March 7, 1944


Dear Bonnie Gray:
Here’s the old man again, with not much to impart on the state of the nation. Seems as though time is still the big factor out here. I can now understand why So. Pacific movies seem to have no beginning or end. The people are just naturally lethargic. Time doesn’t mean anything at all. It’s just keeping as cool as possible in the daytime and bedding down early at night so as to gather plenty of rest to enable the people to be lazier the following day. No point to it, but the native element seems perfectly happy. No troubles, no nothing. Entirely carefree.

An argument is still being heatedly debated around here: “Whether to join the American Legion, or the Veterans of Foreign Wars or to organize and entirely new club for veterans of this war.” I’m in favor of the latter in a real streamlined sense. The A.L. and V.F.W. failed in what should have been their main goal, which was or should have been, to prevent occurrences of any future upset. I say a new one is necessary to keep out the old appeasers and start from scratch for a better world. Those who belong should be those who have stood actual combat experience. These men have seen it and lived it. They know war in all its hellishness; and are qualified to fight it if they will do so. However a little fear arises here. These boys are going to be happy in getting home. The old scars of war will not take long to disappear. They will want to sink into oblivion and forget this war in their lives; and they can’t be blamed for it until another war looms huge and catastrophically on the horizon. Then their sons look with contempt upon them, who did not rise and fight for the things they held dear; but who were too busy leading their peaceful and happy lives to notice the storm clouds gathering. Do we want our sons to look upon us in that light? Not me. I’ll give the necessary time and energy to keep the next one from becoming certainty. We have the power and we have the faith, nothing should deter us.

Very little happened here today. We had one class of naval identification — destroyers and light cruisers of our Navy.

The crew flew twice during the day: Practice bombing at Rua Dika. Our bombardier, Lt. Tolhurst, hit three out of six dead on the target. Flight in which I did not participate due to illness. They flew three hours last night including three transitions. The boys said this island looked like any normal U.S. city at night. Lights everywhere. The ships in the harbor lighted as if they were Christmas trees.1

Spent my time in the evening, reading the Bible and studying my wife’s picture. We spend many beautiful evenings together out here. She is grinning an affectionate and infectious smile and no matter how badly I feel, when I gaze at her I have to smile back. We have many secrets to share and we often go over them together.

Wrote Bonnie, Tommy. Guess I’ll have to pen some more tomorrow am getting a little behind with the mail home.

And that’s all for tonight, darling.

Notes & Commentary:

1 “The crew flew three hours last night… The boys said this island looked like any normal U.S. city at night. Lights everywhere. The ships in the harbor lighted as if they were Christmas trees.” In March 1944, London was under blackout as the Germans resumed the Blitz, see Faced with improved air defenses, the Germans paid dearly for their initiative and the Allies continued bombing Berlin, see But on Guadalcanal, the scene of bitter life or death struggles on land, in the air and on the adjacent seas a year earlier, the lights were on. The Japanese by March 1944 apparently posed no air or sea threat to Guadalcanal.

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