Saturday — Squadron Party and Picnic day!
Out of all the tents in the area and some 300 men, they picked ours and the five of us to round up the ice. So, in the midst of a steady drizzle we traveled to three different outfits that make chipped ice. For a case of beer at each place, we ended up with five 52 gallon barrels of ice. Then we came back to the 75th area and loaded 200 cases of beer on the trucks.
Still raining, so the party was postponed for an hour. It finally quit and we set off for Lingayen Point. The roads were smothered in mud, and we had several difficult moments, but we made it. These army trucks seem to take any terrain in their stride. The jeeps were hung up in several places and some had to be pulled out. Which goes to prove that not only Italy has a muddy reputation. The weather is surely unpredictable here.
Lingayen Point is rather lovely. The land is low and grassy and a waterway stretches quietly before the eye. Barges frequently come and go, their bows rising high in the air and their wake stretching behind them. Across the waterway or lagoon is part of an island that commands the area. Its cliffs jut over the water and it’s a solid mat of green jungle seemingly impenetrable. The Point itself has many coconut palms lending a gently swaying aura of coolness to its verdant terrain.
Soon the whole area rang with happy shouts as the throngs of men glutted themselves on the nectar beer. The party grew rowdier and the barbecue was finally served. Those who got some were indeed lucky. I was one who didn’t and couldn’t have eaten much anyhow. We were too tired. We rested on the truck top, taking notice of those things going on around us.
A group of men were standing in a circle each with a bottle of beer in their hands, and the other arm around their buddies. These were definitely three sheets in the wind, and as all parties do, especially where drinks are served and are free, they begin to sing. At first half way decently. Then as the hop water takes effect, these degenerate into a rowdy type of singing about the female body and its propensities.
Yes, the songs are lewd and unwholesome. Those I try not to hear. There are too many women on the earth who are fine and true and sweet. Why are the loose, the fast, so celebrated in song? You explain that to me if you can! It’s surprising how the human character is inherently sexual, but such is. A clarion call of the world should be to remove the mysteries of sex. The mind is too much prone to investigate a mystery, and always will be, up to the time the curtain falls, and at this rate the curtain will fall.
It’s a foregone conclusion that the world will end. The Bible prophesieth and science agrees, but I maintain that if man follows in the footsteps and the worship of Christ Jesus and the Christian God, the world need not end in calamity! This is one man’s view and does not necessarily mean its endorsed by the War Department! God above, when I think that if the effort of the people put forth to war were to concentrate on peace and religion, the pity of the modern human strikes me with sadness and alarm.
Theorizing seems to do no good, so back to the party and it’s aftereffects.
Being rather tired, we caught the first truck back from Lingayen. Many of the men were plastered and they brought cases of beer with them. The major passed by and saw two of them sticking up. He approached the boys with a reproachful look on his face and told them the beer was for the party and it wasn’t nice to carry it away. So the resourceful drunks replaced the visible beer in the truck to the party stockpile. We rode off with them singing at the top of their lungs and congratulating themselves on their wiseness.
A long time later, we arrived at the orderly room. A captain, the adjutant, met us at the door and picked us for a detail. Probably because we were the soberest. So we went to supply and unloaded equipment sent by the transportation officer of the Columbia Army Air Base. We bitched at first, but the wording on the boxes rather bucked me up. The folks at home had not forgotten, but were putting forth their utmost. This fact carries a good many of us along from day today.
This being finished we retired to our tent, where we find leaks in the roof and our bedding soaked. We were disgusted and in the midst of our moaning, loud voices penetrated to us. We glanced out the doorway and quite a sight attracted attention. Some of the party’s most hilarious individuals were outside, pushing each other into the mud. They were caked with it from head to foot. They lay in wait for those who were coming from the showers and would spring forth, laying hands on their victims and rolling them in the mud. A very disheveled sight, but nothing in comparison to what was to come.
Of a sudden, where all was laughter and fun, a soldier hauled off and laid another flat. He lay there for a moment, rolled over and got up. Then he charged a man and swung an overhand looping right, smack on the chin. The boy fell back into a barb wire fence and cut himself about the face. Then all hell cut loose and fifteen men were swapping fists. Yes, it was bloody but no one seemed to mind until responsible persons came along and broke it up.
I remember one major, who would walk up to a man, point his finger at him and say “Now, I want you to stop this.” A drunk would start towards him and the major would step back several paces and repeat his admonition. He backed up half a mile, but his rank finally won out, and so the battle ended.
We crawled into our wet beds. Awoke many times during the night, stiff and cold. I crawled out in the morning, possessor of a terrific cold and aching all over.
Notes & Commentary
They had quite a party.