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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER January 2, 1944
Lae, New Guinea

          Jan. 2, 1944

    Somewhere in New Guinea

Hello Ma:

      Since my last letter to you, I have received three of your letters. Also, a Christmas card from Kitty and one from Mrs. Roussey. In addition, I received four packages containing three pieces of fruitcake, three boxes of nuts, moccasins, and a book by Cpl. St. George. [Editor's note: The novel c/o Postmaster by Corporal Thomas R. St. George was a bestseller in 1943.] Thanks for all the things. In one of your letters, you mentioned that the Red Cross stated that there would be a four-day holiday in Australia at Thanksgiving. That is very very untrue. We had no holiday. Nor did we have a Christmas or New Year's holiday here in New Guinea. Up here, it seems that there is no time for such stuff, which is probably true. I won't get paid until January 30th. And at that time, I will receive three months' back pay. Since I have been in New Guinea, I probably haven't spent over half a pound ($1.60). That which I did spend was for canned fruit and candy which our squadron sells at its own post exchange. Got a letter from Buddy Yates' wife, Violet. It seems that Buddy couldn't find time to write. She didn't have really much to say. Dorothy Yates had a nine-pound baby boy on November 24th. She is now living in Florida, as her husband is stationed at a naval base there. Robert Kemp, Violet's brother, has been in the Navy for over a year. He enlisted when he was seventeen. Buddy Yates is still at Curtis Bay. Received a letter from a fellow in Sydney, Australia, who I met while I was on furlough. Did you get a bike for Yvonne on Christmas?

      Well, censorship regulations have let up somewhat. I am now allowed to say now that on several occasions my squadron has been bombed by the Japs. The Japs must have a very poor bombsight on their planes, judging from the results. Also, on the way across the Pacific, an enemy torpedo missed us by about 25 feet. A few days later on that same trip we sighted a destroyer. It was rather nerve wracking until it proved to be one of ours. So, our gunners on the boat didn't get a chance to show their stuff.

      I have quite a collection of Jap souvenirs now. I'll send them to you soon. I took the bullets and shells apart and removed the powder myself. Also, I fired off the percussion caps. So, they are all perfectly safe. Also, I disassembled a Jap hand grenade and removed the powder and certain parts to make it safe. Every ten days, we receive certain things free. Today, I received 1˝ cartons of cigarettes, pipe tobacco, Bull Durham tobacco, 4 packs of chewing gum, 20 rolls of Life Savers, soap, razor blades, toothpaste, shaving cream, matches, and - well, that's about all. I think that that was enough for nothing. One morning, we had two air raid alerts, but nothing happened. It caused us to lose a lot of sleep though. I haven't received my packages containing the skates, and I won't be surprised if I never get them for reasons I am not allowed to mention. I won't need them anyway where I am now, so I will not miss them much. The paper on which I now write was taken from one of our bombers which was shot up and later crashed. I got permission from my crew chief to take this pad out of the wreck. Well, that's about all for just now. I hope that you won't worry too much about what I have said, but I thought that I better tell you anyway so that you would know how things were where I am at the present. So, until sometime later -

The novel c/o Postmaster is out of print, but copies can easily be found for sale on eBay: c/o Postmaster


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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