7, 1945, I wrote that the whole 2nd Bn. was now together in the lumber
camp and we had left E Company and gone back to Hdq.Co. and were
clearing grass and brush with the mosquitoes worse that I had ever seen.
Even through the day they would not leave you alone. We now had 3
companies since our Bn. was together and we would take turns on patrols
and guard duty which gave us a little more free time. I wrote I received
14 letters, and the package with the jar of olives, and fishing hooks
and line. We ate all the olives and drank all the juice. It was sure
good! I wrote I would not be able to use the fishing equipment, because
there seemed to be no fish in the stream, except the little tropical
catfish because we had tried to get some with hand grenades. I informed
them we were going on a 6-day patrol and not to worry, if they did not
hear from me for a week or more.
1945 — I wrote our patrol lasted 7 days; and when we got back, we found
out the war was over. We were all a happy bunch of boys, but too tired
to do much celebrating. I was writing by candlelight and would write the
next day when I would not be so tired.
received the 32-automatic, so I suppose someone in the mail service took
it. A boy in the next tent got one off a Jap who surrendered. We heard
today that 7000 Japs have surrendered so far on the island. That was
twice as many as was estimated when we landed.
our platoon sergeant, got a letter from George Kojima, who was wounded
about one month after landing on this island, and was in the hospital at
Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis. I said I would write him and
tell him my folks would be contacting him, and maybe if they had enough
gas ration stamps, would go over and pick him up.
sweating out the army of occupation because I did not want to stay over
here any longer than I had to. If they went on combat time, I would not
have to, but if they went on over-all army time, I might have to stay. I
now had enough stationery and Air mail stamps that you sent that I would
not have to write v-mail anymore. It should not take the mail so long to
the moccasins, and hoped that I had not caused them to use up too many
shoe stamps. Also, with them were the stuffed green peppers. We ate the
green peppers and drank all the vinegar juice that was in the jar. We
were supposed to have a picture show, but the generator did not arrive,
and we were also supposed to have our 1st USO show, but they never came.
This we did not expect, since they never get this far out in the
"boon-docks", but usually play for the air corps, marines, and rear
bases. A picture show would be nice, since it had been over 3 months
since we had seen one even though it would probably be a repeat. I was
glad to hear Bill (my brother) got in the Navy — at least he will have
good conditions while in the service.
1, 1945 — I wrote to my Mother that she had mentioned having sweet corn,
and I said she had nothing on me, since I had been having it ever since
April when we arrived at this island. Every time we came across a corn
field on patrol, we put some ears in our pockets until we stopped for
the night. If it was tender enough, and we couldn't build a fire, we ate
it raw. If we could have a fire, we boiled it in our helmets, and if it
was too mature, we roasted it in the hot coals of the fire. Of course,
we had no seasonings to go on it. On our last patrol at a waterhole, I
caught some crawdads and picked some corn and roasted them both in the
fire after it burned down. They were really good — tasted as good as any
shrimp I had ever eaten. It sure beat K-rations! My candle was about
gone — it was one I made with old wax and string since it had been over
a week since we got any. Mother asked me when I thought I would be home.
The latest rumor was General MacArthur said men with combat time would
not be held over. If this were true, it would not be too long since we
had over 100 days of combat time on this island alone.
9, 1945 — I wrote they had lifted the censorship, and I could now tell
my folks we were on the island of Negros in the Philippines. We were in
a mountain lumber camp named Malapasok at the end of a railroad from the
town of Fabrica. We finally got candles, and this made our days seem
longer. We now had B rations and a mess tent, and got our first fresh
meat in over three months. It was tough as shoe leather, but did it
taste good! We got a generator and 3 pictures "Leave it to Blondie",
"Tonight and Every Night", and "Christmas in Connecticut". I had seen
them all but so long ago, they seemed like first runs! Some of the boys
had a still where they made booze, and it had blown up — I thought the
Japs had started another war!
15, 1945 — My mother had asked if we were under the 11th Airborne. No,
they were our greatest rivals. I didn't think there was an island big
enough to hold us both. We were a Reg. combat team of paratroopers
attached to whomever needed us. On Corregidor we were under the 6th
Army, and here, we were under the 8th Army. We were to move Monday from
Malapasok to Fabrica to Bacolod and were to be in Dumaguete by the 1st
of the month. My Mother had asked what I wanted for my birthday, and the
only thing I could think of was more pictures, since atropine tablets
melted all over my others in combat and turned them all yellow. The
latest rumor was when we arrived at Dumaguete we would be going to China
or Japan so I guessed I would make the best of it and see as much of the
world as I could.
21, 1945 — We were now in Fabrica, a lumber town, not doing much but
guarding Japs. I had 15 negatives and asked my folks to have 18 prints
made of each, since all the boys wanted some. These were the first
pictures returned to me. All my combat pictures were either censored and
kept, or stolen. I wrote that chow had not been too hot that night — we
had had bully beef patties, canned turnip tops, burned cake without
icing and water. Several of us went to a Chinese restaurant in Fabrica
and had a cup of coffee. It grew here in the mountains. One of our last
firefights with the Japs on one of our patrols was in a coffee grove.
