Notes for diary
This is the day of the big departure, but slept to the usual time about 7:00A.M. Then we got our bags packed, turned in the keys and departed for the Pier 3 about 10:00 A.M. Waited in line for our cabin assignments and then up the gang plank to the B deck of the U.S.A.T., U.S. Grant, the first time I had ever been on board an ocean going ship. Quite a thrill. Mac and Horton and I were together. Certainly did miss Florence-but not nearly as much as when the boat pulled out and the band played "Aloha Oe" - It was tough leaving then, but all in all there was much festivity and a lot of fun.
Due to a new installation of a gyroscope-the steering device similar to a compass-the ship cruised in the bay, and we did not cross the Golden Gate until nearly 6:00 P.M.
Like all novices, I was am worried about sea sickness. Of course, the cruise in the bay was nice, but after we got to the open sea, the ship started going up and down, and so did my stomach, but in a mild way. Both lunch and dinner were enjoyable, and I explored the ship with much gusto.
Our cabin is on B deck, and I have four room mates, all First Lt.. Quite crowded but all seem to be quite congenial. This really second cabin, although of course we are 1st class passengers with all the privileges. Description of the ship should wait, however, until later when I know it better.
Slept O.K. although rather lightly.
This day is definitely characterized by sea sickness-although I guess my case is not to bad. Slept O.K. although with a sinking sensation from time to time. During the night we had what the ship’s log called a moderate sea, but it was quite immoderate as far as I was concerned. The ship really rolled. I shaved and washed O.K. and got to breakfast, but with misgivings. However, I managed to eat a light breakfast with nothing happening and also the noon meal.
For the most part the day was spent in promenading the A deck and sitting in a deck chair. The weather is quite chilly and the sea and sky is a slate grey. My Class A is hardly warm enough, but I am borrowing overcoats and wearing my rain coat for warmth, a prohibited practice but quite satisfactory.
The evening meal was not an unqualified success. Midway, the boat took a couple extra large swells and my stomach sank. The food didn’t and I beat a hasty retreat to the lee rail on the B deck. I just did make it and fed the fishes. However, my retreat was in good order and after marshalling my attack forces, namely, gargling, I counter attacked and ate the balance. What’s more I retained although I will admit that several of us squeamish ones remained up on deck under coats and blankets until lied 10:00 P.M. So to bed.
Today marks the recession of sea sickness-permanently I hope. Slept fine and in the morning enjoyed--I mean enjoyed-- breakfast albeit, I was not quite to par. Spent the morning talking, lounging and promenading on the "A" or promenade deck.
Most of Ate a big steak for dinner.
The afternoon was spent with my room mates in the prohibited practice of poker. Won $2.50. In the evening ate a meal including a oyster cocktail, tom turkey, olives, radishes, celery, corn on the cob, vegetables, potatoes, artichokes, ice cream, cream puffs, mints, bananas, apples, fruit --a definite indication that sea sickness is leaving-at least for awhile. They certainly feed well on the transport and I am thankful that I am again able to enjoy it. In the evening, went aft and saw a fair movie-sound and all. Wrapped up in a blanket and drew comments of looking like little Red Riding Hood. Kabitzed a chess game in the lounge and then to bed where I thought I’d write a bit in this journal and then start a letter to Florence. I certainly miss that girl-we could have such a good time together. Outside of being a good person to wife and a nice sort of person to love-she is darned good company.
We’re running pretty much into routine now, the third day out. Nothing much unusual-unless you can rel call a recovery from sea sickness unusual. At least the recovery lasted through the day. Played horse shoes with rubber shoes on deck during the morning, but with little success, the roll of the ship, the wind, etc., defeating accuracy. Also finally got at my correspondence and got one 2 hr lesson out of the way. Played poker most of the afternoon with no success, losing my winnings of yesterday. Saw a poor show in the evening. Then alo to my bunk to write a little on my continued story letter to Florence & possibly do a little correspondence.
1-28-41 Tuesday. 345 mi 1280 from 800 to
Again the day is pretty much routine and we keep on plugging toward Honolulu. The monotony is a little wearing, but fortunately my cabin mates are a congenial bunch, and we have considerable fun. Just before dinner, I broke out my ½ pint, and Bovee brought out some very good vermouth. Eventually, we had scotch, bourbon, brandy, rum and wine, so you can see we very definitely are over the sea sickness. Everyone felt quite exhilarated, but not excessively. Played poker both in the afternoon and in the evening. Won a few dollars. Skipped writing to Florence in the evening due to the mixture, but I can’t skip missing her. Oh yes, I almost forgot mentioning that we met & drank with the 2nd officer of the ship.
Again routine--no headache-- with the exception that Mr. Blair 2nd officer & chief navigator showed us over the bridge and explained in detail the various mechanisms and how the boat is run. We were very fortunate in this, inasmuch as passengers are not, of course, allowed on the bridge, and I don’t believe many will have this opportunity. The gyro compass was particularly interesting. Played poker in afternoon.
All were anticipating Honolulu this day even though we were scheduled to remain only one night and ½ a day. We were scheduled to reach port about 6 or 7 P.M. Everything went smoothly and according to routine until about 2 P.M. I was sitting on my bunk writing to Florence, when all of a sudden all hell popped. It sounded like the bottom of the boat was being pounded to pieces.
After a few seconds this stopped and the boat continued at about ½ speed. Investigation disclosed that a wrist pin had broken in the last cylinder of the starboard engine and tha the cylinder head had broken. No one injured. We continued to port on one screw. Rumors were rife to the effect that it would take two weeks to fix the engine at Pearl harbor; that we might be transferred to another ship; that we might stay for two weeks in Honolulu. Nobody knows.
About 4 P.M. we sighted the island of Hawaii and pass through the strait. It was dusk before we saw the Makapue Point & Light, and we coasted skirted the coast we could see the lights of Honolulu, a lovely sight. We picked up a pilot and with the aid of 2 tugs, finally docked with our port side to the pier 7. The band was out and many of the Army personnel with the traditional leis for their friends. Kind of lonesome for the majority of us though, but we were certainly glad to put foot on terra firms. As soon as the boat docked several of us headed for town which is only a few blocks away. We roamed the town, had a drink or two and then returned to the boat.
My most vivid impression coming into Hawaii strangely enough, was one of almost physical pain at the thought that Florence and I could not share the beauty before us. The lights were twinkling on shore, a veritable fairyland of glamour, the adventure land we dream of and the most of us never reach and the girl I love was not with me. You take your However, we’re in the army and we might as well make the best of it.
In the morning Jensen and I went down town to do a little shopping, especially for white shoes and a remembrance for our wives. We looked in 3 different places for shoes, before we could get proper fit. Got Florence a 3 strand necklace of tiny shells called " " and mailed it.
Went back to the boat for lunch and again found rumors flying about. We would It was rumored that we would be in Honolulu from 1 more day to 3 weeks. Decided to go swimming in the afternoon, but when we started for the gang plank found that we would not leave the ship, C.O.’s orders. Silently Did some little worrying whether I would catch duty with the troops, which were to be disembarked and quartered at casual barracks. Finally, the loud speaker system boomed out the names of about 9 Lts, but I was not among them. These poor devils had to stay with the troops for the most part. Also learned pretty definitely that they were going to by pass the broken cylinder and we would go into Manila at a cruising speed of about 12 knots, taking about two extra days on the voyage. To effect the necessary arrangements, it will take to Monday or Tuesday Noon- This break down certainly is a break for us--the vacation in Hawaii that the hoi poloi pay big money for-and we’re getting it free- even being paid for it.
Finally got off the boat and went to Waikiki- the famous Waikiki beach. Swam almost in front of the famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel. On one of th It was my first time in the ocean, and I certainly enjoyed my self. It is hard to imagine swimming in the ocean in January. I’m going to repeat this, if I get the opportunity.
In the evening, hit a number of the night spots, including the vera, vera swank bar of the Royal Hawaiian. Drank more than I should, including, beer, gin and whiskey, but with no ill results. So to bed.
We really saw the Island of Oahu today. Six of us rented a car and driver for the sum of $15.00 or $2.50 a piece for the entire day. First, we went on the road through the country up to the Nuuanu Pali, a sheer precipice 1200 feet above the sea above looking out on one of the world’s finest panoramas. Then we skirted the Kailua Beach to crossing over Mokapui Point to the "Coral Gardens". Here we took a cruise in a glass bottom boat over the coral. It was extremely interesting to tee the fishes play through the odd coral formations. Also, saw an oyster bed. It was It was interesting to see them close their shells on the approach of a boat. Then skirted the coast, viewing the ocean and the hills, a lovely sight, till we reached Laie, the location of a beautiful Mormon Temple, the beauty of which is enhanced by the stately palms and other flora which surrounds it. We then skirted the coast to Waianae Beach, where we ate lunch in a cafe overlooking the beach. Then to Scofield Bks, a truly impressive sight. The Fort is immense and there is much evidence of new building. Since we were officers, the sentry passed us with a salute, much to the delight of our Hawaiian driver, who was quite pleased to be so royally welcomed to what is forbidden territory to him. Then continued our journey toward Pearl Harbor, stopping at a sugar mill enroute. However it was closed so we did not get to go through. Particularly noticed the immense irrigated fields of sugar cane and of pineapples. Our driver indicated that it took 1½ years for these crops to mature. In the sugar fields they have little narrow gauge tracks and the minature engines and cars were amusing to one accustomed to the standard variety.
The fleet was in the harbor and is certainly an impressive sight. This was the day the new Cincus takes over took over, and everything was spick and span. We could not go in the harbor but from the road could see the big old battle wagons, the cruisers, and the slick destroyers huddled in covey next to their mother ship. We may be wanting needing that navy around the place we’re going to and it certainly was reassuring to view the Pacific fleet in all its might.
We then skirted the coast crossed Honolulu and over to Diamond Head along the coast including Waikiki, Beautiful hotels and residences. It was getting pretty late so we returned to the boat and dinner.
In the evening we we Horton, Jensen & myself I went to the South Seas Club, a very nice nite club. Found they had a $1.50 minimum charge and so drank and ate till we made it. The floor show was very brief consisting of 3 authentic hula dancers. The "hula" properly done, is in no way a sensual dance and I enjoyed was quite interested. So to bed. They had a very good dance orchestra and I surely missed my dancing partner. So to bed.
Sunday morning I spent in writing. Mailed sixteen post cards and brought this journal up to date. In the afternoon, we again went swimming at Waikiki. I certainly do like this Hawaii. Decided to remain home in the evening and wrote a letter to my wife.
In the morning went down town with Horton and Jensen to do a little shopping with Looked at a number of " " bags or purses but couldn’t find any I really liked.
In the afternoon bummed a ride in an official car with O’Toole, who is in command of a detachment from the ship stationed at Fort Durussey, a coast artillery post. Bought a string of coral for a valentine present for Florence. Examined the big 14 in. rifles, and the six inch guns together with the auxiliaries pertaining to the battery. Then went swimming, as the Fort is right on Waikiki beach, although a somewhat rocky part. Showered in the officer’s shower and again rode back in the official car.
In the evening, at mess, got into an argument with Mead as to the efficacy of the Japanese fleet, he maintaining due to the inherent deficiency in eye sight, the Japanese were grossly inferior in marksmanship. I argued that this was not necessarily true of naval firing inasmuch as this is governed by instrument. Finally, Mead, who happens to be senior to me although a first Lt., knocked my ears down with the unequivocal statement that I thought that I knew more than anyone else at the table, that I was always right. Fortunately, I retained my self-control and didn’t blow up.
While this criticism was hard to take and is in part unjustified, it has opened my eyes to a very decided fault probably engendered by my civil occupation as an attorney. My natural tendency is to take the opposition to any statement or argument(as an attorney my bread and butter depended on this) and then maintain my stand will all the force of which I am capable. Naturally, this can be, and evidently is, misunderstood as and I am convicted of being an egotist, who thinks he knows everything. I think I can say with all sincerity that excessive egotism does not happen to be one of my faults, although Lord knows they are legion. I shall have to watch this. Mead has undoubtedly done me a big favor, although it was not intended as such. Hereafter, I shall have to remember that I’m no longer in the law courts, that my casual conversation is no longer with lawyers and the like who love an argument for its own sake. I’m in the army now. Despite my rationalilzation--witness the above--it’s still a kind of bitter pill to take, but maybe it’s what I needed, old Emerson’s "law of compensation".
This is sailing day. In the morning finished up some post cards and did a little shopping finally buying Florence a coral necklace for a Valentine present.
Pulled away from the pier promptly at 12:15 with the band playing "Aloha Oe" and leis very much in evidence. In best tradition these were thrown overboard in compliance with the old tradition that if they float to sure you will return. While we were skirting the island, several army pursuits and bomber planes played their compliments by sweeping down near the ship and two navy planes waggled their wings at us. Also saw an airplane carrier escorted by two sleek little destroyers. Had boat drill and they the ship crew rescued a life buoy. Nothing much done in the evening.
Again pretty much a day of routine. Just fooled around in the morning. In the afternoon played a little cribbage and horse shoes, but did manage to get a correspondence course lesson completed. In the evening had quite a bull session, and later played a little black jack.
Incidentally, feel much better about the blow off recorded in Monday’s little epistle. I think I learned something and there seems to be little hard feeling.
Again routine. Did much of nothing in the morning and took a little nap to make up for time lost yesterday. In the afternoon viewed a showing of Chinese rugs that are sold on ship board. They were 9xl2 and were actually an inch thick. Different than most Chinese rugs they were in solid colors of blue, buff etc. They were priced at $165.00, and were probably worth in the States about 2 to 3 times that much. I almost succumbed & think I might have if Florence had been along. However, I might have to pay passage for Florence and no rug is worth a possible delay in seeing my wife again. Played poker on even Steven basis in the afternoon. Saw a Charley Chan movie in the evening.
Again routine. Worked a correspondence lesson in the morning and poker in the eve afternoon. Bull session in the evening and worked a bit on my correspondence courses. Watched the weekly dance for awhile. The master’s report even admits that the sea has been "rough" for the past couple of days. Although we are on B deck, we shipped a wave through the port hole last night and it is reputed that the boat took a 41° roll. Rather wish the sea would calm down a bit, just for a change, if nothing else.
This is the day that just "ain’t". We pass the 180 meridian and consequently jump from Friday to Sunday. Kin Neptunus Rex is due to come aboard and cleanse the slime and filth from us "polly wogs" (those who have not crossed the date line before) and thus transform us into honorable "shell backs". I imagine the transformation will be somewhat painful.
Again routine. We are expecting the visit of Neptunus Rex in the morning, and his cohorts, the shell backs, are starting to make their demands. Went to church in the morning, took a short sun bath and played cards in the afternoon. Wrote to Florence in the evening and worked at bit on my correspondence courses.
This was the day of Neptune’s Imperial Court. As I expect I might, I received a summons for the court about 9:00. Promptly at 10:00 P.M. the parade of the Court began--Neptunus Rex, his consort, the Scribe, the Barber, the Surgeon, the Undertaker, the Dentist, the Sheriff and the chubby, cuddly Royal Baby and all the Royal Guard of Pirates, truly vicious looking pirates bedecked in grease paint.
