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Thursday, June 12, 2014

January 15, 1945

In this letter Mac would of course refer to General MacArthur. G-2 is military intelligence, but of a higher rank than Uncle Len, who was S-2. EM would have been an an enlisted man. BAR indicates the Browning Automatic Rifle. And CCC stands for the Civilian Conservation Corps. 

I have been reading up on Operation Te-Go, the Japanese Paratrooper Attack on Leyte of December 7, 1944. The mission of Te was to attack several U.S. airfields, destroy planes on the ground, burn supply dumps and disrupt logistical operations. In particular the goal was to retake the Buri, San Pablo, and Bayug strips and destroy Tacloban and Dulag fields. The harmonicas, jewsharps, and other instruments were played as signals by the paratroopers immediately after landing; for instance, headquarters was to be identified by the sound of a harmonica. The mission was however hampered by bad weather and coordination problems with the ground units resulted. This was to be Japan's last major parachute operation in the Pacific. 

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                                                                                     Philippines
                                                                                     Jan 15th

Dear Arnold,

     So you like my letters?  Personally I think you are trying to kid
me, as some of them did'nt sound like much to me.  When the Hqs moved
back to the beach I was left keep up the Order of Battle part of G-2,
and finally the Asst G-2 left and I stayed behind to run G-2 with one
EM.  I got in a good rest, as there was'nt much to do.  Our action
consisted of patrolling, and little groups of stragglers were being
knocked off at the rate of about three or more a day.  The other day
the remaining elements of the division turned over the sector to an-
other unit, and we all went back to the beach, or as the boys say,
"to a rest area."  When I got down here I found that instead of a
rest I had to go back to work, things to come you know.

     So the 11th Airborne Div and LJN have gone through their first
campaigns.  It was rough in spots, but it was a good starter and some
valuable experience was learned and earned by all.  However, I am afraid
that it is just a sample of the future, and we have many battles to
go.  According to the latest regulations down here, if you have two
years in you can apply for a 30 day leave, and with three years over-
seas service out\here you are eligible to apply for rotation. I am es-
timating my return to the states in 1946 in the late fall.  Any man is
crazy to want to come out here, and I admit I was nuts. If you take all
the letters I have written you and spread them out on the floor, and then
compare all of them, I think you will find that for every little in-
teresting word about something I've/seen or done you will find ten other
words bitching about being down here, or rather what it is like down
here.  It is'nt that I don't want to do my share of the war, but here
is the way I look at it.  Some men will have to go overseas while others
will have to stay in the states, its the way the cards are stacked.
But if you have a chance to stay in the states a little longer, then you
are just that much smarter if you take it.  To think I turned down a
beautiful job in the states.  So brother if you get a crack at sticking
around in civilization a little longer grab it, for I am certain that
eventually you will get over here.  Well I guess you won't listen to me,
so come on over and see what its like, some guys are just naturally hard
to convince.

     Well its all over now, and I can sit back and relax and think of the
tragic, gruesome, miraculous, and the humorous incidents.  Like the time
a patrol was hunting down some Japs they spotted in a ravine.  One of
the men made a wide circuit and crawled down into the bottom of the
gully where the Japs had been sighted, and he was in such a hurry that
he forgot to tell the other members of the patrol that he was going
down there.  Up on the rim of this little canyon the BAR man was cover-
ing the advance when he saw a figure sneaking down along the bottom.
As he opened fire the figure jumped behind a bush, so the BAR man gave
the bush the business.  When the patrol had finally pushed down there,
the BAR man found that he had killed his buddy.  One of the other men
grab him him just he was trying to turn the gun on himself.  In another
incident some troops were crawling towards a Jap position which was
under our mortar fire.  As they had to advance across an open area,
an airstrip, it was necessary to keep dropping the mortar shells in
until the men could reach some cover on the far side of the strip.  As
they were slowly crawling forward on their bellies, a 81 mm mortar

                                             1

[page 2]

shell hit one man right in the small of the back.  No this is not one
of the gruesome tales, as the shell was a dud.  Now of the shells that
were being used very few were duds, but just think, the that hits
this man does misfire.  A few hours later a medic found him, as even
though he had been hit by a dud he was throught to be dead, and turned
him over.  He suddenly regained consciousness and sat up, complaining
about his back.  Upon examination it was found to be all black and blue
with a knot as big as your hand where the shell hit him.  The medic
taped him up, and several days later he was hiking around again.
I always smile when I think of what happened fifteen seconds after
the paratroopers had jumped from their planes, naturally I am refering
to the Jap paratroop attack we had.  Most of us had scorned the previous
air raids, and had not bothered to dig any foxholes.  Even on that event-
ful night it did not occur to me to get into a hole, as I was busy
watching the AA show.  Then in a flight that came right over us the
paratroopers started to jump, practically in our laps.  We stood there
watching them come down, hardly able to believe what we saw.  Then it
seemed like one thought occurred to everyone just about the same time.
"I had better get in my hole."   But, gulp, there were many who did'nt have a
hole.  There was the damnest mad scramble for shovels that you ever
saw.  I could have made a fortune right there and then if I had had
any shovels to sell, but I was more interested in fixing up a hole
myself.  We were just out of range of where they landed, and consequently
it did'nt do us much good to shoot at them, although the machine gunners
around us opened up and did get some in mid-air.  Well thats the way
it goes, I could probably fill several pages of these little incidents,
but many I could'nt write about, and the rest would probably become
boring.

