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Monday, June 16, 2014

April 11, 1945

                                                                             Philippines
                                                                           11th Apr

Dear Arnold,

     Glad to hear from you, I have been waiting for a letter
from you for some time now, although I realize that to a large
extent I am the guilty one.  We are still kicking the Japs around
with the gong, and tomorrow we tie the theater record for number
of consecutive days or straight combat.  I guess you know from
the papers that we have been at this business for along time
now.  It becomes very boring and tiresome, and you get sick of
the whole thing.  I remember back in Leyte that it seemed a bit
shocking when somebody would come in and say that so-and-so had
been killed, but now it is accepted as a matter of fact and
eventuality or I should say with in the logical realms of possibil-
ity.  Spent the day guiding a party around who was making an
official report and investigation on some Japanese atrocities.
Perhaps you would be interested in them.  The spot I took them
too (I had been out there before) was near a little barrio up
in the mountains. There were over a hundred Filipino men,
women, and children that had been butchered by the Japs.
Most of them had been tossed into a little gully that ran down
into a ravine.  On the ledge of the gully there were hats, both
men and womens, and shoes strewn around.  In the gully there were
a pile of decomposing cadavers or parts of them.  Heads had been
bashed in, hands, arms, legs, and occasionally even a head had
been cut off.  Some of the bodies were just generally mutilated.
Here was a small head sticking up through pile, and over there
would be a little arm or leg protruding from the mass of former
human beings.  Around the edges there were bodies of male Filipinos
with their hands still tied behind their bodies.  Some of those
bodies looked as though the Japs had poured oil or gasoline over
them as part of the body had been burned, usually the upper portion.
About fifty yards away from this massacre behind bushes were the
bodies of women singularly located.  In every case the dresses
had either been torn off the body and were lying nearby, or
they had been pulled up exposing the lower half of the body.
Several women had apparently been killed by having their heads
bashed in, one had her leg cut off just below the knee, several
of her teeth had been knocked out, and there was a big hole down where
her vagina had been, of course part of this was due to decomposition.
One women's torso had been completely burned, her head and hair
had been severely seared, and her limbs, which were scattered
around nearby, looked as though they had been neatly severed from
the body.  The next place we visited consisted of an estimated
500 bodies, which had been thrown over the steep sloping bank
of a stream.  They had suffered the same fate as those above,
and were all male Filipinos.  The bodies ran from the top all
the way down to the bed of the stream 150 feet away.  About 100yds
away were and estimated 500 more (at least) bodies in the same
state.  We could not find empty cartridges around any of these
places, nor could we find evidence of bullet wounds.  In Leyte
I once found about fifteen bodies of women and children in a
gully, and about fifty yards away the nude bodies of four wo-
men in a large fox hole.  We are allowed to tell about atrocities
that we have seen, now, and there are plenty others that I could
tell you about.


[page 2]
                                                                                    12 Apr

          I feal rather cut down, and generally tired.  I have
     lost a lot of weight.  My waist now measures 30 1/2 inches as
     compared to its former 33 or 34 inches.  My ribs, hip bones,
     and shoulder bones actually stick out.  I guess I look alot
     older too, as a matter of fact one of the other officers
     asked me tonight if I was about thirty-five years old.
     A little rest and I will be back to my old self, only I
     hope I can keep down around this weight.

     I don't know if I disscussed it with you before, but I am
going to try to transfer out of this outfit, or at least  out
of this section.  It is a matter of personalities, and I might
add that there are three (there were four, but one got out) other
officers that have also or intend to make transfers.  This thing
has practically made a nervous wreck of out of me.  I have been a
2nd Lt for almost two years now, and I have always gotten ex-
cellent before, and then this son-of-a-bitch here screws me up.
Well thats life.  I don't like to leave this outfit, as I have
made a lot of friends and we have been through a lot together.
Also its a good outfit, I think the toughest, roughest bunch
of fighters out here, bar none.  Then of course there is a small
matter of $100 jump pay, which is'nt hay.  But I would'nt take
this shit for twice that sum, it is wrecking me.  If I can't
get another job somewhere in MI, I can always go down to one of
the line outfits here, but the big problem would be getting
transferred out of MI, which I understand is a pretty hard thing
to do unless one really screws up.

     Boy its really warm tonight, in fact its been that way all
day.  It rained like hell this afternoon for an hour or two, but
it did'nt abate the heat.  A couple more months and the rainy
season will be setting in.  I sure hope we are'nt in combat then,
as it is a rough deal.  On Leyte I would go week at a time wearing
wet shoes, and I used to dry my feet off, powder them, and put
on dry socks and shoes (if I had them), although I knew that in
fifteen minutes they would be soaking wet again.  The mud makes
transportation a major problem, it was an effort to walk 100
yards, and I have run across mud so deep that you could'nt walk
through it, in fact once you got far enough into it you would
have to get somebody to pull you out.  But here it has been pretty
dry here, except for several storms in the last couple of weeks. It
will rain in patches xxxx, that is it may be raining like hell in
one spot but 1/2 mile away the sun will be shining.  In fact in a
couple of hundred yards you can go from bone dryness to a torrential
downpour.

     Well Bud, how are things with you?  You did'nt have much to
say in your last letter.  What are you doing now?  When do you
expect to come over here?  I had several friends at Ritchie that
had had overseas duty before, and they did not want to go back over.
I could'nt understand this then, and in a few cases I actually
thought that maybe they were shall we say "a bit overcautious".
I understand their reasons now.  However when the time can for
them to got over again they reluctantly went, although in two cases
the parties could have gotten out of the army and had threatened
to do so if they were sent overseas again.  So when I tell you to
stay in the states as long as possible, I doubt if you can see why.
Don't worry you still get over here soon enough.

     I am sending you a silk Jap flag.  It is yours to do what you
please with it.  It is genuine, in fact I think it still has a spot
of blood on it.  If you want to get it cleaned I would send it to
the cleaners, as some of them fade when washed.  I am sorry that this
one has the center sewed in instead of just painted, however it is
a good job of sewing.  Well I am tired and think I will close now.
Write soon.
                                            love,
                                  [signed] Leonard



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