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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER April 29, 1944
Saidor, New Guinea

April 29, 1944

Somewhere in New Guinea

Hello Ma:

      Since my last letter to you, I have received two letters from you containing the map and clipping of the New Guinea conquest. Also, the copy of the Baltimore Sun and Yvonne's excellent spelling paper. Yes, I was back to my squadron on Christmas and did have turkey and I did receive a Red Cross package containing toilet articles and a few other things. One of your letters was written on my birthday. Yes, maybe I'll be home for my next birthday if I am lucky enough. You see, all of the boys who have become sickly (probably from contracting malaria or some other such disease) during their overseas service will have first priority on returning to the States, naturally. I wish that you would send me some regular postage stamps. I have about eight Yank magazines to send you which I have managed to save over a period of time. I am glad that you have received the snapshots. I guess that Joe Fiddis [previously mentioned as missing in action - Ed.] has had some pretty good experiences that he can tell when he gets back. It must have taken Yvonne a long time to save up the money to buy the Easter flower for you. So! Steve has finally gotten overseas and is no longer a "U.S.O. commando." ("U.S.O. commando," that is the phrase which we overseas boys have coined when we speak of those G.I.'s who are still back in the States living in luxury and who are enjoying the credit given to them by the general innocent public for that which we do over here. I guess that the public, in all good intentions, probably at one time or another reads or hears about us and maybe begins to feel sorry or something of the sort. Then they, feeling noble like, repay us for our hardships by throwing free parties and granting all kind of privileges to those undeserving civilians in uniforms, who of course eat it up, ignorantly believing that they in all right deserve it. Yes sir, they live on the fat of the land and are highly honored by the unrealizing public. There will be plenty of "hot" arguments and fights among us and the "U.S.O. commandos" when we get back. Just you wait and see.)

      And another thing, when I get back, I don't think that I will ever make any more donations to the Red Cross organization. The Red Cross is only a rumor to us who are up front where the bombs fall and bullets fly. The Salvation Army is the best organization and I do not stand alone among the G.I.'s in that opinion. No, sir. [Editor’s note: As a child, I remember my mother refusing to give me money for a donation to my elementary school’s Red Cross fundraising drive, as a result of what my father had told her about the organization. My teacher, who wanted 100% participation so that our classroom would get a nice emblem for the door, donated on my behalf.]

      Well, at the present, I am in the mess hall. At one end, a ping-pong tournament is in progress (I am not participating in it - too strenuous exercise - especially after a hard day of reading a deep book - Superman or Buck Rogers by title) and at the other, a card game and an argument are going on. No, the card game and argument are indulged in by two distinct groups of Coca-Cola-drunk boys. I believe that the little debate concerns the interesting subject of who can write the best "line" to innocent believing females. What hidden talents some of these boys possess. Such tactics some of these mustache wearing guys use, gee! Yes, the replies are even more amazing. I still can't, for the life of me, understand how the girls can really believe some of the "stuff" that goes into these little dynamic letters. Some of the subject matter is really very illogical. (Like for instance, bailing out over the jungle, walking back fifty miles to the home base, and probably shooting ten or twenty Japs on the way - just to pass the time away.) Proposals of marriage by return mail is considered the "tops" in letter writing achievement. How silly some girls are. What a wonderful display of totally lacking common sense on their part. Oh well, it helps make our life a little more interesting. Some fun, eh what? Ain't we terrible toying with their affections like that? Heck, it's more or less a little game of ours. So, what? Cannot we have our little fun if we want to?

      Well now, getting back to the mess hall of which I was writing before I began to shoot off on a tangent to another slightly related matter; I told you what was going on at each end. Well, in the approximate center sit I with a pencil in one hand and a dead mosquito in the other and a head full of imagination some of which appears before your very eyes in writing (or in print - whatever you wish to term it - scribbling if you like - it's all the same to me - it matters not - as I see it - I think that you'll agree). Close beside me (to obtain the correct atmosphere) is a stale cup of coffee (I think that the bottom has been eaten out by the potent solution called G.I. coffee) and a spilt can of jam. Soon the table will be clean again as if by magic - hungry flies, you know. Some distance away, too close for clear thinking and too far to become clearly audible, is an antiquated contraption called a Victrola. Edison himself must have had a hand in its construction. As the disc eccentrically unwinds (spring powered; ah yes, modern design) a conglomeration of static and a tune called "The Strip Polka" [a hit for the Andrews Sisters in 1942 - Ed.] is emitted. Any similarity to music is purely a coincidence and one must be the possessor of a strong sense of imagination in order to construe it as being such. It would sound better under water - frozen water.

      Well, I guess you would like to know just how I pass my leisure time (all of my time practically) away during the day. Well, at the present, I am engaged in the design and construction of a motorboat. It's for my personal use, incidentally. I found an old one-cylinder two-cycle gas engine which had been thrown out as being junk. The carburetor is missing, so I am making one. The engine may run. I hope so anyway. I have done a lot of work on it, including welding and machinist work. The hull is all metal, it being made up of a discarded external fuselage airplane gas tank. It's naturally a streamlined affair and holds two people. If I can manage to get the damaged engine into running condition, I'll have a lot of fun. They have been made before, so you see that it's practical and is not entirely a radical design of my own "brainstorm." One such boat at a nearby base has a top speed of twenty miles per hour. Not bad - for on water. Don't worry, I have a life preserver at my disposal for safety's sake. I hope that it's

[Editor's note: Page 7 and part of page 8 were removed by the military censor. The censor wrote in the margin of the lower part of page 8: "Page 7 - out & page 8. Reader: Please inform correspondent to refrain from discussing planes - Censor. ADF"]

______ scene. Well, there are even a few more similarly exciting happenings which I could narrate, but the censor would not like it. So, I'll refrain from doing so until such time when it will be possible to discuss it verbally and not as a written procedure as now.

I got a letter from Kitty and a picture of Yvonne on a seesaw. [This photo of Yvonne is missing. - Ed.] So, far, I have not been able to compose a suitable answer. (There must be some way to express what I have in mind without using obscene language.) All kidding aside, I may have to resort to the use of my imaginative powers as I have done at various times in the past, in order to formulate an answer which at the same time does not contain similar subject matter as that of which has in the past and that of which now appears in your letter. So, in the meantime, I'll keep thinking and racking my brain for an answer. [His next letter explains further what he is talking about. - Ed.] So, until next time -


P.S. No birthday presents as yet.


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.

[Page 7 and part of page 8 were removed by the military censor.]

Remainder of page 8:


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