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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER August 20, 1945
Ie Shima, Ryukyu Islands

August 9, 1945: Atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki.
August 15, 1945: Japan surrender is announced (V-J Day).
August 16, 1945: Emperor Hirohito orders Jap forces to cease fire.

Aug. 20, 1945

Ie Shima,
Ryukyu Retto

Hello Ma:

      Well, the war is at last over. I can now say that I am on the little island of "Ie Shima" [now written as Iejima - Ed.], which is about five miles northwest of Okinawa - a little closer to Japan. This island measures 4 by 6 miles, and as is the rest of the Ryukyu Retto, original Japanese territory. In the center of this island is a small mountain which measures 600 feet in height. [Mount Gusuku is 565 feet (172.2 meters). - Ed.] The infantry had to do most of its fighting on that mountain. About ___________ were killed here. A ________________. Ernie Pyle lost his life here, if you remember. Oh well, I have received another bronze star (to go with my overseas ribbon) for the Ryukyus campaign. So, I now have a total of five bronze stars, each of which represents a campaign.

      Yesterday, I took some movie pictures of the two Jap "Betty" bombers which landed here. The Jap envoys climbed into _______________ C-54 airplane which carried them to Manila for the signing of the peace treaty. The crew members wore winter flying suits. All were about five feet tall. I guess you will read about it in the papers. A radio hookup was set up here and a general description was broadcast to the world. There was plenty of us G.I.'s there and the M.P.'s had a time attempting to keep us back from the Japs and the planes. One of the enemy crew chiefs had to be persuaded to come out of his plane. It seems that he was a little afraid of being lynched. They all were plenty nervous. I guess that I would be, too, if I were in their position. I guess that that was a pretty historical event. Funny, that they should pick this little island on which to land. The planes were painted all white with the exception of green crosses on wingtips and tail. One M.P. received two bottles of sake. I hope that my pictures turn out. Enclosed is a Squadron Pulse and also an Ie Shima Daily News, which you might want as a souvenir. [These are no longer in the envelope. However, all of the Squadron Pulse newsletters have been collected from other sources. The August 19, 1945, issue has a story about these historic events. The Ie Shima Daily News article was quoted in full within the book Air Commando: Inside The Air Force Special Operations Command by Philip D. Chinnery, and you can read it online at Google Books. - Ed.] Also, a money order to take care of Yvonne's birthday present. The rest of the money, you can use as you like. I won't need it.

      I received a Reader's Digest, Newsweek, and Aero Digest yesterday. Your letters of July 26 and 29th and those of Aug. 1 and 5th. A letter from Buddy Yates dated Aug. 7th reached me yesterday. He didn't have much to say in particular. Your clippings of the Martin Clippers, the B-32 bombers, and the Sun were interesting. Some ________ were stationed at one of my former bases. The pictures that I took of it were retained by the censor. Later on, I'll get them back. I hope that you and Yvonne had a nice time at Aunt Ginny's place in Washington. [Aunt Ginny was his mother’s sister, Virginia Kendall [née Oster] (1905-?) . She worked as a nurse, and lived in Washington, DC. - Ed.]

      Well, Ma, things here are very quiet now, of course. The war is over. I do not know what will happen to my squadron _____________ I again ___________. Now that the war is over, fighter and bomber squadrons are no longer very important to the Army Air Corps - except for patrolling. But my squadron is just as essential to the Army as it ever was - if not more. Our primary function is to ________________. Several times in the past, we arrived at a field which the Japs hadn't been completely cleaned out of. That is where our squadron occasionally saw a little action. I now have 27 months overseas, and during that time have seen many places. Even though the war is over, I do not think that I will not do anymore traveling.

      And so, Ma, this is the end in a series of letters - from the Ryukyus - formerly Jap land. So, until next time, a little later -


      P.S. No more alerts.

            No more Jap planes.

            No more ack-ack.

            No more bombs.

            No more nothing.

            - Life is dull. -

Jap surrender party at Ie Shima, August 1945. They arrived in two "Betty" bombers, which by U.S. instructions were painted white, with green "+" insignia.

Jap peace emissaries - August 1945 at Ie Shima.

General MacArthur's plane "Bataan" (a Douglas C-54 Skymaster) at Ie Shima, August 1945.


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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