We poor Pollywogs were kept in an antechamber while the Court sat on the well deck. I was the last to undergo the ordeal; however, I sneaked away and saw several tried by the court. First charges were read after the blind folded prisoner was brought before the King & Queen by the Sheriff. After the prouncement of "Guilty" the poor victim whe must kiss the Royal Baby (his fat tummy) then he went to the barber’s chair, there to receive an electric shock, and a shave by a giant wooden razor. Next he proceeded to the Royal Surgeon, if masculine, to be operated on by a piece of ice on the tummy, although the while, of course, under the escort of six husky pirates. Then to the Royal Dentist to receive a syringe of quinine and sulphur, very detrimental to ones well being if swallowed. After that a plunge, 4 or 5 times repeated, into the tank of sea water cleansed the slime from the polly wog and nothing remained but to place him in the Royal coffin. As the last on the program, I got a few extras. The royal surgeon instead of giving me one piece of ice, merely dumped the whole dish pan of ice water over me. After my ducking, a couple other pollywogs and myself turned the tables a bit and ducked a pirate or two at the expense of being again ducked ourselves. I am now entitled to called "Sir Shellback".
The rest of the day. is routine. Surely wish Florence could have been in on the fun.
Nothing new-just routine. Getting a little tan from my visits to the sun deck.
Again nothing but routine. However, the Colonel, I guess, has finally found that I am on board, and I pull an O.D. tomorrow. Shined up my uniform.
Pulled Officer of the Day and consequently got only about 3 hours of sleep. Somewhat lonesome, but also interesting, if that makes sense. There are 14 posts on board the ship, which I inspected 3 or 4 times, including the mid-nite to dawn inspection, and I expect it is as unusual a guard as I probably will ever have. Nothing special happened and I got thru in good shape.
This would have been routine, but for a poker game. I had every intention of going to bed during the quiet hours, but ended up in a table stakes, no limit poker game in the lounge. Made $41.00, which is entirely too large a game for Lieutenants to be playing. Tomorrow, Guam.
Spent the morning in completing my letter to Florence & the folks.
At 12:30 P.M. we tied to the boye in the harbor at Guam, quite an interesting operation. There are no docks so it is necessary to anchor some distance off shore to these buoyes. Guam is, of course, mainly a naval base, and very few ships mostly freighters other than army and navy transports and navy vessels touch its shores. The navy furnished launches to bring our ship’s personnel ashore. We all went, of course, including the troops. The ride in the navy launch was interesting, as was the ceremony of the various officials boarding from the Governor’s barge, a slick little cruiser. The navy officers had invited us to a dance at the officer’s club and a buffet supper dance in the evening. Consequently, we headed directly for the club located on a hill overlooking Agana, the principal town which is about six miles from the harbor.
Very definitely, Guam is in the tropics and I can realize now that I’m in the story book tropics hotlands. Tropic vegation, caribous yoked to wooden wheeled carts, thatched native shacks, and everything nothing commercialized. The rain starts from a clear sky, and yet they call this the dry season. We walked through the towns and I wasn’t certain whether we were seeing the town or whether we were on exhibition. All the natives were in the windows of observing the foreigners. The town was quite interesting although it could be covered in short order. Very few buildings have glass in windows except the official bldgs. including the not too imposing Governor’s Mansion.
At the Officer’s Club we made the very delightful discovery that Scotch & Sodas were 15¢ and that you could buy a bottle of White Horse at $2.00 rather than the $4.00 to $4.50 we pay in the States. Consequently, we consumed a number of scotch and sodas and brought a bottle aboard. However, we were much behind some of the boys, and a number of the troops got in fracas. We returned rather early and watched the launches bringing back the troops, crew and officers. Lacking facility with pen, I can’t describe the almost exotic atmosphere of the visit to Guam. This whole air of adventure was furthered by our sailing at 11:00 P.M. at high tide in the light of a brilliant moon. Several small boats including the pilot boat attended us and we twisted out of the channel without incident. A very interesting day marred only by the absence of Florence.
Again we are in the routine and nothing special deserves comment. I don’t believe I have mentioned the flying fishes that we run through almost every hour. They glisten like glass and sail fly for many yards just skimming the top of the water. I had always thought that they glided, but they very definitely flap fins or wings to sustain themselves.
Again ship’s routine. However, I would not fairly reflect our feelings if I did not mention the air of unrest and uncertainty that is prevalent regarding the passage of our wifes. There is a definite rumor fostered by the State Department’s order or rather suggestion that the Orient be evacuated that we will not be able to bring our wifes. There is no question but what there is decided unrest in the Orient. We may not have a peace time assignment in our tour of the Philippines. I don’t give a damn about the war, but I do want my wife.
Again routine with the exception of the costume ball. I did not go myself, but did enjoy the costumes some of which were very clever. There were the usual assortment of hula dancers, both male and female, Chinese, Japanese, Hitler, explorers, little girls and big girls. Personally, I prefer the hula dancers! Oh yes, forgot to mention that I have learned via radio I will be stationed at Fort McKinley, which is probably one of the best Infantry assignments.
Just routine. Still worrying about our wifes. Expect to dock, about 10:00 or 11:00 A.M. tomorrow and started packing.
Today is the day. The morning was spent in finishing packing and wishing the boat would get to dock. We were in the islands, of course, and all morning and the previous night and passed Corregidor early in the morning. About 10:00 9:30 P.M. we anchored just outside the breakwater but could not get permission to dock until 11:00 P.M. The immigration and port authorities, including the mail boat arrived and we went through their rigamarole. No mail--did my heart sink. However, I remembered that my mail would probably come aboard with the boarding party from the army. Finally, about 10:00 10:15 P.M., the boarding party came aboard including a Captain from Ft. McKinley, who gave us the necessary info to expedite customs inspection and baggage disposal. At 11:00 P.M. we docked and shortly thereafter Capt. Dunmeyer from the Fort boarded and took Jensen, McMaster and my self in tow. This is an old army Philippine custom and a nice one. We were first taken to the Army & Navy Club in Manila for drinks, then to the Post for lunch at the Officer’s Mess. Captain Dunmeyer was celebrating with his wife, his first wedding anniversary, but nevertheless, was quite gracious as our host.
We completed the necessary official routine and then started in on uniforms. They are very reasonable, but even so amount to quite a sum. One must have a number of tailor made like field uniforms, white uniform, white mess jacket, civilian tux and a number of light civilian suits. A suit runs about 16 to 29 pesos or 8 to 11 dollars. It is cheaper to have the Philippine and Chinese tailors make them, than to buy them ready made. Necessary gold shoulder knots and the other insignia run more than a uniform. This occupied most of the afternoon and in the evening we sat around and talked--and griped.
So much for the actual occurrences. Now for my impressions. Today has been one of the tough days in my life. When I got off the U. S. Grant, I realized that I may not see my wife for two years. Many others were thinking the same thing and the gaiety was somewhat forced. I had received a letter from my wife, a brave letter, anticipating our reunion with a tear between each line. I don’t cry, but I had a lump in my throat, actually and literally. In the evening my throat was so sore that I could hardly swallow, although I do not believe it was from any physical cause.
The Fort was very disappointing after having lived at Ft. Leavenworth. Then to top it off, we are quartered in 117-7B, the hostess house. We have an inside room, no windows, other than to a hall. Jensen and I slept there. We have 2 beds and 2 chairs; that is all. Quarters are in every way inadequate. They were sufficient only for the peace strength and we have now three times that many on duty. If our wifes could come, I don’t know where we could go.
However, none of this would matter, if only Florence were here. I deserve a kick for every one of the 11.000 odd miles I am away from her. But I’m in the army, and Florence follows me. We’ll just have to take the bitter with the sweet and grin and bear it. It’s tough though. Thank God I have a wife that loves me enough to take this jolt.
There are harder things. Florence’s letter brought me the news that Anton Frolich had died of a blood clot on the brain caused by a fall from a horse that occurred last November when he and I & several others officers were riding together. His wife will go crazy nearly go crazy--Anton and her little boy was everything to her.
Damn it, it’s hard to take, but I’ll do it. It isn’t fair to Florence, though, and that hurts. But she is a thoroughbred and if worse comes to worse she can take it too.
