Be Home Tonight



CA 171 10   TOUR=WH CHICAGO ILL 21   156P

1946 FEB 21 PM 3 05









[And so ends the story from Grandpa’s Desk. It’s been a pleasure. Ed.]

Sea Flasher

Wed. Feb. 6, ‘46

Aboard U.S. Sea Flasher

About 200 miles from Honolulu


Dear folks,

We’re dropping off mail at Honolulu in the morning so I’ll write a little bit. It’s our first stop since leaving Manila and this one wasn’t scheduled. I hope you can read this but my pen is dry so I had to use pencil. The last letter I wrote was from Manila Jan. 21. I left for the Repl. Depot Jan 22 and was there 3 days. Our first day we were processed, filled out our forms, got our influenza shots (the roughest we ever had) and were assigned to Separation Center Groups. We are each assigned to a particular 25 man group going to the same place. I go to Fort Sheridan which is just out of Chicago. Most of the fellows in my group are from Detroit. One is from Lansing and one from East Lansing. There are 6 or 8 groups altogether on the boat that are going to Sheridan so there’ll be plenty of us. Our second day out at the depot we got our issue of winter clothing. I did O.K. on everything but the blouse. I got new O.D.’s, and one of the old type short field jackets. It’s a brand new one and if I can get it by I’m going to keep it. They make a comfortable jacket to slip into. I got one of the short battle jackets for a blouse. It’s an Aussie blouse but when I went through all they had were size 40 so blouse is really the word for it. I think you could almost get in it with me. After we got our stuff we waited for a ship and early Fri. morning Jan. 25 started out. We got out of the Depot about 9:00 and by the time we rode through Manila and got on the boat it was about noon. We pulled out in the afternoon of the 25th (the 24th back here). We crossed the date line Mon. so we had 2 Mon. in a row. Actually today is our 14th day at sea although by calendar dates it looks like only 13. We started out rather slow and just started to make speed the last 3 days. We should have made it in about 18 days but we expect to hit Frisco about Mon. which is 20 days. There are over 2000 of us on board. Living conditions are about the same as they were coming out here. We get 3 meals a day except Sundays but the noon meal is usually pretty light. There isn’t a whole lot one can do to pass the time. We have a movie every night which is really a break. Some of the pictures have been very good. They have a ship’s band which blows off a little steam occasionally and they put out a lot of recorded music for us. Naturally time is dragging on this ride more than usual because we have all been waiting for the end of this one for about 3 years.

The weather has been pretty good but quite windy and this old girl has done a lot of rolling. There were some pretty miserable boys the first couple days. I just kept myself full whether I wanted to eat or not and when I felt a little too dizzy I just headed for my bunk. I kept everything down O.K. and after a couple days my stomach caught up with the boat and I’ve been all right since.

We lost one day by having to swing off our course to leave a sailor at Guam in the hospital. He fell off a boom while painting and I guess the steel deck didn’t do him any good. Now we have a broken feed line and have to go into Honolulu for repairs. They say it will take about 4 hours but I rather imagine it will be longer. I hope we can see a little of the place. We expect to be in Frisco Mon. or Tues. which is the 12th. We’ll be in Stoneman for 2 days or so, spend 3 or 4 on the train to Chicago, another 2 or 3 at Sheridan and then out. So I ought to be ought [out] between the 20th & 24th sometime. Naturally I can’t be sure but it’s a fair guess. Until then, so long and I’ll be seein’ you,


I’m On My Way

Mon. 21 Jan. ‘46



Dear folks,

Just a note tonight. I just finished packing my junk. Out of a clear sky this morning came orders for 46 and 47 points and we leave for the 29th Rep. Depot in the morning at 9:00. You can’t guess how that made me feel. I’ve been up on a cloud all day although there was so much to be done I stayed on the job anyway. With a little luck we might catch a ship by Sat. or Sun. The depots are empty now and not many have gone out there today. I don’t know if you’ll be hearing from me again from out here but probably not. We’ll be kept busy for a few hours or days out there getting processed and I hope we won’t be there long afterward. I hope to be in the U.S. by Feb. 10 or 15 and out of the army before March 1. So if you don’t hear from me for quite awhile it’s a good sign. Dig out my clothes, I’m on my way. So long temporarily, I’ll be seein’ you,


Off In A Cloud Of Dust Or Something

Sunday 20 Jan. ‘46

Manila 9:00 p.m.


