false front of fascism and opposed it were beaten, tortured, and killed. . . .
"The fascists knew that all believers in democracy were their enemies. They knew that the fundamental principle of democracy--faith in the common sense of the common people--was the opposite of the fascist principle of rule by the elite few. So they fought democracy in all its phases. . . . They played the political, religious, social and economic groups against each other and seized power while these groups struggled against each other.
“CAN IT HAPPEN HERE? Some Americans would give an emphatic “No!” to the question "Can fascism come to America after it has been defeated abroad?' They would say that Americans are too smart, that they are sold on the democratic way of life, that they wouldn't permit any group to put fascism over in America . . . Their reaction might be that it is something 'foreign' that Americans would recognize in a minute, like the goose-step. They might feel that we'd laugh it out of existence in a hurry.
"Question: Do all fascists come from Germany, Japan, or Italy?
"In a good many European nations, the people felt the same way some of us do: that fascism was foreign to them and could never become a power in their land. They found, however, that fascist-minded people within their borders, especially with aid from the outside, could seize power. The Germans, of course, made efficient use of fascist-minded traitors whom we have come to know generally as 'the fifth column.'
"In France, which was considered a leading democracy of Europe, the betrayal was spear-headed by a powerful clique of native '100% French' fascists. Norway had its Quisling who was as 'pure blooded' a Norwegian as Laval wag a 'pure-blooded' Frenchman. The Netherlands' Musserts were '100% Dutch,' Belgium's Degrelles '100% Belgian,' and Britain's Mosleys '100% British.' The United States also has its native fascists who say that they are '100% American.'
"Question: Have any groups in America used fascist tactics and appeals?
"Most of the people in America like to be good neighbors. But, at various times and places in our history, we have had sorry instances of mob sadism, lynchings, vigilantism, terror, and suppression of civil liberties. We have had our hooded gangs, Black Legions, Silver Shirts, and racial and religious bigots. All of them, in the name of Americanism, have used undemocratic methods and doctrines which experience has shown can be properly identified as 'fascist.'
“Can we afford to brush them off as mere crackpots? We once laughed Hitler off as a harmless little clown with a funny mustache.
“. . . Whenever free governments anywhere fail to solve their basic economic and social problems, there is always the danger that a native brand of fascism will arise to exploit the situation and the people.
"Question: How can we identify native American fascists at work?
"An American fascist seeking power would not proclaim that he is a fascist. Fascism always camouflages its plans and purposes. Hitler made demagogic appeals to all groups and swore: 'Neither I nor anybody in the national Socialist Party advocates proceeding by anything but constitutional methods.'
"Any fascist attempt to gain power in America would not use the exact Hitler pattern. It would work under the guise of 'super-patriotism' and 'super Americanism.' Fascist leaders are neither stupid nor naive. They know that they must hand out a line that 'sells.' Huey Long is said to have remarked that if fascism came to America, it would be on a program of 'Americanism.'
THREE WAYS TO SPOT U. S. FASCISTS.
"Fascists in America may differ slightly from fascists in other countries, but there are a number of attitudes and practices that they have in common, Following are three. Every person who has one of them is not necessarily a fascist. But he is in a mental state that lends itself to the acceptance of fascist aims.
1. Pitting of religious, racial, and economic groups against one another in order to break down national unity is a device of the 'divide and conquer' technique used by Hitler to gain power in Germany and in
other countries. With slight variations, to suit local conditions, fascists everywhere have used this Hitler method. In many countries, anti-Semitism (hatred of Jews) is a dominant device of fascism. In the United States, native fascists have often been anti-Catholic, anti-Jew, anti-Negro, anti-labor, anti-foreign born. In South America the native fascists use the same scapegoats except that they substitute anti-Protestantism for anti-Catholicism.
Interwoven with the 'master race' theory of fascism is a well-planned 'hate campaign' against minority races, religions, and other groups. To suit their particular needs and aims, fascists will use any one or a combination of such groups as a convenient scapegoat.
2. Fascism cannot tolerate such religious and ethical concepts as 'the brotherhood of man.' Fascists deny the need for international cooperation. These ideas contradict the fascist theory of the 'master race.' The brotherhood of man implies that all people--regardless of color (note Dixie!), race, creed, or nationality--have rights. International co-operation, as expressed in the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, runs counter to the fascist program of war and world domination. . . . Right now our native fascists are spreading anti-British, anti- Soviet, anti-French, and anti-United Nations propaganda. . . .
3. It is accurate to call a member of the communist party a 'communist.' For short, he is often called a 'red.' Indiscriminate pinning of 'Red' on people and proposals which one opposes is a common political device. It is a favorite trick of native as well as foreign fascists. . . . There were many people inside and outside Germany and Italy who welcomed and supported Hitler and Mussolini because they believed fascism was the only safeguard against communism. The 'Red bogey' was a convincing enough argument to help Hitler take and maintain power.
HOW TO STOP IT.
"Question: How can we prevent fascism from developing in the United States?
"The only way to prevent fascism from getting a hold in America is by making our democracy work and by-actively cooperating to preserve world peace and security.
"Lots of things can happen inside of people when they are unemployed or hungry. They become frightened, angry, desperate, confused. Many, in their misery, seek to find somebody to blame. They look for a scapegoat as a way out. Fascism is always ready to drive wedges that will disunite the people and weaken the nation. It supplies the scapegoat--Catholics, Jews, Negroes, labor unions--any group upon which the insecure and unemployed can be brought to pin the blame for their misfortune.
"We all know that many serious problems will face us when the war is over. If there is a period of economic stress it will create tensions among our people, including us as returned veterans. The resentment may be directed against minorities--especially if undemocratic organizations with power and money can direct our emotions and thinking along these lines.
(Let me insert this next quotation parenthetically. It lists specifically what we can do to stop fascism in the United States in the years to come. It is taken from a recent issue of Yank The Army Weekly.
Here are some changes this hospitalized combat infantryman wants to see in post-war America:
1. Socialized medicine. Draft board rejections revealed our national ill health. All America wants to be
1-A, but can't afford it. America can't be 4-F.
2. Full employment. Work for all who want to work. Work lines for breadwinners, not bread lines for jobless.
3. Complete slum clearance. More housing projects. Three-thirds of the nation well-housed. Trailer towns, stove-pipe fabrications, real-estate profiteers and owners who can't bear the noise of soldiers' children must go with the wind.
4. Franchise for 18-year-olds. Some of my buddies who were killed fighting for freedom never had the opportunity to cast their votes. They knew what they fought for and if they had voted they would have known for whom they voted and why.
5. Representative free press. The majority of the American press has not reflected majority public opinion for the past 12 years, as witness the past four Presidential campaigns. The newspapers and magazines
of America better put their ears to the ground instead of the advertising dollar.
6. Broader Educational system. Only a minute percentage of American youth finish college. Give every person with the intelligence and desire, the opportunity to do so. Ability to learn must be substituted for ability to pay.
7. Flood-control extension. Harness all our rivers from coast to coast. Electrify the land with power lines, not with headlines of flood disasters."
France. --Sgt. Joseph S. Edelman)
CITIZEN'S JOB TO FIGHT FASCISM.
"The fascist doctrine of hate fulfills a triple mission. By creating disunity, it weakens democracy. By getting men to hate rather than to think--it prevents men from seeking the real cause and democratic solution of the problem. By fake promises of jobs and security, fascism then tries to lure men to its program as the way out of insecurity. Only by democratically solving the economic problems of our day can there be any certainty that fascism won't happen here. That is our job as citizens.
"Citizenship in a democracy is more than a ballot dropped in a box on Election Day. It's a 365-days-a-year job requiring the active participation and best judgment of every citizen in the affairs of the community, his nation, and his country's relations with the world.
"Fascism thrives on indifference and ignorance. It makes headway when people are apathetic or cynical about their government--when they think of it as something far removed from them and beyond their personal concern. The erection of a traffic light on your block is important to your safety and the safety of your children. The erection of a world organization to safeguard peace and world security is just as important to our personal security. Both must be the concern of every citizen.
"Freedom, like peace and security, cannot be maintained in isolation. It involves being alert and on guard against the infringement not only of our own freedom but the freedom of every American. If we permit discrimination, prejudice, or hate to rob anyone of his democratic rights, our own freedom and all democracy is threatened. (Note, Jersey City!)
"What is true of America is true of the world. The germ of fascism cannot be quarantined in a Munich Brown House or a balcony in Rome. If we want to make certain that fascism does not come to America, we must make certain that it does not thrive anywhere in the world."
In line with the above exposition of fascism--and the explanation that to fight it best we must establish democracy and make it work, in the same sense that the best guarantee against disease is a strong, healthy body, properly nourished and cared for--I want to focus your attention to these vitally important words "On Permanent Peace . . .
“Here are some excerpts from a little booklet written for American soldiers in Europe that are worth attention:
“We have now come to the most critical time of all in this whole world struggle . . . There is such a thing as a decisive military victory, coupled at the same time with an equally decisive defeat of the high aims for which this war was fought. If we reinstate in power, under other names, the same great evils against which we fought, these millions will have died in vain, and we shall have a still more terrible war to fight over again in the years ahead.
"'The world confronted in this war a nation of great military power, built up through more than 50 years of intensive effort; which considered selfish, aggressive wars to be profitable and proper business for a state, and which definitely sought world domination.
"' . . . Germany persistently schooled her entire people until they stood as a virtual unit behind her war ambitions. In Frederic Harrison's searching words: "In all the world's history, no race has been so drilled,
schooled, sermonized into a sort of inverted religion of hate, envy, jealousy, greed, cruelty, and arrogance."
"'That is a terrible indictment; but its essential truth is evinced by the practically complete lack of any note of penitence anywhere among the German people for a frightfulness which was far worse than native barbarism--a frightfulness deliberately adopted, scientifically developed, and philosophically defended.
"'In fact, there has never been so conscious and stupendous an attempt to reverse the moral standards of the race . . .