Friday Thursday 2-21-41
This is still Blue Monday despite the calendar.
At 10:30 A.M. all the new officers of the 45th Inf. assembled to hear the Colonel give us his welcome. We learned definitely that we are on the front lines.
No longer do we work only in the mornings. No The regiment is being expanded to three times its sizes and an attempt is being made to have these new recruits ready for battle by April. This assignment instead of being the idyllic rest cure of the past is going to be hell on wheels.
However, even in the midst of this feverish preparation, we must perform our social obligations, must have the proper mess jacket, etc. If the situation is serious enough that they are sending dependents home and won’t let ours come, I think it is serious enough to cut out some of the tom fooleries that I would enjoy under different conditions.. Incidentally, heard over the radio that the Pacific fleet is moving this way-that doesn’t spell peace in very big letters.
Enough of my personal feelings and back to the objective view. Hired a houseboy and lavenders combination today for 40 pesos. He will do all the work for Jensen and me at a cost of $10.00 a piece. This is too high under prevailing scale, but we need a boy right away.
In the afternoon we took a taxi to town and had it for 31/2 hours about one third of which we were actually riding. The cost was 2.85 pesos or about 71¢ a piece. However, other things that are made in the States are quite high, so the cost of living is on a par. All traffic uses the left side rather than the right side, which is quite confusing. Then To make it more complicated there are hundreds and hundreds of "calesins" or little taxi carts, pulled by a horse about the size of a Shetland pony. Every body drives by the horn and like they were crazy. The city is a hodge podge of Orient and Occidental. There are Chinese, Japs, Occidentals, although the Philippinos are predominant. There are modern department stores and hundreds of bazaars. A very exotic flalvor, but rather flat at the moment. Maybe it will be nice to say "When I was in Manila", but it’s no good now.
Friday Saturday 2-22-41
This is Washington birthday and a legal holiday even though we are in the land of the Southern Cross. We were pretty much stopped in our endeavors to get settled by the fact that the army and most business houses observed the holiday. Consequently, for the most part we simply fooled around our quarters and the officers club, eating, sleeping writing letters and the like. In the evening we drove down to the Army and Navy Club, had several drinks and then stopped in at the "Casa Manana" on the way home. The A & N Club is quite nice and the service center of the Philippines as far as the officers are concerned. I shall probably join, although until Florence arrives, I shall probably not get the full value therefrom. The "Casa Manana" one of the better dance spots, had a fine orchestra and an interesting crowd. One thing I noticed was the absence of jitter-bugging and the fact that when a waltz is played, the dancers actually waltz.
Incidentally, I do not believe that I have mentioned that Jensen and I have hired a combination houseboy and lavenders. He shines our brass, shoes, etc; cleans our room and does all our laundry, which is considerable since we wear white in the evening and never put a piece of clothing on twice without it being ironed, for the sum of 40 pesos a month or $10.00 gold a piece a month. We are overpaying him, but needed service at once so agreed to this price although it is much above the usual wages. After we get settled some place, we may run our own mess, if practicable and then we will probably change the servant situation somewhat.
Slept to eight and then went over to the club for breakfast. Spent most of the morning writing in my journal and to Florence and the folks.
In the afternoon went to Manila and saw the "Great Dictator" only a fair show. But was the theater something! It deserved the appellations of "Stupendous, Collossal etc. native to Hollywood. This is a queer city.
In the evening went to an a cocktail and buffet supper held around the swimming pool at the officers club. Partook of some excellent turkey, really the only good meal we have eaten at the club. I suspect that our officers mess pays for these parties for the garrison, or at least, helps considerably. Watched the dancing and felt lonely.
Still fitting uniforms, in the afternoon went swimming. Surely wish Florence was here, it would certainly make it nice. In the evening went to the Post show and saw the "Mark of Zorro", quite a picture. Got my assignment to Co. K 45th Inf. so we go to work in the morning.
I wasn’t kidding when I said "go to work". Our day starts at 7:00 A.M. and doesn’t end till 4:30 or as soon thereafter as one can get away. Co. K is loaded with recruits and we are trying to make soldiers of them in a hurry. Due to the rapid expansion there is a decided lack of non-commissioned officers and this places a burden on the officers. We have 3 in the company, the C.O., who is a "jaw bone"(i.e. a temporary) Captain, who has just been out of the Point about three years and a second Lt. who is just out of the Point. The 2nd Lt. has been busy on supply and I have had ¾ of the instruction to do, starting immediately.
This is "Black Wednesday" in my young life. We just received an official communication that no more wifes would be allowed to come from the States either by transport or commercially and that all dependents now here would be evacuated as rapidly as transports were available. Damn. It is so unfair to Florence. Lord knows its tough on me, but it must necessarily be ten times worse for her. It’s pretty hard to be philosophic about this. The only hope is that things will quiet down, but this is very remote. I surely could kick myself for leaving Leavenworth. If at all possible, I am going to try to get back to the States after this year’s duty is up, but I feel certain that I will be reordered, even if I refuse to request duty.
As for the duty, I am still hitting the ball in the company. Today gave instruction on the rifle, on rifle marksmanship and scouting and patroling. At least I’m learning something about the army.
Still can’t get reconciled to this idea of not having my wife. However, we are busy and that helps. Sergeants say that in the last fifteen years, they haven’t seen an officer on the drill field until now. However we put in a long day from about 6:45A.M. until 4:45 P.M. and then some. Saturday and Sundays are holidays sometimes, but not always. I’m beginning to have a lot more respect for the reserves now too. I’m not so certain, but what we have a higher percentage of efficient officers than the regulars.
We are still hitting the ball in the company and I spent most of the day in giving rifle marksmanship instruction. In the evening we had our regimental Despedida and Bienvenida or "hello and goodbye" to the new arrivals and those who are leaving. This is a dinner dance at the Army and Navy Club and very nice. We wore mess jackets with stiff shirts, collars etc. and gold buttons and shoulder knots. However, the stags were very noticeable and I didn’t find it much fun without Florence. Incidentally, we had fresh lettuce which caused a comment from one of the new comers, "fresh lettuce". One of the old timers then remarked that after we had been here a year, we would only remark "Lettuce".
Since there is a chance I might not see Florence for some time, this journal is now going to be directed to her-or should I say to you Florence. Sub-consciously, I think I have always been writing to you. I’ll probably reserve the letters for my "I love yous" but this will be my way of sharing as much as I can of this life with you.
Nothing much new, today, just a continuation of the same grind.
Incidentally, I should mention that the weather is very agreeable. It is hot in the sun, but cool enough in the shade and quite cool in the evening. This is the dry season, and there has been no rain at all.
Saturday 2-28-41 3-1-41
Well, I am out of the frying pan and into the fire. I have been transferred from K company to the "Third Recruit Co.", or the proposed "C" Co. We start absolutely from scratch without a thing and set up a tent camp. We even have to build our own field latrines and will cook from a field range. All we will have is a cadre of old enlisted men from other organizations. To top it off, I am the Commanding Officer for the time being and only have one other officer, a second lieutenant. I know this is only temporary, as the other two rec three recruit companies are commanded by regular army captains and two of them also have reserve captains of ability and experience commanding as seconds in command. But why in the deuce should I have the tough part of organizing the company when these other captains are available? This is probably about a tough assignment as you could get around here-and this is the one of the toughest assignments in the army. However, it will be good experience. One hates to do the tough work knowing that he is only temporary, though. I
I learned about this in very suddenly. Major Wiltamus, ass’t G-3, or Plans and Trainings called me in and told me I would organize the company starting Monday morning. Because the "Co. C" is not yet officially recognized I was not transferred from Co. K and it may be that this command will never show in my "201" or personnel file. Anyway, I’ll do my best, and I know darned well I’ll learn something even if I do do some regular army captain’s toughest work.
