Based on the letters of Earl Philip Reinhalter (1922-1953). Edited by his son, Earl Philip Reinhalter (1950-).

<- PREVIOUS LETTER October 16, 1943
Brisbane, Australia (Camp Columbia)

Sat. Oct. 16, 1943

Hello Ma:
      Well, things here at the school are getting rougher and tougher every day. Friday morning, we went to classes. Friday afternoon, we marched ten miles through woods, across streams, barbed wire fences, and up and down mountains. We used a map and compass in finding our way. We ate our concentrated rations for supper and I, after standing guard for about an hour, rolled up in my single blanket on the ground. There, using a doubled-up raincoat for a pillow, slept for about five hours, occasionally waking up half frozen. I hung my canteen on a cactus bush. After eating our concentrated breakfast rations, we again put our packs back on, slung our rifles on our backs, and at 6:15 A.M. began our march back. We saw one red fox and a dead horse. We passed several ant hills which were about four feet high. Some ants measured from ¾ to one inch in length. One stung me on the hand and it felt just like a bee sting. Several of the boys dropped out and were later picked up by truck and carried back to camp. We did plenty of sweating. I ate two salt tablets to replace that lost through sweat. We got back just about in time to eat lunch. So, we had to rush like heck to get cleaned up to eat. After eating, we marched to our afternoon classes. Boy, we were plenty tired and sleepy. This coming week, we have two examinations. If I can get enough time in which to study, I know that I can pass them. More hikes are scheduled for next week, too. Some days, our classes run from 8:00 A.M. until 10:30 P.M., with some time out for eating and studying. They have a rule here that belt ends shall not extend past the belt buckle by more than one inch. I have had to cut my belt twice in the past two weeks. I guess that I have lost about 10 pounds so far since I have been here.

      Well, here I sit writing this letter by candlelight. All electrical lights have to be out by 9:00 P.M. The mosquitoes are rather bad right now. In fact, right now, I have a G.I. mosquito head net on so that I can concentrate on this letter better. Between my eyes and this sheet of paper, mosquitoes are flying back and forth. Their shadows sometimes move across this paper when they get close to my candle.

      Enclosed are some newspaper clippings and a photograph from New Guinea.

      I hope that you are again O.K. by now. How does Yvonne like school? Say hello to everybody for me. And, if I don't get through this school satisfactorily, don't be surprised. Incidentally, most of my classmates have been in the Army over three years or have been through a couple of colleges. Most of these boys have been overseas longer than I have been in the Army. They cannot understand how I got in, being so young and then, too, being only a private to start with. One fellow has been in the Army 23 years. Oh well, I probably have just as good a chance as they do of getting through O.K. The majority have seen action and some of their stories and souvenirs are interesting. So, far, for being overseas, I have had it rather easy. The squadron that I used to be in is now up north. Well, that's just about all for now. So, until next time -


The Kindle book includes the letters; all 23 issues of the unit’s wartime newsletter “The Squadron Pulse,” which was originally edited by Leonard Stringfield; all 12 issues of the “Pennant Parade” newsletter that Stringfield published while sailing home after the war; complete text of the U.S. government booklet “Pocket Guide to Australia,” which soldiers heading Down Under were given to read; more than 200 photos; pre-war and postwar family history; and over 700 explanatory endnotes.


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