Dear folks,

Back again. Well the old outfit is just a shadow of its’ old self now. There are about 50 of us left and we’ll soon be gone, or most of us at least. We have the biggest share of the work done now I hope. Yesterday we got our orders. We will be attached unassigned to 1125th Engr. C Gp. and you may as well use that address from now on. However I hope by the time you get this and I could get an answer I’ll be very near to heading home. I’ll leave it up to you as to whether you want to continue writing or not. I hope to be on my way in from 15 to 30 days but naturally I can’t tell for sure. It might be less but I can’t see how it could be much longer unless things get really messed up.

The U.S.O. troops moved in this morning so yesterday afternoon we had to move out of our headquarters building. We are set up in a corner of the Bn. warehouse now. It’s not very good but for the couple weeks we’ll be around I guess it won’t matter too much.

As things stand we break up Jan. 25 which is Fri. As of the 25th I’m transferred to 1125 Group. It’s a higher hdqs outfit and at present they are staffing the Engineer Service at Base X. So for the time I have left I’ll be working either at Base X hdqs or worse, on some sort of inspection and reclassification team. Personally I don’t care much as I’m doing just as little as I possibly can between now and the time I get that beautiful little piece of paper sending me to a Repl. Depot. We’ll stay here as long as we can but the way things are looking, it may not be for long after Friday. We could finish up here very quickly if necessary but we had intended to let things drag as long as possible.

Personally I expect something to break this week on points or service. It’s been quiet now for nearly 2 weeks and the depots are all cleared. This morning after we shipped out all our men, about 100, I spent the rest of the time moving so the U.S.O. men could have our area. We got an empty tent and found enough loose cabinets and furniture to make it quite cozy and comfortable. I hope we won’t have to move again while we’re here.

I rode into town this afternoon for the first time in quite awhile. Things around the docks were pretty quiet which also makes me think something is due to break. All they have to do is drop service 1 month and I’m off in a cloud of dust or something like that.

Today I got a Xmas card and letter from Elmo written Dec. 3. 3 cent mail takes a long time. Our mail isn’t coming very fast but then I don’t write to anyone very often so I can’t expect very much I guess.

Tonight we saw “Senorita from the West” which wasn’t too good. Last night it was “Hold That Blonde” with Eddie Bracken & Veronica Lake.

That’s about it for another time so I’ll be off. So long again,


I’m Resting From Here On In

Friday 18 Jan. ‘46

Manila 8:10 p.m.


Dear folks,

We’re working again tonight (rather conveniently so as otherwise we’d be on detail cleaning equipment) and while I’m waiting for some more work I’ll write a little. It’s been quite a day, hot and rainy and still raining. We got all the dope on demobilization today in a circular from AFWESPAC hqs. All men who will have 30 months service by April 30 will be discharged or enroute to the U.S. by then. The men with longest service are to go first and as soon as possible. So for the first time I’m “eligible.” I can be discharged any time now. All I have to do is get back to the States. The last group of men who left were the ones who will have 41 months on April 30. I’ll have 40 by then so I’m next the way I see it. If any more leave this month, and since it’s urged that they get the men out as soon as possible I think there will be some, maybe it won’t be very long. For the first time they have come out with a clear cut program which lets us see pretty much how we stand on all this. 45 points will be good before April 30 also but we can forget about the points so far as we are concerned. As it’s turned out we will get out the same time or later than we would have we never come overseas. It’s swinging away from points and going all on length of service now. Anyway I feel sure that within a month at the most I’ll be headed home. That’s pretty optimistic for me but it looks like a pretty safe statement this time. Oh does that sound good – back to civilization again.

The Col. was around today and didn’t like the way things looked so the clamp was put on. All the officers (poor things) were restricted to quarters for a week, we spent an hour this afternoon picking up all the trash in our area, and tonight everyone had to work on equipment at Bn. Supply. However we got a lot of transfer orders this afternoon so Voth and I and our one remaining clerk worked here instead. We have orders on all but 18 men of the whole Bn. now and I’m one of the 18. I understand ours were cut yesterday so we’ll know tomorrow where we’ll go. I have a hunch it will be the 4212th Engr. Service Group myself but I may be wrong. I’ll be assigned to some outfit but the only time I ever intend to report there is to get my orders to go to the Repl. Depot for home. Our deactivation was moved to Jan. 25 so we ought to be able to string out our work here to last past the middle of February. By then I expect to have my real orders. If we do finish here before it’s time for me to go home, I’m afraid the next outfit won’t get much work out of me. I figure I’ve done just about enough and I’m resting from here on in. One outfit that we’ve been transferring a lot of men to wanted Voth to come up there as Pers./Sgt. but he turned it down. If I were to be out here another 2 or 3 months I’d try to get the job and the 2 more stripes that go with it but as it is I’m not interested in jobs or stripes. I’ve got all I want and I just want to go home. Engr. Service at Base X wanted Voth and I too until they saw how much service we had and decided we wouldn’t be around long enough to make it worthwhile. That’s what I like to hear.