"'Let one recount . . . what Germany has already lost in this war . . . She has lost her commercial and scientific leadership. She has lost her entire reputation as a truthful, honorable, civilized, and humane power; if she has not lost her real character in all directions. She sought to gain the world; she lost her soul. She has gotten instead the distrust, fear, and hatred even of her own allies; and has won the moral condemnation and abhorrence of the world as no previous nation has ever done. Has ever a nation known such moral isolation as is now hers? The completeness of her collapse and of her present disintegration is the inevitable penalty of violation of eternal moral laws . . .
“A great achievement of the war was that, under its pressure, the peoples who were really seeking a free society of self-respecting and mutually respecting nations were driven to such far-reaching co-operation and companionship in a great unselfish cause, as the world had never before seen . . .
"'If co-operation like this for great unselfish aims may be secured in time of war . . . surely we need not be without hope of the establishment of a permanent League of Free Nations after the war . . .
"'. . . It infinitely concerns us to see that the fight for a new world is not over, but only well begun. This is no time to scuttle back to old indulgences; it is no time for petty, private aims, or for narrow, selfish nationalism . . .
"' . . . You fought for the oncoming of an age that should be more essentially and radically democratic than any that had preceded it . . . You put your life in pledge, for a truer democracy in your own nation; a democracy that should remember its spiritual roots in the essential sacredness of every person; a democracy that should in the old sense have no privileged classes; a democracy in which no human being should be a mere convenience for another. . .' 'Are we Americans to repeat on another continent the terribly mistaken arrogance of the German, in our relations to the colored races? This is the "acid test for occidental civilization."
“'If America aspires, on the other hand, to be the truest and greatest of democracies, she must both enlarge and deepen her democratic ideal . . .
"'IT WILL REQUIRE THAT AMERICA SHALL NOT REMAIN THE ONLY GREAT NATION WITHOUT A REAL NATIONAL MINISTER OF EDUCATION. IT WILL REQUIRE A THOROUGH-GOING NATIONAL POLICY CONCERNING THE HEALTH OF THE PEOPLE AND CONCERNING ESPECIALLY ALL ITS CHILDREN. IT WILL REQUIRE THAT ITS LAWS AND ITS INSTITUTIONS SHALL BE THINKING PRIMARILY, NOT OF THE INTERESTS OF PROPERTY, BUT OF THE INTERESTS OF PERSONS; THAT IT SHALL BE RECOGNIZED THAT LAWS AND INSTITUTIONS ARE MADE FOR MAN, NOT MAN FOR LAWS AND INSTITUTIONS. IT WILL REQUIRE THE PATIENT WORKING THROUGH OF THE BAFFLING PROBLEMS OF A TRULY DEMOCRATIC POLICY, IN THE INTERESTS OF THE WHOLE PEOPLE, AS TO THE DISCOVERY AND USE OF NATURAL FORCES; AS TO THE CONTROL AND UTILIZATION OF NATURAL RESOLVES; AS TO THE MANAGEMENT AND OWNERSHIP OF PUBLIC UTILITIES; AND AS TO THOSE MANIFOLD SOCIAL MALADJUSTMENTS THAT STILL BLOT OUR RECORD AS A NATION.
"'And beyond all the borders of America itself, an enlarged and deepened democratic ideal will require world-vision, world-thinking, world-responsibility . . . The time of our isolation is gone. Those are BLIND who deny it.'
"The above excerpts on permanent peace were not written for the soldiers of this war at all, but for the soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force in France awaiting return to America after winning the last war.
"The booklet from which they were taken, For a New America in a New World, was written by Henry Churchill King, educator, religious leader, and director of the Religious Work Department of the YMCA in France during the last war. The booklet was printed in Paris and passed out to members of the victorious American Army by the YMCA in 1919. King died in 1934 . . ."
WHAT TO DO
With apologies to Lyov Tolstoy
And each asking of the other what to do
In the meantime one
A small-town editor writes the truth about profit and starvation.
And one knocks at a broken door and when it opens hands in a loaf of bread.
And one, step by step, all day long, walks to this laborer and that saying united we stand, divided we fall.
And one, the worker's friend, says Vote, Speak, for you are the Government,
By you your leaders rise or fall.
And one, the educator, says to the child, A. B. C. and to the adult,
Learn! Know that the world grows smaller!
And one, the minister, says to all, Love thy neighbor as thyself.
And one, the lover of his fellow man says Take, from each according to his ability?
Give, to each according to his need.
And so from the heart comes the answer
Of him who does and serves
That by degrees
And new and better world
May be made.
F. B-29 Missions Today.
You can always tell when the planes are getting ready for another mission against the Japanese. Driving along the airstrips or the service aprons you will see ammunition trucks lined up for great distances, each loaded with demolition bombs, incendiaries, or aerial bombs. Men of the Ammunition Section handle these munitions at bomb storage dumps. You will see also the ground crews--mechanics, armorers, gasoline gangs--working on the planes themselves. Every once in a while in some part of the field a plane's engines will be tested, and their deafening roar and vibration accompany clouds of dust whirling back of the plane. This will serve as a reminder that all through the preceding hours--day and night--warehousemen and clerks handled requisitions for parts, and maintenance men installed them into the planes. A tense excitement grips the whole field, sometimes the whole island.
The take-off is "sweated out" "by all of us, even when we can get no nearer to the planes than standing in the doorways of our warehouses, mess halls, or orderly rooms. Sometimes, if we are off duty, we go down to the Field to watch. “On mission day people are out early to see the start. Soldiers in groups sit on favorite high spots around the field--on tops of buildings, on tops of bulldozers along the runway, on mounds that give a better view--and even a few bold souls stand at the very end of the runway to snap amateur pictures, as the thundering planes pass just over their heads. . .
"These Marianas Islands are so small that any plane taking off is out over water within a few seconds. It is a goose-fleshy sensation to see the plane clear the "bluff "by a mere few feet, and then sink out of sight toward the water. This is because the pilots nose down a little to get more flying speed. Pretty soon you see them come up into sight again. . .
"No sooner have the B-29 formations disappeared to the north on their long flight to Japan than single planes begin coming back in.
"These are called 'aborts,' which is short for abortives. It is a much-used word around a bomber base.
"The 'aborts' come straggling back all day. They are planes that had something happen to them which forbade them continuing on the long, dangerous trip. Sometimes it happens immediately after take-off. Sometimes it doesn't happen until they are almost there.
"Those men left on the field will idly look at their watches as the long day wears on, mentally clocking the progress of their comrades.
“'They're about sighting the mainland now,' you'll hear somebody say.
“'They should be over the target by now, I'll bet they're catching hell,' comes a little later from somebody.
"By late afternoon you look at your watch and know that by now, for good or bad, it is over with. You know they're far enough off the coast that the last Jap fighter has turned for home, and left our men alone with the night and the awful returning distance and their troubles . . .
"Our planes bomb in formation and stick together until they've left the Japanese coast, and then they break up and each man comes home on his own.
"It's almost spooky the way they can fly through the dark night, up there above all that ocean, for more than six hours, and all arrive here at these islands almost a few minutes of each other.”
Some planes go down over the target---eleven men in each plane, others are ditched or lost to the sea. The rescue of crews when they bail out is accomplished speedily by destroyers, carriers, or submarines.
"Sweating in" the planes is another tense ritual. One morning--the day our planes were coming back from their first low-level incendiary attack--I walked the length of one of the airstrips. Ground crews, engineers, grounded filing personnel, and men with nothing else to do just then, lounged about in little groups, talking quietly, smoking hard, trying hard to appear casual and calm about their ships return. The planes landed within seconds of each other, and everyone strained his eyes to identify his ship by the tail numbers. As soon as a group of men spotted their ship they would spring up and run to the hard-stand, gesticulatingly wildly to the weary crew. The plane taxis to a stop, its engines roar a final loud blast, and then it settles tiredly to rest. The sudden silence makes your skin tingle. One by one the crew clambers out of the bomber, and each man is lost in a small crowd noisy with cheers, wisecracks, slaps on backs, and big ears for the story of the raid.
It is not much different at night, except for the added mystery of the darkness. Great searchlight beams guide the planes by serving as landmarks. Sometimes those tall white spires look a little weird among the clouds in the black sky. As the planes circle the island and come in for a landing they turn on all their lights, flooding the sea and the island with light brighter than that of a full moon.
Here are a couple of items which I think we will want to remember always for the part we played in making them possible--which surely was nothing near the grand scale imagined by our hometown newspapers when they later carried a press release by Major General LeMay.
'"A dream came true last week (11--17 March) for U. S. Army aviators; they got their chance to loose avalanches of fire bombs on Tokyo and Nagoya, and they proved that, properly kindled, Japanese cities will burn like autumn leaves.
"In Tokyo, where the main administrative and business section had been rebuilt in reinforced concrete after the 1923 earthquake, the B-29 firebirds' commanders selected a 10-square mile area of flimsier construction, east of the Imperial Palace. In Nagoya--which had suffered little from earthquakes, and so had not been modernized-- it was a 5-square mile area in the heart of the city.
"For these strikes, 300 Superforts flew from Saipan, Tinian, and (for the first time) from Guam. Each carried seven to eight tons of 500-lb clusters of new M-69 incendiary bombs. Each cluster comprised scores of 6-lb incendiary bombs containing a jelly-gasoline compound. The total: about 700,000 incendiaries.
"The great planes took off about sunset. At Tokyo there were few enemy night fighters in the air, and the anti-aircraft fire was set for 20,000 to 30,000 feet. This time, the B-29s foxed the Jap gunners and came in between 5,000 and 7,000. Visibility was good; the wind was moderate.
". . . Never before had there been an incendiary attack of comparable scale. The Luftwaffe's 'great fire raid' on the City of London, (29 December 1940) made with a maximum of 200 tons of incendiaries, burned not more than one square mile. Major General Curtis E. LeMay's firebirds were in another league.”
"'Red fire clouds kept creeping high and the tower of the Parliament building stuck out black against the background of the red sky. During the night we thought the whole of Tokyo had been reduced to ashes.'
"A Jap broadcaster thus described the havoc wrought by last fortnight's great B-29 fire raid on the Japanese capital. U. S. airmen gave much of the credit to a new type of incendiary bomb called the M-69.
