Smitty ~ Letter IV/ and POW/MIA day

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Just two days out of San Francisco, CA, the dismal conditions aboard Smitty’s troop ship, heading southwest, took a turn for the worse.  The cool weather became stifling hot and humid.  The fresh meat and vegetables ran out and Spam sandwich became the lunch cuisine of record.

The troops learned that dehydrated potatoes, cooked to the consistency of pebbles; powered eggs, unrecognizable except for the color; and hot dogs of no discernible pedigree were to be the standard ‘menu’.  Nobody asked for seconds!

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Shut-eye?

 

Letter IV                                                                                                      Still at sea in a quandary

Dear Mom, 

Well, here I am again as promised.  Yesterday we had a little something different to sea besides the sea.  Notice that I’m getting so that I can only spell  the sea when I mean to write see.  Early in the morning we had the pleasure of seeing another ship and must say it sure made one feel good.  Why it should though I can’t say unless it is the thought that someone else is having it just as tough.  Guess there is some truth in the saying, “Misery loves company.”  We also had the pleasure of watching some islands in the far off distance.  I won’t try to describe them to you, as that would be too much to expect to pass. (Censorship blacked out the next paragraph) 

You will kindly take notice that I used the words “pleasant” and “pleasure,” if I keep that up you might get the idea this is getting to be that kind of voyage.  Some amusing things do happen though, such as the boys sleeping out on the deck getting caught in the rain or some clumsy ox slipping and sliding his way along the boat.  By the way, I forgot to tell you that we get the regular news everyday in a printed form resembling a newspaper.  Also music by record sounds tinny, but anything out here is good.

You can readily see I haven’t much ambition for writing today, which reminds me   Smitty was blacked out by censors.  Matter of fact, the way I feel right now, I don’t care much whether I do or not. 

Well, that is all for today’s report on nothing, so with all my love, I am your ever obedient son,

  Everett

Click on images to enlarge.

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POW/MIA Day recalled – 

To visit my past POW/MIA posts, please click HERE and then HERE – Thank you for honoring these troops.

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Military Humor – 

Well landlubbers, a funny thing happened our first few days aboard our troops ship....

“Well landlubbers, a funny thing happened the first few days aboard our troops ship….”

army_kit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Richard Adams – Lakewood, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Aubrey Brady – Booker, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO/Korea, 5th Air Force Cmdr., Lt.Col. (Ret.)wp-1473294032699

Louis Ciavarro – W.Palm Beach, FL; US Navy

Kenneth Eade – Hanna, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Marlin Fife – Logan, UT; US Army, WWII, ETO, communications

Thomas McGuire – Sebring, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Major, pilot, Medal of Honor, KIA

Clarence Mellbye – Salem, OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Jeremiah O’Keefe – Ocean Springs, MS; USMC, WWII, PTO, “Death Rattlers” pilot

Thomas Schaeffer – Rochester, NY; US Air Force, Iran, Colonel (ret.), pilot, POW

Donald Wilson – Lincoln, RI; US Navy, Korea

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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 September 16, 2016, in Letters home, SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 87 Comments.

  1. I actually enjoy the fact that letters are sensored. I think we broadly publicize way too much in the way of military operations.

    I also wonder how much television media has affected the treatment and attitude toward soldiers. Since Vietnam, service has been de-glamorized…except during the periods post Vietnam when there was no major action happening.

    In WWII, soldiers were heroes upon their return…the world teamed together in support throughout the war. In Vietnam, with television, young people saw the ugly side of war, the stuff never mentioned until you actually had boots on the ground in WWII…by the time you figured it out you had to man up or be killed. So, seeing death by television, I’m sure many though…I don’t want to go there…and the protest movement emerges, a movement that affected the country as a whole both in and out of the military…and sadly, upon the return of our soldiers in Vietnam.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A tip of the hat to you for your “Farewell Salutes.” This is a wonderful thing that you are doing on this blog!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The censors weren’t letting much through except the boredom!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing these letters from your father, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Letters are the only contact with home.They must be like at tresor for solders

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sometimes they would get newspapers from their hometown sent to them for free. My father would get “The Banner”. By the time it was received, all the news was old, but they didn’t care.

