S: One Man's Life Book #2
FC: One Man's Life | By Lou Pavliak | A superb, fascinating collection of short stories from one man's life..." Anita Hollister | 'Great read, unbelievable at times, humorous & moving..." Leah Isadore
1: I remember when Dad would work late and then come home to supper. The rest of us had already eaten. Mom would "make him a plate" and they would talk for awhile. Sometimes when Dad finished eating I would come into the kitchen and sit on his lap. Occasionally he would tell me war stories. They always interested me. In this book Dad doesn't talk about his combat experiences. But I remember being told that in the dark of the New Guinea nights the quiet would be pierced by shouts of, "Tomorrow Yankee you die." He told me how the Japanese would come in waves, not afraid of dying, stepping over one another trying to kill the Yankees. Usually during these kind of stories Mom would scold, "Al don't tell her those things," and the subject would change to something funny. In this book Dad tries to leave out the horrors of war. Maybe he is right let those stories rest in peace. | American solders graveyard in Townsville Australia, 1944 | Anita Remembers Dad's Stories
2: On Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941 at 7:49 a.m., the Japanese attack planes swooped down without warning and dropped their bombs on the U.S. Navel Base at Pearl Harbor, on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. Suddenly America was at war. By 8:12 a.m., seven battleships lay heavily damaged or sunk. The U.S.S. Arizona still lies on the sea floor, under a white marble memorial to more than 1,000 sailors and marines that died when the ship was hit and exploded into a huge fireball. Just before 9:00 a.m., the second wave of 170 Japanese planes arrived. In all, the Japanese destroyed 188 aircraft. They killed 2,403 Americans and wounded 1,178. President Roosevelt called congress together to declare war. He began by saying, "Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy..." The American people united in spirit when he spoke, "With confidence in our armed forces, with unbounded determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God." | Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941
4: My aunt and uncle lived in Trafford, which was a hop-skip-and-a-jump away. Trafford was a railroad town. I went over there and made a deal with them that I would pay them room and board if my cousin would drive me to work everyday. I was working five nights a week. By that time, I was getting pretty good pay there, eighty-five cents an hour. It was a good place to work. I enjoyed it. It was a heck of a lot easier than the rest I had done. So in the meantime, I went home week-ends and I talked to my brother-in-law. He sold me his 1937 Ford for $50.00. In December 7th, 1941 our company was having a banquet for the whole machine shop. It was early afternoon, I was sitting on the porch listening to the radio while I was waiting for the guys to pick me up and take me to the banquet. There were six of us and we took turns driving, As I was sitting there listening, I heard the news: the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. Well, they came and we picked up the others and arrived at the big dining area where we were to have the big party but it was very quiet. Naturally, the majority of us were young and we had entered the war now. So instead of a boisterous crowd with lots of singing, it was a very subdued one. We still had our banquet. It was an all male crew, the gamblers gambled and the bars were filled. | December 7, 1941
5: My introduction to War. | Early one morning Russ, Rose, and Pap came to see me off. There were hundreds of men getting on this empty train in Greensburg. There were lots of wives, lots of mothers and fathers. Most of the guys had brought a bottle. We knew it was going to be a long trip. A lot of these men had never been on a train and it was a big event for them. It was something to see a big horseshoe curve and to be on our way down south. Nick Bushoba was also drafted and on the same train. We were going to the same training camp. There were so many young people from Export leaving. We got to training camp and found out that 3,000 men would be training at one time. There were 1,000 men per battalion and each battalion was made up of 4 companies. Everyone got his exams, clothes, bed, tents, and then we got settled only to be up at dawn to the call of reveille. It was then we found out that we were all northern boys and that all of the officers that were to train us were Southern born. The first thing we heard was, All right , you Damn Yankees line up." Then came a string of curse words and I was thinking, "What? They're still fighting the Civil War" and that was the truth.
6: It seemed like in every southerner there was a hate for the Yankees and they made sure that we knew it. Most of us were surprised because, heck, we didn't even think of the civil war when he got there. Yet we found out how much wrong they believed we had done to them during the Civil War. Well, we had training and it was a rough time for six weeks or so. Our last training exercise we marched twenty miles up into the hills and slept over night in pup tents. Next day, we marched twenty miles back and that was our last day in camp. I remember singing pretty raunchy marching songs. We had the next day off to get our stuff together and we also had a ceremony with the night off as well. | Me
7: But nobody was allowed out of camp; there were guards at every gate and barbed wire all around. Everyone took off, the whole camp emptied into the Honky Tonk (there's one next to every Camp with bars, women, etc., etc., etc., you know what, music, wine, women). I remember we, a group of my friends and I, were walking down the boardwalk, there was no concrete just a rough street, and there was this group of seven old men sitting with their chewing tobacco. A young black teenager came walking towards us, he got off the boardwalk and walked in the ditch so we could pass. So I grabbed a hold of him and said, "Why did you get off the sidewalk?" and he said, "We're suppose to". All this time there was hooting and hollering from the old men calling us "Damn Yankees" and saying that they were going to hang that "Damn Nigger" when we left. So I put my arm around his shoulder and had one of the guys take a picture of us. Then I turned to take a picture of the men yelling and they all got up real fast and went into the building. When I let him go, the kid took off, though I have the picture' The following day, we lined up side by side and every other man stepped forward' They did this over and over again. That's the way that they decided where you were going. When I looked at my tag I see, well, that I'm going to California to get desert training. We all said our good-byes to friends we were going to miss. So again we were getting on a train and taking a southern route. | Me | me | me
8: Basic Training in Alabama | Pitching my tent. | Rifle range
9: Fort Ord 800th M.P. B _ Co. B | 2nd row from bottom 12th from left | We went through Texas. When we arrived in California we stayed at the Cow Palace. It houses steers and horses in peace time and soldiers in war time. There were no bunks only clean hay. After a few days they moved us to Fort Ord. We slept in four man huts. First they put me in First Cavalry division. It was tanks, trucks, and motorcycles, no horses. Everybody in camp went into a big building, and they were given a test. When the test was over, you passed your tests to the left so you would be grading the guy on your right. Then they asked the scores, they asked who got 100%, 99%, and so on until one man finally said "yes>" It turned out that out of 1'000 men, I was the second highest. Right away they took us out of the Cavalry and put us in the combat 800 MilitaryPolice Division. We (the M.P.'s) were still going to get the regular desert training, and we regular combat equipment. This included 30 and 50 caliber machine guns and heavy and light mortars machine guns. I had an M1 and a .45. Every squad leader had a Tommy gun. We trained in the desert for about a month. Then all mail was censored and there were no phone calls. We were put on camp alert. We were put on a troop train, so we figured we weren't going to the South Pacific or Alaska because we would be getting on a ship. We knew we must be going east. | California Here I Come
10: With Binoculars from our camp, you could see the guards on Alcatraz Island Prison. | The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. | Bay Bridge | Ocean Beach | Bay Bridge | Fisherman's Wharf
11: Chinatown San Francisco