"The military use of fire, which goes back at least to Samson's day (he tied firebrands to the tails of 300 foxes, and loosed them in the fields of the Philistines), has been developed in World War II to a fearsome degree. At the beginning of the war, both sides relied mainly on thermite and magnesium-filled bombs. Such bombs, as every air-raid warden knows, burn with terrible fury but are comparatively easy to put out if attacked in time.
“The U. S. Army, casting about for a better and more easily produced bomb, found an answer in M-69, developed by the Standard Oil Development Co. (N.J.) an Esso research outfit.
"The Esso incendiary is a 6½-lb., 19-inch length of six-sided pipe filled with gasoline thickened to a sticky, raspberry-pink jelly by the addition of a secret powder. . . .
"Dropped in loose clusters of 14, or 'aimable' clusters of 38, the finless oil-bombs are exploded by a time fuse four or five seconds after landing. Whereupon M-69s become miniature flame-throwers (Esso's gasoline jelly is used in the Army's flame-thrower, affectionately called the 'G. I. hot-foot') that hurl cheesecloth socks full of furiously flaming goo for 100 yards. Anything these socks hit is enveloped by clinging, fiery pancakes, each spreading to more than a yard in diameter. Individually, these can be extinguished as easily as a magnesium bomb. But a single oil-bomb cluster produces so many fiery pancakes that the problem for the fire fighters, like that of a mother whose child has got loose in the jam pot, is where to begin."
How effective are B-29 raids against the Jap home islands? Is our investment in this plane and in these Marianas bases proving worthwhile? The answer is best stated by General LeMay in his statement of 11 March 1945:
"The B-29's from bases on Saipan, Tinian and Guam attacked with incendiary bombs in the early hours of Saturday, March 10, an urban industrial area of Tokyo consisting of ten square miles, centered about 10,000 feet east-northeast of the Emperor's palace. The palace itself was not a target. The area attacked is now entirely burned out and an area consisting of five square miles surrounding it is similarly gutted by fire. This fire left nothing but twisted, tumbled down rubble in its path. These facts are incontrovertibly established by reconnaissance photographs taken on the afternoon of the strike. The area totally destroyed by this incendiary strike, clearly identifiable in these photographs, covers a total of 422,500,000 square feet which is approximately 9,700 acres or 15 square miles.
"Eight identifiable industrial and urban targets lie in ruins within the destroyed area, including the previously damaged Ueno Railroad Station, the Rising Sun Petroleum Terminal, the Ogura Oil Company, the Nisshin Spinning Mill, the Japan Machine Industry, the Marunouchi Telephone Exchange, Kanda Market, Hattori Company, etc. Hundreds of small business establishments directly concerned with the war industry, many important administrative buildings, and other thousands of home industries were also in the area now wiped out.
"So much for the facts of accomplishments, the statistics of devastation. As the commander of the air crew members who flew and fought this mission, and as the commander of other officers and men who by their work on the ground at our bases here in the Marianas made this mission possible, I have something else to say at this time. What I want to say is not 'easy to say. I shall try to say it as if I were saying it to the people at home who belong to my officers and men and to whom my officers and men belong.
"I believe that all those under my command on these island bases have by their participation in this single operation shortened this war. To what extent they have shortened it no one can tell. But I believe that if there has been cut from its duration only one day or one hour, my officers and men have served a high purpose. They will pursue that purpose stubbornly. They are fighting for a quicker end to this war and will continue to fight for a quicker end to it with all the brains and strength they have."
* * * *
G. Remember Them By . . .
S. Sgt. Hall W. Thompson: 'I'll bet you $5.00 that when MacArthur retired as Chief of Staff in 1935 he retired as a three-star temporary-permanent general. Don't try to tell me different, 'cause I know. I remember at the time . . . Oh, well, Lt. Tinkle, Sir, . . .
Pfc. Charles J. Hawkins) “What, only six letters for me today. Golleeee!
: Somebody's slippin', that's all I gotta say.”
Pfc. Tony F. Putich )
Major Leslie R. Hopper: Why didn't you have your trench knife out for inspection, Lovdjieff?
Lovdjieff: No excuse, Sir.
Major Hopper: You understand, don't you, Lovdjieff, that when I have an announcement put in the Daily Bulletin and posted on the Bulletin Board--and you probably typed this particular announcement yourself --I expect everyone concerned to comply with it. That's no excuse!
S. Sgt. Robert H. (Bronze Star) Simmons: "Now if those vouchers were signed by Stock Control before they cleared through Tech Co-ordination at Guam, same's all requisitions are done here, then the Warehouse Officer and Shipping and Receiving wouldn't have to. . . .”
M. Sgt. Charles R. Graham: You know what? I been thinkin'. Yeah boy, I got it figured out." "The war will end Thanksgiving Day! Golly damn, everything points to it! I know but consider . . . You gotta aksenchuate the positive . . . don't fence me in where the pinksbonnets grow.”
Zimmer at the mail window: (You guess whether it's Anthony F. or George J.)
Any mail today?
No mail for me?
How about my brother?
No mail came in at all?
Only a few V-Mails.
But, I got nothing, huh?
How about packages or newspapers?
What, do you see any?
No, but I thought maybe . . . Hey, Lovey, think there'll be any mail tonight?
Look, Zimmer . . . (Black out!)
1st. Lt. Theodore W. Shaffner: I'm glad to see the men a little unhappy at the first three graders eating separately in the ness hall. It's a good sign for three reasons: first, it makes the men of the lower grades want to be first three graders; second, they work harder and do their jobs Better; and third, by doing better work they help accomplish our mission more speedily and thereby shorten the war. Now bear this in mind. The deal is this . . .
2nd. Lt. (since made 1st.) Nate Weinstein: It's Army Tradition to have first three graders mess separately, but in all the places I've been in I've never seen any officers' mess anywhere in which officers of field rank ate separately
from officers of lower rank. (Hold on a minute, Lieutenant. Should that not make second lieutenants, first lieutenants, and captains work all the harder and shorten our stay in the Marianas by making major?)
T. Sgt. George E. (Kegler) Hardt: Come on, men, this is draw day (it sounds about as important as Colorado Day to a Hoosier) got a lot to do . . . Twenty trucks to unload this morning. . . . I know how much you hate the Readers' Digest, Lovdjieff, but did my copy come in yet?
My Nominations for Outstanding Character in the Squadron:
Pfc. Arthur J. Sullivan (Brockton, Mass.)
Pfc. Thomas J. Nye (Brooklyn, Asia)
Pfc. Adam J. George Hercel (Berlin, New Jersey)
Cpl. John G. Burke (Philly-Pew, Pennsylvania)
Runners up include these men when they leave their plates in their footlockers:
"Pop" Leslie Gresham--(formerly with us.)
"Pot" Steve T. Jaworski--(Beerburg, Minnesota)
Cpl. C. J. Barry: I went out for basketball at St. Johns, but even though I didn't make. . . Nugent's all right, he's a damn good actor, but that last play's the thing that ruined him, just like Hellzapoppin' ruined Faye. . . . No, I don't think so. As I sawr it, the idear seems to be . . . .
Cpl. Ricardo G. Llanos: Getting soft, oyes! Look, feel my arm, like jelly. Used to be like rock when I came in the Army. Now, no good for_____. Got any mail for me, cabrone? Ai, Nita's on the ball, no?
The GAY? CAVALIERROS: "Lindo capullo de alili, Situ su pieras me dolor . . . .”
Pfc. Cecilio V. Diaz (Tito Quizar, Jr.)
Cpl. Lusiano Santos (the Crackers and the Hoppers depended on him!)
Pvt. John Villareal (Chicago's zoot-suit Clubbe Pres.)
Pfc. Steve Garza (quiet but hept)
Pvt. Daniel Barrera ("pachuko!")
Cpl. Ricardo G. Llanos (Tu sinarquista, pendejo!)
Pfc. Alonzo M. Sanchez (I've never seen him angry.)
Cpl. John (Rev.) Stetz: If it isn't in the Bible how can it be true? Man's knowledge (meaning science) is always changing, but God's Truth never does. Why should I be concerned with something that will change tomorrow? The Bible is the Truth, and it will never change.
Cpl. Edward Anderson: What, no respect for age? . . . Any mail today? I thought so. I've been waiting for this one from Scranton. You're a genius in a small sort of way!
S. Sgt. Ned P. Buchanan: Enithin from mah honey tudday? Jest as I thought . . . Who me? I feel fine n dandy, honey chile. No, no beer tonight, got some Ping and Zagnut, though, and warm tamater juice. . . Reckon I'll get me a letter from my baby?
Pfc. Blake B. (Migraine) Cunningham, Sr.: Major, Sir, I want to be friends with everyone, and I want everyone to be friends with me . . . That's what we're supposed to be fightin' for, and dyin' for, an' if we cain't have it right here amongst ourselves, then I say . . . Here, Tinny, let Reilly feed you. I know, Tinny, but I gotta play ball.
HOMETOWNS we've heard most about:
Walsenburg, Colorado (now I wonder why, let me see . . .)
Springfield, Mass, and the Berkshires, and Forest Park, ad infinitum!
Sumter, South Carolina (How about it, $66-a-month Isee-man!)
Nyawk, Nyawk (sop to Barry and Kudisch)
Holyoke, Mass. (I understand it's Walsenburg's eastern suburb, Lyman.)
Needham, Mass. (When do we get out to civilized kentry, Hersey?)
Cleveland, Ohio (Awright, DeGross, "but I still think it's like going from one hell-hole to another.)
Chicago, Ill. (plenty ill, all right, eh what, Dave Anderson, Cuydih, Bimmel?)
Syracuse, Nyawk (Of course we agree, Orr, but can't you see . . .)
LaCross, Kan (You know what you can do with all of Kansas, don't you Stratton?)
Pf c. Louis M. DeGross: What do you mean I'm a white darkey? Watch that stuff, buddy, or your name'll be mud, see? . . . Ah, a babe! Not bad, eh, even if it is only a pitcher. Did, I ever tell ya about the time me and Roark wuz in Seattle? Well, it was the last night anyone got passes . . .
Sgt. Oscar A. May: Hell, yes, I volunteered. I'm a practical man, and you can't____me off! So how dyou like that!
