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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER March 18, 1945
Tanauan, Leyte, Philippines


March 18, 1945

Hello Ma:

      Received the birthday card and letter of Feb. 26th. I have not as yet gotten my two certificates from the Armed Forces Institute. I recently wrote them a letter about it. No answer yet. I saw the picture Winged Victory about two months ago. It was pretty good, being unlike most war pictures in that it didn't contain too much propaganda and "flag waving."

      Yesterday, Sunday, I went to watch the popular sport of the Filipinos - cockfighting. It consisted of two roosters trying to kill each other. On the left leg of each is attached a three-inch razor-edged blade. Boy! The chicken feathers really did fly. One of the boys in my outfit [possibly PFC “Frenchy” Berenger, mentioned in the March 24, 1945, issue of The Squadron Pulse, or "Ducko" Frye, mentioned in the April 14, 1945, issue. - Ed.] owned one which took part. His chicken killed the other and won him about thirty pesos ($15). The winner also receives the dead chicken to serve as his Sunday supper - if he wants it. We gave it back to the loser - the Filipino chief of police in this town. There is plenty of betting before each fight. This takes about a half hour. Each fight lasts about two or three minutes. One cock lost because the other one cut off one of his feet. It's a pretty rough and bloody sport. I didn't see any girls in the crowd watching. Seats downstairs cost about ten centavos (5˘) and seats in the upstairs balcony cost 50 centavos (25˘). I sat in the balcony. The fighting pit measures about fifteen feet square. The sides are a four-foot fence made up of closely spaced split bamboo poles. This miniature stadium is directly adjacent to the town marketplace.

      The marketplace as a whole is a very unsanitary thing. On the right we have a toothless woman of about 100 years of age. In front of her is a counter constructed of bamboo poles on which lies a couple of caribou [he means carabao - Ed.] legs and pieces of chickens. Blood drips through the counter onto the dirty cement-like floor. Sprinkle this with a squadron of green- and blue-bodied flies and you have a good picture of the butcher shop section of the marketplace. At the other end of the building, which was made up of a roof and supported by poles, were various groups of Filipinos selling their particular goods. Woven sandals, dried fish, hand-rolled cigars, bolo knives, and such are some of the things which they sell. Next to the marketplace is a river of about 70 feet in width. Leading down the riverbank is a flight of cement steps. At the base of the steps at the water's level are about five or six outrigger canoes. In these are brought fish directly to the market. Native boys of about five to eight dressed in their birthday suit (nothing) dive off of these boats and playfully swim.

      Well, that's the picture of Sunday in the nearby town. And - this is the end of another letter. So, until later -


            (Am O.K.)

Laundry being done by natives at a river. According to his March 22, 1945 letter: "Here on Sunday is where the fishing boats tie up. Cement steps go down to the
water level. Just to the left of this scene would be found the marketplace. The building shown with the highest roof is where the cockfights are held."

Outrigger boats and boys swimming in the river.

Man with carabao and cart.

MOVIE EXCERPT: Winged Victory


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.


This page established: November 11, 2018             Last updated: February 23, 2023

© 2018-2023 Earl P. Reinhalter. All Rights Reserved.