Awakened earlier than usual this a.m. Had my regular early morning shower, which certainly awakes a man! That water is good and cold. The men try to take at least two a day to ward off fungus and other infections that are so prevalent in the South Pacific. I sometimes feel terribly sorry for the ground soldiers in the early history of Guadalcanal.
Went to Protestant services this morning.1 Chaplain Ellett presided and gave a stirring sermon. Enjoyed it very much probably because we have the same idea! More religion in the church and less social activities. The stressing of the home as a home, the church as a church, and fornication a thing to be rooted out and destroyed. The divorce is a terrible menace to modern society. People should have sense enough to pick the proper mates. A little thought and consideration saves many homes, which should not be disrupted once established. I predict that after the war will come the greatest wave of divorcement in the history of mankind, simply because people did not think and because their housing was not clearly adequate enough to assume the shape of the goodness so necessary to the proper maintenance of persons lives! Hooray, for Chaplain Ellett.2
We were just discussing the lecture or sermon. One of the boys told me that I spread my wild oats before I married, and when he reached my age, he’d settle down, too. See the insidiousness of sin? Because I spread wild oats, supposedly, then he too should spread wild oats to catch up with me. If I’d cut off my toe purposely, does he in turn cut his off? No! We sang two of my favorite hymns “Holy, Holy, Holy” and “Onward Christian Soldiers”. A lump rises in my throat when voices surge with the power of those two hymns.
After church, was placed on a detail. The Permanent Party’s cut the grass around their tents. We loaded it and took it to the dump. Came in with clean clothes a mess and had another shower before dinner. Should have several a day.
We were not scheduled for school today, but we were really sore to be bypassed by four other crews who are leaving for the front tomorrow. We were the first to arrive here and have had prolonged and excellent training. Therefore that makes us the last to leave? The Army is thick with brown nosing, something which is disgusting to me.
Wrote you a letter this afternoon, as is usual, angel, and enjoyed that part of the day very much. Always do love to talk to you. Your presence is the most restful and reassuring thing in the world to me. Had quit a bit of fun loves labor today. Spent hours on an Easter Card and verse to send to you, Bonnie. Hope you’ll like it very much. Though it may not be pleasing to the eye, the sentiment behind it is really terrific.
The conversation in the tent switched to chastity belts for the women. A couple advocate them for war times. Heavens sakes, the trend of some of these bull sessions. Seehorn, Duarte, Stallsworth, Cooper and Russell just decided to remain bachelors for life. Instantly, I bet there wouldn’t be a one single in five years! As a reason, I told them, “Not one of you guys are ugly enough to escape for five years.” That was a stopper except to Stallsworth who was very vehement with denials. Would like to approach him in five years and ask him one question.
We fly tonight at 2130 to 2400, night transitions, ship no. 184. Will attempt to get music on the radio compass.3 So long for tonight, sweet dreams and fond memories, I adore you. Wynne.
Notes and Commentary
1 Chaplain Lertis R. Ellett built a small church on Guadalcanal which was called the “Church In The Wildwood” Chaplain Ellett’s church was the subject of short, 90 second, silent film. U.S. War Department Bureau of Public Relations film # BPR-322, “Church In The Wildwood”, 1944. (https://archive.org/details/BPR-322 : accessed 17 March 2014). To view the film, go to https://archive.org/details/BPR-322.
2 Chaplain Ellett was pastor of the San Bernardino, California Church of Christ before entering the Army in April 1942. “Chaplain Ellett Is Now Major in Rank,” Eugene (Oregon) Register-Guard, 27 May 1944, p. 12, Col. 4. Google News (http//://new.google.com : accessed 10 March 2014).
3 radio compass, Radio direction finder (RDF). On the B-25, this was a rotatable loop antenna used to locate radio stations. For information on how this worked, see “Usage in maritime and aircraft navigation” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_direction_finder.
Quite a few thoughts come to mind from this post. Wayne was spot on, in 1946 the divorce rate in Australia doubled. Not just because of impromptu marriages but men coming back different and the women having taken care of the household and holding down jobs not being able to take a step back. Hell of a thing, the ripples come down through the years from war. Also made me laugh to think of young men insistent they’ll never settle down. Reminds me of a guy I knew in high school who was the second to get married at 24 to the girl he started dating at 18.