Sgt. William A. (Irish Spud) Gannon: The more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to agree with Hercel . . . I'm tellin' ya those wimmin in Kansas City are terrific. Boy, I sure wouldn't mind stoppin' there on my way back. I actually have dreams of holdin' a babe in one hand, a bottle in the other, and a steak and a big heap of fried potatoes on my lap!
Nice TOMB companions, with plenty of exercises in s-i-l-e-n-c-e, shushshshsh!
Cpl. Ed Anderson (Gray hair and face.)
Pfc. Fred C. States (Do they make man any nicer?)
S. Sgt. William J. Hand (Ammunition Section swears by him.)
Pfc. Peter J. Sabol (A hard worker whose favorite name is Josephine!)
Now these other "quiet" birds are fittin' buddies in a steel mill:
Pfc. Gene W. Odell (at a crap game!)
Sgt. James A. Hand (at orientation, or when it comes to exploring caves and handling booby traps.)
Sgt. John E. Roark (when it comes to being overworked, snafu in his office, and general persecution!)
Cpl. Harold Iseman (On the virtues of a somebody in Iowa, of Dixie, etc.)
Pfc. Adam J. Hercel (At every aspersion on Joisey City and His Highness, Hague)
Cpl. Max Neufeld (Anytime anybody says anything.)
Pfc. Robert W. Ragan: Don't stand there like a stampede. Here! Help me with this bomb.
Cpl. Charles J. (Beacon's Beak) Crum: Nothin' wrong with me (snap, crackle, pop!) that cyanide or Beacon wouldn't cure.
Pfc. Theodore W. Zwer: Well, boys, another money order home today. That makes three-fifty so far this month.
Pfc. Michael J. (Mickey) Gaudio: You'd be tired too if you lifted 500-lb. bombs all day.
Sgt. Clarence E. (Bluff?) Jordan: When I went out for football, or even when I learned how to swim I never had it bother me. Of course my grand-aunt on my mother's side was the Fat Lady with Barnum and Bailey, but that should not affect me, or should it? But I love peanut butter and jam on bread with plenty of bacon fat mixed with gravy. . . . Golly, it makes me lose my temper when you give a guy the facts and he won't see 'em. (Take heart, Jordan, remember this every time you begin to hate men as men:
"In the time of your life, live--so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding-place and let it be free and unashamed. Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are the things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart. Be the inferior of no man, nor of any man be the superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle, but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret. In the time of your life, live--so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile at the infinite delight and mystery of it."
(By William Saroyan.)
Grandpap's Stiff-Back Clubbe. Charter Members:
Cpl. Benjamin Govier, Jr. (Chicago)
Sgt. Oscar A. May (Nyawk, Florida, etc.--mostly Army)
Cpl. Elmer D. Slade (Tiffin, Ioway) (
Pfc. Clarence L. Cooper (K.C., Kansas)
Pvt. Steve T. Jaworski (Milwaukee)
Pfc. William V. Johnson (New Rochelle, Nyawk)
Pvt. Earnest C. Hudson (Bishop, Mahrlund)
S. Sgt. Nedro P. (Mother) Buchanan (Decatur, Alabamy)
Cpl. Lloyd R. Glaus (Dayton, Ohio)
Pfc. Walter C. VonVelsen (Nyawk, or thereabouts, anyway, the "Von" is an honorary title among Dutch names.)
The novices in this austere order are these- lowly critters:
Cpl. David Goldstein (He won't have to buck hard for membership much longer)
Cpl. Edward Anderson (There is Rome question of eligibility. Some of the members feel he should seek membership with the past-grandfathers' circle, the Casket Ring, or some such noble group of sires.)
Sgt. Charles W. Bailey (He'd be Grand Exalted Ruler, if only he'd stop being so damned energetic at his age!)
Pfc. Anthony Jankowski (His pot makes him only middle-aged.)
Whenever someone in Ammunition Section threatens to take Pfc. Peter J. Sabol to work with him, Pete says, "Why? I never lost anything out there!"
T. Sgt. Adolph J. Szawica: Any packages come in today? What? But I been sweatin' one out for over a week now.
Cpl. Joseph H. Karpowica: What do you mean I talk with a New England accent? I never noticed it. One thing sure, I cahn't talk any other way.
S. U. T. C. Notes:
On St. Pat's Day, 1944 the men named in these remarks bade farewell to the Pocono "Puka" (Hawaiian for hell-hole), Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania. They were damn glad of it, too, but they felt a little sad at having to say good-bye to such other towns as Scranton, New York City, and Philadelphia. Or was I alone in these mixed feelings? Where were they going? To Robins Field, my pretty child. Why? To form a cadre for a not new outfit in which ratings would be limited only by the sky.
Now, more than a year later, they have learned from bitter experience that snafu, "ungentlemanness", and pukas are not limited to Tobyhanna alone. But what gets their goat more than anything else is to see the "Buddy Bulletin" still drivelling and burning votive lights to the sacred memory of such abhorrent names as Cressey, Ciardello, Annenberg, and Pearl, and to the host of smaller fry with whom buzz-buzz deals sizzled so warmly and so long. For my part, I will always hate the thing for which Tobyhanna stands, and I want to forget it, though sometimes I think it's as hard as ignoring hunger before a meal. For my part, too, I want to remember--to treasure the memory always--such men of Tobyhanna as Major ORMIE C. LANCE and First Lieutenant DONALD ZIMMERMAN, the Chaplain. They were the only gentlemen among all that horde of commissioned officers, for they are gentlemen by no legislature's "act" but their own. Perhaps these men agree with me: Cpl. Edward Anderson, Sgt. Charles F. Crum, Sgt. G. Earl York, S. Sgt. Jack M. Stahl, Cpl. Armando Santangelo, Cpl. David Goldstein, and Pfc. Saul J. Kudisch. On this island of the Marianas are such other graduates of Tobyhanna as Sgt. John Holsworth, Cpl. John Godzisz, Sgt. William Lubliner, Cpl. Raymond Vogel, Sgt. John Spohn, First Sgt. John Waugamann II, T. Sgt. Harold F. Albertson, Cpl. Frank McCloskey, Sgt. Vincent Iamepetro, Sgt. Mathew Hoffman, Cpl. Marion Steward, Cpl. Charles Neerman, S. Sgt. Sydney Earhart, Cpl. Paul Patent, Pfc. Walter Edwards, Pfc. Warren Hansen, and Cpl. Ignacio Garcia. (Cpl. John Tarr, also in the Marianas, visited with us recently.)
Pfc. David F. (Ichabod) Anderson: Ann Corio and John Dewey, now there you have a real pair! What those two couldn't do to me! . . . .There's so much stuff I want to read I'll be 50 years old before I make a dent in it. Gosh, and imagine! Two more years of this army, life, and I'll be 21! The thought almost kills me how fast I'm getting old.
Pfc. Saul J. Kudisch: What's happening to you, dear, you're going to the dogs, drinking all that beer? . . . Any mail for Kudisch, Kudsich, or even Kudsick? What, none? Not even a teensy letter from my wife? I happen to think you're a helluva dear, I guess you know that.
Cpl. Robert P. Hood: It's in passages like parts of the first moment that you hear the real Tschaikowsky. Boy, that guy could really write music, and I'm not kidding!
Pfc. Adam J. (Hague II) Hercel: Good evening men, wotcha got to eat? Nothin'! Goodnight, then. Waduya mean I come ta eat only? I come just to be sociable see, to visit Mac and Bymel. . . . Aw, get wise for crisake. You been readin' too many books. I know, I've been around. . . . What do you know about Mary Jane. Now yer bein' nosey. Kiss my royal Polish-American ___ you no good half a ____!
S. Sgt. Jack M. (Petroleum Street, Grease Alley, Oil City, Pa.) Stahl: Aw, be a sport. You know I can't come in to sign that statement of charges today. I'm too busy, ever since they made me ATLAS of the B-29's out here. The planes gotta get out today, and I'll get the blame if they . . .
PEACE IN TENT ONE
or, WHO GOT THE LAST PIECE?
or, TINY G-R-O-W-L-S AGAIN.
(A two-minute meller-drammer. Scene: Tent one. The Time: Evening, after the movie. Inmates are lounging on cots, and are partially or "unpartially" dressed. Some read, some gripe, others are seen sprinkling the last crumbs of a jelly-roll down their gaping gullets. Enter TWO-TON TINY HASSLER, beaming, radiant, sweet-smelling (thanks to Ruth), fresh from a cold shower!)
Hassler: (Looking around at the all too-contented faces) You mean youse guys dint save me no jelly roll?
Bymel: (Shocked at the discovery, throwing up his arms in a gesture of horror and despair) But it was out here, Tiny. Everybody just helped themselves. I didn't pay no attention who got some and who didn't, or else I woulda saved you some. I just thought there was enough for everybody.
Hassler: Oh, sure everybody musta helped themselves, cause lookit, it's all gone!
Bymel: (Desperate now.) Aw, for crisake, how could I know? It ain't my fault, you didn't get any. You could have had some and you know it. Where the hell were you till now?
Hassler: Washin' up, thas where. (Shaking his massive paw menacingly at Bymel) It's awright, though, it's awright. Nice tuh know the kinda guys. . yuz turned out to be. Sonofabitchin' hungry bastards! And after all I do for yuz too.
Lovdjieff: (Meekly) I guess I ate your piece, Tiny, I had three.
Barry: I must have eaten your share 'cause I had two.
Hassler: (Growling under his breath about getting even) (Then softly) I didn't even have some for dinner.
Bymel: Why dincha? Huh? You coulda. It was right in front of ya. All you had to do was reach out and grab some. You coulda had as much as you wanted.
Hassler: Well, I didn't. That don't change things any now. Besides, that's no excuse for you guys not savin' me some now.
Lovdjieff: (Privately to Goldstein) Imagine that, bitchin' now. But you know what? He came up to me at noon today in the orderly room, braggin' "Guess what I had for dinner?" What, I asked him, "Oh, some roast-pork--damned good--with sweet potatoes n fresh cel'ry n jelly roll." Jelly roll? But the mess hall's serving C ration stew and chocolate pudding! "Did I say I ate in the mess hall?" Well, where the hell did you eat then?" Why should I tellya? Boy, but it was good, an' I had all I wanted." He acted awfully smart about it, stroking that belly of his, and beaming like a brass door-knob. Now he's got the guts to belly-ache 'cause we didn't save him any jelly roll.
Goldstein: (To Hassler) So that's the way it is; to hell with the rest of the guys as long as your own trough's full. You've got nothin' to kick about, you big fat slob.
Hassler: Aw, who the hell's talkin' to you? Yer always buttin' in somethin' that don't concern ya. Damn right I had a good dinner, but that's no reason for youse guys to take it out on me now. How many times you get breaks and I don't say nothin'. That's awright, I'll remember this.
Goldstein: What do you mean you'll remember this.
Hassler: You heard me.
Goldstein: Aw, go to sleep willya? You'll feel better and so will we. Now be a good little boy, and do as daddy tellsya. Take it easy gettin on that cot. Want to rupture it? There. Feel better already don't you! Want me to tuck, you in? No? Might catch cold and die. You know how these nights are.
(Hassler actually stretches out on his cot after carefully exposing his enormous, very pale (''like icing running down a cake") right leg all the way up to his thigh. The cot creaks, straining with pain under Tiny's crushing weight. Quiet slowly settles in the tent. Suddenly Bob turns the lights out!)
Pfc. William V. (Marianas with one "n") Johnson: I don't know what the rest of you guys are doin' here. The Ammunition Section's winnin' this war.
Cpl. Vincent J. Cuddy: I don't know who could have taken it. I laid it right here, Wheeler, honestly I did.
M. Sgt. Howard L. Kinzler: They're worth $280 a month . . .
Pvt. Steve T. Jaworski: At least I got my diamond ring' back . . . Wheeler, how do you use this stuff, huh? Spray it, pour it, drink it, burn it, or what?
Pvt. Joe J. Castulik: What time to you close tonight, Chick, so I can come in the last thing?
Pvt. Donald T. Morris: Any mail come in for me? Haven't I got anything at all? Oh, sorry, I didn't notice the sign.
Pfc. George W. (Evenin' Bulletin) Neeld: Oh, hell yes, when Commiskey was leadin' with a battin' average of 460 in '38, McGuire was manager and that same year Jacobs pitches without a single error. Boy, what an arm that man had! In football Holloran made all-American, but that was after Forrest Whetstone played for Walsenburg High and before Ridge and the Hendrix twins were heard of. That guy could really fly down a gridiron. That was the only year Detroit had any kind of a team, that is a team that got anywhere in the League. Jackie Simms kicked the bucket about that time, didn't he, and remember Pie-Face Duggan? . . .
Pfc. Thomas J. (CO-PPO-LA!) Nye: Now, now, coporal! Any mail for me? . . . I've heard of Williamsburg, even been there, it's a tough neighborhood, but I'm from another part of Brooklyn. My wife read the book and seen the pitcher. I'm waitin' for it now. . . . Awright, awright, just 'cause ya made Pfc's no sign to get the idea you're sompun big, see!
Pvt. James R. (Bobby-Sock Kid) Wilson: Just think, if I wasn't pilotin' these boxes around in Air Corps Supply. I could be relaxin' on some ship in the Merchant Marine.
Pfc. Lewis E. Flohra: Why don't you believe married men should get out first. You may be helpin' your folks, but I gotta wife and kid.
Pfc. Arthur J. Sullivan: (To William R. Guida) I didn't say do all the work, just most of it. Pride of Brockton, that's me, and I'm proud, of the Irish blood in me. Take advantage of my bum arm, will ya.. Let this be a lesson.
Cpl. Robert J. Mullen: Captain Mackey, Sir, this is Cpl. Mullen calling about those spark plugs on that 81 you sent down last week. I got the spark plugs, all right, but they're for P-47's not B-29's, and I lost that 81 and found another you sent down yesterday. Now, do you think it . . .
Pfc. William R. Guida: When was you in Altoona? Yeah? Remember the Hair-pin curse just before you come into Altoona? My father used to drive a locomotive through there for thirty-five years. Had a grand-uncle who helped lay that track. . . . When do you think we'll be getting out of here?
Cpl. David (last of the Mohawks) Chubb: Any smoke signals for me in the mail?
Pfc. Bernard A. Olomon: (Hometown: Garden City, Kansas) All I'm waitin' for is to get my discharge and be free again. You know, after this war, I'm gonna get me a cabin somewhere up in the mountains of Colorado, and just stay there. Boy, that's beautiful country, especially up around the Garden of the Gods. . . . (I understand, Bunny, I assure you.)
Cpl. Gilbert V. Burrier: (After almost three years in the Army without a promotion, he moved his cot down to the warehouse with S. Sgt. Robert H. Simmons. He made corporal in four days. Sometime later Pfc. Robert L. Pow
traded bunk areas with Sgt. Simmons, and--you guessed it! He made corporal in two days! Why don't you try this, Ernie?) Now that you've got that story down, what do you want me to say? (Why anything you want to be
remembered by, Burrier) OK, put me down as sayin' a three-year pass to the U.S. would fix me up fine.
Pvt. Earnest Clifton Hudson: Whut kinda mess sargunt is 'e. He don' yell 'tenshun when the major he walk in or when he walk yite. I been ina Army for two year now an' I learnt 'at the first day. Regelations say you sposed to call 'tention when major he walk in. I tole 'im and y'know what he say? He say, Hudson, why don't you be the mess sargunt and let me take carea da water. Yeah, thas what he tole me. Now whuduya thinka a man like that? Awright, I tole him, I'll tradeya, an' be glad to enny ole time you ready. He din't say nut tin then, jus turned and walked yite. . . . Whuduya mean Chief bodder me? He gotta do what I say or else the mess officer git atter him.
Cpl. Lloyd R. Claus: I used to sing with a dance band, all right, but that was before I ever got married. Used to have some good times on those Saturday nights. Can't do it anymore, though. . . . Tell you what I like: limburger cheese with hot peppers, no bread, no nothing. You can't beat it! ... The payroll's ready for signature. It's in the orderly room. You better sign it unless you want to get red-lined! Where's Barry?
Cpl. John G. Burke: They offered me a job extracting alcohol from torpedoes down at the navy bomb dump. Somebody told 'em about me working for Schenley's once. Trouble is, they wanted to store the alcohol in lister bags with ice, and I learned that it would spoil that way. They wouldn't believe me when I told them doctors found my stomach lined with copper! So they gave Stetz the job. They said they'd heard about Szawica and Mixon but couldn't even consider them.
Joseph J. Coppola: Any mail for Nye, Coppola, and Petock? . . . How about puttin' in a good word for me now and then, you know, nothin' much, only let 'em know what I'm doin', the kinda record I got, my civilian
background--you know . . .
S. Sgt. Jeff M. Graham. (Is there anything, any characteristic mannerism or remark we can remember Jeff by? Does the phrase “Lord Jeff” suggest anything? Men who've been with Jeff for two years racked their brains but came up with nothing to help me here. Can that be indicative of something?)
Suggested Names for the title of MOST CIVILIZED MAN at the Mail Window:
Cpl. William J. (just plain Joe) Huddleston (Home in Indiana)
S. Sgt. William J. Hand (Birmingham, Alabama)
Cpl. John G. Burke and Pfc. Lewis E. Flohra: Always come together, more often than not they have no mail.
Cpl. Louie Santos
Pfc. Homer T. Harris (No mail for me I 'spect.)
Pfc. William R. Guida
Pfc. (Cpl.) Robert L. Pow (Did my momie write me?)
Cpl. Joseph X. Snyder (He with the real form at third base)
Pfc. Fred C. States and certainly Pvt. Robert H. Feeback of Texas
If you were to piece together the following anatomical parts, wodda hunka man yud get, huh?
Jesse L. Martin's militarism and wavy hair.
Earl York's deep pinks eyes--except when he's wearing sun-glasses which look like saucers on his face.
Harold Hassler's "blush of youth" complexion.
David T. Spencer's chest--with only about half the hair, though, and that discriminately distributed. (What was it Sammy Cordova used to tell you, Spence? “Aw go on, you were born like that!”)
John G. Burke's beard (and thirst)
George Hercel's cackle.
Arthur (Shorty) Sullivan's wit.
John H. Lyman's glasses.
Alonzo M. Sanchez' courtesy and politeness.
John Stetz's sincerity of purpose.
David Goldstein's fearlessness and frankness.
Stanley B. Huso's methodical, practical intelligence. (And I don't mean it in the sense that Oscar May uses it.) Clarence L. Cooper's and Charles R. Smith's ability to wield the instruments in a carpenter's kit would do exceedingly well.
Anthony Jankowski (Colonel) might contribute his pot.
Now on the other hand, were you to create a woman out of these parts, would she be at all ravishing and exciting?
Felix B. Bymel's bust. (Ever see Captain Klinger's?)
Arthur E. Chappell's waist.
Clarence F. Wheeler's long, shapely legs.
Saul J. Kudisch's expressive hands.
Dave Anderson's gold locks.
Robert Ragan's milk-complexion.
Gilbert Burrier's or John Eichenberger's teeth.
Robert Hersey's look--but only that--of innocence.
William Gannon's naturally rosy cheeks.
Joseph A. Summa's engaging smile.
Bernard Olomon's demureness.
Cpl. James P. Williams: (Williams isn't one to use characteristic wisecracks, but we will remember him as the swell guy from Creston, Washington, who could be tough when necessary.
Cpl. Homer E. Jacoby and Cpl. Ben Rolston along with Pvt. Alvin W. Strope joined our Squadron rather late in its history but it didn't take them long to “become one of the gang.” In picking them up on the morning report we had to drop Cpl. Albert C. Freer of Minnesota, but the way he hangs around in Tent Five indicates we haven't lost him completely.
T. Sgt. Riley G. Sparks: Man o' man, it was a lil biddy ole thing!
Have you ever seen a more closely knit group of buddies than William D. Huddleston of Georgia, Wesley E. Holland of Pennsylvania, and Kenneth B. Orr of New York?
And while we're thinking of close buddies, remember these?