No mail today and the movie for tonight was cancelled due to all this detail business. It was to have been a Charlie Chan picture, probably pretty good. Last night we saw a crazy sort of musical, “That Night With You,” with Susanna Foster & Franchot Tone.

Well that’s about it so I think I’ll finish up here, take a shower and get to bed. Be seein’ you


Not Getting Very Far Very Fast

Wed. 16 Jan. ‘46

Manila 8:45 p.m.


Dear folks,

Just got back from our nightly movie so I’ll write a line and get to bed. The picture tonight was another rather old one, “Captain Kidd.” It was a pretty good one and I hadn’t seen it before.

This morning I got on the ball and was up at 15 to 7:00 for breakfast. I even swept out the tent. I’d been sleeping mornings until about 15 to 8:00 but I decided it was time I turned over a new leaf. Breakfasts around here haven’t been worth the trouble going after but this morning the eggs were actually warm.

Things weren’t too busy this morning but this afternoon it popped again. About 80 more men are on orders so I was busy all afternoon and from supper until show time working on records. I still have plenty to do in the morning. One consolation, it can’t last forever. By this time next week it ought to be all over and we can settle down to the routine of deactivation. There shouldn’t be too much to do except turn in our files, destroy what’s not worth keeping, and take care of all the miscellaneous correspondence that may come in. We can also sweat out the points at the same time.

Big news today – all men with 45 points and/or 2 ½ years service will be out by April 30. So in another 3 ½ months I’m sure to be out. This gets worse as we go along. Still I feel pretty sure I’ll be on my way within a month. If they drop to 2 ½ years service they’ll send out the men with the most service first. The men with 38 months are gone so my 36 ½ puts me pretty close to the top. I’m near the top on both points and service but not getting very far very fast. If they hadn’t slowed down demobilization I’d be gone now. The boys we sent to the Depot Sunday are nearly all gone. The boys from the east coast and as far west as Mich. caught the West Point which is taking about 7,500 men to New York via Panama.

I believe I’d prefer to go straight myself. I dread that train ride across county but I really will enjoy it I’m thinking after all this.

It’s been terribly hot all day but this afternoon it rained a little. It looks as if I’ll go for 2 years before I see another winter and I miss the snow and cold weather. This all one season stuff isn’t for me.

Today I got a letter back that I wrote to Ferd in Nov. marked “Returned to U.S. – no forwarding address,” so I guess he made it all right finally.

Well that’s about all for tonight so I’ll head for bed.

Be seein’ you


Ike Sends His Sympathy


Tues. 15 Jan. ‘46


Dear folks,

Another day gone. Things have resumed a more peaceful appearance today although there is still more than enough work to be done. I find there is plenty to keep me busy all day. I have three morning reports plus regular work to do in the mornings. Then on the side I’m trying to get about 60 records ready so there won’t be too much to do when orders finally come in. I hope my boy comes out of the hospital pretty soon so he can take over on his job. The kid has been a co. clerk since Miller left about Dec. 10 and yesterday he made Sgt. I sweated it out as a Cpl. for 13 months. All of us except Bugs are at least 1 grade above our jobs thanks to the present situation where we have plenty of ratings and no men to fill them.

No news on points except for a lot of rumors. According to today’s paper Ike sends his sympathy to the poor G.I. overseas but says “disintegration” of the army must pause. You know they said points wouldn’t drop so much this month and I wouldn’t be surprised if the drop last week were all for this month. I hope I’m wrong but I don’t really expect to pull out until after Feb. 1 so I’ve got about three more weeks. But then again if they get a lot of shipping yet this month, who knows?

I’m eating ice cream as I write this. One of the boys got a gallon from the mess hall. I’ve had more ice cream in the last 2 months than in three years before we came here. We have it practically every day and sometimes twice. We have our own facilities for making it so there’s plenty.

The boys have been busy the last couple days putting barbed wire fences up to divide the area before the U.S.O. moves in. As near as I can tell there are 4 areas now – single men, single women, married couples and then off in a corner nobody wanted, the G.I.’s that will be left. I don’t think this is a very good area for a setup like that but the General likes it and I guess that’s all that counts.

