Smitty ~ Letter IX

New Guinea, WWII

New Guinea, WWII

Letter IX                                            “A Day’s Venture”                           Monday 6/26/44

Dear Mom,

Yesterday, being Sunday, a day of rest, I decided to ride around this place and see something.  I made up my mine though that this sightseeing tour of mine, this time, would be done as a civilian completely forgetting I’m in the army.  You have to do this in order to see the place in its true light, otherwise if you don’t all you can see is hardship and work.  With my mind cleared of Khaki, I set forth in a jeep with a buddy of mine; who I dare say couldn’t see the sense of our venture.

As we drove along in the still quiet, the thought kept coming to me of the enormous job the boys before us had to confront and overcome.  Here and there along the way you could see some old emplacement or deserted village.  These villages were really something to see with their straw-thatched roofs and open sided houses.  We wouldn’t call them shed, but that is just what they looked like.

New Guinea 10/24/44

Smitty in New Guinea

One can readily understand why the authors of those travelogues really go all out when describing these islands.  You forget the heat as cooling breezes blow over you from the coast and the shade of the giant coconut trees gradually engulf you.

We passed one spot close to the coast that suddenly shook us with the horrible realization of our place and mission.  It wasn’t large or spread out, but all was peaceful and quiet though men were gaily chatting and swimming nearby.  We entered by an archway on which was inscribed, “Japanese Cemetery.”  We passed now upon some of the little white markers all neatly lined up and lettered.  Although they were once an active enemy, one could not help but see the shame and waste of war.

The water off Lae, New Guinea

The water off Lae, New Guinea

We looked around the beach for a while, then decided to go in for a swim.  The water here is amazingly warm and clear.  You could never believe it unless you could see it as I have.  How crystal clear and immune of blemish this water here is.  Why, to peer down 25 feet and see bottom is really an easy thing to do.  The bottom is sand, sand at its finest and whitest literally covered with shells of every shape and color with here and there a grotesque piece of coral.  You can really pick out the coral as it shows up a faint green while the shells throw all colors of the rainbow up at you until your eyes are completely dazzled by the many-colored lights.

By this time, the sun was well on its way toward the horizon and dusk rapidly approaching.  Here and there a faint star twinkled until suddenly the sky was almost completely covered with thousands.  The moon finally appeared in all its bright glory and reflected itself a hundred times over on the waves before us.  The end of the day had come and with it also my venture into a world never to be forgotten.  This day will long be remembered and stored with the rest of my most treasured memories.

Good night!  And may God bless you,  Everett

PS.  I shall write to Joe Dumb as soon as I send this letter on its way.  Be good and take care of yourself.

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

misslerange

"And, that's an order!"

“And, that’s an order!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Alvin Ake – Perkins, OK; US Army, WWII, 324th Infantry Regiment

Raphael Clothier – Canberra, AUS; RA Air Force # 20871, Cpl.vietnam-memorial-640x360

Robert Hoover – Nashville, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 52nd Fighter Group, pilot, POW (escaped)

Richard Jacobs – Waikato, NZ; NZ Expeditionary Force # 622312, RNZ Army, WWII

Thomas Kearns – Woburn, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, T5 antiaircraft gunner

George Martini – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Essex

John Osika – Port Vue, PA; US Army, WWII

Joyce “Lucky” Parker – Bartow, FL; US Army, WWII

James Smith – Liberty, MS; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, KIA (Tarawa)

Charles Wilkinson – Ormond-By-The-Sea, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 127th Engineers/11th Airborne Div.

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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 November 7, 2016, in Letters home, SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 106 Comments.

  1. A beautiful, magical letter.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very captivating story. I’m glad we got to see life from a soldier’s ‘civilian’ perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Twentysomething Social Recluse

    This part of the letter ” I made up my mine though that this sightseeing tour of mine, this time, would be done as a civilian completely forgetting I’m in the army. You have to do this in order to see the place in its true light, otherwise if you don’t all you can see is hardship and work. ” is really sticking in my mind. Thank you as always for sharing!

    Like

  4. A very beautiful description of the beach, a piece of Paradise among the realities of war.
    That particular memory would have been ingrained in Smitty’s memory all his life.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. silviadeangelis40d

    Molto interessante questo articolo
    Un saluto,silvia

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Smitty’s ability to find beauty in wartime is impressive xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Some beautiful writing by your father GP! The imagery is quite good. I feel as if I am right there, seeing everything myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t that something?!! Without formal training, he just wrote what he felt. Thank you for stopping by and reading this letter; it’s an example of the man I was lucky enough to call Dad.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I sense that your dad always looked on the brighter side of life. A great trait.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a beautiful letter, so poetic and appreciative of the beauty. The poignancy of seeing the grave markers struck me too – his overarching compassion for the toll of war.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. GP, Smitty has a beautiful way with words. His thoughtfulness, and love of the world around him comes through, even under war’s difficult circumstances. Enjoy his thought-provoking letters. 💛 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It is good that he had a chance for such a trip

