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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER March 5, 1944
Saidor, New Guinea

          March 5, 1944

Still somewhere in New Guinea

Hello Ma:

      Well, it's been some time since my last letter to you. I have been waiting to receive mail from you, but it has now been two weeks since my squadron has received any mail at all. The mail service up here is bad. I guess that the location of my base makes it that way. So, without awaiting any of your letters any longer, I'll attempt to write a letter.

      Well, nothing much has happened lately. It's become a very peaceful place, no bombings or anything. I guess that the Japs are kept too busy elsewhere to bother about us. The other day, John Wayne, the movie actor, dropped in by airplane to pay us a visit. Strange to say, hardly any of the boys paid much attention to him, but continued on with their work. Probably back in the States, he would have gotten mobbed by a large reception committee or something of that sort. I got an autograph on a pound bill. Now I don't know whether to spend it or not. The pound is worth about $3.20 American money [about $47.80 in 2020 dollars], and the autograph, I don't know what to value that at. What would you do? There were a couple of girls who are making the tour with him. But, however, the Army officials wouldn't allow the girls to come with him up to my base. It seems as they considered it too dangerous or something of the sort. Well, now at last they are having an occasional movie at night for entertainment. It helps break up the monotony of the dull routine of practically doing nothing at night.

      Oh yes! I thought of a few more things that I would like to have for my birthday. They are: canned peanuts and talcum powder (prevents athlete's foot - due to sweating a lot). Also, would it be possible to send me some canned beer through the mail? One of the boys received several cans, a luxury indeed up here. Also, Ma, I have a bunch of envelopes, but no airmail stamps. Can you send me some, as I am running out of the special airmail envelopes?

      A few of the boys have a new pastime on their days off. They take their rifles and walk down to the ocean and shoot at sharks in the water along the beach. Pretty good target practice they say. One of our pilots here now has _____________ to his credit. [His next letter (March 14, 1944) recalls previously mentioning a pilot with twenty-two Jap planes shot down, so that’s what might have been cut out here. Probably meaning Neel Kearby. - Ed.] A pretty good record. I still haven't received the other roller skate yet. I hope I have it when I leave New Guinea. The other day, I got scratched up. A six-foot wave picked me up and threw me on the beach. I am rather cautious now when I go into the ocean. A crocodile about 3˝ feet long was seen in a swamp about 300 feet from my camp. They haven't caught it yet. I saw three more Jap prisoners. They killed, it is said, about thirty, but saved these three for questioning. Right now, they are building a ____________________. I hope that none escape, whenever it is in use.

      Well, that's about all for just now. Enclosed is a money order. So, until next time -


P.S. Did you get those American and Japanese bullets yet? They should make pretty good souvenirs.


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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