12: Believe it or not we end up in Pittsburgh for awhile. No one was allowed off the train or to make phone calls. They had guards to make sure of this, but I had a pen, so I went into the bathroom and wrote a letter to Russ, my brother-in-law, on some toilet paper. I told him I was on a train to go overseas. I also told him I thought I was going to North Africa. I opened a window of the train and saw a woman putting oil in the bearings of the wheels. I called over to her, gave her the letter and a quarter, and said,"there is an address on here could you do me a favor and mail it for me?" She took it, smiled, and said she would do it as soon as she got home. I used to drop a line home once a week, so if my family didn't hear from me for weeks they would get worried about where I was. They told us we weren't allowed to write until we got to our destination, but I got around it. | A Letter Home ...or Where There's a Will There's a Way
13: When we got to New York, we got on a troop ship. I saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time in my life, and that was the last time I saw it too. We were on a Liberty ship, a transport ship. There were different levels of the ship, and I was on the forth level down. We were told that we could go up top once a day, file around and then back down in the hole again The first time that I heard the big guns fire on the boat I was down in the hole. Bang, bang, bang, and the boat shook. We didn't know what was happening. The Atlantic was full of German submarines and airplanes. As soon as the firing started a great big sailor bolted all the doors turning these huge wheels. He took out his gun and stood there and said, "If this section is hit nobody leaves, we all die hear, we don't open the doors because the rest of the ship will be flooded and it will sink. Anybody who tries to get through this door will be killed by me." But this time they were just practicing. They let large balloons go up , and then they would practice shooting them out of the sky. | North Africa Here I Come | A Liberty Ship | Statue of Liberty
14: On the ship I met Borgeson, Borgy. He was in my outfit. He was a womanizer and a boxer. On the ship there was a boxing ring on the top deck. The Red Cross nurses and officers would watch a three round match. Then the boxers would be sent down in the hole again. I fought Borgie and won. | As kids we used to box for fun. I boxed as a sport in high school. I took up boxing again while I was at basic training in Alabama. We would go up into the hills and fight. The civilians would come and watch us too. I remember there was a lot of drinking at those fights. I fought three bouts, three rounds each. It was a lot of fun. Our battalion had a lot of good fighters. | Brother Steve boxes with a friend in Export. | The Manettie brothers, neighbors in Export. | Boxing
15: We were almost to North Africa when we were told that the U.S. forces, the English and the Australians had Field Marshal Rommel (who was called Desert Fox) on the run so we were no longer needed there. (On March 6, 1943 Rommel advised Hitler to give up Africa.) So we're turning around, went through the Panama Canal, and headed for Australia to get jungle training. We were going to fight the Japanese in the South Pacific. When we went though the canal they let us up on the deck because it was a slow process. Up and down , up and down, we saw how the locks work, it was an interesting process. After we got out of the canal and into the Pacific, we were back in the hole again. That whole trip going from New York to Australia took 31 days ( without touching land.) | Australia Here I Come
16: Townsville Aust. 1944 | "chow line" Sept. 15, 1944 | "hardest working man in Australia" | A couple of Aussies | "home"
17: Red Cross social | "ole swimmin' hole" | The Camp Mascot | Castle Hill our camp was on top
18: Townsville | We docked in Brisbane, Australia. Strange, strange country, but they spoke English, naturally Australian style, but it was still English. We unloaded in Brisbane and were told we were going by rail to our training area. I rested-up a fews days then got ready to go to our new place. We weren't told our destination until we were on the train. An odd thing about Australia is it is divided into six states, and every one had its own railroad. The tracks weren't uniform size so when we got to each state we had to unload and load the next train. I think we did that three times. Finally we got to our destination, Townsville, Australia. Our compound was next to an Australian army compound. We had three battalions of MP's with us. If you can imagine 3,000 MP's in one area, but each with their own commanders. | " The Riot Squad" | Me
19: New Guinea | The Japanese already had attacked and captured New Guinea. So Australia was preparing for an attack by the Japanese since Australia was only about 100 miles south of New Guinea. We were always on alert for an attack by a bomber. The WAC's | (Women's Army corp.) had anti-air guns all over town that they manned because even though Australia had no draft, all the men had gone to serve in various parts of the world while women, children and old men were left in town. Of course the Americans were heroes for coming down to save Australia. Townsville had beautiful beaches and there were a lot of docking areas for war ships. It became the jumping off point for soldiers coming to fight the Japanese. Because the town was always filled with soldiers, Americans, British, Canadians, and French, you can imagine what happened when they went to Townsville to the bars to drink. Many fights broke out. It kept us MP's busy. Also the women who served
20: the young men had their section of town and a MP was stationed out front. The women served the MP's drinks and the men would come and go. The officers had their own club built so they could drink and have their women brought in by ambulance. I'd see an ambulance door open and six women get out. | We were going north and we might die, who knew? So we had fun while we could. We had another place called Murder Island. It was just bars that you could walk to when the tides were low and when the tides went up you had to take a boat back. There was many a call for a MP over there. There were plenty of knifing and shootings.
21: witch doctor | New Guinea
23: The General's Bird | By now I was a Sergeant. Officially I was Head of the Department of Investigation in the Counterintelligence Corp of the 6th Army. I traveled by train and plane all over | Australia and the islands looking for murderers and thieves, and investigating traffic accidents. I investigated about 300 accidents, many of them fatal. I got a call one afternoon that said," Go to your supply officer immediately. Get a jeep, a shot gun and one shell, and get out to headquarters right away. I said ,"What, I have a .45, a M1!, and a Tommy gun. I don't have a shot gun." So I roared over to the supply sergeant. He was waiting for me with the shot gun and shell. I said," What's this for?" He said,"You know Captain Good at headquarters; he wants you out there as fast as possible." So I got in the jeep and I took off because army headquarters was out in the country. The buildings there were for the generals and officers, their secretaries, other enlisted men, and a compound for prisoners. I roared up to the gate the captain was waiting for me there, he jumped in the jeep, and he said pointing, "Go to the motor pool over there>" There were prisoners all over picking up debris. When I got to the motor pool I was told to load my gun. The captain pointed to a new shiny black Oldsmobile. There was a bird sitting on top of it. The general's orders are to shoot the bird. Now the bird was up in the tree over top of the car. It was a beautiful, big, colorful bird. I started to walk real slow up
24: to the bird. I turned around and asked the captain," What if I miss?" He said, "You had better not, you have one chance." All of the sudden the bird took off and I shot, boom, feathers went flying, and the bird twirled down. After the boom, all the prisoners and guards that were walking around were now flat on the ground. People were running out of buildings yelling, "What happened?" When the civilian police heard about it they said," We're going to arrest you because that bird was protected by the government." They were only joking. I turned to the captain and asked," What now?" He said," Take Three feathers, go to the office, and write an official report." I went back and started telling everyone the story. It even got in Yank Magazine. ( Yank Magazine was the U.S. Army's weekly. It appeared world wide from April 1942-1945.)
