Nov. 17, 1944
Somewhere in the Philippines
Well, here I am in another country. Left New Guinea and came by boat. Trip was very long. When we arrived, there was plenty of action. While still on the boat in the harbor, the Jap planes bombed and strafed. Seven were shot down. I from my boat saw three crash and explode. Two made suicide dives and hit what they aimed at. They carried a bomb under each wing. There was plenty of ack-ack and bomb explosions throughout the day. About four o'clock yesterday, four Jap Zeros strafed our airfield. Our planes and ack-ack shot down three. On the way from the beach to our squadron area, all of the Philippine people between the ages of 2 to 80 waved and gave the victory salute. Kids five and six years old ran out of their houses and cheered. It made us feel pretty good. I was talking to a Philippine guerrilla (soldier) today. He carried a large bolo knife. When I get home again, I'll be able to tell you more about what he told us.
Today, I had two Philippine girls do my laundry for me. In return, I gave them a large bath towel. The people do not want any money, but clothing. All of their clothing is over four years old. The Japs didn't give them clothes and they were made to work from morning to night. The Japs in return gave them paper money which is worthless. They couldn't buy anything with it. Enclosed, you will find such a piece of money. When the Japs came, most of the people went and hid in the mountains. Now the situation is reversed. The people are here with us and the Japs are trapped in the mountains about nine miles from here. The people are very friendly. A little while ago, two girls, one 18 and the other 17, were here sitting in my tent. They were about two hours teaching us their language. Most of them are very pretty. I have yet to see any with dirty clothes on. The two girls who were here each had one dress, which they were wearing. They were rather embarrassed when we asked them what they put on while they washed their dresses. All of the people look to be about four or five years younger than they actually are. They all have perfect teeth. The girls have black hair and it is curly. Real pretty like. One out of every four Filipinos speaks English. I would like you to buy and send me several wash dresses - about Kitty's size. The brighter the colors, the better. Red, white, and blue - polka dots or something. Also some cheap sandals. The kind with just straps and a sole. I'll be able to easily get my laundry done. Every time we give the women and girls our wash to do, they want clothing in return. I am running out of underwear fast. They will not accept money.
Well, I guess that I will receive my Christmas presents sometime about June or July of 1945. Incidentally, today is my 18-month anniversary of you know what. [The start of his overseas service. For Army recordkeeping purposes, this began when he left the U.S., not when he arrived in Australia. - Ed.] Outside, it's raining as usual. November, December, and January is the rainy season.
Well, that's all for this letter. So, until next time -