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is such a beautiful tender letter, poetic in its description of the beauty around him, philosophical about the cost of war. Such warmth, love and directness. Thank you for sharing – these are real treasure troves that should be saved.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Again I was very touched by your father’s letter IX. He expressed his feelings about the horrors of war very well, after he had driven past a Japanese cemetery. He was also a romantic at heart, especially because he took the time to break free from the army mindset to enjoy the beauty of his tropical surroundings.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thanks for sharing. With Veteran’s Day upon us it is a privilege to learn about the reality of what our veterans endured, the good and bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a beautiful letter that his mom would be happy to get . He seems to have had the ability and wisdom to put the war away in a drawer for a time . The idea that the sightseeing trip ” would be done as a civilian ” is revealing , isn’t it ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dad knew odds were he’d never get the chance to see New Guinea again, so why not make the best of it while he could. I loved hearing the different ways he thought about situations!!

      Like

  16. Smitty was waxing lyrical in that letter GP, almost wanted to be there with him. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The contrast between these letters goes to show what a remarkable person he was. His eye for detail, his sense of humour and his love of beautiful things shining through in each and every one. He was an amazing writer that’s for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I love Smitty’s letters and this one was priceless. I love the way he describes the venture and the scenery. Wow, to be able to see such beauty in a time of war! He was truly a great man IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. White markers, neatly lined up? Okay for some—in many places the Seabees and/or others just bulldozed ’em in.

    No problems understanding why …

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I love these letters, I send postcards to friends and they enjoy receiving them. I don’t think digital messages are quite the same.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Lovely letter. His thoughts on the waste of war was touching.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. “..The waste of war…” how very, very true. And worst of all is the loss of potential. The young girls left unmarried. The children never born.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. He waxed poetic here. A beautiful letter.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. One of Smitty’s best. Thanks for sharing with us, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I enjoyed reading Smitty’s heartfelt Letter IX. A reminder that there were light moments of reflection in wartime.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. What an amazing ability to look for some good in every situation Smitty seemed to have. I remember my father talking about a day they were playing softball. I’m glad these guys had some good memories to carry with them, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. In reading your Fathers letters, it seems that not only did he have a way with words and a deep appreciation for the uniqueness of his circumstances, I often get the distinct feeling that he wrote with a certain purpose and awareness. I can feel his deep concern for the well being and state of mind he held for his Mother and family back home. He often seems to try to ease her mind about his safety by describing events and details that would not cause her undue worry or fear. His love and concern for her is clearly evident in his letters, your Father was indeed a very thoughtful and considerate man. It will be interesting to see if or how that may change as his tour in the war progresses, I suspect that his last letter will be as full of love and concern as his first.

    We all owe you a sincere debt of gratitude for sharing such a personal and intimate glimpse into the life of your family during a time of war. It is far more than history, it is a unique perspective presented in a way that reminds us all that war is fought by real people who make great sacrifices to protect those they love.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much for phrasing all that so eloquently – I just can not seem to find the right words when I really need them. I’ve always been extremely proud of my father and these letters help to show others my reason why. I’m very glad that you find them interesting enough to hold your interest!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I also enjoy the letters. I could see why he would want to be a tourist for a day. Thanks for sharing, Everett!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I guess one of the few benefits to going to war is that sometimes you get to be a tourist on Uncle Sam’s dime. I had similar “tourist” experiences while stationed overseas, though fortunately not during any war.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. How remarkable to find such beauty in the midst of war, and I love his line about “the shame and waste of war.” How very true.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. A poignant read indeed. How your Dad delighted at the natural beauty of a land so ravaged by war. It was nice that he had some time to appreciate the wonders of nature, before returning to the harsh realities of the conflict.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And he continued to remember it too. I thought maybe he made it up for my grandmother’s sake, but he when I asked, he said he never again saw water so clear and beautiful. Thanks for reading, Pete.

      Like

  32. A silver lining in the war. I’m glad he was able to swim in such beautiful water and take a break.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. He really had a wonderful way of describing a scene and was remarkably interested in the world around him outside of the war he found himself part of…his compassion for those who had died ‘although they were once an active enemy’ speaks volumes about his humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for seeing that. Dad always did believe in searching all sides to something to discover the truth and if he was in a war against an enemy he never met – they might be in the same situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Wow! To have a moment during a war to take in the beauty of an ocean swim…

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Smitty was an excellent writer. Thank you again for sharing his letters with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I love these letters because more than most stories, they remind us that all those “numbers” in war were made up of individuals. I also identify with Smitty: when I had less than a month in Vietnam, I grabbed a sergeant friend and drove my Jeep from Quang Tri down to Hue, becoming just a tourist visiting the old capital.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Incredibly moving

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Whoa! Thanks again. Smitty would never have believe how popular his letters have become!!

    Like

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