With the coffee, we had a roll and two eggs which cost 2 pesos ($1). We
were so tired of bully beef and dehydrated potatoes we didn't eat too
much of it, and were still hungry. I'm not complaining because it sure
beat K-rations. I didn't think I could ever eat another one.
23, 1945 — We were still in Fabrica and set up on the 2nd floor of a
planing mill which is about 2/3 the size of a city block, and there were
over 1700 Japs underneath us. The Japs weren't in too bad a shape, even
though there seemed to be a few die each day from the long stay in the
mountains. I wrote my father that about three weeks after we were on the
island, we found 3 Jap carbines which had attached folding bayonets, and
these were different from any we had ever seen. I tagged mine and took
it back to the Bn. Hdg. tent. While in Fabrica (3 mos. later) I took it
apart, cut the stock in two and placed it in a square box, hoping it
would stand a better chance in getting through.
getting this rifle, I saw there was still one like it left, as well as a
sword, which had an officer's name tied to each. Men in our other
machine gun squad thought these were Johnnie Groom's and George
Kojima's. I told my parents I was going to try to latch onto them and
mail them home. If I did, to give George the sword, and I would try and
get the gun to Johnnie if I could find him after I got home. Later I
stated not to look for them because we moved out before I could get to
them. I explained that I did not feel bad in trying to get them, because
I knew they belonged to Johnnie and George and that the officer had just
put his name on them when he saw there were no names attached.
September 30, 1945, we were on the beach at Pulupandan, and I was
sleeping in a broken-down ambulance. We were to pull out at 4AM the next
morning by boats. I cannot remember this place or the boats, but this
must have been how we got to Dumaguete.
6, 1945, we were set up in a coconut plantation 3 kilometres outside
Dumaguete where our outfit all came together, after being spread all
over the island during the war. The area was nice, but the water
situation was bad. The only water was a small creek over a mile away;
therefore, we only got one bath a day unless it rained hard. It was sure
nice to have the Jap prisoners to carry the water to camp.
10th, G Co. moved in, and I finally met Jim Morris from my hometown. He
had 79 points, and the men with 80 points or more were leaving the next
day so he must have left right after that. I cannot remember him, and I
have not seen him since the war.
time, I wrote home about fishing in an outrigger canoe in the ocean. The
town was the nicest we had been in, because the people in the area had
collaborated with the Japs, and they did not destroy this town as they
had the others when they pulled out. We could get about anything you
would want from town - for example: I stated, "We went to town last
night in a pony cart and had a caribou steak, (tough but good), a cup of
ice cream for only 3½
pesos ($1.75 U.S.). The people in this area are not as nice to GIs as
they have been in other areas on this island since they liked the Japs.
They do quite a bit of plowing with a caribou and a single plow that
goes about 6" deep. They do very little cultivating, and I believe this
is why their produce is so much smaller than ours. There is a large
sugar cane industry on this island - too bad they aren't in production
now - you would not have to worry about sugar-ration stamps. You would
have enough for your canning."
interesting to note at this time, I wrote I felt we should never give
the Philippines their complete independence because, if we did, I felt
they would turn against us. Now, 34 years later, it seems as if the
trouble we have been having with them over our bases there, proves my
predictions were not too far wrong.
period there were a lot of strikes going on by the unions, and I wrote
that any of us would be glad to trade places and pay with them and all
felt they should be shot. George Kojima had visited my parents on a
three-day pass from the hospital.
time, I was placed in Co. Supply with Joe Shanahan, and I stated one of
us had to be there all the time or they would steal us blind. I told
about hitting one guy over the head with a ball bat when I caught him
crawling under the tent! We had not received any mail for over three
weeks. I went to church in town, and upon returning I had 13 letters and
birthday cards. It was then taking Air Mail three weeks to get there. It
took regular mail about two months to arrive.
about a party held over at the Red Cross building with girls brought in
from two colleges; and, for once, there were enough to go around. Most
of the girls in this area were of Spanish origin and were very beautiful
- but they could have left their chaperones at home! We had artificial
lemonade, egg, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cake, and doughnuts -
so you can see we were living high on the hog! For decorations, they had
a white parachute on the ceiling and
camouflaged chutes on the walls.
letter from Negros said I had been playing basketball in town on my
birthday, and was I out of condition! I did not know if I was still weak
from the jaundice, but I stated I felt fine and my yellow color had
almost disappeared. In fact, they had quit calling me "Chink".
My weight was up to 120 lbs.
letter I stated it looked as if I were going to Japan rather than going
home with the 503rd because I was 3 points short. I said I wished I had
turned in for a Purple Heart when George Kojima and I got our
superficial wounds; then I would have had enough points to have come
home. At the time, however, I would have been ashamed to have claimed a
Purple Heart for such a small wound, but now I was wishing I had, so I
could go home. I also was wondering how we would be accepted in the 11th
Airborne, and stated the first thing they would probably do would be to
give us GI haircuts since all our hair was normal length - THEY DID!
closing, the first 30 days of this mission was written entirely from
memory and from conversations at past reunions - the rest was taken from
letters written home. I just hope it will help the reader to remember
how it was in 1945 both at home and overseas.
Ralph E. Llewellyn