      Like

  6. A very appetizing description of the food they eat… Hahaha!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. These letters are a fascinating record of the history of our times even if I was born just after WW2. It’s a history I grew up with. Great stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I enjoy these letters…they are a great, and interesting, read.
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can’t help but think about how his family felt reading these letters. The letters I’ve seen from soldiers often seem puffed up with everything is great; it’s good to read an honest letter.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think a lot of Soldiers must have learnt the knack of second besting the censors, rearrange their thinking to write get their message across, must have been frustrating, the letters would have all been pretty standard writing, the only ones getting the full picture would have been the censors.
    Thanks for sharing that family letter gp.
    Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Keeping your sense of humor must have been vital. And the boys must also have constantly wondered what lay in store for them when they got where they were going …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankfully my father did. As I understand it, when he went into the service he was feisty – but I grew up knowing him as a man who could find the answer to any problems without a fight.

      Like

  12. He’d have made such a good blogger

    Liked by 3 people

  13. My father has not forgotten his first encounter with powdered eggs on a US troop ship. And he was one of those who chose to sleep on deck. Didn’t do him any good but looking at the photo of the sleeping quarters I can see how the decks would seem attractive.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Great stuff. Takes me back to my dads letters….

    Liked by 1 person

  15. It’s very touching how a letter from long ago can sound exactly like I imagine a letter would sound nowadays. Human beings, deep down, do not alter a great deal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No they don’t seem to, John. The same sense of humor you’ll come to know in these letters was dad throughout his life and, yes – I can just imagine a soldier rewriting this way today!!

      Like

  16. GP, great to share with us the personal touch of your father. I’m sure any word home was welcomed. Back in the 40s we had spam for dinner frequently! It wasn’t so bad! 💛 Christine (Elizabeth)

    Liked by 1 person

    • A few of my friends and got into a discussion about that a while back. Beetley Pete really likes it. It had been so long for me, I actually went out and bought some. I tried it 3 different ways and found it was best in a salad or with B-B-Que sauce, but of course those ways probably wouldn’t have been possible in the tropics in the 1940’s. Thank you for visiting, Christine Elizabeth.

      Like

  17. I really enjoy these little peeks into the live play-by-play. The things these men endured…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Really enjoying these letters. The food quality on the ship must have been foreshadowing of food quality in the Pacific Theater. Or did he eat better than the airmen once he was settled in the Theater?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. “Nobody wanted seconds …” tells us a whole heap more than any attempt at a description. Adds the human touch and gets by the censor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hhah, I don’t think the quality of food was a national secret. Perhaps the censor let it through in the hopes that Smitty’s mom would send a package of treats!!!! (Maybe he was eating the same thing!!)

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Poignant letter, GP, and a moving post. Most appreciated~~

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What a great letter – but darn those censors! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, the censors make things difficult in some ways for us now, but they did their job back then. Nowadays, the media tells all our secrets – how’s that that working out for us? Thanks for reading and stopping in to comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Your dad tried to be so careful of what he said, and still they deleted! I can see why he had many reasons for not wanting to write. Thanks for another informative touch of real military life.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Doesn’t sound like a menu that was good but could see if you were really hungry where you would have to. Loving the fact that you are sharing these personal letters, Everett. Really brings it home! Censors sure were busy.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. As always, those personal memories put flesh on the bones of what we know about that war. I am quite partial to a Spam sandwich, as you know, but I wouldn’t want one for lunch every day, or ‘pebble potatoes’ for that matter!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do believe I would have to pass on that menu myself! But, believe it or not, every once in a while, Smitty would ask my mother to pick up a can of Spam, so I guess he never quite got sick of eating it.
      I wish you the best as well, GP.

      Like

  25. Those censors sure were busy!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. So precious artefacts….

    Like

    • Yes they are, Pierre, thank you. I’ve enjoyed these letters most of my life. You’ve been around long enough to have have been at every post here and I want you to know, I still consider you my mentor!! Thanks for everything!!

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Makes you wonder what was censored….

    Liked by 1 person

  28. This is a great idea – – It is more interesting than some of the dry history books, to read a soldier’s day-to-day reactions, even if it’s an uneventful day, to life all those years ago.
    One of my grandfather’s letters (8th Army) talked about having the cooks having “steam tables” on his ship, with mutton from Australia, that smelled awful to seasick guys, and permeated the whole ship, like traveling in a glue factory all the way across the Pacific.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, my father never wrote about mutton, but he did tell about how bad it smelled and that it would be cooking ALL day long! Thanks for adding your story, I like that most everyone adds something to this and helps to make it their own!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Their diet reminds me of the free breakfasts at all of the “Express” motels here in the U.S.
    These letters are such a great series describing the life of the soldier of WW2, thanks for posting these.

    Liked by 2 people

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