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

<- PREVIOUS LETTER March 26, 1945
Tanauan, Leyte, Philippines


March 26, 1945

Hello Ma:

      Received your letter of March 11th containing Yvonne's drawing and the news items concerning the Martin Mars. Pretty good about Fred [Roussey] getting back to the States again so quickly. You asked me just what kind of decorations that I am allowed to wear. Well, this is it - so far:


      On my right sleeve will be the three stripes denoting my rank, sargeant. On the cuff will be a blue triangle with a small gold airplane engine on it - made of cloth.

      On my left sleeve will be my Fifth Air Force insignia, my three sargeant stripes, a gold stripe for each six months of overseas service, three so far.

      On my left breast will be a Good Conduct ribbon. Beside it on the same line will be a South West Pacific Campaign ribbon with two bronze stars on it - one for the New Guinea campaign and the other for the Philippine invasion. [By the end of the war, there were two additional bronze stars on this ribbon. - Ed.] Beside that on the same line will be a ribbon issued by the Philippine government with a bronze star on it. This bronze star is for actual contact with the enemy (we had a battle). Also, I will have a Sharpshooters medal. Also, a medal made up of an engine with two wreaths around it.

      After I have three years of Army service, I'll have another stripe for the cuff of my left sleeve. I guess that we will look like a cross between a zebra and a Christmas tree. Oh well, it'll probably be worth a few free beers.

[Editor’s note: One mystery, throughout all of these letters, is why he never mentioned his Purple Heart. This is a medal that is awarded to soldiers who have been wounded in combat. As a child, I remember the family talking about this medal, and one time his mother (my grandmother) showed it to me. They said that a bullet grazed his temple. The omission was possibly because Army censors barred discussion of military details in letters. Also, he did not want the family to worry about him. His sister Yvonne (my aunt) says that he did not tell his mother about it until long after he got home from the war. As for the incident itself, several of the later letters allow that there had been an attack by enemy paratroopers in early December 1944. Nearly five months later, the squadron newsletter was permitted to publish an account of the battle. See the article "PARATROOPERS!" in the April 28, 1945 issue. For more about the military movements during this battle, see the Jap Paratrooper Attack page. Unfortunately, the medal is no longer in the family. According to Yvonne, one of his nephew's in-laws sold it, to be melted down for the gold content, to get money for drugs. He later died of an overdose.]

      Enclosed are some pictures - numbered on the back.

      Pictures #1, #2, #3, & #4 are of me.

      Pictures #5, #6, & #7 show scenes of our camp area after it had rained for four days. Notice the boys rowing on top of two empty airplane gas tanks. At lunchtime that day, I and another boy rowed from my tent down to the mess hall on a raft. We didn't want to get our feet wet. At the right side of picture #7 is the mess hall.

      Picture #8 was taken inside of the Filipino church.

      The remaining pictures are just various shots of people and places.

            All for now -


      Total pictures - 22

After returning home from the war in November 1945, he posed for this photo with
his father. You can see that he is actually wearing his Purple Heart medal.

The jacket as it appears today.

  Purple Heart
  Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
  Philippine Liberation Medal [?]
  World War II Victory Medal
  American Campaign Medal
  Good Conduct Medal

Flooded camp area in Leyte, Philippines after it had rained for four days.

Flood scene in Leyte, Philippines, after four days of rain. Notice the guys rowing on top of two empty airplane gas tanks.

Another view of the flood scene in Leyte, Philippines, after four days of rain, and the guys rowing on top of two empty airplane gas tanks. The building on the right is the mess hall.


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

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