Thomas J. Nye and Joseph J. Coppola
Robert E. Hunt, Robert N. Hersey, Harold J. Saunders, and Freer
Ervin R. McLain and Edward R. Williams
Robert J. Mullen and G. Earl York
Howard M. Zelezny and Jack M. Stahl
C. J. Barry, Lloyd R. Claus, and George W. Neeld
Pfc. Bud H. Glandon and Sgt. Charles W. Bailey
Ernest Hieshetter and Martin Hagalee
Donald T. Morris and Joe J. Castulik
William Lesley and Gilbert V. Burrier and Robert L. Pow
Harold Iseman and Vincent J. Cuddy and John Eichenberger
Thomas J. Shader and Theodore H. Zwer
Frank E. Gable, Roy C. Smith, and Clarence B. (Churchill) Somers
Arthur J. Sullivan, Charles J. Hawkins, and John G. Burke. (This here is a blood relationship! Har! Har!) William W. Hatfield and Leither M. Stivers with Walt VonVelson for generous measure
Pfc. Tony F. Putich and Pfc. Steve Garza
Pfc. Bunny Olomon and Pfc. Clarence L. Cooper
Albert (Bud) Cancilla, James P. Williams, and Robert Ragan
Anthony F. Zimmer and Steve T. Jaworski
WOJG Charles W. Hartzell and Stock Control!
TEACHER: Now, children, turn to page 92 of Lovdjieff's SKETCH OF THE MARIANAS. There you will find these names:
1st Lt. James Heidelberg of Texas
Captain John Mackey of Texas
1st Lt. Ralph E. Tinkle of Texas
Now I want one of you to point out something which these men have in common. Johnnie, what do you think?
JOHNNIE: Beards, mam!
(Where would Air Corpus Supply be without Max Petock or 1st Lt. Sisney?)
Here are two letters of commendation written by Colonel Harry C. Morrison, Group Commander, to men of our Squadron. Both were written on 21 February of this year: The first is addressed to Pfc. Arthur J. Sullivan:
"It is my pleasure to forward to you through your Commanding Officer, this commendation for your devotion to duty, quick thinking and unhesitating action at considerable risk to yourself, on the occasion of the gasoline fire which occurred on 1 February 1945 while you were burning trash at Service Center D. Even though painfully burned and with absolute disregard of the further risk involved, you removed the gasoline can to a safe distance from the warehouse, thus eliminating the danger of destruction of the warehouse and its contents by fire. Your conduct on this occasion reflects great credit to yourself and your Group, and therefore will be made a matter of official record in the history of the Group . . ."
The second is addressed to the Commanding Officer of our Air Materiel Squadron:
"1. It is my pleasure to commend the following named enlisted men of the ____ Air Materiel Squadron for their quick thinking, and prompt action on the occasion of the gasoline fire which occurred at Service Center “D” on 1 February 1945 while burning trash:
Pfc. Thomas J. Nye 32 816 513
Pfc. Charles J. Hawkins 13 131 940
Pvt. Lewis E. Flohra 39 285 737
Pvt. Ernest Hieshetter 36 867 830
These four (4) enlisted men by their prompt action and disregard of personal danger not only averted a possible warehouse fire with loss of government property therein, but also saved a fellow soldier, Pfc. Arthur J. Sullivan, from possible fatal burns by extinguishing the fire in his clothing caused by burning gasoline.
"2. The conduct of the four (4) enlisted men cited above was such as to bring credit to themselves and to the entire Group. It is therefore my desire that this commendation be made a matter of official record and a copy placed in the 201 file of each."
Major Hopper's endorsement to the above letter read:
'It is a pleasure to further commend each of you for your quick thinking and action in behalf of the Safety of Pfc. Arthur J. Sullivan. In accomplishing this you have reflected credit on yourselves and on this organization.”
“HOW WILL WE EVER FORGET” Department . . .
Sooty Walker Field!
Seasickness, and especially VonVelsen, Cooper, and Lovdjieff.
Hunger, as personified by Hercel, Anderson (s), and Hardt.
The overseas “physical” at Lawton, and the way we dyed our white towels Khaki or “jungle green.”
Captain Adam B. Ohle's speech the night we left Lawton.
Guard duty the first night in the Marianas: “You cover me while I go out to investigate.”
Captain A. Zavodnick's gentleness and proficiency in the Dental Clinic.
Swimming and sun-bathing at “South Beach,” and hunting cats-eyes and shells.
Getting all that mail the day before Christmas during our second stop on our way over.
Captain Leo Klinger's suave, “Oh-you're-all-right” manner, with pills, smiles, and salt tablets.
How wonderful the C rations tasted after the starvation aboard the troopship.
Oscar A. May's PX with fruit juices and “free goods.”
The first time we saw “gukes” working in our area.
The air-raid shelters it took three months to build and two hours to un-build.
Graham's thimble-sized memory and blank stare . . . .
B-29's taking off or returning from missions.
The quiet Sunday afternoon rent to shreds when three B-29's exploded and burned.
Movies in a moonlit theatre; or the sight of men sitting huddled under raincoats, watching a movie through wind and driving rain.
Birthday-Open House Party on 22nd February in Tent 1 with a real birthday cake!
The endless, color-changing vistas of the Pacific, especially from Riverside Drive.
The grouchy mail orderly.
Wheeler and Santangelo yelling in the supply room.
The sight of Freer and hunt playing catch. (Hunt is so exhausted he can scarcely lift a finger. Freer throws a wild one, and Hunt misses it by a mile.
As he shags it, Freer yells, “That's all right, Bob, good try!”)
Lay-out inspection in the Marianas.
The Marianas do funny things to men's hair. Those who were losing hair before they came here are losing it faster than ever now.
Those who had already lost it swear it's growing back!
Working overtime at the DP during those first days.
How beautiful coral looked at first, and then how . . .
The cheerfulness pervading the mess hall, and especially the men on the serving line when you go up for seconds.
Captain Olson's aromatic cess-pond near the mess hall. Sometimes it smelled better than Dyke's food.
Buck's beer garden back of the PX. I still can't figure but just what the wagon-wheels were doing there.
The name and symbol that is William L. Rosenberger.
Breath-taking sunsets, and magnificent displays of stars at night.
McBride's sudden discharge, and the way the disease spread to Freer, Govier, Kay, Slade, etc.
Church services in a coral chapel under a marquee.
Orientation lectures by Lt. Shaffner and Cpl. Charles Smith.
The intensity of shock and grief when FDR's death made itself felt.
H. Death in the Marianas.
One night while we were still on the troop ship a buddy told me something that had been preying on his mind for a long time. He looked about the crowded hold at men reading on their bunks lined with swaying duffle bags and equipment or groups of men playing cards on the floor (deck), and he wondered how many of them were destined not to make the return trip. Just how many of us would get to see the States again. He was not trying to be morbid or dramatic, perhaps just thinking aloud, but he set me to wondering about it too. I have thought of that incident a number of times since, and it has prompted me to resolve that I would do everything within my means and power to insure my return voyage, seasickness or no seasickness. Whether the men with me have actually made such vows for themselves or not, they are, I'm sure, at least every bit as determined. But I'm sure none of them, like myself, is willing to go back until we have actually accomplished something out here, until we have made our contribution to the hard struggle to wrest unconditional surrender from the enemy.
We were on land only a few days when two men of our Air Service Group were killed in a highway accident. Their truck was forced off a steep embankment and crashed on coral boulders below. The men died in a Naval Hospital a few hours later. They were laid to rest in the military cemetery on this island, alongside the other men who fell during the fighting. Since then, as we have visited the cemetery or ridden past it, we have noticed the day by day growth in the number of white crosses and markers there.
About that time fighter planes were practicing strafing on these islands, dropping on us with the shock of an electric bolt, gone before we could look up to identify them. Our hearts would skip a beat as they would roar over us at tremendous speed, and sometimes we gasped when we saw them barely miss tree tops or the mess hall roof. One morning I heard one of then zooming around in the distance, and then it gave a long howl, like a pup a car's run over. I ran out of the tent in time to see the plane crash on an airstrip hardly a mile away. A pillar of black smoke rose straight up into the gray sky. I learned later that the pilot, a Marine major, didn't have a chance; his plane was making a dive at 400 miles an hour and failed to pull up.
Something of the same nature took place a few days later. I think we will remember it always. The morning dawned dark, gray, enigmatic, with heavy rain clouds rolling in from the east. A vast convoy--evidence of a mighty task force in the vicinity of the islands--was passing near our island, and its silent maneuvers added to the uneasiness and mystery in the air. The sea looked like viscous lead; the breeze had died into an ominous calm. We had reported to work at 0700 as usual. How could we know that Death was stalking the island? All at once a violent explosion ripped the silence so that the island trembled and our orderly room Quonset rattled like a tin can in a garbage truck. In the same instant the concussion dug at our ears till they ached. For a moment we froze with immobility and terror, wondering what it was, what it meant. It was certainly the loudest sound I had ever heard. Perhaps it was nothing more than a loud blast in the coral quarry, but no it couldn't be, it sounded closer than any of those explosions. Bits of metal clinked on our hut. We rushed out to see. The air seemed to be visibly vibrating,
like a plucked fiddle string. Out there, at the end of a runway, a little beyond our mess hall and the Marine area, hardly a half mile away, a titanic pillar of angry smoke was towering upward. Vicious flames bit through the billowing black clouds. The only sound was a crackling, like that of burning dry cedar. A B-29 dying . . .
Hours later we pieced together the reports. The plane was loaded with a new type of demolition bomb, very sensitive. It was taking off on mission. For some reason the pilot could not get up enough speed. Down the runway the ship came at hardly more than 25 miles an hour. When it became apparent to the pilot that take off was impossible, he evidently tried to stop the plane, and failed. It hurdled over the end of the runway, down a slight incline, and crashed into an embankment. The fuselage broke in half before the bombs went off. In a flash the scene became an awful inferno of flying metal, flame, concussion, death. Someone said he saw the top gunner hurled 50 feet into the air, still in a sitting position, then fall back into the blinding hell. A half mile away we could feel the heat on our faces. And a mile away a fragment of a propeller blade struck a soldier standing on top of a truck in the motor pool; he died almost instantly. A hot, jagged piece of shrapnel crashed through a tent in our area, ripped through a cot. Luckily for Gilbert Burrier that he was not "sacking” it then, and for George Hardt that he was a yard away.
