Somewhere in New Guinea
June 9, 1944
Did Yvonne have a good birthday party? [The date of this letter was Yvonne's 9th birthday. - Ed.] I hope that you bought her some presents with the money order which I sent, like I told you to do. Enclosed is another money order. Since my last letter, I have received two letters from you and also two packages. The two packages contained the three rolls of films, peanut brittle, and more soap. Don't send me any more soap, as I have plenty now. Received the Baltimore Sun copy and the two cartoons. The [John] Hutchins family has moved up near the Westway Theater somewhere. Probably near Gordon. I don't know the address. I took another ride in my airplane the other day. A certain captain of one of the boats anchored here wanted to take a look at all of the coral reefs. So, for one hour and ten minutes we flew up and down the coast at about fifty to twenty-five feet above the ocean. Every time we would see a green patch in the water, we would make a couple of turns around that coral so that the captain could have a good look. At times while banking, the wing tip was practically dragging the surf. We had our "Mae Wests" on (life preservers for pilots). Parachutes, although we had them, would have been of no value at the altitude at which we were flying. We "buzzed" some small boats. At one place, there was an old boat hulk rusting away on a reef. I guess that a tropical storm drove it up there, where it was smashed to bits by the waves. On the way back, we flew low over the mountains. The pilot must have been feeling pretty good, as he followed the contour of the mountains just above the treetops. It was up and down, just like a Racer Dip at Carlin's Park. We flew through a narrow pass. Trees, the tops of which towered above us, flashed by just beyond the wing tips. A tall tree got in our way on the way back and we had to bank and turn to miss it. At one time, we followed a small stream down on the valley floor. To the left of us was a mountain on the top of which was a small Army camp consisting of a few tents. Some of the boys waved down to us as we went by at 150 miles per hour. We caught up with a Piper Cub airplane, flew a circle around it, and continued on our way. Passed a few crashed bombers and other wrecks. After we landed, a three-inch tear in the fabric on the underside of the fuselage was noticed. I guess we flew too low and hit something. We buzzed a few native villages.
Do you remember that small boat I was making out of an airplane belly gas tank? Well, we finished it a few weeks back, and since then on our days off we take it out in the water and ride around. It goes rather fast.
I see where now that all of the men being drafted are put directly in the infantry, given seventeen weeks training, and then are sent overseas. Maybe, I am lucky? Who knows?
About going back to the States: I will have one of two choices when my time is up. I can take a furlough consisting of 21 days in the States, in addition to traveling time. The advantage of this is that there will be immediate transportation by plane, free of charge of course. The big disadvantage is that I will have to return again to New Guinea of the South West Pacific Theater of Operations immediately after the furlough. The second choice is as originally planned. That is, after my time is up, I will have to wait my turn for transportation by boat. The disadvantage of this is that I don't know how long I'll have to wait for said transportation facilities. Of course, as you probably know, there are plenty of boys with a lot more overseas time to their credit than I. Naturally, they will leave here first. Some have already gone. The big advantage is that when I do get back, I'll go into a new outfit and it is guaranteed that I will not have to go overseas again until I have been back in the States at least three months. After that period of time, if the new outfit is slated for overseas duty, I'll have to go with it. Also, in this choice, I'll have a thirty-day furlough home. As I see it now, I think that I'll take the second choice and wait my turn, even if it is a year that I will have to wait after I am eligible. What do you think about the situation?
Well, that's all for the time being. So, until next time -