I also had to continue with my Co. K work and didn’t finish until about 2:00 P.M. as this was pay day and I handled the collection sheet. Believe it or not, I passed out and received pesos, media pesos, 20 centavo pieces and the like most of the morning, and came out even. Quite a pleasant surprise.
In the evening we went to the Army and Navy Club and then to the "Santa Anna", "the huge largest nite club in the world". This place is really different and definitely interesting. It is a high dome and dance floor. About 2/3 of the way there is a small railing or fence which divides the family part where or where those with dates go. The rest is occupied mostly by what we would term dime a dance girls, Phil Filipinos, of course. The crowd is quite cosmopolitan and most of the men were white. It is said on good authority, not personal experience, that the girls will, if they like you, invite you to their apartments, although they do not make this a commercial practice. I danced with a couple and they are excellent dancers, knowing all the modern steps. This I found out from watching because I certainly don’t qualify as an expert on dance steps. Drank a good deal too much, but without particularly bad effects. However, I am watching my drinking rather carefully and I am not consuming much more than we used to at Leavenworth. So to bed, but late. Felt particularly low because of the absence of my wife. and
Even after the celebration, I was up and playing tennis at 9:30 A.M. which wasn’t so bad. In the afternoon I went down to our company area and made some plans for organizing the company. It looks like a plenty tough job, but I guess we can manage.
In the evening we had the Post Reception at the officer’s club, but prior to that we wer had a buffet supper - plus drinks, of course, at our Colonel’s. Again the enforced bachelors were very evident by their numbers. I talked to the Colonel for quite awhile, mostly on the Philippines. Quite interesting even if a bit stilted with "Sirs".
The reception line was a revelation. I did not realize how many officers there are on the Post. Of course, this is headquarters for the Philippine division and our two star general (What kind of General is that, Florence?) was at the head of the line. By the time all of the officers of the 3 regiments plus the special troops had passed, I was really tired. Went home early, i.e. about 11:00 P.M. and so to bed.
The Third Recruit Co. or the proposed C. Co. has been activated. I couldn’t get my cadre in the morning, but finally at 2:00 P.M. they reported to me pursuant to orders. I had spent the entire morning at Regimental Supply and the Quartermaster begging and cajoling supplies. They don’t have hardly a damn thing here, and yet they expect to get this army going in a month. I managed to get 4 large hospital tents, two large tent flies and three small officer’s wall tents. That is all the canvas left on the post that is not being used and it is rotten. We also got a field range and a limited amount of cooking utensils. I had my men put up a hospital tent for a supply tent and also the fly’s, which we will use for a kitchen. Also got an old ice box from salvage, which I think we can fix up. The Q.M. regards us as in the field and refuses to issue any but field equipment, while the regiment considers us as in garrison and demands everything that is expected of a garrison unit, even though we don’t have the equipment. This is as closely approximating war mobilization as you can get without the actuality. The truth is that the plans and training section is ahead of the S-4 or Supply. However, I have a couple of good breaks. I have an excellent first sergeant, as nearly as I can tell, and I don’t think we are going to get any recruits for a few days, so we will have a chance to organize. Probably a captain will assume command before we our recruits start coming. It will make it nice for him to have all the work compl of organization completed, but that’s the army. All in all we accomplished quite a bit considering our late start.
We continued hitting the ball at the company. In the morning, we pitched all our tents except one small officer’s wall and I got Lt. Shaw working on the latrine detail and also on the ice box. In the afternoon we pitched the other tent, lined our stakes and policed up the area fairly well. In a pinch we could start housing and feeding, which isn’t bad. However, there is still a lot do and in the morning I am going to try to draw all the individual equipment that I can such as rifles, pistols, packs, blankets and the like. I don’t suppose I can get enough for our full complement of 135 men, but we will get as much as we can. Yesterday after an argument in B company it was discovered that the Reserve Captain ranked the regular Captain, who nominally had command of "B" company; consequently, I understand Capt. Houston, the reserve, is to take command of Co. C, probably tomorrow. However, I have not been officially notified and consequently shall continue until relieved. Probably, I will remain in the company as executive officer, which will probably mean that I will be supply & mess officer as well, and maybe commander of the weapons, or howitzer and machine gun platoon. Anyway whatever happens I will have plenty of work to do.
Well I am no longer C.O. and I am just as pleased. Captain Houston took command today and I am the executive officer or second in command.
However, as I anticipated the work continues. Nothing spectacular-just the drugery attendant on starting a camp from scratch. We still work right through siesta and I think the pace will probably tell after awhile.
After things ease, a bit I should like to commit to the diary a lot of impressions of everything from caribou to native nepa shacks. I am so close to it that it seems quite routine and ordinary-but I expect it would be exciting and exotic to those back home.
Again hitting the ball in the company. I’m mess officer and supply officer-but things are going a little smoother. I’ll probably start the mess about Saturday. This being mess officer in the Philippine Scouts is a novel experience. Can you imagine having fish and rice for breakfast. I’m afraid I’m not going to be much help in preparing menus. About all I can do is keep things clean and watch the finances. It’s hard to imagine how much work there is starting from scratch without materials. You improvise shelves from packing crates, steal lumber from the range for a kitchen table. Bamboo, or however you spell it, and a bolo (knife) can furnish a number of things even to breather pipes and urinal troughs for our soakage pit latrine. I am now an expert on approved field latrines. Oh yes, incidentally we have, about 3-30 gal. G.I. cans full of rice-a weeks supply. An American Co. wouldn’t use that much in a year. I’m kind of mixing my mess and the latrines, but that is the way my day is. My C.0. seems quite satisfactory, but the Bn. C.O. seems imbued with the idea that a regular army commission makes one a tin god and nobody-especially a reserve-could possibly compete on even terms. It is quite aggravating, especially in view of the sloppy plans & training and lack of preparedness of these same regulars-and the fact that we reserves are pulling them out of a hole or at least doing our damndest at cans out of a hole and that at considerable sacrifice to ourselves-witness my bachelordom.
This like most of our days is one of work- company work and it is not necessary to report. After 4:30 P.M. I took Capt. Van Osten to his quarters where he resides with Col. Clark and three two other officers. He invited me for a beer and we had quite an interesting conversation, especially the part the Colonel contributed. He very much opposed to the idea of afternoon training-at least as a general practice. He made the rather pleasant remark that we boys from the States were drawing on our reserve and could probably last about six weeks with this intensive training. However, "you can’t beat the tropics and when you boys look at yourself a couple of years from now, you’ll find you have paid your debt." He also gave us some hints on how to live in this country. At the present we are in the dry season-or just starting-and there hasn’t been a drop of rain and won’t be until June probably. Everything will be parched- and then will come the rains. At present the temperature is not excessive of about 90º-95º and cool in the evening, but the hot season is yet before us. In the rainy season the water pours down. Raincoats are of no value inasmuch as if they are tight you perspire so as to get just as wet as if you did not have the coat. We were also warned that the intensive and continuous rain is very hard on the nerves- and that we would probably be pretty irritable. Well, it’s new anyway, I surely would enjoy it, if I cold only share it with Florence on a more substantial basis than paper.
Saturday used to be a holiday in the army but not here. We worked all day. Expect to get 105 recruits tomorrow and we have to get ready.
In the evening we broke loose and went to the Jai-Alai, a national pass time here. It is similar to hand ball, except that the court is about a half block long or more and that the players have a basket sort of contraption on their hand which enables them to catch and throw the ball with tremendous speed. It is one of the fastest games I ever saw. Betting is on the pari-mutual system and there is a tremendous turnover for the many events. I lost, but Jensen won a few pesos. Got to bed about 1:00 A.M. which is too darn late with the work we have to do.
Again just another work day. Went to a class in m.g. and rifle marksmanship in the morning, supposedly to learn how to instruct these subjects. This was a down right imposition under the circumstances. In the afternoon we got our recruits and started issuing equipment and forming the company. Worked until 5:00 P.M., then to quarters. Worked on the diary and hoped to write to Florence, but it is getting to late, especially when you have to get up before 6:00 A.M.. Wanted to write to the folks also.
