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Thursday, May 29, 2014

September 8, 1944

"Looey" is probably lieutenant here. Uncle Leonard still recounted the regularity of the rain on Bougainville some fifty years later when talking about his experiences to me in the early 1990s. He said you could set your watch to it as it came daily at 3:00 pm, then in a week or two would shift to 3:30pm, and after a while shift another half hour later.


[typed, page 1]

                                                                                  Sept 8, 1944

Dear Arnold,

     How is the new second looey, enjoying same, it least you give
that impression in yourtwo letters of the 28th.  By the way the
V-mail arrived neck and neck with the airmail.  The longest five
months I have ever spent were in OCS.  I know just about how you
feel, for it isn't only getting a commission, but its getting out
of that damn candifate or cadet training. At first I felt slightly
uncomfortable and conspicous, especially when I was by myself, but
that soon wears off, and things settle down to a grind again, however
a slightly higher standard of grind.  I am glad you got in such a
nice setup, keep it up.  I don't know why I was in such a hurry
to get overseas, but take it from me this is not the way to see
the world.  The only glamour and heros are at home, there ain't
any such creatures out here.  It is all sweat, scare, mud, blood,
and work.  There is nothing like the states, stay there as long
as you can, because if you rush out here you will find your mighty
convictions have all been in vain, and it is too late to go back.
So work hard and stick to your job, you will be sent out here soon
enough.  However don't work too hard, try to get a little fun in
now and then to store up some good memories, they come in handy
out here.

     The sense of humor of the men out here give you an idea of
their attitude.  If  movie soldier says, "I want to go over there
and get those yellow monkeys, give them hell, or anyother cinema
patriotic remark he is hooted and laughed off the screen. They
walked out of Danny Kaye's UP IN ARMS.  They only crack a smile
at some of the best jokes of the radio comedians, then again some
little insignificant thing will knock them out.  However they still
have a sense of humor as shown in some of their signs.  The one over
the dispensary reads, " Montgomery's Clinic Specialist in the skin
and its contents.  Our mess hall, semi-tent structure, is titled
               Tearoom.  The other day I saw a truck named Lack-a-
nookie, and so it goes.

     We had an earthquake here the other night, however it was not
very severe.  Since there is an active volcano near at hand I suppose
it had something to do with it.  Earthquakes are not rare occurences
here.  The rain is even more frequent, in fact it is daily, and
generally comes in on a time schedule.  This afternoon we really
caught a deluge, but then it cools things off.  The biggest bother
here are the many insects.  I always seem to be able to pick up
at least several new bites every day, spiders, mosquitos, ants,
and a few unidentified things inflict a more or less constant
and equal proporation of bites.

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     I have'nt run into anybody I knew at home, although there
is probably someone near at hand, however I don't get around much
anymore.  Send me Stadt's and Kennedy's APO and if they are on the
island which I doubt, I will look them up.  Well lieutenant keep
on the ball, and write soon again and don't omit any of the
luxuries, I can dream can't I.

                                            love,
                               [signed] Leonard



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