Smitty ~ Getting Close to Shore ~ Letter VI

Ships in anchor at Milne Bay, 1944

Ships in anchor at Milne Bay, 1944

Just as Smitty expected, their destination was quickly coming up over the horizon.  The fleeting glimpse of solid land, Milne Bay, New Guinea was only a short stopover for water (such a disappointment) and they continued their cruise north.  The 11th Airborne Division came upon the humming waterfront of ships manipulating to unload troops, supplies and equipment in Oro Bay.  They witnessed a paradoxal view of organized chaos.

Down the rope ladders they went to the beach taxis, DUKWs (2 ton amphibious vehicles commonly called “ducks”) and onward to the awaiting shoreline.  At latitude 8*52’60S and longitude 148*30’0E, this would become the first step for many a G.I. on foreign soil.  Once they actually hit the beach, the heat seemed to slam into the troopers and their uniforms became soaked within minutes, but they proceeded on to the Buna-Dobodura area to make their new base camp.

Oro Bay, New Guinea

Oro Bay, New Guinea

As written in the Australian newspaper, The Canberra Times, 1944: “New Guinea was a country out of the Stone Age that was whizzed through the centuries.  A country that had previously known only natives, grass huts and raw nature has been blitzed from all angles with every piece of equipment known to modern engineering and warfare … the skies are as busy as a beehive with bombers and fighters and transports.”

The 11th had entered the jungles amidst torrential rains, mud and heat.  On their first day, the meals were prepared in Australian chuck wagons and the idea of fresh food would be a distant memory from the past.  From here on out, everything would be canned, dehydrated or cured.  Having come from the fishing town of Broad Channel, Smitty was accustom to eating seafood and was even teased in boot camp for liking the creamed chipped beef on toast (more commonly known as -“shit-on-a-shingle”), but those days were long gone.  I remember him saying more than once, “It wasn’t that the powdered eggs tasted bad — they just didn’t have a taste.”

Although General Swing, commander of the 11th A/B, had contracted malaria and was hospitalized when his men shipped out of the U.S., he boarded a plane for Brisbane, Australia to attend a meeting with Gen. MacArthur.  Swing was briefed on the immediate plans for his command and was reminded that the 11th A/B was considered a “secret weapon.”  Swing managed to be in Dobodura in time to meet his men as they disembarked.

Dobodura, 1944

Dobodura, 1944

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Letter VI                                       Land Ho!  On the port side

Dear Mom,  Well, land is in sight so I’ll just hold off this letter awhile until I can find out for sure if this is what we have all been waiting for or just another island….  Yep and yes siree this is finally it and from what I have seen up to now it is going to prove not only an interesting place, but picturesque as well.  Don’t know yet if we can say where we are, so I won’t attempt it.

Everyone is standing along the railings with glasses while those less fortunate are straining their eyes trying to get a glimpse of our new and strange surroundings.  It is all very exciting and thrilling and must say one gets sort of feeling down deep that is hard to explain.  It might be that the sight of this long awaited place has sub-consciously awaked us to the fact that we are one heck of a long way from home.

Now that we are here in a port with a chance of possibly getting this letter mailed, I’ll close this letter and mail it as I know how anxious you must be about me and would like to hear from me as soon as possible.  I promise you though that I will continue to write my letters like this and would like you to save them all so that when I get back I will have something to read back on and maybe remember.

I did finally get around to  part of this was censored so don’t worry any on that account.  I know how you worry about things like that so thought it best that you know.  the next two lines were also censored  That is just about all there is for now, so with regards to all and hoping this letter is the answer to your nightly prayers, I’ll close with all my love and millions of hugs and kisses.

Your son,  Everett

Click on images to enlarge.

######################################################################################

Military Humor – uniformjoke

New Guinea 10/24/44

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#####################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Leonard Allen – Kawakawa, NZ; RNZ Navy # 733871, WWII/ # 12333

Herbert Dake – Monroe, WA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Peleliu Cemetery

Peleliu Cemetery

Charles Foss – Ipswich, MA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Cyril Gill – Jersey City, NJ; USMC, WWII, PTO

James Harkness – Elk Point, SD; US Army, WWII

Creed Jones – Robbinsville, NC; US Army, WWII

Sam Macri – New Rochelle, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 457 Artillery/11th Airborne Div.

