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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER December 1, 1944
San Pablo, Leyte, Philippines

Dec. 1, 1944


Hello Ma:

      I received a letter from you dated Oct. 30th. It must have been forwarded from New Guinea because previously I received one dated Nov. 13th. Thanks for the three pictures showing Yvonne, Ben, Grandpappy, Kitty and the dog. Received the Baltimore Sun. Glad that you received the Yank mags. You asked me if I would be sent to the Philippines (spelled with two P's). Well, here I am. I guess that you were not too surprised to hear of my movement. I never will forget how we landed in the pitch blackness in the rain at 2:00 o'clock one morning. I was soaked from the knees down with ocean water. You see, we had to jump from our invasion barge and dash through the ocean surf to the sandy shore. We ate C-Rations and hardtack and lived in pup tents for several days. It wouldn't have been so bad if it were not for the rain, which was continuous.

      Well, so much for ancient history.

      Several nights ago, the Japs tried another one of their suicide tricks. It was like this: Before the war, America had sold the Japanese government some of our obsolete transport aircraft. All American airlines still use some of this type of airplane. (We used to watch them land at Logan Field, if you remember.) Well, getting back to the story - It so happens that the U.S. Air Corps uses many of this kind of plane for hauling air cargo or paratroopers. Now then, the Japs at about 1:00 o'clock one night flew low over our airfield. The plane turned on its lights to land. The Japs thought that we would believe it to be one of our own planes and, therefore, would not fire upon it. But they guessed wrong. Our ack-ack boys shot it to pieces. It burned for several hours after it exploded beside our field. The next day, by counting arms, legs, and heads, the Army officials came to the conclusion that there were ten Jap soldiers killed. The plane contained demolition equipment of all kinds. Evidently, the Japs planned to sneak in, land, and then blow up as many things as they were able before they were themselves killed. Yes, it was another suicide mission that didn't quite mature. Boy! Are they fanatical.

      Yesterday, while I was cleaning mud off of my shoes, a Jap "Betty" bomber came over. Four P-38's shot it down in flames before it had a chance to drop its bombs. Boy! It looked pretty coming down in flames with smoke trailing behind it. Major Bong now has 36 planes to his credit.

      Well, so much for the exciting side of life here in the Philippines.

      Yesterday, I went out with my movie camera and took 100 feet of pictures. We stopped in to a school. It was very crude, it being on the second floor of an abandoned house. There were about twenty to thirty kids, ranging in age from 6 to 11 years. We took pictures while they were singing. When we first walked in, all of the children got scared and started to leave. The instructor made them sit down again. I guess that they had had a similar visit by the Japs when they were here. The Japs forbid schools and had burned all of the books. The instructor was very hospitable and coöperated with us in taking the pictures. He waved a bamboo stick in his right hand as a baton to keep time. In his left hand, he held an English song book. He explained to us that he had managed to save the song book by burying it in the ground when the Japs came.

      Well, on the way back, we saw three nice looking girls looking out of their house from the second-floor window. We tried to persuade them to come out so that we could take their pictures. Boy, are they bashful. Soon, their mother came out and invited us in. Well, we, being boys that we are, didn't wait to be asked again. Well, we spent the rest of the afternoon there with them. We played an old phonograph. The girls had several new records which they had borrowed from one of the near camps. The people are very quiet. One girl was making a dress on a sewing machine. Their mother gave us chairs to sit on. Well, we passed the afternoon just talking and joking. Their English isn't too bad. In fact, the English language is a major subject in the schools. Schools must be a rather new institution, as all of the older people can speak no English. Kids ten years old can speak it good. In their native tongue, all numbers above ten are in Spanish.

      Well, that's all for this letter -


P.S. Guess what? It's raining again.

Enclosed are four pieces of Jap invasion money which they used while here.

Susanna Radaza in the Philippines. In his letter of February 20, 1945, he said of Susanna:
"She was my Filipina girlfriend when I was at my first camp here in the Philippines."

Effie Radaza, Susanna's sister.

"Fantasia" stage where U.S. troops enjoyed movies and shows in Leyte, Philippines. The curtains were made from parachute silk or rayon.

An officer of 3rd Airdrome Squadron, standing at the unit's welcome sign in Leyte, Philippines.


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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