Late the next day I walked to the place where the plane had burned. I saw an area twice the size of a
Walsenburg city block littered with the wreckage. I picked up a little gadget which must have been an electric motor; it was labeled Westinghouse Electric. Nearby was a boot and portion of a sheepskin jacket, and a little farther I picked up a half-burned pocket-size edition of the Gospel of St. Matthew. On a fly-leaf I saw the message signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt. I got an idea of the intense heat when I noticed ribbons of metal which had melted, trickled along the ground, cooled, and hardened since the fire. Men said there were few traces of the crew, sometimes only bits of flesh swarming with ants.
Death can be like that in the Marianas, spectacular, speedier than the flicker of an eyelid, swifter than the tick of a watch. And it can be like that not only with planes, but with ships at sea, shells on land, with infantrymen, artillerymen, engineers, assault-troops on every battle-front. It can be like that, we know, in the coal mines at home, on the highways and railroads and airlines in the States. But death out here has something special, something different about it. It makes you stop and wonder about a lot of things which death in civilian life hardly ever provokes. Always it seems to strike when you are most sure that the sacrifice of life and precious human energy for ideas of man's dignity, rationality, and freedom are not too great a price to pay. And when it leaves you weak, limp, questioning all you believe and live by, searching your self and your heart for something to hang on to, you come across something like this in your reading:
"Said a bombardier who had been with Chennault's heavy bomber group in China for 21 months:
"'When I got home (it) didn't seem real. The first few days it was swell. People fell all over me. Where you been? China. Tell us about it. But they didn't want to hear what men have to endure. They wanted dime-novel stories of adventure. They didn't understand what I was trying to say. I couldn't get through to them. They hadn't seen it. It hadn't touched them.
"'I saw people jamming the bars and hot spots and movies. Their way of life hasn't really changed a damn bit. They are a million miles away from the sufferings of war. Then one day I was riding on a subway and I heard one bastard say to another one: "If this war lasts for two more years I'll be on easy street.." ' "
". . . A Woman . . . was queried by a friend about continued absence from church.
"'I don't go any more,' says the woman.
"'You don't? Why not?'
"'Why not? Think I'm a fool? The old man's got a job on war work at $60 a week after being on relief for 10 years. My boy's a specialist in the Navy earning twice the pay he was ever able to make outside. My daughter's husband is collecting $70 a week down at the foundry, and my daughter's working as a welder at $55. My little boy makes $5 a week just collecting scrap paper. I'm back nursing again, and working all the time--and here that Rev. Jones is down there in the pulpit every Sunday morning praying for peace!'"
The memory of the first two military funerals I attended here in the Marianas will probably remain sharply etched in my mind for years to come. A Catholic Chaplain conducted the services of the first. His theme, as most funeral sermons are for that faith, was the brevity of life. After all, was not the dead man but a youth, married two months before? The Chaplain proceeded to strip life of whatever values and beauty we ordinary mortals might attach to it. Everything was "artificial" except one thing, one value of life which is "God-given or natural," and that is the chance for preparing for eternal life beyond the grave.
"What can we compare life to?" he asked. "Life is like a drop of water between two oceans of eternity. It is like a ship which passes yonder, cutting a path in the waves, leaving a temporary wake over which the waters eventually close, leaving no trace of the ship. Life is like, a shell that explodes in the sky at night, a thing of sound and brilliance for one instant, and then is lost forever.
"That's why we have funeral ceremonies," he continued. "They make us stop and think about these things, and show us as nothing else can our inevitable fate, the one sure destiny for us all. Make the most of it then. Why wait till moments like this to see that happiness is not possible in this vale of tears, but only in paradise with God? Be prepared, then, for death at any moment, as this young man was." (Curious how the dead were prepared to die, but the living never are!) "I am told by his Chaplain that he attended Mass regularly. He believed in God, and he accepted Christ as his Lord and Redeemer." (This statement set me to wondering. Men who go about preaching salvation, and who are always talking about God and Christ in this sense, are considered by most men to be either immature or miseducated, certainly boring. Most men want to learn to live.)
As the Chaplain droned on, his purple stole flapping in the wind, I looked beyond him, beyond the flag-draped casket into the beautiful afternoon. It was a warm sunny day, with a soft cool breeze coming in from the east, rustling nearby trees and cane patches, tossing about the flag at half mast. The rattle and roar of trucks and construction machinery drifted on the wind. The sea in the distance was pinks and calm; down at the beach the surf came rolling in, in pale green banks of water, tumbling joyously over the white sand, sending up whisps of spray. Above this brown earth and wind, these waves and coral rocks, droned the planes. For what? I kept asking myself, what is all this about, what is it for, what does it mean? Is this man right in dismissing it as nothing, as secondary? Does it not have a purpose, a value to man? Of course it will pass and change. A million years from now this island may be back in the sea, or it may be even higher and larger. Mankind will have either perished completely or spread out its realm amidst the stars. But is this reason enough to believe that while it lasts it is nothing, its good is incidental? Why do we shy from accepting the truth that only ideas survive death, the effects or results of a man's life? Through their writings, drawings, sculpture, music, teachings, concepts, men speak to us across the ages, in the same way that we will communicate with the children who come after us. Why must we resort to fancy, to hauntings, to figments of imagination born of fear, when the only immortality we really know, will ever know, is in what we do with our lives to make the life of man more human, richer, fuller, happier, more beautiful. . . . The firing of volleys and taps brought me out of reverie.
The next day I attended the funeral service conducted by Chaplain Earl Raitt, (Protestant) formerly with our Air Service Group. He too read, "I am the resurrection and the life. . .", and he quoted the 23rd Psalm. He spoke on immortality, but he took one more step, the step that made all the difference to me. "We ought not feel that this young man died in vain." he said. "We must believe that somehow all the unrealized dreams and good things of his life will be fathered together, assimilated, and passed on to all men everywhere.
"In the face of tragedy such as this, we can only re-dedicate and re-consecrate our own selves and lives to the great unfinished task before the world today. We must strive toward victory in this war and to the realization of peace in our day. Let us consecrate ourselves, then, as we stand here in tribute to a fallen comrade, that we may be worthy of his sacrifice, that we may not weaken in our resolve to struggle beyond victory for a better world by establishing a better nation, a better community and home, better families and better selves; that we may in no way retard the establishment of God's kingdom of heaven on earth."
Today in that cemetery and on every flag-pole on this island, the Stars and Stripes fly at half-mast for our late Commander-in-Chief, Franklin D. Roosevelt. No need to try capturing my feelings--our feelings--on paper. Always the sight of that flag at half-mast makes my thoughts and emotions revolve around this poem:
SOLDIER'S PRAYER, 1944.
Our Father which art in heaven.
We ask your blessing on our cause, for we believe we fight for what Christ taught, the brotherhood that all men ought to feel.
We do not ask that each of us be blessed with luck while all about us comrades die; We ask no selfish boon.
Thy kingdom come in all our hearts that we may face the fate that shall be ours with fortitude.
In time of battle keep our courage high, help us to carry on.
And if we fall, give us the strength to bear the agony, the pain that may be ours.
For those of us who die, grant us this plea; that by our sacrifice the world will see more clearly what it ought to be.
That freedom and democracy will be preserved and understood through all the shining years ahead.
Blessed Father, pray for us too, that in our hours of need we may preserve our souls;
For Thine is the kingdom, ours the responsibility of personal integrity for ever and ever,
Amen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Earl Davis
I. “Rock Happiness.”
In recent weeks a peculiar feeling has been rising up within me, as though all at once I were seeing the whole island shrink and the sea close over it. Invisible walls mysteriously push and crowd in on me, till I suffocate and struggle for space and air. The constant presence of coral, of sugar cane, and B-29's, the hostile, hungry sea and the empty sky, the endless monotony of doing the same thing day after day, in the same places, at the same hours, is getting on my nerves. I know these islands are about the nicest in the Pacific, that there are plenty of other bases where men are much worse off, putting up with chlorinated distilled sea water, poisonous snakes, fever-bearing mosquitoes, with no trees or cool breezes. Sometimes I think it's this very ideal-ness, this beautiful solitude which is hardest to take. Sometimes I try to remember the view of Mountains I had at home, the way they seemed to pant and sweat on hot summer afternoons, how they seemed to tower in strength and magnificence under winter's white silence. And the prairies and foothills over which I romped on long Sunday afternoon hikes, “discovering” deep gullies, skirting the shores of a lake I had never seen before, coming upon old, abandoned mines where weeds and cacti were covering up the ruins of fallen timbers about the mouth. The Walsen eight p.m. curfew, the overpass west of town, Vigil's and Rivera's farmhouses, the Cameron mine rock-dump, the bells of St. Mary's on Sunday morning, classrooms of Huerfano County High School and CSCE--how far away all these things seem now, as though I lived them in another life, hundred of years ago. Yet the gulf is only three years wide. Who can say which distance is real? It has become almost impossible--in the months that I've been out here--for me to remember what it felt like living in a place where you could turn and look in any direction and never see an ocean. I don't think I am alone in feeling this claustrophobia in the midst of wide open spaces, this extreme mental weariness, this “spiritual fatigue.” Most of my buddies feel this in greater or lesser degree; they have named it “rock happiness.”
