March 2, 1944

Thursday

Dearest,
I can see that I’m going to have to shorten these daily pages to you, somewhat.  The longer we stay here, the more certain I am that we’ll be here for a full 2 years.  When we arrived, expected to be pulling combat missions within 2 weeks.  Those are gone, and we’re set up under a new program.  They find it necessary to give us 48 hours of flying time here before we’re eligible for front line duty.  We have, as a rule, two planes flying each day to give about fifty crews their training, so I can easily see it is going to take a long time overseas.  Had hoped to be home in 8 months at the most; but that is impossible now, I’m afraid, dreadfully sorry, too.

The heat is beginning to get to me, also.  The least exertion causes my poor old head to pound tremendously.  Heat has always done that to me.  Was hoping to go to the Aleutians where it’s sufficiently cold to rule out their possible existence.  Oh well I’ll stand it if it kills me.

Don’t think I’m not in good spirits, Honey, because I certainly am.  Sooner or later, I’ll get a chance to contribute something towards furthering the war effort.  Even I have faith in that feeling.

We went down to the beach this morning for a raft drill.  That was a farce.  Didn’t learn a thing I didn’t know before. However, the practice was welcome.  One never knows when that might come in handy.  While at the beach, I climbed a coconut tree and cut down a cluster of them.  Skinned my leg climbing the tree and cut three fingers trying to cut the twig holding them.  Seehorn’s knife, which I used, was pretty doggone dull.  He’s spent all afternoon sharpening it.

Wrote my first V-mail letters yesterday and today.  One to Shorty and one to you.  Russell says you can’t even find room enough to write our name on the darn things.  They take two complete addresses, which leads the men here to call it “female” instead of “V” mail.  I guess they are alluding to female trouble.  The reason I wrote them is because there are no airmail stamps or envelopes on this island.  I believe, however, the mail clerk is too lazy to get off his dead end, there is some argument as to which end is dead or both, and to go to the main office for the stamps.  Probably some wiseacre here has decided we’ll write “V” mail or no mail at all.  Hope the U.S. Government hasn’t stooped as low as that and am pretty sure they haven’t.  Their record in giving us the best of food and of materials for war far exceeds that which is necessary.  I believe it’s going to be privilege to fight for Uncle Sam, as well as for our inalienable rights.

Today has been simply beautiful darling; and, as usually every day like this, it’s my wish that we could somehow be together.  I miss our starry nights, enhanced by mellow moon beauty.  Miss also riding to and from our favorite movies via a crowded and stuffy bus.  Even that would be a pleasure, because I’d be enjoying your company and your innocent loveliness.  I’m even sorry I ever argued with you one who would be first to get in that cold bed and warm it for the other.  I’d gladly do it every night and no kidding, Bonnie.

The show last night was second rate but entertaining.

We outflanked Rabaul yesterday by landing on Los Negros Island,1 of the Marianas group2.  This cuts Rabaul from supplies via Truk.3  It also makes our present job of bombing Rabaul much easier.  When we finish their aircraft now, they can’t reinforce them very well.  Makes for more peaceful missions with only antiaircraft fire to make them unhealthy.

That cool breeze is certainly wonderful.  It can blow forever, for all of me.

My prayers last night were rather good.  As always, I prayed for your health of our families.  In addition to that I prayed for peace to come soon, a lasting peace.  As a partial answer, Russia submitted peace terms to Finland during the night.  That much alone is worth the whole prayer.  My prayers sound almost the same every night.  But the health and well being of people is very important and therefore worth the effort.  Prayer just can’t be stressed enough.  Our heavenly father is sure to answer the necessary and fundamental prayer.

Well darling that’s about all for tonight so we’ll say mispah4 and close for now.  W.

Oh, yes!  Lest I forget, we had a physical examination today.  As one man said, “Instead of examining all of us why not examine the two goats on the island?”

Good Night Darling, Wayne

Notes & Commentary:

1 Los Negros Island was invaded by Allied forces on 29 February 1944. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Negros_Island. It marked the beginning of the Admiralty Islands campaign (Operation Brewer) in which Wayne would participate. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Admiralty_Islands_campaign.

2 Actually, the Admiralty Islands and not the Marianas.

3 Truk, in the Caroline Islands, was a major Imperial Japanese Navy base.

4 Mizpah. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mizpah_(emotional_bond).

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One Response to March 2, 1944

  1. Lloyd Marken says:

    Very touching reading his words in this letter. Wayne knows despite the delays he’s going to see combat soon and he knows there is risk there. He’s missing her and thinking only – I think this happens a lot to men who are about to see combat and maybe see death. They think of their women and just being good and kind to them and how that is a far better thing to do than wage war against eachother. Better natures perhaps. He’s homesick but I think it is more than that. I don’t think its coincidence either that he’s mentioning his prayers more in his letters as his faith is a source of strength and comfort as he contemplates his own death. What a privilege it is to read his letters and how generous of you to share them. I wish him well as the hammers draws near to coming down. How heartbreaking it would have been for Bonnie to read them weeks later not sure what was happening to him.

    Like

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