25: Well, the captain took our cigarettes and matches, put them in bags with our names on them, and put them in his office to cut down the risk of an accident. It took about a dozen of us all day to load the tub with live, defective ammunition. We had it all, machine guns, mortars, howitzer shells, 2,000 lb. and 5,000 lb. bombs. | While we were in Townsville I got the assignment to dump defective ammunition out in the Great Barrier Reef. The army loaded ammunition onto flat cars and brought them to the dock. Then they got a tub, at least that's what I called it. The captain and the crew were on the top with a large crane, and they lowered the ammo into the cargo ship. The ship had a steam engine that sounded like a motorcycle, PUTT, PUTT, PUTT. | When we were done the hatch was about 2 feet off the deck. There was no room for us down below. We put canvas over the deck, then stretched rope back and forth from either side of the boat so we were about 4 feet above the waves. We laid in there intertwined in the rope so if a wave broke over the boat we wouldn't be washed away. That is where we were going to sleep for two nights. After we loaded, hatched, and strung the rope we went off into the Pacific. It was a beautiful day. Night came and we ate Spam and cold beans. We went to sleep and then a storm came up. The water washed over us. Our Polish barber came with us and he was kneeling and praying in Polish all night. We didn't mind the prayers. The daylight came and the storm ended. When we got to the Great Barrier Reef it was beautiful. The water was so clear. It was spectacular, but we wasted no time unloading. We didn't eat and we didn't rest, because if just one small shell would have went off the whole ship would have exploded and they would have never found us. We dumped our load and headed back home. One more night at sea and we were back at Townsville. | The Great Barrier Reef
26: Downed plane in Australia | "The Firing Squad" | L.to R., (not known), Ping, Olen, Shimek, Pavliak, Borgeson, Sanchez
27: I used to be on the "firing squad" at the burial for soldiers who had died on the beaches. I used to shoot three shots into the air, while the buglers blew taps at the grave site. So whenever a bunch of guys died on the islands in the area around us a place was needed to bury them. They would bring them down and put them in our grave. We would shoot the volley for them, the buglers would play and the Chaplain would say his thing. When the graveyard got filled up, they would empty a ship, (one that had unloaded bombs) and dig up the coffins. We would open the coffins and overturn them into a new coffins and seal them. A train would take them to the waiting ship. And we would wait for the next batch. One night, during the early part of the war, They were emptying the graves because the ship was there. I was on duty, I was sitting at the grave site with all the empty graves and new graves, with all the machinery, the bulldozers, the backhoes to open the graves...and I heard talking, talking, and laughing Australian voices and American voices. I always carried my Tommy gun when I was on Duty. I went down and snuck up on two Aussies with a jeep. They were trying to siphon gas out of a bulldozer into their jeep. There was a big closed case that shovels and odds and ends and cans of gasoline that they could have gotten without any trouble. So we sat and talked, they had a bottle , and I said, "What the heck." They were AWOL, they came from the jungle and had leave but they figured they didn't have enough leave so they would take a few extra days. Once they got drunk they realized they were low on gas and wanted to get to another town. So we BSed and BSed and I says, " What the hell, you know, you're going to be there 6 hours anyway, 6 on, 6 off." So they got their can of gas, their tank was filled and they said, "So long, Mate." | Graveyard and Gasoline
28: Of course there were all kinds of animals and snakes in the bush, so we were armed. We went through a dried creek bed and got stuck up to the axis. So, we got a two headed ax from the back and we chopped bushes and anything we could find to stick under the wheels. I thought we were going to be stuck out in the middle of the bush all night, but we finally pushed it out. | There was a ship ported in Darwin supposedly going from island to island smuggling cigarettes and booze to soldiers. Another Sargent and I were told to get evidence and then to turn it over to the civilian police. We took a command car. That's what they drive generals around in. It is a big, heavy car that's a four seater with an open top. We followed telephone lines to get to Darwin because there were no roads. We were in the Australian bush. | When we got to Darwin we went to a hotel. It was the first time people had seen a Yank there. You couldn't buy a drink, our food was free, we were heroes. When we went to bed people would come into the room just to see what a Yank looked like. The ship we were looking for was in port and we boarded the next morning. A civilian cop was with us. We were lead to the captain, and boy was I surprised. He was a huge bear of a man with flaming red hair and beard. His arms were like my legs. He was enormous. He had a quart of brandy and a quart of milk in front of him. When he saw us he said, "Come in, join me for breakfast." | Smuggling
29: We sat down and introduced ourselves. We told him that the American government suspected him of smuggling, and we were here to search his ship. We also told him if anything was found he would be arrested by the civilian police, but the American government would bring charges against him. He turned around and hollered to his boy to bring him more glasses. He turned to us and said, "Well, have breakfast with me anyway. This is the best breakfast in the world. Brandy and milk; you'll never die." So we drank. He said he did honest trade with the island natives. We searched the ship and then sat with the man, had drinks, and finally said we might as well go back to the hotel. He said, "Listen, I like you Yanks. Later this evening come back, and I will take you to my favorite place." He took us to a port bar that was filled with Australian service men and WACs. Of course, all the women were after the Yanks because we have more money than the Australian or British soldiers. We were rich in comparison. (The British described the Yanks as, "overpaid, over sexed, and over here." The Americans replied that the Brits were, "under paid, under sexed, and under Eisenhower.") The soldiers there started muttering about, "these damn Yankees' these Yanks comin' over here and fooling with our women." They were getting ugly towards us and they were getting louder and louder. Now, this huge man, his red hair flaming, jumped up on the bar and took off his shirt. You should have seen the muscles on him. He said, "These are my friends, and anyone who wants to fight them has to fight me first. I'll take you all on one at a time. I'll get down there, make a ring, and the biggest of you come first, and then anyone else that wants to." The room got quiet. He beat his chest with his fists. Right away everyone hushed up and went back to normal. We were left alone for the rest of the evening. When we were eating dinner that night, people came up to shake our hands and thank us for being there.
30: This snake was under the floor boards in our tent. I killed it with my Tommy Gun. It has been known to swallow whole kangaroos weighing as much as 50 pounds. | My Tent Mate | * Amethystine Python is the biggest snake in Australia, up to 24 feet long. Australia has 300 species of snakes, and 70 of them are poisonous. | Snake | wounded | ...not from the snake. I had to dive for cover during a bombing raid.
31: My girlfriend in Australia. I could not ride a bike. I couldn't keep my balance. | So my girlfriend would ride me around on the handlebars.! | Me "posing" on the bike.
32: McKay was a beautiful town on the ocean, and the 5th air force used it for R&R for the men who flew combat missions on the island. The men would stay two weeks then resume duty. We were told our duties were to take care of the men because when they got to McKay they were going to get happy and drunk. We were going to see that they didn't get hurt. But not let them break the law. They had a big Red Cross there. It had a lot of good food, a big dance floor, and entertainment for the Yankees. McKay also had a lot of nice bars.+ | "...and not a Yank around."
33: By this time the Americans had been "island hopping." taking islands little by little, and beating back the Japanese at New Guinea. (To understand the enormity of the task, I'll give you some examples: It took 4 days to take over the island of Tarawa, 1,115 marines were killed and 2,234 wounded. Of 5,000 Japanese defenders, only 17 survived. On Saipan Island, Americans suffered 16,525 casualties, while the Japanese lost some 29,000, many of them in the largest suicide attack in the world. The battle for Leyte Gulf lasted three days and spread over hundreds of miles of ocean. No fewer than 282 warships engaged in combat. It was the largest battle in navel history. When it was over, the Japanese Navy lay crippled beyond repair. Because of this they launched a horrifying new weapon, the Kamikaze "Devine Wind" attack. The Kamikaze was a Japanese pilot who would intentionally fly his plane into an allied ship. The pilot knew he would die, but he hoped to sink the ship.) The combat MPs were being sent to different islands. Some were with the attack groups because they would direct traffic, lay out lines, fight with the infantry, and set up roads. So one by one the two battalions were gone. Then it was only our battalion. Then they started shipping parts of our battalion. Some of them went to BEAC and some went north to New Guinea. I was picked out with a group of men to go south to McKay Australia. We flew down on a Fat Cat which was a bomber that wasn't fit for comfort. It was used for hauling people and groceries around the island. | McKay
34: We got a call from the civilian police of a small town in Australia. It seemed that an American army jeep kept showing up in different places around town, even though there hadn't been any Americans there in a long time. My partner and I were sent to investigate. We found the jeep, its carburetor had been removed so we were unable to 'steal' it back from the thieves. So we waited.After midnight two shadowed figures lifted the hood. We drew out our Tommy guns and approached them on either side. They were Australian WACs. The carburetor was in the pocket of one of the girls. The girls were taken to the police station, and from there, the Australians came for them. They were AWOL. In the meantime, we put the carburetor back and returned the jeep. I was called to testify at the trial of these two. An officer escorted me. She was snapping in Australian, MARCH. I was along side of her between these two rows of barracks, bars on the windows, a women's prison. All the girls were hollering, screaming, "Yank, Yank, Come over here. I need you. I haven't had a Yank in two months etc., etc." Old Stone Face keep walking and I was trying to keep in step with her, laughing all the time. Well to make a long story short. There was a court marshal for these two girls who were caught. We came back as soon as it was over. I'm not sure what they got but I'm sure they got a little bit of time behind those bars at that women's prison. | The Case of the Missing Jeep
35: Worst Thanksgiving. How well I remember. It was in Australia 1942 ( age 23.) I was a GI with the 6th army. Our outfit was sent to Brisbane, our first step to Japan. On Thanksgiving Day I was ordered for guard duty (for 24 hours, with 4 hours on and 4 hours off.) My luck, I was taken to the boondocks, miles from anything. It was a GI railroad site with a train-load of 5,000 pound bombs. I went on duty. It was 8:00 a.m. Noon came, 4:00 p.m. came., 8:00 p.m. and midnight came. Fortunately, I had breakfast ( powdered eggs and powdered milk, and a canteen of warm water for the rest of the time.) Finally, relief came. The army had goofed again. They had misplaced the location of all the guards sent out. ! | My story appeared in the...
36: Eleanor Roosevelt | I was once the personal guard to the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, while she was touring our part the South Pacific. She stayed one night in McKay to have dinner and talk to some soldiers and pilots. That night she sat with the soldiers and pilots while I sat at the other table with the big shots. These included an American General, a British General, ranking officers, and politicians. The first bite of chicken I took got caught in my throat. I coughed and coughed and the General next to me kept patting my shoulder saying, "It's O.K.." I finally got it out.
37: John Wayne | Gary Cooper | I was the only one in the room that had a gun, and it was in my shoulder holster. My orders were that if anyone in that room bothered Mrs. Roosevelt to was to use it. I was a pretty good shot in my day. There were other armed men outside, guarding the door. I talked to her awhile after the banquet, she was very gracious. She autographed my menu and dated it. (I no longer have it because the trunk it was in was later lost.) I also stood outside the door while she slept. I also saw Gary Cooper and John Wayne. Wayne was on the back of a truck and as drunk as a Lord. He was holding a bottle in each hand singing and yelling. | I never liked the guy, he stayed way behind the lines. | Gary Cooper was an actor who was in a lot of Westerns.
39: reassigned to Manila. We all got on open flat cars, and I climbed up on one with airplane tires on it. There were still snipers in the mountains we went through, but the tires protected us. We got to Manila and it was burned out. Most of the Japanese were gone or dead. To be captured was to "lose face" and it was worse than death. They believe if you died for your emperor, you went straight to heaven. | By now the war was ending. The U.S. Air Force was bombing every military and industrial target of the Japanese home islands. Huge formations of B-29 Superfortresses hit factories, railroads, and oil dumps. On March 9, 1944, 300 B_29s showered Tokyo with incendiary bombs. More than 80,000 residents were killed. On into the spring we were sending 500 planes on fire raids every other day. Troops weren't stopping off in Townsville on their way north anymore. I was | I believe that the Japanese would have fought until every last man, woman, and child was dead. What stopped this horrible war was our secret weapon, the atomic bomb. President Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin delivered an ultimatum; surrender or suffer, "complete and utter destruction." The ultimatum was ignored. This resulted in the U.S. dropping a 9,000 pound atomic bomb on Hiroshima. That was on August 6, 1945. Three days later a second bomb fell upon Nagasaki. That ended the war. Emperor Hirohito told his war council, "I cannot bear to see my innocent people suffer any longer." and announced his decision to surrender, which disappointed many of his people. | Manila Here I Come
40: ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 2, 1945 ABOARD THE BATTLESHIP MISSOURI, THE JAPANESE EMISSARIES SIGNED THE DOUCUMENTS OF SURRENDER. | WW11 WAS OVER !
41: Japan Here I Come | I had points enough to go home (The army's demobilization gave credit for each of the following: months of service, months overseas, battle stars, combat decorations, and each child under 18.), But the army said," NO, the original plan was that you were supposed to be on the first attack on Japan, so we're sending you there. You'll be sent home from Japan.'' So I got on the ship again.
42: We were to be the first striking force on the island of Bataan if the war hadn't ended. Instead of sending us home, they changed all the orders of the men and sent us to Japan. We would go home from there. So we got on board ship, and again, I was on an LST (Landing Ship Tanks) this time with trucks all over it. All the men who were 'non-coms' (non-commissioned) were downstairs, sleeping in the hold. Being an M.P., I was on top. I didn't have to stay underneath all day and all night long, thank goodness. | Japan...and then Home | An LST taking the 6th Army and a load of trucks to Japan. | Landing ship tanks (LST) | Tank deck below
43: We had cots that we would tie down on the edges, right near the posts and wire. We bounced as we slept at night. I had two belts and tied myself to the truck that was along side me and to a post on the other side. It was typhoon season in that area of the Pacific. In fact, Okinawa was hard hit. We saw typhoons continuously, everyday going to Japan. They were like tornadoes, wind and rain and ocean twirling around. There were hundreds and hundreds of ships of all sizes, as far as the eye could see. Just like at Normandy, that was the size of it. We had some storms in which all the water came over the front end of the LST and all the trucks (which were bolted down) were wet and so were we. Many of the nights we didn't sleep, and we were never dry.
44: Wakayama was our destination in Japan. When we got there, a whole row of LSTs were there with nothing but infantry. Naturally, if the troops were on big battleships and carriers with the big guns, the enemy planes would have gone in and bombed them like they did in Normandy. But unlike Normandy beach in France, the place was deserted. But here's the thing... Out of the whole force, I was on the third LST to disembark and there was nothing on these LSTs but the combat MPs and the infantry and a few tanks, but they weren't in the front because the war was over, only foot troops. If the war had continued, only God knows if I would have survived. Thank God for the Atom Bomb; because believe it or not, it was over. If the Japanese had been there, they would have had all kinds of equipment on the beach: barb wire, rods, posts, and all kinds of equipment, even in the water beforehand. The Japanese army would have been in front and then the whole militia, and behind them would have been the children and women. I found out later that everyone had staffs, even pointed sticks to fight with. You know, we never took a Japanese prisoner; they would die fighting or take their own lives even if they were just wounded. If you tried to help them, they tore off their bandages. They just did not want to live under those circumstance. They called it dishonor. They would rather die than be dishonored. Even years after the war was over they found Japanese soldiers in the Philippines who didn't surrender and had no idea the war was over. | Wakayama, Japan
45: Well, we got to the city of Wakayama, but what city? It was nothing but ashes, ashes, ashes. The whole city was deserted, nothing but ashes and ruins. Ruins on top of ruins. Chimneys, bare walls, nothing... not a living thing at all. There wasn't a bird, there wasn't an animal, as far as the eye could see. We slept on the ground. It was cold, it was wintertime, compared to the tropics where we were so hot all the time. We had nothing but two summer uniforms and a blanket, so we had to march to find a railroad, we knew where it was, it was a two day march. So early morning, after our cold breakfast of Spam, march, march, march all day. The first place we came to where we were supposed to camp was a burnt out bombed former cavalry stable. We slept where the horses had slept, in stalls. I found a couple of bands that the horses used to keep around their necks.
46: I kept them as souvenirs of that place. I still have one although the other one has disappeared. I remember that very well. So, after washing in a horse trough and shaving in ice cold water, we started to march again. Up we went, march, march, march. We came to a bombed out airport. All the buildings were bombed, half there, half not, and the airplanes strewn all over, destroyed on the ground. After all these days, not a human being, no one, not a bird, everywhere nothing. A firebomb, that's what did it. On the big buildings, it was 5,000 pound bombs. There wasn't a human being to be seen. We didn't see a Japanese person until we got to the railroad. You carried 80 pounds on your back and whatever arms you had, like your rifle, you carried, that was extra weight. 40 miles a day, that's what you were paid for, you were in the army.
48: We found out that our new home would be in Kyoto. Kyoto, "the Paris of Japan," the great tombs of all the rulers of Japan for centuries were there. All the beautiful temples. It was an open city, never touched by bombers or the war in any way. Besides two magnificent old Imperial Villas, Kyoto has about 400 Shinto shrines and 1,600 Buddhist temples. We were to organize policing in all areas of the city for the occupation troops to come, and the sooner the better, because we all wanted to go home. Trucks came and got us from the railway and took us to the Mitsubishi factory. It had made cars, but during the war it produced airplane engines for the Japanese air force. Right next to the factory was the workers' hotel, a two story building. All we had were our cots and summer uniforms. Well, we walked in there and most of the rooms had furniture. So, what did we do? We opened the windows and threw everything out into one big pile in the yard. That's what we did. We settled in. We laid out four cots, put our clothes on the floor next to our cots. The non-coms were on the second floor, we were on the first, and the officers had a special place downtown, a nice hotel and warmth. The first thing was to get showers, bathrooms... but... | Kyoto, Japan | Mitsubishi Factory
49: We learned a lot on our first day in the building. There were no showers, instead of showers, there was a big swimming pool, 20 ft. X 20 ft. It wasn't really a swimming pool because when you sat down the water came up to your chest. To go to the bathroom, you had to squat and it would run outside. There was no toilet paper at all, you were to wipe with your fingers and then run them under the water and dry them on a large rag that was hanging nearby. We changed all that. We got toilet paper and started throwing it down there. Eventually, the police chief of the town came over and told us the paper was clogging all the waste material in the pipes. Those pipes lead to their fields. The women would gather the waste material and spread it on the plants to fertilize them. Every inch of ground was planted in Japan, even the area between the sidewalk and the street. You would see men dressed in gowns and women dressed in pants. These men would go to the bathroom in the dirt by the street. They would wrap the gown around themselves so you couldn't see anything. Then they scraped the dirt and what they did around the plants. It was common there. Anyway, the Chief asked us to please cut out putting the paper in the pipes, so we decided to do that. We didn't use our fingers though. We got a big bucket and threw the waste paper in there.
50: Our job was to meet with the Japanese police chiefs, their detectives, and all their cops to set up a system of patrol. We were to empty places for our guards to be, patrol the bars, and watch our men. It was surprising how many of the Japanese we worked with spoke English. Of course, they had translators to tell every cop in the city what we talked about and what was expected of them. And that was that. We were just getting everything started. One of the first things the police gave us was a list of geisha houses, great homes of prostitution, and common houses of prostitution. Each had special prices. We were to hang up the whole list in our barracks, addresses and all, so all the soldiers would know. It was legal there. That was something else. The people on the streets turned their backs to us. Some of the soldiers got mad, but we were told that it was a sign of respect. They never looked at anyone directly if they respected them. Of course, we told the police to tell the people we don't want that. But, then again, men, women, and children would still bow down low to us when we passed. | My Job
51: All the places of fun were there, the bars, playhouses and so forth. It was the second Paris after all. The people went there for the same reason they go to Paris today. So, my job was to make tours of the manufacturing plants and check the MPs, see that everything was alright and make reports. Stop here and stop there, everywhere. I got to know all the Japanese detectives. The chief of Inspectors and I became very good friends. He gave me a card, written in Japanese and English which said, "Chief Inspectors" and on the backside in Japanese he wrote," He is a personal friend of mine, please attend to his needs at all costs if possible, I would appreciate you to help him." That was nice because later on we would go to a bar and ask for sake. They would say they didn't have any. Then we would show them the card and as if by magic a quart or a gallon of sake would appear. A lot of times, I would have money in my hands and they would say, "No,no.". So I would get it for nothing. | Card from Assistant Inspector Hatanaka
52: I had my own jeep and was able to wander around town. I would find a friend who was interested and we would visit all the tombs and temples. Huge, huge, huge,...inside great beams, carvings, gold, Buddhas, it was a sight. Inside people would bow their heads to us and we would find someone who could speak English to tell us stories. There were ropes, 3 inches thick and taller than a man, rolled up made from women's hair. They were used to hold the beams that held the roofs. That was amazing.
53: High rise in Kyoto | Temple in Kyoto
54: It was December already, and the soldiers were leaving, leaving, leaving. Out of the 1,000 men that had been there only a dozen remained. The formal surrender had been on Sept. 2, 1945. We were ready to go home. We hadn't seen our families for years and Christmas was around the corner. Along with temples,we also visited the gardens of Japan. You talk about Japanese gardens; one was more beautiful than the other even in winter. While we were at a garden, near a big temple, we came upon a nun. I think she may have been Filipino. She was with a group of children, young boys and girls dressed in what seemed to be uniforms. She spoke to us, welcomed us and told us that the children were all learning English so they could go to the United States after the war. Then surprise of surprise, all the sudden, she turned to the children and told them to sing to us. The song that they sang was Silent Night. It made me cry. I will never forget it. Almost 55 years later, just recalling this story, I cry. | Silent Night | Children singing Silent Night.
55: So about this time, all the battalion was disappearing. They left by bunches, all the officers were gone. Eventually the occupation troops came. They put up brand new barracks, brand new battalions, fresh new men, with fresh new uniforms, winter uniforms. We used to go out there and sit in a row, unshaven, dirty, and in our summer uniforms, huddled together and we would laugh at them. I remember one lieutenant, a Second Lieutenants, fresh out of West Point came over and raised hell with us. "You're a disgrace to the army. You shouldn't be seen." So all of us guys went in and put on our ribbons,our battle stars, everything, and went back and sat down again. He came over and raised more hell, so we just pointed at our ribbons. | Our Master Sergeant was there, and he stood up and said," Our orders are to stay here in this building until we are sent home. And were doing that. No one has come for us . We are a forgotten troop. We are going to sit here until someone comes for us. You want to do something, go out and get some orders, get somebody up here to chase us home. We've been here 4 years (it had been 3 years, 9 months for me) some in this battalion have been here 4 1/2 years and we're still waiting to go home." That shut him up and he never bothered us again. | The Forgotten Troop
56: This Master Sergeant was a scrounger. He used to go out and find things for us. If we needed a ride into town to get some beer or something, he would borrow a jeep. This went ON & ON...and we were still trying to get home for Christmas. It was cold in that place. We took the floor boards and made fires to warm us during the night. We kept the door open. Everybody was sleeping on the bottom floor. We kept the windows open so that the gases from the fires would go up the stairs. At least, with the fires, we had heat. As for food, we would go next door with our canteen cup and plate and bum their food. The chef was good to us. I had been shaving and didn't have a stitch of clothing on when I came out of the bathroom. All at once there was a commotion at the door. I turned around and there's General Westmoreland (MacArthur?) and all kinds of Army Officers, about 8 of them. Every body came in, they looked at me, I looked at them, then of course I snapped a salute, he salutes, everybody salutes. He says to me, "How long have you been here, Soldier?" I told him 3 years, 9 months, I told him right down to the day, because you remember everyday. He said," What are you doing here, everybody is gone, the new troops are here. How many are there? Where are you sleeping?" I told him the number and I told him we slept two doors down. "Oh," he said, "with all the empty beer cases and sake bottles." I said, "Yes, Sir." He kind of laughed and looked at me and told me to "carry on." He says, "That's going to change immediately." He left and the troops left with him. | The Sergeant and the General
58: Well, that was something. When I told the guys about it they didn't believe it. But the next day trucks came. Sewing machines, new uniforms, our ranks came in (you got a new stripe for every six months overseas) shirts, ties, overcoats, everything brand new. In other words, we were now fully equipped instead of bedraggled with nothing. A Captain was there to make sure we had everything we needed. Then he told us to be ready to move tomorrow. And sure enough, the next day trucks came. Everybody loaded into them and we went to a ship. It was a fast new Army ship. It was nothing like that old LST that brought us here. We boarded. It was mealtime, the troops, the veterans, ate together. What a beautiful, beautiful ship, big soft bunks. That evening we were sitting and talking and just enjoying everything. Everything was just so nice and clean. All at once, on the intercom, we hear,"Now hear this, now hear this>" Of course, everyone was just silenced. Then music began, and singing: "Now is the hour that we must be saying good-bye. Soon we'll be sailing far across the sea..." The music that began our trip home had been a hit song during the early part of the war. We listened to that song as the engines started. The crying, singing, hollering, and hugging started as well. Our destination was Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. | The Long Trip Home | First stop Seattle, Washington, USA
59: C.I.C. Headquarters 6th Army on the way home December, 1945 Near the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.
60: The Long Trip Home next stop Seattle Washington | Seattle- 1st trip to a bar in the U.S.> after the war. | Waiting for the buses, (still no trains) to go to the bars. | They let us know when we were going by the Aleutian Islands. We took a look at that place. We fought the Japanese there as well. On June 3, 1942, the Japanese attacked Alaska's Aleutian Islands to confuse the Americans before they attacked Midway the next day. Unknown to the Japanese, the Americans secretly prepared their forces for the coming battle at Midway. Finally, Seattle. Getting off I saw a lot of people kissing others and blessing themselves. Trucks were waiting to take us to camp to wait for trains. No trains, no trains, no trains. We had buses to town with no restrictions, come and go as you pleased. The night spots were a blessing, because there were still no trains. But it was too cold to see the city. Eventually after days, I don't remember how long, we got a train. Loading the train was a happy happy day. Now we were going to Kentucky. In Kentucky we would finalize our papers, get our final medical exam, final everything and then HOME. So we went over mountains, the scenery was beautiful. The first time I went to the West Coast was by the southern route, by train from basic training in Alabama to California. Then from California to New | Me | Me
61: York. I traveled the mid-section of America and coming back we had the northern route. So I crossed the U.S. three times in three different sections. It was good. I saw a lot of cities and towns that I had never seen before. Unfortunately, it was mid-December leaving Seattle and we were stalled by snow slides. They had to get special trains with equipment to open the tracks. | FINALLY, FINALLY WE GOT TO KENTUCY.
62: The Long Trip Home- Kentucky Next stop??? | In Kentucky it was paperwork, exams, inspections, this, and that. Finally, it was our last inspection on everything and we had our papers in our pockets. It was the day before Christmas and we were HAPPY. We were going to the city to catch a train that was going to Pittsburgh and to New York. We were packed and ready. We had our | barracks bags lined up and waiting for the trucks to come. Instead, a Greyhound bus pulls up to take us to the station. All right, we thought, we'll get a ride on a fleet of Greyhound buses. But what happened? You guessed it. A BIG, BIG, ice storm hit the camp, hit the city. Pure ice and the Greyhound Company refused to send out their buses to pick us up and take us to the station. Well, there was a terrible uproar. MEN WERE SHOATING AND PEOPLE WERE RUNNING ABOUT. The Commander, he knew what we wanted, he knew how long we had been overseas. He got the motor pool and ordered them to put chains on all the tires. He said," Get these men to the station, I don't care about the weather." One by one, the trucks were loaded. It was a long, slow trip to the railroad station.
63: It was nice to see that big station. It was all lit up. It had warmth ( those trucks were unheated and in our overcoats, combat boots, and military caps, that didn't cover our ears, we were cold.) So we unloaded our bags at the station and looked for our train. Too bad, the train had LEFT. We're stuck there, the day before Christmas. WE CAN'T GET TO PITTSBURG, WE CAN'T GET TO NEW YORK, AND WE CAN'T GET HOME FOR CHRISTMAS EVE. We had planned to be celebrating on the train on the way home. So we all had brought a bottle or two of liquor for the ride, BUT NO TRAIN. We put up a stink. We were going to tear that station apart. We had an officer, I think it was a Colonel, who had a big argument with the Station Manager. He told him," Look,these men are going to tear this place apart if they don't get a train and get out of here." The guy says, "Well there is a train and it's headed for Pittsburgh and New York but it's loaded. Here's what we'll do. We'll hitch up a bunch of mail cars behind it, as many as you need, with your men in them." That was fine with us whatever it took.
64: So we held up the train. It took time to hitch up the mail cars. The people that were on the train were as mad as hell, but when they were told it was the soldiers trying to get home for Christmas they cooled off. The mail cars were unheated, of course, like boxcars with the doors on the sides. We lined up, filled in with laying room only. You threw your bag in and lay down next to it until the train was full. boy, was it cold, but we had our bottles. So we were hitched up and the train went. We were headed for home again. It was quiet on that train. Everybody was deep in thought. It was Christmas Eve Day. We knew we would be in Pittsburgh by dark on Christmas Eve. Everybody was saying," We hope, we hope, we hope nothing goes wrong with this train."
65: The Long Trip Home- Pittsburgh - next stop Export | Eventually, we came into Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, I've never seen such a beautiful city in all of my life. It so happens, that the Greyhound Station is close to the railway station. I was hoping to catch a bus going out that evening to Export. I put my barracks bag on my shoulder, with 2 Japanese swords sticking out of it . People got out of my way when I started moving real fast and headed to the bus station. There was a long line at the ticket counter, but again, people let me go ahead of them to get my ticket. And it so happens, it wasn't a long wait or anything, but it was already long past nightfall. | Pittsburgh Union Station | Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
66: Finally, they said load the buses. All the service personnel got on first. There was a group of sailors heading my way. I was the only GI. We piled on, and of course, we sat in the front. Our barracks bags were put in the belly of the bus. Everybody was happy, and everyone had bottles. I talked to the sailors, asked about where they were stationed. They had been in the South Pacific as well. They knew the places I had been and I knew the places they were talking about. We were on our way to Export. It is a trip I will never forget.
67: The Long Trip Home- Export Christmas Eve 1945 | We arrived in the little town of Export. So I looked around, and there was the high school up through the yard. Up the street from that, about 100 yards past #no. 2 Road was Red Blocks. Right on the corner, on the 3rd row of Red Blocks was my HOME. The bus driver got out to open the door under the bus to get my barracks bag out. He tried key after key to unlock it. Finally, he said to me," I must have the wrong set of keys for this sir. It's locked and I can't open it. But I'll tell you what, I'll go to the end of the line pick up the right keys and on my way back I'll drop it off."
68: I told him that the other passengers had bags in there as well, what was he going to do, Drop them off one at a time?" I said," NO, You have four years of my life in there. I have two swords, a Japanese flag, a German flag, a kimono, two strings of pearls, AND I AM NOT LEAVING THEM IN THE BUS. All of my life is in there. I've got nothing else. NO, I AM NOT LEAVING THAT BAG." Two sailors were watching us from inside the bus through the window. They came out and said to me ,"Is this guy giving you trouble?" I explained the situation to them. The sailors said, "GET HIS BAG OUT." The bus driver still wouldn't. So one of the sailors went back in the bus and got his buddy. They stood in front of the bus and said that it wasn't going anywhere until I got my barracks bag. Luckily, we were in front of a gas station. The bus driver went to the station and came back with a crow bar. He pried opened the door and I got my bag. I thanked the sailors and headed for home.
69: I want to be HOME | with my family
70: Home | It was a quick walk home. I hammered on the front door. I don't remember who answered the door, but when I stepped in there was screaming. "LOYSIC'S HOME, LOYSIC'S HOME" I arrived around 11:00 pm Christmas Eve. I made it. I walked in the house and saw Mother, Pap, two sisters and their children, and my brother Steve who I hadn't seen in seven years. Steve had been sent to Puerto Rico after basic training and became a Crew Chief in the Air Force. He was assigned a fighter plane in the 22nd Air Force Division. He was stationed in England and Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded a Silver Star, two American Bronze Stars, two French metals, one Belgian medal, and four other metals from the Air Force. He had seven Battle Stars, all in all. I was very proud of him. | Steve | Steve
71: My brother-in-law Russell Evans, my sister Rose's husband, was a sailor based in Hawaii. He was on an old four smokestack destroyer from WWI. They got called out of the mothballs to fight WWII. He was on it during the whole war, patrolling the Pacific. He had quite a few run-ins with the enemy. Elmer Alden, my Sister Stell's husband, went from Italy to Germany. He also saw quite a bit of action. My sister Margaret's husband was shot in the spine in Guadalcanal when the Japanese first invaded the island. He was stringing phone lines from a tree when a sniper shot him. He spent a long time in the hospital. Later his son served in Vietnam. We spent 15 minutes hugging and talking, then it was off to midnight mass at St. Mary's Church. From the youngest to the oldest, we all went to Christmas Eve Mass. We came home after mass and ate and drank and talked for the next two or three days. Then after getting reacquainted we slept. Home at last...
72: "Mail like that (a long letter) is very welcomed- like food and drink over here, in fact it comes in before that" | Love Lou | The following dozen letters were written between January 1944 and October 1945. These are the war letters to Helen, and the letters of swimming on the beaches of Australia and of a friend being blown out of a foxhole in Belgium. They are the letters from Japan after seeing the ashes of burnt-out cities and after visiting the golden temples of Kyoto. They are the story off the "long, long road from here to home." They are the pages of One Man's Life during WW11. | Since Dad's handwriting can be difficult to read we typed a transcript for your reading pleasure.
74: Dear Helen -- To begin with first of all I want to wish you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year- May you have everything your heart desires in the coming twelve months. Next I want to apologize for not writing sooner. But I've been very busy. I was on detached service in another town (and it was a swell place) but now I'm back with my old outfit - so I will have a lot of spare time in which to do my writing. I hope I'm forgiven and that you will drop a line and let me know how you are doing. Had a very quiet Xmas week and New Year's Eve. But yesterday I put down a few-- and went straight to bed, So you see it wasn't very exciting. I'll bet you really made the rounds and had a swell time, Right? The weather is very hot right now, but we don't mind so much- we're used to it. But it would be nice to see snow again. Till next time take care of yourself and Remember to Write. | Love Lou | Australia Jan.2, 1944
75: Dear Helen -- Prepare yourself for another shock --Because here's that man again. Just received your letter, so got out my pen right away, and here I am. Nothing new to report tho- Life goes on in the same set pattern. Eat, sleep, and work with a little reading, writing, swimming- and a little drinking thrown in. All in all it's not bad. Before I forget. -- be sure to send my regards to the Bellora family - and its new addition. May they prosper and be happy in the world. And how is everything with you? I'll bet you still get your dancing done. Did you visit the "Owls" while you were home? Be sure to watch that cold, cold Chi. wind and write soon. | Australia Feb.16,1944 | Love Lou | The beer joint was open for a half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening.
76: Dear Helen --- Received your most pleasant letter today. Enjoyed it very much. It seems as though you were sitting beside me and talking instead of just a couple of sheets of paper with words. Carried me back to the old days when we used to haunt the Owls. Was a shock to get back to earth - after day dreaming a while. Everything is about the same around here. Do a bit of swimming and theater going once in a while. The weather is beautiful now- just like the last of august at home. Everyone at home OK too. Stell's husband came home on a 30 day furlough -had an operation. Well, I guess it was time for the baby- Carolee -to get acquainted with her Pappy anyway. Russ was going to school in Chicago for a bit. Rose went up and spent Xmas week with him there. But he's been shipped out on a destroyer. Last I heard from him was when he was in Hawaii. Do you know Nick Kashurba. The friend of mine who married a girl from Jennette? Well he's in North Africa now. Also Don Steele - well-he's in Oklahoma, in the field artillery. So you are in the airplane business now! I'll bet its interesting work. Am glad to hear that you enjoy it - just make sure you don't work too hard - and that you get plenty of play. Mustn't let the joints get rusty - a little dancing sure will do wonders. Well Helen - guess I've bout run out of words - so I'll buzz off for this time. Be sure to take good care of yourself and also have a good Easter celebration. Don't forget to drop a line soon Till then Love Lou | Australia March, 22, 1944
77: left to right: Ruthkowski, Pavliak, Sanchez, Whitlock, Doman, Olson, O'donnel, Tatelman | record | p l a y e r
78: Australia June 11, 1944 | Dear Helen --- Have received your long interesting, letter, enjoyed every bit of it. Was interested in your post war plans. The aircraft industry is a good racket to get into and I would advise you to go to school. The competition will be keen in that field when the war is over. A lot of people will be dropped after the need for planes is over. The more you know about the work the better chance you will have of keeping your job. | Maybe this will seem strange to you but I'll give you my opinion of the world of tomorrow. It seems as tho the people in the states are building a lot of rosy plans on a super, streamline, easy world of tomorrow. We can't see that over here. The war is far from being won. The hardest fighting is just ahead of us, and the real hardships will come after the war is over. It will take years to straighten out all the mess the war years have caused . Millions of men will have to try and get adjusted to a normal | Rosie the Riveter | way of life again, millions more will be taken out of war jobs, millions more will try to get peacetime jobs. Millions of dollars will have to be raised to pay for the war, etc., etc., so I think it's a waste of time to think everything is going to be perfect and normal again the minute the last gun is fired. There I go preaching again, I get started and I can't seem to stop, just as I always did, so just excuse my dull ramblings in the above paragraph.
79: You asked if I've been bowling lately. Well you might not believe this but as far as I know there isn't a single bowling alley in all of Australia. The two sports that I usually indulge in are volley ball and tennis. That's about all that is handy around camp. Haven't been swimming for quite a while - used to do a good bit of it. Seen a couple of good movies lately, " Going My Way" with Bing Crosby is one of them. He plays the part of the priest. It's really a good comedy. I know that you would enjoy it so see it if you can. Another good picture is "The Phantom Lady" with Franchot Tone. It's the opposite of the first picture mentioned- about a murder. Say --- that homecoming party sounds as tho it's going to be one swell blowout. I'll bet the old parlor floor will get a good workout (also the wine barrels) when it comes off, by the way, do you still leave the fermented grape juice alone or do you indulge in it once in awhile? As I remember it, you left it strictly alone. My post war plans are - Getting home in one piece, getting used to a house, carpets, pillows and privacy again, getting a job, going to school, then do the type of art work that I like best, see all the large cities in Mexico, N. and South AM., then settle down in a studio. Also catch up on my drinking. All nice and simple. Wishing you a lot of luck in everything, you do and a lot of luck to follow you wherever you go, remember to write. | Love Lou
80: Dear Helen -- It's one of those hot days - makes me want to duck out and beat it to the beach but I guess I'll stick it out. The base finally gave permission to let the world know where we are at. So get your map out and start hunting. We're in the little city of Townsville - in the State of Queensland. Better known as the , "Tarnished Gateway to the Torrid Tropics." The mosquitoes are plentiful and the beer scarce. All in All its not too bad, compared with a few places around here.--- but it's no Pittsburgh either. Russ is somewhere in the Pacific - on a destroyer - last time I heard from him he was in Hawaii. Brother Steve is in France. He's been in England and landed a few days after D-day in Normandy. Did you know Lou Sandrick. - He's in India - once in a while he takes a trip in the Super Fortress - over Japan. Nick Koshurba is in Italy. Enjoyed your nice long letter - and don't apologize for writing long letters. Mail like that is very welcomed - like food and drink over here, in fact it comes before that. And I am always looking forward to receiving more like the same. Seems as though you are having a great time in Chicago. Must be a swell city with a lot of places to go. Well so long for this time. Take it easy and Cheerio. Love Lou | Australia Sept. 4, 1944
81: Dear Helen -- Once again heres a few words from this side of the water to your side of it. It"s a windy nite - been that way all day ( to borrow stock California phrase) very unusual weather. But as usual the sun always shines when its suppose to - so we don't complain. (much) Was great to hear from you - enjoyed your letter very much. The challenge for the bowling title still goes- altho I've forgotten what an alley looks like. There aint no such thing here. The only bowling game the Aussies have is played on a lawn - something similar to boche. ( The old Italian game.) But I've been doing some swimming. The beach is only a couple a hundred yds. from camp - makes it nice and handy. The old tender hide is beginning to get dark again. Now that summer is coming, the beach is the most popular thing here. Did I tell you about Don Steele? Remember the big fellow with the mustache from Wilkinsbury, who used to be a good friend of mine? He got married a month or so ago to a girl from Wilk. She is a stranger to me, it came as a complete surprise to me - and to him - he's on the B-29's (in India) that have been raiding Japan. Steve is in France, Russ is over here somewhere, Margie's boyfriend has been wounded in France, Nick Koshusba has been in Sicily, Italy and the Southern Invasion of France and Stell's husband is at an embarkation port - Guess that takes care of all the people you might know. Enclosed are some snaps - one of the strange looking fellow was taken a couple of days ago. Had just shaved off my mustache - after having it all this time - missed it so much that I've got it started again, For better or worse - who know? Sa-a-y I think you were going to send me pic. - remember? Well Hello and Cheerio for this time - Guess I've run out of gab etc - so had better sign off quick. Till next time, be good, so long, Love Lou | Townsville, Aust. Oct 7, 1944
82: Townsville, Aust. Nov.20th, 1944 | Dear Helen --- | It's a warm evening - a little too warm for comfort - In plain words it's HOT. But writing time - sooo here I am again. First of all let me thank you for the photo of the lovely girl. Looks as tho you put on a few pounds _ to the best advantage. Looking at it reminds me of the times we went to the pictures in Jean. & Greensb. and to the Owls later. Sometimes it feels like a million years ago and then again - like yesterday. Time can creep or gallop - depends how a person feels at the time. | One of the chaps in our outfit was married last Sat.- ( makes about a half dozen ) - Was at the Reception, and had a good time. Started at five and lasted about three hours ( that's how long the three barrels lasted.) For the first time in months I felt like dancing, so after the festivities were over at the recreation hall a cobber and I went to the other end of town, to St. Pat's where a dance was going full blast. ( Picked up a half dozen qt. of Lager on the way.) I think I had three dances - then quit, but I did a lot of talking for a change.
83: Dancing has lost its appeal for me - don't know why but I just don't seem to care for it. Maybe if some new pieces were played by a good orchestra and a good floor handy with a good partner I would regain my lost interest - but I don't know. ( P.S. got home early - about 11:30) Next morning (Yesterday) after breakfast a group of us went to the beach - spent practically the whole day there, swimming, sunning, reading, and resting. Seen a good picture in the evening "Abroad with Two Yanks" with Wm. Bendix. If you want one good long belly laugh - see it. It's a good comedy you'll like it. Well, Helen, guess that about covers everything my feeble brain can think of now. So will close for this time - Wishing you the best of everything - Enjoyed your letter - (and picture) very much. Till next time- Love Lou
84: Dec. 18, 1944 Australia | Thanks very, very much for the cig's I appreciate you thinking of me from the bottom of my heart. | Dear Helen _ | Guess I'll return the surprise _ here I am bright and early again (Shucks you probably said) but I had to answer your letter right away. It's nite, it's dark, and it's HOT. Can you feel water running down my chest (it tickles) but as a whole - I feel pretty good. Of course once in a while the gears in my head get stuck or go backwards _ but thats to be expected after 19 months in the tropics. Majority of us are not responsible for what we do or say a lot of times. Lots of times I catch myself looking over my shoulder _ looking for the fellow in the white coat and straight jacket. So far he hasn't caught up to me. Congrats on your new work - and of course - on the new apartment. I'll bet you gals have a great time in it. Did you have a housewarming? I wouldn't know what to do with all that privacy - just one other person sharing it. Probably wouldn't be able to sleep unless it was in a station or ball park -(during rush hour) - too quiet. Thats "fair dinkum" about my dancing - I haven't the slightest yen for it anymore. Why? - I dunno ---. Didn't recognize any of the Song Titles that you sent. (My ambition is to hear "Marzy Doate" at least once.) There are practically no orchestras in this country - All the music played are from U.S. records. You hear everything from three to ten years back. But nothing new. They don't go for new music or new hits as long as they have the old ones. Big hit now is a dance called,"Put Your Right Foot Out" _ Strictly Ausie _ an Am. couldn't dance it. ALL dancing is done after a
85: pattern- Everyone on the dance floor does the same thing - at the same time - Like one couple and a hundred mirrors. Do you get it? Yanks song is "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas." That explains itself. | What did you mean when you referred to the old days, I sometimes laugh to think about then and now." Does that mean you have changed? I can't see how - You know, its got me puzzled. Hope Santa filled your stocking to the bursting point - Am looking forward to Christmas myself. -I've got a bottle of potent three Star Brandy tucked away. I'll probably end up seeing snow, George Washington, and the fellow with the big white beard before the day is over. (I know you wouldn't approve.) Wishing you a Very Happy, Prosperous, Safe New Year. Always enjoy your letters -so keep writing- Cheerio and Love Lou
88: Sept. 5, 1945 | Dear Helen - Remember me? --- I'm the guy who owes you a letter - -- from way, way back. I'm very sorry it had to happen. The only reason I can give is that I've been very busy- - - and I have moved around quite a bit since you last heard from me. In fact - - right now I'm on a ship out in the great Pacific. So excuse the writing "cause the ship is going up and down, up and down- and sideways too, Fortunately the stomach has been conditioned by a great amount of foul liquor in it's time, so I haven't been sick - - Only the head is a little dizzy-- which is not unusual. Feel as tho I'm drunk from the neck up - and sober from the neck down.- an odd feeling, indeed. --- The worst of it is-- I'm not headed for the States__ It seems I lack a few points, no matter how I count them I can't get the required amount. But that wonderful day is near at hand-- my time will come -- in time. Best of all tho-- this terrible war has finally ended, and none to soon (I'll bet you went to town with the celebrations) --needless to say, I got gloriously drunk- and pitched into it heart and soul- and didn't regret even the slight hangover I got after my excesses. My brother Steve is on his way home - (with two decorations) - from Paris. Guess he's a civilian by now. Remember Don Steele? The chap with the mustache who used to do the rounds with me?--He was wounded in Belgium--blown out of his foxhole by a 210mm shell--suffered internal injuries--Russ is around here somewhere - still on a destroyer. --And how did Helen spend the summer--? In fact - how is everything with you? Be sure to drop me a line giving me the latest dope about everything. Till next time-- be good-- Cherrio and Love, Lou
89: Oct.20, 1945 | Dear Helen-- Bet you can't guess where I'm at. Even with the proverbial three guesses. Well I'm sitting in a modern ten story office building in Kyoto, Japan. It's been a long, long road from home to here - but it looks as though the final trip back is at hand. I've seen enough of this wicked world and I'm ready to sit at the fireside- doing nothing but reading, resting, and drinking beer. To tell you a bit of some of my travels. Have been in Hollandia, New Guinea - the ruined, crowded, dirty smashed city of Manila and in the Linyayin Gulf, on Luyon before I got on the LST and headed for Japan. It was fortunate that the war was over- for we were to make the original assault on Japan, as part of the sixth army - of which the 800th is part. Almost all of the 800th has been in combat- and we have lost quite a few of our boys. A company in New Guinea, and later made the first assault, third wave with C co. in Leyte. B and D co.'s both were in Biak, where they lost men through a Jap air raid. Both co.'s also figured on landing in Luzon. For the first time in two years everyone in the battalions got together in Auy- that was when we loaded up for Japan. It was a great convoy - hundreds of ships all around as far as the eyes could see. And it also was a bloody rough trip. We had rough weather and the LST's rolled and pitched and made it very miserable for everyone. To make a long story short- we finally got to Kyoto- and it's a beautiful place. The only large city in Japan that hasn't been bombed. It is known as the "City of Temples" used to be the capital of Japan once- and there are elaborate shrines, temples, and tombs all over the place. The center of the city is very modern- large buildings, wide streets, plenty of street cars etc. Of course it's all a mixture of modern and ancient Japan.
90: The city has about a million and a half population and more coming out of the hills everyday. They started to come back after they found out we weren't like they were told we were. Also it was known as "The Paris of Japan" before the war. From what I hear over state side radios and papers- I should have been home a couple of months ago. In fact there's fellows with 90 points in our outfit and they are still here. But I hope to get out sometime next month- in time to get home for X-mas (that is, if they quit lowering the score down below 50- before they get the 80's out) it's no use getting the score down if the high pointers are still in and can't even get back to the States- with 2 1/2 years overseas. Enjoyed your letter very much- sorry to hear of the horse throwing you tho. I rode a horse once- when I was about 8- he ran away and into the barn- almost brained me on the doorway- that was the first -and last time. About all the news and stuff and all so Cheerio- for this time-- | Love Lou
91: My Japanese Swords | My swords are from Manila and Yellow Beach in the Philippines. They were gathered from the battle fields and brought by plane loads to be distributed to the GIs. These swords were meant for killing and not for ceremony. They were carried into battle for action. My sword has a Katana blade. The blade is 29 inches long, single edged. The total length of the sword is 38 inches long. | Japanese Army, Calvary and Navy Officers used swords during WWII. The Katana, also known as "Daito" or long sword, is the primary sword of the warrior class the Samurai. The Samurai influence remained in WWII with a strong sense of honor and a strict code of behavior that emphasized loyalty to authority, courage and the choice of suicide over surrender. Thousands of Japanese soldiers chose Hara-kiri rather than to surrender. Kamikaze pilots flew death missions in suicide attacks against the U.S. forces, flying straight into ships. Wartime suicides reached a climax on the tiny island of Saipan when the Marines landed in June 1944. Hundreds of Japanese citizens gathered on the island's northern cliffs. Rather than be captured, many parents threw babies onto rocks below, then jumped to their own deaths. Others cut each other's throats, drowned themselves, or blew themselves up with hand grenades. Unable to stop them, American soldiers could only watch in horror.
92: A sample of my handwriting
93: In Australia | In the Philippines | Sept. 15, 1944 | Sept.12, 1944