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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER January 17, 1944
Saidor, New Guinea

    Still somewhere in New Guinea

            Jan. 17, 1943 [He means 1944. - Ed.] - I think

Hello Ma:

      Things are still the same up here, raining on the average of at least once every 24 hours. Yesterday, mail came in for the first time to my squadron since we have been here. I received a Christmas card from Yvonne, a letter from you, a wallet with my initials and serial number on it, and a large box of candy from Mrs. Roussey. It's too bad that you had to work on Christmas. No, I haven't seen nor heard anything about Chauncy Ashley, nor do I expect to where I am. One day here, I saw two airplane crashes. One had gotten a wing damaged while strafing the Japs and managed to get back to our base before crashing. We lost a lot of sleep one night, we had six air raid alerts. The Japs tried to pull a trick on us the other night. One of their bombers circled real low over our base with his landing lights on. The idea was to lead us to believe that it was an American plane trying to land. But our radar equipment picked it up as being Japanese. They got quite a hot reception. The large guns shook the ground. The Jap pilot had plenty of nerve, all right, and he left rather hurriedly. The other morning a Jap Zero went tearing along the tops of the adjacent mountains at better than 400 miles per hour. Boy, you should have seen all of our shells bursting in the air all around it. It went down behind the mountains, but I think it got away. Saw my first real dogfight one afternoon. Some eight to twelve airplanes were involved. When it was over, only four airplanes were left and they were ours. One Jap plane exploded in mid-air and pieces fell into the Pacific, as did most of the airplanes. Yes sir, quite a spectacle to see.

      A new law has just been passed by Congress which states that after eighteen months of overseas service, Army personnel will be sent back to the States. Furthermore, at least six months of the required eighteen must be in combat. So, at the rate my squadron is going, most of our time will be spent in combat. If everything goes all right, I may be home by next Christmas, unless they change the law or something of that nature. I was listening to some Japanese propaganda on our radio today. Boy, what a line of stuff they shoot. Some of it is rather comical, to say the least. Some of the infantry boys walked back from the front lines today and were talking to us. The stories they told were quite interesting. Yesterday, I walked down to the Pacific Ocean and went fishing. We didn't catch any, although some of the other boys did. We had the wrong bait or something. The waves were about twice as big as those I saw on the South Carolina coast when I was there. We got a lot of sleep last night, having had only one air raid alert. Well, that's about all for just now. I have to write Mrs. Roussey a thank-you letter for the candy I received. So, until a little later -


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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