Brad Prince – Sante Fe, NM; US Army, WWII & Korea

Aloysius Schmitt – St. Lucas, IA; US Navy, Chaplain, USS Oklahoma, Pearl Harbor, KIA

Georgianna Schroeder – Huntington Park, CA; USO, WWII

Victor VanFleet – Kalamazoo, MI; US Navy, WWII

#####################################################################################

Personal note – welcometofla

We are expecting quite a storm here on Thursday, Oct. 6th, [Hurricane Matthew], I suspect we will NOT have electricity for long.  So, please be patient with me as I try to keep up with my Reader page, visitors, and replies to the comments – I WILL be back sooner or later!  Thanks to you ALL !!

6491aa656ab8c3d871503c10411bc408

#####################################################################################

Advertisements

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 October 6, 2016, in First-hand Accounts, Letters home, SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 114 Comments.

  1. So very beautiful, terribly touching. As a Mother of two grown Sons (still at home) what a loving Son your Father was and yes you must be so Proud and rightly so. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your dad was so thoughtful and mature…concern for his mother being worried and I love that he suggested saving the letters. Good thing he made it back!

    We, in California were introduced to a modified version of “shit-on-a-shingle’ made with hamburger meat instead of chipped beef…I like it too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know you and dad would have gotten along just fine! It sure is a great thing that he made it back or I wouldn’t be posting these letters! Thanks for coming by Mrs P, a pleasure as always to see you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a little late getting to this thread of comments – I’m glad you weathered the storm! I really enjoy reading Smitty’s letters. This really brings a personal touch to the overall World-War-II-in-the-Pacific sweep of history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dad refused to write about the war itself. He figured his mom would be worried enough without it. So, he tried to keep her up on the funny aspects of the Army – of which he found plenty.

      Like

  4. Your post and the responses compelled me to pull my copy of the book *Yank* from my library.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I noticed a name from the Farewell list Georgianna Schroeder – Huntington Park, CA; USO, WWII. I was born and lived in Huntington Park. I didn’t know her, or her family . I was born in 1939. I’m having a friend search because there were some Schroders in our High School. Oh my! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A nice tribute to all the soldiers a good military humor

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Stay safe and good luck GP
    Kisses

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love the letters and the comments. They’re both a tribute to all who served and an inspiration to the rest of us. Glad you made out OK w/ the storm. We’re just catching the last of Matthew’s rain today. I may end up w/ lake front property (LOL).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad to hear you’re alright, Anna. The flooding was my main concern, hope you have your fishing gear for that new lake of yours!
      I’m also happy that you enjoy the letters, because they’ll be another one tomorrow (Monday).

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Good luck with the storm.

    Looking forward to the next bit of the story – those censored bits are really tantalising!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Hope you are safe and dry in the storm, GP. I’ve been watching it on the news.

    I’m particularly enjoying Smitty’s letters. They personalize the experiences and remind us that real people served, risked their lives, and sometimes died.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. As always I’m a dollar late and a nickle shy. Love the military humor and my friend you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I thought you had stopped posting. I’m not getting emails notifying me of new posts. I have to figure out why!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I hope you are safe and still have power. My son’s family evacuated yesterday from Jacksonville as they live fairly close to the beach…we are also experiencing winds and rain here, but nothing compared to what you have on the east side. Be well.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I love reading those letters home. I can feel their excitement and youth.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Nothing is private in these letters. Hope you don’t get hit too hard by Matthew

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Dig your bunker deep gp, keep your Tinder dry and your Matches high.
    Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I can quite easily see how the sudden influx of technological machinery of war, would have amazed the primitive peoples of New Guinea, I enjoy reading Smittys perceptions of his introduction to the South Pacific.
    I recall in 1969 landing in the New Guinea highlands in a Caribou plane, the people were of the Kuka Kuka tribe, a tribe just coming out of the cannibal era, they surrounded our plane on landing after initial fear, then poked around under the plane to see if it was female or not, because the back had opened to unload stores, that was moment of primitive people meeting modern technology.
    Cheers mate.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. sending you well wishes and hope all are safe!
    hope the u-turn dissipates and does not do much on the way back..

    oh and good post – and laughing at the flag guy sending jokes… the rabbi and the priest…. lol

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I hope all is well and the hurricane gets outta there !

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Do hope you are safe during Matthew as the flooding could be a real issue. Did like the fact that your dad mentioned realizing how far away from home they were. Those censored lines would have had your mom wondering what was missing that might worry her. It made me wonder!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It would certainly make me wonder, but she was a rather strong woman and would not have let it show.
      We lucked-out as far as the storm goes, it is raging havoc a little farther north of us. Thank you for your concern.

