Based on the letters of Earl Philip Reinhalter (1922-1953). Edited by his son, Earl Philip Reinhalter (1950-).

<- PREVIOUS LETTER December 1943*
New Guinea

* The day number is missing, perhaps cut out by the censor. His mother sequentially numbered his letters as she received them, with this one coming between letters dated November 30 and December 7, so it was likely written in early December.

December __ 1943

Hello Ma:

      Well, here I am awaiting an airplane to take me up to my squadron. I have been at this replacement center here in New Guinea for two and one half days and have seen it rain six times so far. Mud is everywhere. My cot straddles a stream which runs through my tent whenever it rains. The weather is hot and the humidity high. Days are spent in continual sweat. However, in the early morning hours, a blanket is needed for sleeping. I heard my first ack-ack fire today. [See photo below. - Ed.] I saw my first house (if you can call it that) having a thatched grass roof. Natives evidently built it. Activity is ever present. The food here, strange to say, is better than that at O.C.S. One of the boys here has a pet monkey. It always follows him around wherever he goes. Tonight at supper, it sat at one of the tables. The shower room is of the open-air type. The boys usually walk to and from this shower in nothing more than their birthday suit with the addition of shoes. Girls are more or less only a memory in this area. The grass and vegetation is rather thick in some places. We have a daily newspaper called Guinea Gold. We get it only a day late, which is pretty good. Well, I don't know whether you will find the above of any interest or not, but I thought I would write.

      Hope everybody is O.K. and that you have a good Christmas. Don't forget to buy yourself and the rest some presents with the last two or three allotments. I haven't received any packages yet. In fact, I don't even expect them until sometimes in January or February. I have been moving around so much lately, it will probably take some time for them to catch up to me. I still haven't gotten last month's pay and probably won't until I get back to my squadron. It really doesn't make much difference anyway, as there is nothing to buy. Most of the boys save their money to be used later for possible furlough back to civilization. Don't forget, if you ever need any money to pay the rent or fuel oil bill, use that allotment money. [His sister Yvonne recalled that her mother borrowed $500 from the family doctor for a down payment, and then paid $58 a month for that house. So he might be incorrect about “rent,” or perhaps they rented for a while and then eventually bought from the person they were renting from. - Ed.] That's my primary purpose for sending it home anyway. Well, that's about all for just now. So, until sometime later.


P.S. I met two boys from Baltimore a little while ago.

Ack-ack (anti-aircraft tracer fire) at night in New Guinea, 1944.


The Kindle book includes the letters; all 23 issues of the unit’s wartime newsletter “The Squadron Pulse,” which was originally edited by Leonard Stringfield; all 12 issues of the “Pennant Parade” newsletter that Stringfield published while sailing home after the war; complete text of the U.S. government booklet “Pocket Guide to Australia,” which soldiers heading Down Under were given to read; more than 200 photos; pre-war and postwar family history; and over 700 explanatory endnotes.


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