"Rock happiness," you can quickly guess, is really an illness, a pulling of something inside a man, a strain, when he begins to realize the pinch of this restricted, celibate, sterile life. In its severest forms it may lead to attempts at suicide by a man's own weapon, razor blades, or a plunge over a cliff. In lesser degrees it manifests itself, once the cramping smallness of an island begins to gnaw on you, in an impatience, a weariness, a
restlessness, and irritability with the way things are done around here, or even with conditions at battles-fronts and with civilians at home. A fellow will be lying on his cot in the evening, staring blankly at the tent-top. Suddenly he will sit up and start yelling, cursing, and complaining. If no one pays much attention to him he'll eventually get tired, fall back on his cot, and drift off to dream-filled sleep. Evenings are usually the worst time for this oppressive boredom. Most of us have nothing to keep ourselves occupied at such hours, for we have never bothered to cultivate pleasurable interests and activities devoted as we have been to seeking entertainment. As Sgt. Jack Salant points out, it's one thing to flit from place to place and pay a lot of money being entertained by night club performers, stage and screen stars, athletes, etc. But it's quite another thing to learn to do those things which will give us pleasure when we are all alone, or when time hangs heavily on our hands; things that leave us refreshed, better informed, and with a sense of having used one's time well. Reading for pleasure is relegated to book-worms; hobbies are popularly looked upon as kid-stuff at worst, or eccentricities for movie shorts at best.; and music is for those too old and stiff to get out and enjoy life. With these attitudes flourishing in an environment where entertainment is so omnipresent as it is back in the States, we don't realize our poverty of soul, our meagerness of personality until we hit a sterile environment such as this. It's true that keeping one's bunk area clean, the laundry bag empty, correspondence up-to-date, and maybe a crap game or two will take up a lot of free time. But there are always those long hours after a day of no mail, when no movies are being shown, when no ball game was played and so it can't be talked about, when no one cares to play cards, with absolutely nothing interesting to read, or do. You aren't tired enough to go to sleep, but it's too dark for a walk any distance from the area. So, you lie on your cot, staring at the tent-top, watching it move with the wind. You daydream of a thousand things, every one of them far away from this island, and through the faces and places crossing your mind you hear the sounds of men talking softly in another part of the tent, and it's like listening to breakers fall on the beach, except instead of water it's waves of sadness and loneliness rolling over your heart.
This is too much to take lying down, you say, so you get up and step outside into the night. And it is a night such as only the Marianas have shown you; a night flooded with moonlight. It's so bright you can see the clouds on the distant horizon, beyond the shimmering sea. On the ceaseless breeze whispering through trees and sugar
cane you hear occasionally the splash of sea against the rocky shore, beyond which you cannot venture. In the magic moment's loveliness you are slowly growing aware of a tightness in your chest, a squeezing of your brain. The shore-line looms up like bars in a prison; but through these no escape is possible, for there's nowhere to go. You feel yourself being bounced, dragged down within yourself, down, down, down. You want to cry out your terror, cry out against this god-damn feeling, but even if you did it wouldn't help and would only bring someone running to find out what's wrong with you, and how could you tell him? And the moon rides high above the sea and flying clouds, and even the stars become somehow cold and distant. The night is heedless of your plight.
What then? What do I do in moments like this? I go for a walk even if it's late at night. I walk right, into that breeze and night, and I look past these confining bars, past the highest cloud to those stars which seen to mock me. But I pay no attention to their grimaces. I forget the billions of light years between us, and I wonder instead about their steadiness. I search out the constellations I know, the Big Dipper, Orion, Scorpio, the Southern Cross. No specific thought crosses my mind, only the peace and steadiness of the stars slowly seeps into me. A melody might occur to me and I will sing it or whistle it. The fear and restlessness, the feeling of tightness, and even the thoughts I sometimes get about losing everything I built up in civilian life, my many weaknesses and shortcomings, my failure to live up to what I believe--all these begin to dissolve, and slowly disappear. I make my way back to the tent. I can sleep soundly now, and be at peace with myself tomorrow.
That is my formula for fighting "rock happiness.” Every man has his own. Some invent spare-time occupations such as making trinkets out of sea shells, souvenirs, wood, plexi-glass, metals, etc. Others work up an argument for its own sake. Usually when even these formulas begin to lose their effectiveness, when we begin to feel it's no use going on like this, pretending that everything is all right in our inmost selves, then experiences like Sgt. Andrew J. McBride's sudden discharge makes us more determined than ever to see this through even if it means biting nails or holding on to some rock to keep from doing something regrettable.
Last Sunday, while riding past the military cemetery, I noticed another funeral was taking place. It occurred to me how incredible and even fantastic it would be to die here now, when not a single man among us dreams, of anything else but returning to the States. Certainly the men who have lost their lives leave us this stronger determination to live, to survive, no matter how rough the going, how fierce the physical and the psychological struggles, may become. From this viewpoint it would be particularly tragic or singularly comic to die here now or in the months to come.
J. Final Considerations.
I passed by two carpenters a moment ago, and stopped to talk with them and to watch them at work. I wondered if Stanley Huso might be experiencing the same sort of thrill in making some useful article out of scraps of lumber that I experience in putting together this book. When I asked him about it, much to my surprise he denied it emphatically.
"This is not like work back in the States where you work from pinksprints, and experience a thrill in translating the idea from paper into concrete existence. No, here you work with scraps, and you're on a job you don't care for. You work under men who also do not care, and aren't interested unless they happen to be bucking. I can't explain it exactly, but it strikes me as being all wrong. I know I never worked half as hard back in the States, but I always felt I got a lot more done."
He resumed his planing. Back and forth slid the plane, biting off curls of wood. He looked over the board, was satisfied, set it and the plane on a box, and went about making another leg for the cabinet.
Clarence L. Cooper, also working on the cabinet, picked up the plane, slid down the length of a board he held. Still holding the plane, he stopped and picked up the long shaving. "Here, smell this." he said. It was pine. "Remind you of anything?”
I smelled again. Southern Colorado . . . La Veta Pass country. High hills and rugged mountain slopes covered with upward-pointing forests of pine. Muleshoe Lodge, Cordova Pass, Blue Lakes, Sulphur Springs, Cucharas Camps, the Spanish Peaks. Standing on a high cliff, looking down at a silent valley. Golden islands of aspen glowing amidst seas of pinks pine, everything sleepy under October sun and haze.
"Yes, Clarence, it reminds me of a lot of things, a lot of wonderful things, and all of them home.”
"That's what I was thinking."
"Like a breath of Montana, by God," said Huso when he sniffed it.
"It smells like the forests at home," Bynel said later, and I didn't know whether he meant his former home in Czechoslovakia or his new home in the U.S.A.
Of course we think of home often, there are many things to remind us. The spectacular sunsets and sunrises prompt me to turn westward, half-expecting to see the red rays tinting the familiar Huajatolla slopes. Hearing again Artie Shaw's arrangement of “Begin the Beguine, and Glenn Miller's “Sunrise Serenade” send chills up my back. An accordionist playing a polka inevitably brings to mind Charlie Conder and the many parties our gang used to have at his house. It's amazing how these memories can dissolve the distance between home and the Marianas.
I use the word “home” advisedly. With most of us our dreams of home, and our return to it, do not picture all the bad things we left there, but more a way of life, a manner of living and moving about freely which we have lost altogether in the Army. but also we want to return to homes which will be somehow better, finer, tempered by all the new values and new attitudes which we have taken on during our separation. We aren't afraid of change, of changed conditions at home. Whatever we think of these years in the Army, very few of us are the men we were on induction day. It will be disappointing to find our families and friends the same people they were on that day. And perhaps our houses will symbolize the change or lack of change more sharply than the people. Things which never change smell of death. Things which are alive, which are always growing, developing, adjusting themselves to new ideas, new outlooks, new horizons, do not dare remain what they were. It's not time that marches on, but life and with it, man.
And along with all our yearning to return to civilian life, to the careers and jobs and homes we want to start building, we wonder about the tomorrow of the Marianas. With all the construction taking place on these islands--a program rivaling Boulder Dam in scale--our guess is that the United States will not surrender them after the war. More than being scenically beautiful, they are strategically located as fueling stations and emergency bases for the ocean liners and airships which will be linking more closely the West with East tomorrow, the Americas with Australasia. Never again, we hope, will Tinian, Saipan, and Guam witness the ravages of war, or be used as spring-boards for dealing death against brother-men as they now are. Frequently I over-hear men talking about what the islands will be like ten or twenty years from now, whether it is just an idle dream to think that resort hotels with facilities for moonlight cruises, swimming, sun-bathing, tennis, and so on. Whatever their military value or commercial worth, they can be paradise too. Only yesterday I wondered how many of us would someday yearn to come back to the Marianas, to spend here the evening of our lives, out of range of the clatter and din of the rest of the world. We recoil from the thought of dying here now, because death at this time will only rob us of the chance to realize our dreams and plans. But when we have done the things we want to do, and seen all we want to see, when the drowsiness and aches of old age begin to creep upon us--and it's not many years off, in a distant, nebular future--I wonder if any of us will then long for the gentle caress of these islands. Who knows, but we may even return to remain forever a part of this tranquility and beauty.
With the utmost impatience we are yearning for the war to cease, for the moment when we step on a gang-plank again, only this time homeward bound. We may leave these islands to move to more forward areas in this Theatre, but more than likely we will be departing for San Francisco. Whatever our destination, most of us will want to turn, to pause for a long moment for a last look at our island. Who can say what thoughts will crowd our minds in that mighty moment? Memories of these years spent in the Army of the United States, the hard-learned lessons which are ours because we have been here, "somewhere in the Marianas.” It may well be that peace will settle over the whole world on that joyous day, and the realization of it will gladden and enliven a billion hearts now broken with pain and grief. And we will be heading home, knowing full well that the fight for a human way of life for ourselves and for all humanity must go on with the same intensity, sacrifice, and devotion which spurred the United Nations to wrest unquestionable victory from the enemy. Through the years to come we know we can best wage this struggle with continued learning and uninterrupted self-development. We must lose our lives to the ceaseless pursuit of truth--that which is, and to the sincere effort to translate the knowledge we gain, the creeds we profess, into bur daily lives, in all our dealings with other men, in our inmost selves. Slowly--ever so slowly but certainly--men are beginning to realize that a better world, a happier life for all mankind, is built first in men's hearts. The kingdom of heaven begins not with our governments, our leaders, or our neighbors, but in our own hearts. No need to search the earth for a Utopia. Look within yourself.
And so good-bye, Tinian, Saipan, and Guam. Good-bye to C-rations and tents and pre-fabs, to out-door theatres and slippery roads, to humble chapels and Canebrake College, to jagged, cliff-rimmed shores. Good-bye to rugged slopes pocked with caves and draped with thickets of tough vegetation, to island natives and their ruined shrines. Good-bye to peaceful loveliness, to the companionship and the bitter loneliness we shared with all our buddies. Good-bye to white coral and pinks horizons, to the restlessness and eagerness, the patience and hard work--all of them now somehow caught up in the magic name, Marianas Islands.
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© Karen Mitchell