Today I got Gram’s Jan. 6 letter and one from Edna. So Hugh is out already. Well he was overseas about 10 months sooner than I and may have gotten one or 2 more stars so he probably had a lot more points. They hope to have the 50 point men out of the ETO by the end of March I read the other day so maybe we are better off than we thought. At the present rate they’ll be near 40 by then out here.

Tonight’s movie was “First Comes Courage” with Brian Aherne and Merle Oberon. It was an old picture which I had seen but forgotten most of.

That’s about all the news so I think I shall head for bed early tonight. I overslept this morning and didn’t get to work until 8:30. I have trouble making myself crawl out mornings. So for today, so long til next time.

Be seein’ you


The Old 1268th


Mon. Jan. 14, ‘46


Dear folks,

This is the first letter I’ve written since Friday night. All we’ve been doing for about 3 days is eat, sleep, and work. Friday we got orders on about 250 men and had to get the records ready by this morning. Then to top that off we got short notice orders to rush our 48 & 49 point men to Replacement depots for shipment home. They had boats waiting for them in the harbor. There weren’t too many of them but one was C Co’s clerk so I had to take over where he left off. We worked until about midnight Fri. & Sat. and until about 10:00 last night. Am I sleepy? I crawl out about 15 minutes before it’s time to go to work in the morning. Thank goodness we have things fairly well in order again but we still have plenty to do. There are still about 150 men left who’ll be transferred before next Sunday when the outfit deactivates and becomes just so much history. That’s not too bad but B Co’s clerk made 1st/sgt today so naturally he can’t work here all the time and then to top it off A Co’s clerk went to the hospital tonight with a possible case of malaria. So here I sit with 2 companies in my lap plus my regular job which right now is enough to keep me busy. Oh well, it can’t last long and after this week things should be pretty easy.

There’s not much new. Rumors have points dropping again this week to 46 or 45. If it goes to 46 I’m on my way and if its 45 Bugs goes too so they’ll be left with 2 clerks, one inexperienced but once I’m gone I don’t care what happens. All I want is that order to the Repl. Depot and it can’t come too soon. I hadn’t expected another point drop for about 2 weeks but a lot of shipping is due so maybe it will come. As it stands we’ll be here finished [finishing] up until mid-Feb. and I’m pretty confident I’ll be on my way be [by] then so although I’ll be transferred to another outfit in a couple days I never expect to report to it. I hope not as I’m pretty much attached to the old 1268th and when I leave it I want to be going home. I’ve been in it now for 21 months and that’s quite awhile.

Tonight our movie was “Jesse James” with Tyrone Power and it wasn’t bad. The U.S.O. is moving in pretty soon so we probably won’t be having so many pictures then. You can see how thick the bugs are around here by the number that seem to have been squashed under this while I was writing on the other side. But don’t get me wrong. I love the Philippines where it’s only 110 degrees in Jan. and the lizards run around on the roof and rats run through your tents. It’s a wonderful place.

As soon as the boys moved out they made a lot of promotions and in case you hadn’t noticed on the envelope they tossed me another stripe or I should say a rocker this time. They made me a Staff/Sgt. as a Foreman Construction in the S-2 section but naturally I’ll stay in my same job. The S-2 & S-3 sections were broken up so they split up there [their] ratings among us that are left. It really made me feel good to get it not only from the pay standpoint ($120 overseas, $100.80 in the States) but just from the egotistical angle. A set of Staff stripes look a lot better than T-4’s to the public or am I wrong? I have 3 up and 1 down [sketch of bars] like that set I had in my pocket the last time I was home. Now all they need do is send me home. If we could get moving in the next 2 weeks I might be back in the U.S. by Mar. 1.

Well that’s about all there is to say except I got Gram’s Jan. 3 letter yesterday. It’s after 11:00 and I’m pretty sleepy so I’m going to call this enough until next time.

Be seein’ you,


And Speaking Of The Thermometer

Friday 11 Jan. ‘46



Dear folks,

About 6:30 and we are “working” tonight or at least the clerks are. We got orders on about ¾ of our men today and by the first of the week we’ll be down to practically nothing. Most of the men will be here after then but will be assigned to another outfit. That leaves just a few of us who will be assigned to the 1268th until D(deactivation) day Jan. 20. We have our eyes on some nice ratings that are open but don’t know where they’ll go yet. I’ve been promised a Staff so I’m almost sure of that and if things work right I might do even better. The next 8 days may bring a lot. At least I’ll have more than Clarence R. had to show for my time in the army when I eventually get back. I guess I’m pretty self centered or something but I’d like to come home with just a little more than the rest did around there. I don’t think anyone ever expected me to make anything and I’d like to show them they were just a little wrong. I won’t be in my uniform very long but it will have everything on it that I can legally wear when I do get home – 6 ribbons, 2 patches, service stripe, 2 overseas bars and whatever chevrons I may have. I guess I’m just a kid at heart after all.