Saturday I should have mentioned that we had a regimental officer’s conference preparatory to the new officers going on their reconnaissance of our battle positions. One group leaves Monday and the next group leaves on the next Sunday. I am in the second group. I can’t commit much to paper regarding positions, but it does give one a queer sensation to know that you are reconnoitering ground which you may actually use in warfare. In maneuvers back in the States you know that you are not likely to ever use that ground and it is more of a game; here you it is the plans are made and sectors of defense made in anticipation of actual contingencies. It makes it very real. The country we defend is quite wild and every officer will carry a loaded 45 automatic and you are urged to secure a bolo for cutting weeds jungle brush. The trip will take about 5 to 6 days as we only cover the high spots, not being able to be away from the co. for longer periods. There are a few cobras and pythons, but the it is not likely we will see many any of these.
I can start out most of my entries as another work day. Nothing unusual-just company duties. The company is rounding into shape and we have completed most of our administrative duties. Lt. Shaw is on reconnaissance which makes a bit more work for the rest of us, but I guess we will manage. We will probably start our recruit training schedule the day after tomorrow.
Just routine. By the time I’m done with this army I’ll be an expert on latrine building and should know how to live in the field.
Just stopped writing to kill a cock roach or some such animal 2 inches long. Fortunately, we do not have many of these and none of the smaller variety. We do have little red ants which bite like son of guns. The mosquitos are not bad, but we sleep under mosquito bar because of the possibility of dengue and malaria.
Think I’ll write a letter to the folks and then to bed.
Nothing special. Finished up on most of the co. administration and I adapted the Bn. training schedule to our immediate needs and assigned the various jobs to our C.O’s etc. The Cap’t expects to be away tomorrow and I will be the only officer in the company. However, in the afternoon I caught a special detail from the Bn. C.O. getting some lumber and constructing a flock of wash benches. So I expect the captain will have to be on hand. In the evening drank a couple of bottles of beer and so to bed.
This is written some time after this day and memory rather fails. Spent most of the day supervising the construction of wash benches, but did manage to put in a few plugs around the company. Nothing unusual except I was O.D.
Capt. Houston, my C.O. was expecting his wife in on the boat so I took his O.D. The Capt. is the last one to have his wife come commercial and I’m afraid he probably stretched a point or two as we had definite orders to stop by radio any dependents who contemplated sailing; however, he claimed his wife was on the high sea and could not be reached. She will probably have to go back by the second boat in a month or so two. Officer of the Day requires that you remain in Camp 24 hours with the exception of meals which may be taken at the Post. Taking two O.D.’s in a row has made me practically a camper; however, I learn that I am to get more of the same. Orders have been published to the effect that 12 officers, including myself, will to to -------- for a special reconnaissance, in other words, to locate a defensive position. I can’t quite understand why I and certain others who have never been over the territory and are certainly are new at the problems that this unusual beach and near mountain, half jungle terraine presents. However, orders are orders and we will do our darndest--especially when you know that we’re not just playing at this. We will leave Sunday and will stay out a week when we will join another party which is wil of newly arrived officers for the general reconnaissance that all new officers take to familiarize themselves with the battle station positions of our regiment. More about this later.
Nothing unusual in the company- just routine intensified by the fact that I am the only officer in the co. Caught a rather nasty detail as O.D. in that I had to take the Bn. up to the Post for an entertainment put up on by one of the companies. Handling a Bn. of recruits at an entertainment is no fun and I was glad when it was over and they were marched back to camp.
There was a brilliant moon and the ground glistened like silver. Never have I seen such moonlight--I don’t believe it is ever that bright in the States. Of course, it made me think of Florence- I wish she could share this adventure more fully.
For once I got a half day off--or almost a half day. Really that is cause for celebration. It felt good to get my "45" off my hip. Actually, I have worn it so much I am getting a callous on my hip- and is that baby heavy. However, around camp, at nite- it is rather comforting to have it even if it wasn’t regulation. There is really no need of it around here, but things are lonely enough so it has a very satisfying feel. Didn’t do much in the afternoon, but went to Manila in the evening with several of the boys my roommate, Jensen. Started at the Army and Navy Club where we met Mead and another officer and finally ended at the Santa Anna. Then to bed.
Sunday 3-16-41 to Tuesday 3-25-41
This space time is all occupied by the special and general reconnaissance. All of it is obviously of a secret and confidential nature. In fact for our special reconnaissance we were issued five secret maps with the reassuring assurance that we could expect a special cou general court if we lost one of them. Consequently, all though this is probably the most interesting period so far of my sojourn in the islands I can only relate a very limited portion of general things and must leave most of this period a blank. The Colonel mentioned that the Division has an excellent G-2 (Intelligence) section and that the General has indicated his intention of "crucifying" anyone who contributes to a leak. Therefore I think a "blank" space is indicated.
However, can mention a few interesting things that do not relate to things military or to any particular place of strategic importance. These must necessarily be uncorrelated. Our field equipment is rather interesting. We, of course, carry a "45" and in the field a shell is in the chamber. There are some cobras and pythons, although we did not see any. In addition, we carry two clips for the automatic, prismatic compass, first aid pouch, musset bag and a "bolo". The "bolo" is a wonderful instrument in the hands of the Fillipino. With it, he can practically make a li live in the jungle and every one carry one. A skilled user can make a very satisfactory "nepa" shack in short order and furniture to go with it. However, I am limited to using it to cut trail and I soon found it was easier to let my enlisted men do this.
We passed through a number of native barrios and some of the boys took some interesting pictures which I am going to try to secure. A very interesting sight was a native funeral. In this climate without embalming or refrigeration the dead must be buried within a few hours and the mourning is intense. First in the barrio street came several altar boys with various devices of the church and candles then came, I presume, the pall bearers pulling by means of ropes the a funeral cart on which was placed the coffin. Immediately to the rear of this was a conglomeration of musicians, perhaps all in the barrio, playing all types of instruments in a dismal and not to harmonious dirge. Then came several carramentos (little pony drawn carts) with the mourners all dressed in black and wailing vigorously. After that, the curious and lesser participants.
The barrios (villages) in themselves are interesting. They are mostly made of bamboo and "nepa" leaves, the latter a rather strong fibrous swamp plant that furnishes a siding and roofing material. All are raised on wooden stilts as protection against the rainy season. As we proceeded through the barrios all the kids would greet us with crys of "Hello Joe", evidently a greeting taught by former parties of officers. "Ma boo hij" not as (pronounced and probably not correctly spelled) was also a favorite. This is a native Tagalog toast or good wish which has no literal translation. Incidentally, the Filipinos have no common language and one section can not understand the other except through the medium of English.
Pigs run through the street, and the usual means of transportation is cariboa (water buffalo) sleds or carts. These cariboa are also used in logging, as many as 22 being hitched together in single file to pull a big log to the water where it can be floated.
In the jungle, if it can be called that, there are not many wild animals. The monkeys are scarce & shy but I did see one. I almost got a shot at a "banya" a lizard over a yard long which in supposed to be good eating, but before I could get my gun from the holster and aim, he had scurried too far away. I also noticed some queer looking birds. there The body was blue and the head green a queer combination. However, like animals there are not many birds in the Philippines.
During the trip general recon-, we camped for a while in Olongapo a naval base and I swam in the China Sea, but gingerly because of tales of barracuda and sharks. These did not bother, but the many squishy, soft jellyfish, although harmless, were a nuisance. The beach though was beautiful, especially under the millions of stars that dotted the heavens at night. I believe even I could make a satisfactory Romeo with such a setting, but my Juliet was lacking.
