LT Bill Porter, June 8, 1941

A young man’s letter home gives us a rare look at the Philippines before the Japanese invasion.

Letters Home

Walter Hines, author of Aggies of the Pacific War, shares a series of letters written by LT Bill Porter from New Mexico, and one of the Bataan Death March survivors. In his book, Hines states:

Among the many [New Mexico A&M] Aggies frequenting the Army-Navy Club was Lieutenant Bill Porter, newly commissioned ROTC officer and fresh off the family farm in the Mesilla Valley. Assigned by the Scouts to the 91st Infantry Division, he was thrown into the frantic effort to train the green Filipino troops in modern warfare.  Porter wrote to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Asa Porter, on June 8, 1941.

Dear Folks:


At last I have an opportunity to write … . I hope you got my first letter and amateur wire.  The wire costs only 20 centavos (10 cents).  You can send me 30 words for a dime if you can locate an amateur…

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on July 26, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Greetings my friend, thanks again for the link to an intrigueing story.
    Another one for my library staff to track down, I find it great to get your links and then read the complete story.
    Your site is to be commended.
    Ian aka Emu


    • I’m always glad to hear if someone is actually getting something out of the site.and it’s even better when I know I’ve helped a friend! Thanks, Ian.


  2. The old idiot I am, I left a thanks at the wrong blog! 🙂


  3. That was a poignant letter, especially knowing what was coming to him next. I have my father’s letters from Malaya during this period. He has that same air of busyness and faith that there will not actually be any fighting.


    • At the time, I don’t think anyone could have imagined what was coming next, so that would make it easier to be in denial. Please forgive me for not remembering, Hillary, but have you posted your father’s letters?


  4. The letter is an interesting “window” into the culture of the day. I was surprised to see the term “geek soldiers” in the letter. I knew the word “geek” has long been a perjeratory term, but I didn’t realize it was used in pre-WW2 slang.


    • Thanks for stopping by to read this unique letter, Swabby, I was very happy to discover it. And, I too was surprised by that term used; I had never heard it used before by the Greatest Generation narratives.


  5. My father spent some time in the Philippines, after a stay on New Guinea. It’s always interesting to read about the conditions there.


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