Today it was announced points are down to 48 and length of service to 38 months as of 1 Feb. By then I’ll have 37 months so I’m next that’s one consolation. From what we hear these boys will all be on their way in about a week. The “West Point” is in the harbor and holds about 7,500 men. It’s the biggest ship the U.S. has. So now if they follow up what Eisenhower said, maybe old man Forist will be on his way before Feb. 1. Remember when I said I might make it by St. Patrick’s? Maybe I’ll do it yet. Our spirits have gone up and down like a thermometer during the last few days. And speaking of the thermometer, it goes up but seldom down. It hangs around 100 degrees too much to satisfy me. It starts at 85 degrees in the morning and works up. Last year at this time we were freezing. When we went to town I wore my long johns, a wool sweater under my shirt and my overcoat. What a change!

Today I got Gram’s Jan. 1 letter, the fastest I’ve received one in quite awhile. I see we have several lizards dashing about on the ceiling as usual. They are something like those little chameleons. One night we were down here with rubber bands and paper wads doing some hunting for them. Tonight’s movie is “Men in Her Diary” with Jon Hall. I’ve seen it already as is getting to be the usual story on most of the pictures we get. I may go anyway. Maybe they’ll have a good cartoon. It looks as if we’re in for plenty of work this next week and then perhaps we can go along again more or less at our own speed which confidentially isn’t very fast.

Well that’s about all there is to say for tonight so I’ll sign off. Oh yes, this is my new pen. I got a Shaeffer Skyline instead of the Parker. It retails for $12.50 and cost me 13 pesos ($6.50). It seems to write very well. So long ‘til next time,

Be seein’ you


That Would Never Do

Thurs. 10 Jan. ‘46



Dear folks,

Back again at about 9:30. I’m holding down the switchboard for a few minutes for one of the boys. I see a maze of buttons and cords and holes here in front of me but so far nothing has happened. Not much new. Tonight’s movie was “Mexicans,” a musical with Tito Guizar which was just fair. Last night we saw “Uncle Harry” with George Sanders and Ella Raines which was very good. Yesterday I got Gram’s Dec. 27 letter. The mail is pretty slow now. There is a backlog in San Francisco according to what we hear.

We still aren’t too busy. We expect to lose most of our men by Mon. Then the rest of ourselves will be assigned here until we deactivate Jan. 20. Then we’ll be transferred on paper to some other outfit and remain here on temporary duty to finish up. I don’t know how long it will take but we all intend to drag it out just as long as is possible. Once we leave here we might have to do some work and that would never do.

I hear I got myself a fountain pen tonight. Each month they get a ration of pens, watches, etc. I signed up for a pen and I hear I got a Parker 51. We get them at ½ the retail price in the states or about $6.00. That will make me 3 good pens. I have my old reliable Shaeffer from my graduation set plus another Shaeffer which is in good shape. I’m writing this with it. I also got myself a pretty good pencil for about $1.50 recently. So I guess I’m pretty well set.

Not much new in developments on the “when do we go home” front. Harry Truman put himself out of office, I can assure him of that, when he said the strange thing was not why so few men had been demobilized but rather why so many had. I’ve never said anything about him as I felt I didn’t know enough of him or his policies to make judgment but I’m learning fast. I expect that within a week we’ll get some sort of word as to how far points will drop. By then perhaps a few of these congressional investigations will have been made. They may not do us too much good but then again they may. I didn’t hear it myself but the radio carried a statement by Eisenhower today stating that theater commanders are ordered to return men as soon as possible regardless of critical scores, that is all men not essential. According to that they would go back in order of scores naturally but with no restrictions such as exists at 50 now. If that is true then our worries may be over unless the brass hats out here decide to claim we are essential. You know once the men are gone the brass will have to be reduced. Anyway it’s the only encouraging thing I’ve heard in a week. I’ve been waiting for “Ike” to make a statement. Through all this noise and discussion he’s been strangely silent. He’s “our man” and the one person who I really believe is in favor of getting everything for his men. He is the “G.I.’s General” and always has been. MacArthur can never compare with him. Maybe we’ll see something actually take shape in the next week or two.

That’s about all there is to say for things tonight so I’ll say so long ‘til next time,