On August 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.

August 15, 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.

I never 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.

Tommy Hunt, 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.  

I was 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 get there.

I received 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.

September 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.

September 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!

September 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.

 

-5-

 

 

September 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.

September 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.

While 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.

On 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.

On October 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.

On October 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.

During this 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 3 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."

It was 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.

-6-

 

 

 

During this 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.

Around this 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.

I told 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.

My last 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.

In this 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!

 In 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

 

 

 

 

   

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