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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER January 11, 1944
Saidor, New Guinea

      Tuesday, Jan 11, 1944

    Still somewhere in New Guinea

Hello Ma:

      Well, still sticking to true form, my squadron has again moved. How far I moved, where I now am, and how we came, I am not allowed to say. [According to his letter of September 10, 1945, he was stationed at Saidor “from Jan 1944 until October 1944.” A history posted at states that “The 3rd Airdrome Squadron arrived on 9 January...” - Ed.] I am as close to the Japs as I ever cared to be. One time we had four alerts in one night. The Jap plane merely flew over and didn't drop any bombs. It only caused us to lose a lot of sleep. Yes sir, foxholes are mighty handy at times. We have a large one dug right in our tent floor. The grass here in most places is over five feet high. Grass blades measuring no less than one to two inches in width. The weather is as ever very hot, but naturally that is to be expected near the Equator. Palm trees are plentiful. Whenever we get hungry, it is merely a matter of going one or two hundred yards and picking coconuts, bananas, and pawpaws (similar to cantaloupes) [papayas - Ed.]. I ate the best pineapple that I have ever tasted the other day. We bought it from a native for three shillings. I was talking to a native today who is now in the Australian army. He was pretty well-equipped, rifle and all. Of course, his language was rather broken and he used plenty of gestures. It seems that he had been the chief of a tribe - or in his words "me number one boy." At night, we sleep with our rifles within arm's reach. I have a twelve-inch knife beneath my pillow while I sleep. Anyone wandering around camp after dark is apt to be shot. Our guards have nervous trigger fingers and they have good reasons to be because of certain incidents which I don't care to write about. All day long, no matter where we go, we carry our helmets, rifle, bullets (I have 110), knife, and canteen. There are quite a few things which I know would prove of interest to you, but they would only be censored. The first day here, I saw a black snake. I never have seen such queer insects as are here. Found a spider in my tent measuring about five inches across. Some of the boys have seen wild boars. We found some eight- and nine-foot spears in an abandoned thatched native hut. Early in the morning, many strange bird calls are heard. No lights at night are permitted. Worked in the rain this morning. We bathe in an ice-cold large mountain stream. Usually at the end of the day, your clothing is soaked by perspiration. So, the next day we put on another suit of fatigues and hang the previously worn suit up to dry. Because of the danger of tetanus in the high grass, we have to either wear leggings or jungle boots all the time. A full bright moon back in Baltimore might look good, but here it means danger. Jap pilots like to bomb on such brightly illuminated nights. You can actually read a newspaper by moonlight at times. The malaria-carrying mosquito is ever present. A few crashed Zeros lying around in the fields. We use skid chains on our vehicles whenever it rains. Mud almost comes up to the hub caps. Vehicles get stuck just as in a deep snow. As far as news is concerned, you probably know more than I do. We don't get any news except that in the form of unconfirmed rumors. I am glad in a way that we left our last base. They were starting to bring in nurses. This meant that we would have to take care in what our uniform consisted of. We were usually concerned in the completeness of our uniform rather than what it was made up of. Besides, the old base was becoming too peaceful and the everyday routine was becoming boring. Well, that's all for just now so, until a little later -


P.S. Did you receive your birthday present yet?

The 3rd Airdrome Squadron constructing a new camp in New Guinea, 1943-44.

The 3rd Airdrome Squadron constructing a new camp in New Guinea, 1943-44.

Campsite in New Guinea, 1944.

Engineers building the air strip at Saidor, New Guinea, 1944.

The first control tower on the air strip at Saidor, New Guinea, 1944.

A crashed Jap plane in New Guinea.


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.


This page established: November 11, 2018             Last updated: February 23, 2023

© 2018-2023 Earl P. Reinhalter. All Rights Reserved.