     Well everybody is now talking about cock fights.  The GIs have
seemed to have taken quite a liking to this great Filipino National
sport.  The only fight I saw was one little sparring exhibition the
day we landed here, put on courtesy of some little villager to show
his appreciation of the return of Mac and the boys.  At the first
opportunity I am going to try to see one of the big official bouts
that are being put on here.  You can slap down a 300 pesos bet and
get it covered ($150 U.S. value).  But I will save all descriptions
and wait until I can personally witness one fo these spectacular
bloody exhibitions.

     Brother please, why pick on me?  I don't want to remember any
of this that is too unpleasant, in fact the more I forget the better.
I am going to eat now and will finish this later, excuse please.

                                               2

[page 3]
                                                           16 Jan [45 written in]

     Due to etc, etc I did'nt finish this letter yesterday, but will
try to finish it off this morning.  About the remembering, I would
just as soon forget about most of my experiences out here.  There were
plenty of men from the last war that remembered and tried to tell how
rough it was, people would'nt listen because they did'nt want to
listen, and it will be the same thing twenty years from now.  In fact
those that did listen were the pacifist, and they did more harm than
good by their islolation policy.  These same people believed that any-
thing connected with war was bad too.  So there were the men, including
many generals and high ranking officers, who had fought in World War
I, and who tried to tell the people that it was hell, and that to
prevent another war we should build up our army and navy.  The pacifist
grasped only the first part of the idea, and with their conviction
that anything connected with war was bad, they were for cutting down
the army and the navy and opposed to any ideas of national defense.
Naturally the communist clap their hands with glee and jumped on the
band wagon, and I am sorry to say that many of our church leaders also
had a great deal of influence in this movement.  Even CCC was watched
like a hawk to see that no military training crept into their daily
schedule.  In the last mass-slaughter bout people decided that when
the war was won, then the peace had been won.  This time we are think-
ing a little different, but how far ahead will we think?  There are
men today who are advocating a  large post war army, and already there
are those who think that this is unecessary, and that armies are bad.
I think that every young man should be made to server one year in the
army, in a carefully laid out program that would include more than
just squads east and west.  The men should be mixed from all states,
as from my experience I found that this is a good means of breaking
down many of the prejudices of sectionalism.  They should be given
excellent medical and dental care, which would make for a better
healthier race of Americans.  They should be taught some or several
minor trade practices, such as mechanics, welding, clerical work,
etc.  They should be taught to use their iniative and to develop
leadeship abilities.  in other words they would follow a carefully
conducted program that would not only benefit Uncle Sam, but would
also be a benefit to each individual man.  No, not everything connect-
ed with mar is bad.  Think of the medical, aeronautical, chemical,
electronical, and even fertile (pertaining to birth rate) developments
as a results of this war.  However, it is deplorable to think that it
takes a war to producce such advancements, and weighed against the
havoc, destruction, and misfortune that war evolves it is doubtful
that it is worth the price.  No brother, the placard does not read
"You must remember," but instead it says, "Lest we forget."  It is
easier to kill the cub than to fight the lion.

     Frankly I am rather disgusted with humanity as a whole.  It has
not changed greatly or appreciatably in the last 2000 nor even in
the last 6,000 years.  The Id is just as powerful in man now as it
was then, although perhaps now it does not have quite the same amount
of freedom as it had then.  When man gets to the point where he can
disregard or eliminate the common and judicial laws, and follow laws
stemming from the golden rule, and when man is able to abolish all
law inforcement agencies, then he will not have to worry about wars.
For I believe that war and policemen will go out together, and when
men are able to do this, they will no longer be the men that are about
today.  Brother we consider ourselves covilized just because we
wear clothes, read, make love at home in a bed usually with our wive,
use a toilet, and pay five dollars a year to the American Red Cross.
                                                 3

[page 4]

But brother lets wise up, we are primitive, crude, and under develop-
ed in the full sense of the word civilized.  Between us and the coming of
Christ there are only 100 generations, back to the beginning of written
records of civilization  300 generations. To nature that is only
a few grains to the twll known drop in the bucket, in other words
we are not too far distantly related from our fathers the Cromagnon
and the Neanderthal men.  There are animals in exsistence today that
can have their ancestorial history traced back for 10, 20, or some
even back over 30,000 generations.  So you see Bud, your chest is
a chamber of primitive passions, and your head a bank of crude ideas.
But your ideas, and perhaps your passions may be the implements that
will give us an impetus to a future world of nobile, pure, and peaceful
ways and means of living in a 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 generations
from now.  But will the children of your children's children's ....
offspring give you credit?  No, they will say that the man that lived
100,000 yrs ago was a very crude fellow, and the differentation
between you and the Cromagnon will be as great as our's is between
the Cromagnon and the Neanderthal man.  When you look at infinity
you can't see it, but you can see some point between you and infinity,
and if you go to that point and then pick out another point in the
direction of infinity, why eventually after an indefinite length of
time you will reach infinity.  So if we can pick out some point
on the curve in the right direction but within the limits of our
known capabilities, then we know we can and will reach it.  But if
we start off in a direction in which we can't see the end, then
we will reach no end.  In other words, lets look at man as he is
today, and what he is capable of doing or becoming, and then lets
proceed to do it.  When we get it done we can then make another
estimate and choose another mission.  And as long as man has hair
on his chest, will kill for lust, money, or power, and as long
as that type of man is in exsistence, there will be wars.  So the
immediate problem is to prevent that man from doing those things
which are detrimental to the progress and welfare of society, and
when we have curbed and destroyed this threat, then we can proceed
to attempt to change the race and our way of life to prevent
reproduction, not only in a biologicacl manner but perhaps more
important in a environmental manner, of this type of individual.

    Now do you see what happens when you write letters like that!
I won't apologize for what I have written, you started it and you
deserve it.  Well take it easy Bub, and write soon.

                                         love from
                              ye olde crusty caveman (horny too)
                              [signed] Leonard


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