May 27, 1945
Received your letters of May 6, 7, and 13th and the corn seeds which you had mailed to me in New Guinea. I do not need the corn seeds now as the people here grow corn. I will save them for my next base, wherever that may be. Received Phus's Easter and birthday cards, Topics of the Tropics, and some of the Kiplinger Washington Letter. I wish Phus wouldn't send me such business news. It isn't very interesting to read. All of the news which applies to us soldiers, I already know; and that which doesn't, I am not interested in. I hope that this doesn't hurt Phus's feelings. [Topics of the Tropics was described in one eBay listing as a “newsletter for kids by Brown & Bigelow,” each issue included a full-color print showing animals doing human things, such as playing golf or collecting taxes from a street vendor, plus a fictional Topics of the Tropics newspaper page containing silly stories that only a child would find humorous. In his June 28, 1945, letter, Earl would ask that Phyllis not send him these anymore. The same title was also used for several other things around that time - a sports column in a Miami newspaper, a gossip column published in the Marshall Islands, and a musical program that was performed for troops in the Pacific. - Ed.]
Incidentally, this coming Christmas, do me a favor by not sending me any Christmas cards. This may sound like a queer request, but I do not stand alone among the other boys when I say that I don't like them. Why? Well, you open the envelope, then what have you got? A pretty, colorful picture containing an uninteresting line of prose or so (which nobody reads), and a signature of the sender. Now then, the signature is the important thing because by that we know who the sender is. But one glance at the unopened envelope and we already know who it is from by the return address. So, what does the envelope actually contain that warrants opening it? Nothing. All of us know that you will be thinking of us on that particular day. There is no need of you to remind us that you are. So, please don't send my anymore cards. Letters are the only thing worth while - and packages.
Thanks for the Baltimore Suns, clippings, and Yvonne's school paper. Read the President's proclamation officially announcing the termination of hostilities in Europe. So, Ernest Merkle is a colonel now. That's a pretty high rank. No, I do not know a George Shannon. The Fifth Air Force is a rather big organization, you know. Too bad about Philip Dimario [possibly meaning Philip D'Amario - Ed.]. We had to get rid of a few like that in my squadron. One went crazy every time the Jap planes came over - battle fatigue. After the Jap paratroop invasion, some of the other boys were sent home with shattered nerves. Some of the guys don't seem to be able to take it. They just crack up mentally when the going gets really rough. I have seen some soldiers tied down with ropes in an ambulance. They had gone completely wild. Mentally cracked - battle fatigue. Ma, I received the five polo shirts. Thanks a lot. The package (as 98% of them do) was water soaked. The candy I threw away as usual. The photography book, I cannot read because I cannot separate the pages - even after drying. Well, anyway, the polo shirts were the important thing and I wear them every day. Incidentally, it was 127°F here in the shade yesterday. [This is highly unlikely. The highest temperature ever recorded in the Philippines was 108.0°F. - Ed.] The temperatures run similar to that of New Guinea. The rainy season should start soon here.
Well, Saturday night, I went out to my girlfriend's house and ate another chicken dinner - the fourth or fifth - I lost count. The Filipino people really like the American soldiers. It seems that everyone is always being invited out to eat at someone's house. Boy! I never saw such hospitality. The girls and mother never eat with the male members of the family - or us. They stand or sit near the table and watch us eat. As soon as a plate nears the three-quarter empty mark, the girls jump up and refill it. Likewise, the water glass never gets empty. We have to practically get down on our hands and knees and beg them to stop feeding us. My girlfriend insisted on fanning me with a small hand fan while I ate. Gee, it made me feel kind of funny. I don't like to be babied with all of that attention. But to tell them otherwise would be an insult to them. To refuse to eat anything is an insult of the highest degree. I got heck because I missed a piece of meat on a chicken bone. I hid some crackers in my pocket so that I wouldn't have to eat them. The people still stick to many of the old Spanish customs. The girls still have to have a chaperone with them when they go out with boys. Oh well, I guess maybe they are right. They don't trust us, it seems, or even the Filipino boys. After the meal, they bring us each a pan of water, soap, and a clean white towel. We feel kind of guilty continually accepting their hospitality and not being able to repay them with anything. A few packs of cigarettes, soap, and a couple of magazines is about all we have to offer them that will come close to being the suitable thing as a present. Oh well, so much for that.
While writing this letter, I am listening to a program starring Joan Davis. We have our own broadcasting station right here on the base. Every night from 9:00 to 10:30 P.M., we have our own all-request program. Various outfits telephone in their requests. All of the latest records they seem to have, in addition to the old favorites. We have a radio to which all of us are hooked up to - with earphones. Enclosed is a copy of the Squadron Pulse. [This newsletter is no longer in the envelope. However, all of the Squadron Pulse newsletters have been collected from other sources and can be found on the Squadron Pulse page. - Ed.] Also, a typical copy of the "point system" card that I had to fill out for the Army's new brainstorm for boosting morale. [No longer in the envelope. See below for two samples that were found online. For an in-depth explanation of the point system and the post-VE demobilization, see the article "The Points Were All That Mattered: The US Army’s Demobilization After World War II" at nationalww2museum.org. - Ed.]
Well, Ma, this is about all for just now. And so, until a little later -