We also chanced to observe the drawing of a shore fishing not. (place not designated) The entire barrio turned out and several bushels of a small fish about the size of a sardine were caught. This was divided one third to the owner of the net and two thirds to the village. All in all it was a gala occasion. I hope to get some of the pictures of this which are much more graphic than my pen.
A hundred other occurrences and thing interesting places come to mind, but I am afraid I shall have to save them as they are to indicative of things forbidden. However some day I may be able to fill in the voids.
We returned to camp the Post Tuesday afternoon and in the evening went down town for dinner and a show, but compromised on the show dinner, due to a "tired feeling".
Fell right back into company routine, taking charge of the firing on the small bore range. Found that Lt. Shaw had been ill in the hospital with dysentery; consequently, our company had been without officers for several days as the Captain had left Friday for the general recon-. I’m afraid this has put us behind a bit, but we will try to catch up. Several of the new officers are down with dysentery or various fevers, although nothing serious has developed. I don’t think this intensive training is conducive to good health. We are still taking our prophylactic dose of 10 grains of quinine daily and will continue for 10 days. Whenever you are in the field-you take this dose as a preventative measure, although malaria is not very prevalent. So far, although quite tired, I feel fine. However, I have watched my diet and have tried to live rather moderately, all of which helps. Really, the climate is not so bad inasmuch as even in the daytime, if you keep out of the sun, it is cool enough and at night the temperature drops to a point where you need covers.
This day has been devoted to fatigue for the general police (cleaning) of the Post. There is to be a Division Parade for the Departmental Commanding General and nothing, repeat, nothing can interfere with that. For some time, after hours, the regiment has been practicing and tomorrow will be a "dry run" of the Parade. Although baloney and window dressing, the Parade should be interesting.
The morning was devoted to the practice Divisional Parade. Quite an impressive sight to see a Division even of troops- although one’s perspective is limited if you are part of the Parade. It is the first Divisional Parade I had ever seen and I enjoyed it even though the everlasting waits were as usual extremely tiresome. The tin helmets we wore are not conducive to comfort either, especially in a boiling sun. Everything went nicely, although our Bn. Adjutant’s horse did act up a little.
In the afternoon, I took the men out for some position work in marksmanship and I really poured it to them.
In the evening I stayed right at camp, since I’m again "O.D.", and I finally had time to catch up on this journal, although I should be in bed and asleep. Theoretically, I should have had most of the evening to myself, but there was a band concert, the Major came down on a spot inspection and the guard needed attention; consequently, it was about nine before I could start writing. I am dead certain I would never continue this journal except that I do want to share with my wife and folks--its about the least I can do. However, for tonite, Good night!
Today we had the big parade review for the Departmental Commanding General. Things went off without a hitch with the one exception that one of the field guns firing the salute for the C.G. went on the blink and they had to finish on one lung. It is the first time I had ever been in or seen a Divisional Review, and it is quite an impressive sight. However, from my place in ranks, I only got to see a limited amount, but there was plenty of "pomp and circumstance" especially in the face of such a serious "emergency" as warrants sending our wifes back to the States. Anyway it resulted in my first free afternoon and I certainly enjoyed it. We went into Manila and had a "lemonade" at the Army and Navy Club. I then got fitted for a Palm Beach suit over on Pin Pin Street. Palm Beach cloth is very expensive and the suit will cost me about 28 $14.00) rather than the usual 14 to 16 pesos for a linen suit. However, I figure I can use the Palm Beach to advantage when and if. Then went to the show, but certainly tapered off very modestly staying home for the evening- When I think of it- I didn’t stay homes but with several others went to visit McCall who is in the Sternberg Hospital, probably with some stomach disorder. So to bed.
Went riding in the morning, my first time. Expected to go about 10:3 9:30 A.M., after the company had finished packing a truck and trailer for an "alert", but as usual didn’t get away till an hour later. Enjoyed the ride, but surely could tell that I hadn’t been on a horse for some time.
It occurs that the term "alert" probably needs some explanation. That is the noun used to designate the process of going into the field equipped for battle on moment’s notice and an "alert" would be given should we be forced to take up our field positions. From time to time we have practice "alerts" to keep us on our toes and to insure that we will be ready to go should things start popping.
The afternoon was largely dozed away although I did get in a little tennis, and nothing interesting transpired in the evening.
Again the old grind. Still trying to make marksmen out of our recruits and having a plenty tough time doing it. Spent about half the day with the collection sheet (this is pay day) and other administrative duties. In the evening went to a show, then wrote a letter to Florence,
This morning I took an inventory of Co. G property pursuant to regimental order and caught hell all around although innocent as a new born babe. That’s the nice thing about this man’s army--you have so many bosses--and if a boss can’t pop off every so often how are you going to judge his importance?
In the first place, the C.O. of the Co. that I was inventorying wasn’t very enthusiastic because I insisted on a thorough physical check of the property. About half way through, my Bn. C.O., Major Wiltamus came in with a dark look on his face and asked to see me. He then explained that the Regimental C.O. had found some of our men Co. C., firing on the 22 range with no officer present- and where were the officers. The Major asked the Captain of my co. where I was and he crawfished, inexcusably, saying that he "thought" I might be taking this inventory, although I had specifically stated that I was going to take the inventory and had received his O.K. However, the Major was burning because he had given orders that all Co. officers would be with their companies in the morning and I presume the Captain didn’t have guts enough to admit that I had received his permission to be away.
The Major started to read me a lecture on always being present with the Bn. in the morning as per his order, but I suggested that I was taking inventory at that time and place at the suggestion of the Executive Officer of the Regiment Colonel Doyle and also had notified my Company C.O. He blustered a while but calmed down- because, after all, I was perfectly in the clear. This army is a grand place, the General jumps on the Colonel, the Colonel gives the Major thunder, the Major jumps on the Captain, and the everybody jumps on the Lieutenant. Fortunately, we do have a second lieutenant in our company so I have somebody to rank anyway.
In the afternoon, again went to the 22 range and ran into a disciplinary problem. One of the recruits failed to obey a Private First Class, the next rank above a private. The P.F.C. got a little hot, as did the recruit and they almost had blows; however, the recruit finally was brought to me and I gave him a lecture on respect for authority and investigated the incident. Authority is capitalized here and something of this nature which you could dismiss without further thought in the States must be carefully handled. I have recommended that the C.O. give the recruit some co. punishment to uphold the authority of the acting non-com and then give the non-com a lecture for not acting like a non-commissioned officer should. This will undoubtedly be done. The incident is, of course, comparatively trivial but serves to illustrate the difference in working with the Scouts and white troops.
Sampled the mess (I’m mess officer) this evening and thought I would have to take one of the fire buckets to quench my thirst. The "banya" or conglomeration was quite tasty at that.
In the evening wrote in this journal and- alas- in my check book.
Again I have been delinquent in keeping up with my journal and this is written on the 7th so I must tax my memory. However, when you are on the range there is not a lot of variation.
We went on the firing point at 6:30 A.M. and I spent the next five hours in trying my damndest to inculcate the rudiments of rifle marksmanship in these recruits. When you have inexperienced non-coms, it really makes the officers-including this one sweat.
For once we had the afternoon off. Took a siesta till about 4:00 P.M. and then went into Manila. Bought-or rather got fitted for a tailor made palm beach suit- got a sandwich in the closest imitation of an American department store luncheon section and went to a movie. It is strange how one longs for familiar things when placed in a strange environment. The luncheon, although quite ordinary actually, was very enjoyable because it was something like you would get back in the States. A little of the exotic can go a long way- or is that what you call homesickness?
On the way home, we had another treat, fresh milk. Admittedly, it was quite thin and cost twenty five centavos for a small glass, but it was actually fresh milk. In this country of Klim, Carnation and the like that is really something. On the post we can not get any fresh milk at any price.
Again on the range from 6:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. with a Noon break. This range work is nerve wracking stuff and I’ll be glad when it is done.
My birthday, but they didn’t stop work in the army. Again on the range from 6:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. ,
However, during the noon hour, the regimental band came to my quarters and gave me a birthday serenade. Very nice and quite a thrill- it is the first time I have had a band play for my birthday. I countered with a couple of cartons of cigarettes so both the band and I were happy.
Received a card from Florence and a radiogram from her and the folks, also a present from the folks. The timing was perfect and I certainly was glad to hear from home.
Surely wish Florence could have been here with me. She would have gotten quite a kick out of the band.
Range work in the morning but, glory be, another half holiday. Really, the two half holidays a week are needed- or if they are not the army certainly has been kidding itself a long time since they have never, until we came here, worked in the afternoon.
Spent most of the afternoon playing poker and won 15 pesos. Therefore, Jensen and I decided to go to the Jai Alai and lose it. However, luck was still with us and we managed to win a couple of pesos in addition to seeing this very thrilling game. So to bed.
No work. In the morning just loafed a bit and played tennis. In the afternoon I "siestaed" and I really needed it. Went to the Post show in the evening. Nothing exciting, but a very satisfactory day in which I accomplished exactly nothing except securing well needed rest and relaxation. If things slacken up a bit Jensen and I intend to take off for a bit of sight seeing one of these Sundays.
Again range work from 6:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. I stopped the range work at 4:00 rather than 4:30 due to a very strong & difficult wind. Capt. Houston is down with the dysentery-not serious I believe- and consequently, I have the company to run. Lt. Shaw is on special duty with the machine gunners so that leaves me as the only officer in the co. In addition I am O.D. At least I don’t lack a job.
Still on the range; however, Capt. Houston is back. Finished most of our firing in the morning and I took a few shots myself. Did fairly well considering I have had no practice and have not fired for a number of years. In the afternoon we took up tent pitching. We will probably go on an "alert" in the not too distant future and we must get in the necessaries in this first month or two of training.
Saw "Hudson Bay" in the evening at the Post Theater--a very good picture.
Took the morning off and in compliance with a divisional order concerning new officers, fired a record practice course with the 30 caliber rifle. Firing the whole course in one morning without preliminary practice nearly made a wreck out of me and I certainly am sore and bruised. That rifle certainly packs a wallop. Among other things I have a nicely swollen lip and a very bruised shoulder. On our practice record course I fired 146 which is in the sharp shooter class and not too far from our high score of 153 in the company. With proper practice especially in rapid fire, I think I could make expert.
We are now getting Wednesday afternoons off and I used mine to definite advantage by sleeping.
Routine- Took up grenade and bayonet. Prepared next weeks training schedule.
This is "Good Friday" and a holiday in the Islands. As a matter of fact practically all business houses are closed from Thursday to Monday. We did not work, but I’m afraid that the religious significance of the day did not predominate. In the afternoon, Jensen and I went to Manila and drove around quite a bit mostly to see the sights. Funerals are definitely public in this country and as elaborate and ostentatious as means permit.
Winding through down town Manila, admit buses, calesas, taxis, autos, was a Chinese funeral definitely achieved its aim of calling attention to the deceased- presumably his goodness and exemplary life. First came a touring car appropriately draped and carrying a large picture of the deceased. Then several other autos draped in black. A truck followed with large signs covered with Chinese characters. Then The very ornate hearse follows with many black clad mourners wailing and knashing crying aloud.
The Philippino Filipino funeral follows this order in general, but they eliminate the signs and the pictures. Casual bystanders enjoy these processions much as we would a parade and everybody has a good emotional jag.
During the evening we again journeyed to Manila, but found our progress blocked by a religious parade on Taft Avenue. It must have been several miles long and consisted for the most part of the devout carrying candles. Interspersed were floats- quite garish and bedecked with flowers- of the Savior in a coffin reclining in death of a cross and the like religious themes. Bands played a funeral dirge. Personally, there seemed to be to much emotion and to little religion, but it is hard for one race to pass judgement on another. Probably they are a good deal more sincere than most of us- I don’t think there is much question of that- and the emotion if not carried to excess, serves a good purpose.
By a round about detour we finally reached Manila and in company with one of the Signal Corp officers, who used to work there we visited the Mackay Radio, a subsidiary of the A.T.&.T. It was interesting to be at the cross roads of communications from London, Hong Kong, San Francisco, in fact all the world and I also was interested in the technical data. Had a drink at the Army & Navy Club and the Manila Hotel- but nothing in the way of a party. So to bed.
At 6:30 A.M we had a practice "alert" and the entire Bn. marched out in field equipment. We went to the "B" range, set up a camp for inspection purposes and then returned to our base camp. An officer does not, of course, carry a pack, but I think we make up for it. In addition to usual clothing; I have a "45", three clips of ammunition, canteen, prismatic compass, field glasses, first aid pouch & packet, map case, musset bag with incidentals and helmet. If going into the brush or jungle country, add one bolo.
I spent the afternoon in Manila. I left my car to be washed & cleaned--I am thinking of trying to sell it and want it to look its best-- and in company with Lt. Murphy went to look looked at cameras. First, though, we stopped in at a college chum, feminine, of Murphy’s, and he got a date for the despedida. The utter lack of wifes has let the bars down a little and even a "nice girl of good family" can date a married officer without causing undue comment- a thing which could not have happened a short time ago in Manila. Manila is composed of the "very proper" and of the "don’t give a damn" the difference being that the "very proper" watch appearances. Murphy’s date- or rather her mother- came through in fine style with some 20 year old Scotch- so I enjoyed the visit.
Looked at several cameras and just about decided to buy a 6-20 (2 1/4 x 3 1/4) Kodak with 4.5 lens and 1/200 shutter. I think this will meet my need much better than any 35 m.m. that I can buy for a comparable price.
In the evening went to a show and had a drink at the Army Navy Club. Otherwise, the evening was uneventful except that I ran into Jensen and a quite nice companion. I had to tap him on the shoulder and ask him "Remember me, I’m your roommate" before I got an introduction. She is a "white Russian" with quite an interesting life and if I get the opportunity I should like to visit with her.
Although it is Easter- it must be a work day for me. I’m O.D. and must stay at camp--- The line indicates a brief pause. The guard reported fire over by the 300 yard range pits and investigation disclosed a rather bad brush fire in close proximity to the pits. Fortunately; however, this is out of my jurisdiction and the "Area Police Officer" has taken charge, so unless it spreads so as to require some of our men- I’ll let him worry about it-
Jensen came down to camp on horse and I visited a while with him. As usual I was sitting outside with him when a Colonel from the General’s staff drove up. Of course, I did not have my hat as I should, but he didn’t skin me about it.
After routine duties, I spent the morning in catching up in this journal and also worked a bit on my correspondence courses.
The afternoon and evening just slipped away on routine duties. The fire spread toward the powder magazines so we had to get a detail from the Bn. to fight the fire and various inspections etc. together with a little work on correspondence completed the day.
Routine company duties. We are now taking up hand grenades, bayonet, extended order including combat work, tent pitching and the like. We keep busy. In addition the Regimental C.O. has now decided that there will be an hour of athletics under the supervision of an officer from 4-5 P.M. The men must get their "exercise" even if they drop.
Showed the car and asked 1900 pesos for it, will get an answer tomorrow.
Again routine company duties as above. Didn’t sell the car, but prospect is to make a counter offer tomorrow.
I’m afraid I shall have to close this Journal. Unfortunately, the journal is of little interest unless I write of my daily life and that is so bound up with the U. S. Army and its secrets that I’m afraid it is best I desist. All things pertaining to training, for example, are restricted for the very good reason that they serve as indications of the combat efficiency of our troops. All movements must be secret. Maneuvers, likewise. -And equipment. Hence, there is nothing left. I’ve probably continued longer than I should (at least McMaster was advised to burn his diary)-- so, till I come to a better world or until I doff khaki- I must say goodbye to the journal.
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