      Like

  21. Good luck in the storm. We need to continue reading your facinating posts. M 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  22. These letters are such treasures and I’m learning new things from every post. Stay safe and I hope your electricity isn’t out for too long.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We Lucked-out, Su. I thank you very much for your concern. I didn’t want people worrying about us, but I wrote that personal note so that no one would get teed-off at me either! LOL

      Like

  23. Our thoughts are with you, G, as the hurricane rushes into Florida. –Curt and Peggy

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I cross my fingers for you and hope nature will be kind to you.Hope hurricane past quickly Be safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. The censors seem to specialise in surely unnecessary obstruction. I love the flag message.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Stay safe, GP! Matthew is a beast and a half…

    Liked by 2 people

  27. I have never written before the phrase, “Good luck with your hurricane”, but I do hope there is not too much damage. We’ll all be waiting for the the day when you return….cue MacArthur!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Taking your cue and paraphrasing – People of WordPress, I have returned…”
      We were very lucky, John. We sat in a sweet spot between the eye and that wicked arm whipping around. We are expecting more rain in a few hours because of that arm, but it shouldn’t be too long. Thanks for the well-wishes – they worked!!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Our thoughts are with you GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Stay safe and sound! Enjoying these letters home from your father. Hope your electricity holds up during the storm.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. It must have felt wonderful to set foot on solid ground again.

    Hope you stay safe!

    Liked by 2 people

    • For Smitty, that answer would have to be a resounding YES.
      We’ve done all we can do here, the rest is up to Nature and our outdated drainage system in this community.

      Like

  31. Yikes! This is a big one! Stay safe!

    Liked by 2 people

  32. We are in Brevard county. Praying for the storm to jog east. Be safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’re both in the purple zone as far as the first pass of the storm. I just hope they’re wrong about it making a U-turn and coming right back at Palm Beach County.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Me too. Years ago, (as in before there was a park there) we went camping at Sebastian Inlet after a storm. After a day, we noticed the wind picking up so parents turned on the car radio and sure enough the storm was coming back!

        Like

        • I remember that and have warned people that these storms have a mind of their own. They’re so strong, they can not be predicted. But here it is morning and it seems we were in a sweet spot between the eye and that arm coming around. We may still get hit with that later this morning, but nothing like we were expecting. I certainly hope you have taken all precautions – I see by the news that Brevard County is taking the brunt of this storm – Stay Safe!!!!!!

          Like

  33. Quite a post, Everett! After finally reaching land and then the heat it certainly was rough. Bet when they got out they wanted some real food. Loved the humor section 🙂 Stay safe during the hurricane!!

    Liked by 2 people

  34. What I like about your blog best is the fact that you are able to combine the historical events with the personal experiences of your father. He is so right about what he said about the letters to his mother. They really help to bring back vividly memories of past experiences that would otherwise be lost forever.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They sure bring a smile to my face because I can picture him saying it all! I’m glad you’re enjoying them too. Dad does get his humor into the letters soon too!

      Like

  35. Stay safe and I hope all works out for the best. I am glad where I live it is only snow storms we have to put up with.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I miss the snow actually; 46 years of this heat is enough for anyone! But it is easier to put down shutters than to shovel snow – so……..
      Thanks for dropping by.

      Like

  36. As always, a poignant reminder of young men far from home, facing an uncertain future.
    Good luck with that storm, GP!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I could just picture my father looking forward to the unexpected in this letter.
      I’m as safe as I’m going to be at the moment, but I may need that luck you’re talking about. They say now that the storm may hit, head north and THEN make a U-turn and come back at us – Weather Channel, ugh – always good for a laugh!!

      Like

  37. Another great post. I have to focus on the cartoons today, they just made me chuckle, and this was a good day for a laugh – thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  38. He sounds much more upbeat in this letter. I look forward to seeing what happens once he is ashore.

    Stay safe in the storm!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Smitty gets even more creative once on shore. I think you’ll get a kick out of them.
      It looks like I’m living in a cave at the moment, so unless the roof blows off – I’ll be a-okay in the storm. Thanks for your concern, Amy.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. We’ll be keeping you and yours in our thoughts and prayers as the storm passes. Stay safe my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Batten down those hatches, and good luck with the hurricane.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you – hatches are now battened – but they’re talking about it making a U-turn and end up hitting us twice. This place might be cave for quite a while. Just happy to still have electric!

      Liked by 2 people

  41. Thank you for retelling Smitty’s story!

    Like

  1. Pingback: The Weekly Headlines – My Daily Musing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: