Smitty, April/May 1944 & Letter II

Camp Stoneman, Pittsburgh, CA

Camp Stoneman, Pittsburgh, CA

Letter II                                                                                                                                                                                      Thursday 5/4/44

Dear Mom,

     There really isn’t much to write about as I’ve told you most everything on the phone.  By the way, when you receive your bill for the month let me know just how much these calls cost.

I heard from Harley yesterday and it seems that he wants something to do and they just won’t give him anything.  They have now made him landscape sergeant and I can just see him pulling weeds and taking care of flowers.  If he should ever get his load on, he’ll nip out the flowers and let the weeds alone.  I haven’t written to Woods yet, but give me time.  I’ll get around to it before long.

We have to police up the area now, so will leave you for a while.  Be back before long. — Hello again.  We no sooner pick up the old cigarette butts and paper than some jerk behind you drops one so that cleaning up is getting to be a problem.  Policing up is what is known as body bending exercise, head down, backsides pointing to the sky.

Well mom, that is all there is for now so take care of yourself and give my regards to all. 

All my love, Everett

SFPE

Smitty was unable to tell his mother that he and the 11th A/B would be shipping out the following day – destination and mission unknown.  The men cruised from Suisan Bay into San Pablo Bay, into San Francisco Bay and under the Oakland Bridge to Oakland Mole where the Red Cross passed out coffee and donuts while they boarded the transport ships.  So … back under the Oakland Bridge, thru San Francisco Bay   and under the Golden Gate Bridge  to the open Pacific.

Camp Stoneman & Letters I & II | Pacific Paratrooper//

Port of Exit

This photograph   on the left was removed from a New York newspaper.  The sign above the entry    states: “Through these portals pass the best damn soldiers in the World.”  The clipping beside it indicates shipping out dates.   The 11th A/B departed May 5, 1944.   Smitty said that this cruise would be the most boring part of his service, although he did become quite adept at playing cards during this time.

campstoneman (125x150)

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Military Humor – 

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Just a “little” trouble getting up the gangplank…

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Hideo Abe – San Jose, CA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Nisei MISer

Anton Beck – Saskatoon, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, 422nd Squadron, aero engine mechanic

William Donaldson – Hagerstown, MD; US Navy, WWII, PTOBIABoNLCEAEPa7G (599x769)

John Farkas – Bridgeport, CT; US Army, WWII, ETO

Marge Gibbs – Pittsboro, IN; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Wilford Green – East Meadow NY; US Merchant Marine

George Hamann – Milwaukee, WI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Enterprise

Bill Lively – Ruidoso, NM; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, G/187th/11th Airborne Division

Michael McFall – Ft. Lauderdale, FL; US Marine Corps

Edward Simms – Stanaford, WV; US Navy, Korea, USS Wasp

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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 August 20, 2016, in First-hand Accounts, Letters home, SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 76 Comments.

  1. Having grown up in the Bay Area, I was following Smitty as he sailed from port to port. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh goodness, I got your message on Soldier Stories. I did respond! I guess I posted in the wrong place, I posted my reply under SMITTY and the Camp Polk story. Anyway, I DO WANT to use the letters and yes they are great! I just got the Candy Bar story from my brother yesterday which is why I haven’t sent to you. Actually, I have sent you two messages and now I don’t know if you received them. I thought you had and I was waiting on your reply! Myra

    Liked by 1 person

    • I kept meaning to get back to you, but frankly with Dad’s sense of humor, I couldn’t pick one out. They go from bootlegging in “Jungle Juice” to ‘all ashore that’s goin’…’ (about landing on Leyte) and a mellow one taking a day off and seeing a Japanese cemetery. Then there’s always his first experience on “Guard Duty” and getting lost when they landing on New Guinea. – See what I mean?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is good that you have all of these letters and clippings!

    Like

  4. Enjoyable post gp, I always enjoy the Military sense of humour, we used to call picking up butts, Policing the Barracks, but more commonly known as Emu Bobbing.
    Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This comment might be getting a little ahead, but did Smitty write about any King Neptune ceremonies?

    Like

  6. Each time Tony “shipped out” to Iraq, we went down to San Diego and sent him on his way. It’s a changed world that way. And I couldn’t help feel the contrast… your dad writing about the mundane when the reality of shipping off to war was one day a way. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s how he was, Curt. When I saw him in the hospital after a heart attack, he said, “I disappointed your mother. We had a pack never to wreck a weekend like this” – and then he laughed.
      He wasn’t about to tell his mother how close everything was becoming.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Outstanding! I kept a lot of my correspondence from the war. But that’s just to and from me. What I wish I had was letters from my friends – especially those who died. And I wish I had anything from my grandparents and their relatives. It’s such an intimate look at war, life, and people’s things and feelings.

    I enjoyed reading that so thanks for posting it!!i love the insight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate that, Matthew, and thanks. I always enjoyed Dad’s humor and I hope he will help to entertain you as well in his future letters.
      Sorry about your friends, I know I wish I had more photos and cards, but you always think there’ll be enough time…..

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful memory to have the actual letters he wrote. And that clip of the sailors on the ship gave me a good belly laugh. A few times in real life, working in the freight industry, I have seen cargo ships in the same situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are great memories.
      I can’t imagine a ship like that unless it was in a storm or about to sink, but I thought the cartoon was cute!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It happens when a cargo ship is being unloaded and the weight distribution becomes unbalanced. Especially with smaller vessels which do not have automatic ballasting, stevedores should plan the order in which containers are removed, so that not all are taken from one side at once. The ballast tanks should also be back-filled with water. Sometimes it gets out of kilter. You will see one example at number four on this attachment. Another one I was involved with was the Fua Kavenga in Suva harbour (my involvement was to the extent of having customers’ cargo on board). whihttp://eescair.com/?p=4976

        Liked by 1 person

  9. GP, I’d say any general letter (word) home would have been all Smitty’s Mom could ever want. I’m sure she knew “where I’m going” would not be there. Even though she’d wonder and worry! Like your narrator style! 💛 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your dad’s love, consideration, and concern for his mom shine through his words and also deeds. Really brings tears to my eyes.

    Like

  11. I agree that it would be so hard not being able to tell her that he was shipping out to parts unknown!

    Like

  12. Camp Stoneman was located about an hour from me. It’s long gone, but I just may drive up to take a look at the memorial this weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m sure they could only write about regular things that were happening, but Smitty did a great job of describing his activities with a little humor thrown in. I have a feeling that your grandmother had a smile on her face when she read his letters.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love the old newspaper clipping…I look at the dates and think, “My dad was still a young man, then – and my mother hadn’t been born!”

    I like the sailors on the tilted ship, too! I love marine vessels and maritime stuff – I still have my sea legs from living on boats in Alaska…

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. He seems to keep the secret at the same time as he knows his mother will need to hear something from him when it’s learned they’ve shipped out – so thoughtful. What a difference from the quick and indiscreet was we text these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am awful at keeping up with correspondence myself, but still feel certain times deserve the personal touch of a handwritten letter or card. Maybe I got that from him (or Mom, she was great at it!)

      Like

  16. I remember mom being so upset when she wouldn’t hear from my brother for a long time when he was in Vietnam but then again I guess he really couldn’t. The mom in me keeps saying – Smitty is such a good son 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh, also, I’m reading a very interesting WWII book right now –‘The Girls of Atomic City’ by Denise Kiernan. East Tennessee reservation of the women who helped win WWII.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very interesting, isn’t it!! Everyone knows about the physics geniuses, but before now, with data being de-classified, we get so much more information. Thank you for your interest, Cindy!!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Interesting as always! I have forgotten–would you please remind me since it’s nowhere on your blog–Everett Smith is your father and your name is Wendell?

    Like

  19. I like the perspective you give this with your additions, GP

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The smoking lamp is lit. Smoke ’em if you got ’em–the rest of you police the area.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Between him not being able to tell her things and her reading about events in the paper, it must have been confusing. I had to laugh at the end. My mother always wanted to go on a cruise. My dad said “the last time I got on a boat, I ended up in the Philippines” and refused.

    Like

  22. From my military memories of “shipping out”, it was both an exciting time and a sad time. But not being able to tell your family seems downright depressing.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. It’s hard to imagine not letting your family know that you would be shipping out. That must have been one difficult letter to write.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. It must have been so frustrating not to be able to tell loving parents where you were going. Necessary in time of war of course, but I can imagine the worry from both sides.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As you’ll see in future letters, Smitty had no idea exactly which island he was headed to – this time. In the future, he just doesn’t tell her.
      Thanks for reading, enjoy your weekend!

      Like

  25. My mother used to tell us to “police our room.” I hadn’t heard that expression in years. You brought me back to that time.

    Liked by 2 people

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