Foothills of Central Mountain Range, Breakneck Ridge, Patrolled by 1st Cavalry December 1944.
Jan 3. Combat Zone: This is the first letter I have written since the 9th of December. I came in last night from the mountains and this morning I had part of my Christmas. There were 30 some letters here as well as boxes from mom, your folks, Gorhams and Steiners. I spent Christmas day walking. I was out of cigarettes, lost my fountain pen and had one can of bully beef for my dinner.
Just now I am very tired. My stomach is upset and I have had dysentery for the past two weeks. I will get some rest now and will soon be in shape. As I look back on the last month it all seems like a dream. Within the next few days I will try to write about it. There was only once when I thought I wouldn’t make it. We had taken a little town and my platoon had moved out on a small wooded hill to watch a trail. We didn’t plan on spending the night there so we didn’t dig holes. Just as it was all most dark we saw what we thought were American soldiers moving down over the hill. There were so many of them that we didn’t dream they were Japs. In fact we yelled and told them to hold their fire as we were Americans. About that time they opened up on us with a machine gun and it was hell to pay. As soon as it was dark they moved right in with us and started yelling “Banzi” ( three cheers for Japan). We didn’t dare shoot and give our position away. We didn’t hardly dare to breath. One of them was so close to me that I had to take out my lower plate so he wouldn’t hear them chatter. We had to leave that hill about ten that night and I’ll never know how we got out of there with our wounded, but we did. Meyers was sick in the hospital and I was glad he was. It was no place for a kid.
We had mail call once. I sure wanted to hear from you, but I didn’t. You better send Maggie a wire because I may not be able to write to her for a day or two.
Jan 4. Combat Zone: Clair T dropped by last night. I hadn’t seen him since the third of October. He came through the whole thing without seeing a Jap or having one fire at him. LUCKY BOY!
I went on sick call this morning. My stomach is all upset and I have dysentery. Eat K rations for 4 weeks and your stomach will go to hell. They gave me some pills and I feel better now.
In the last year I have noticed a big change in you. You used to write and say you were going to try and bake a pie or you were going to try and make cookies. Now you write and just tell me you made them. I guess my wife can bake as well as the next one.
I am going to write a little about a charge the Japs pulled on us. My foxhole was on a hill or rather a slope and in front of me it was more or less like a park with the grassy slope and coconut palms. At the bottom of the slope was a creek and beyond that the woods. It was a beautiful night with a full moon and I was dreaming of you with open eyes when a Jap walked from behind my hole and stood next to the tree right out in front. My buddy shot him and he fell about 15 feet in front of us and started to moan. Later on he crawled away and I didn’t kill him because I didn’t want to give away my position. All this happened before nine and the rest of the night was spent listening to Japs. They followed the creek bed down and all though you couldn’t see them you could hear them talking. Now and then two or three would walk right out in the open. One of them walked right to a tent on my right (we put a tent over the hole we dig) and held his rifle at port arms while he looked in. It was the last look he had in this world. We knew they were going to charge and we knew that we couldn’t stop them if they did. When at last they did charge our machine guns were on our right and the Japs would not have a chance. Just before daylight they were ready. One fellow blew a horn and they all started to scream as loud as they could and ran straight into the machine gun fire. My God, but you should have heard them scream! I will not tell you how many dead we counted the next morning, but they didn’t kill one of our men.
I hope I get a bunch of letters from you this afternoon. I am anxious to hear all about Edith’s first Christmas and about the good time you must have had in Virginia.
Jan 5. Combat Zone: I have just finished re-reading all the letters I received from you and have thrown them all away. No place to keep them around here. I was up five or six times last night with dysentery. This morning I threw up and now I feel better. Rations, constant strain on your nerves, loss of sleep etc. sure raised hell with my stomach.
There is a fellow in the troop who used to spend his summers in Bellaire. There are lots of new faces in the troop now. I am glad my face is still in it.
Don’t tell Mrs Meyers, but Gerald isn’t having very good luck with his Christmas boxes. The food is all spoiled. People shouldn’t even try to send food over here because it just can’t stand the trip. I am still waiting for your box. It would be late.