Letter VII Land

native hut in New Guinea

For a period of five months the 11th Airborne Division would receive jungle warfare and intensified combat unit ground training in the primitive land of jungles and mountains and thatched huts and the native population fondly called, Fuzzy Wuzzies.  The Papua brigades and Allied forces, that fought in what constituted the Cartwheel Operations before the troopers arrived, made this landing possible.

The Dobodura area that the 11th A/B would make their home was inherited from the 5th Air Force.  The first order of business was for the 408th Quartermaster trucks to deliver the pyramidal tents.

Smitty near Lae, New Guinea

 

 

Letter VII                                                          Land               6/8/44

 

  Dear Mom,    

Well, here we are on the island of New Guinea.  From what we can see if it so far, I know we’ll never go hungry as the coconut trees are as thick as a swarm of bees.

We started for our area in trucks after all the rumors said we’d walk and we “Oh!” and Ah’d” all throughout the trip.  Not wanting to show the natives here how smart we are, the driver proceeded on his own when lo and behold — where were we?  I don’t know, no one knows, so right away we all knew that wherever we were — that wasn’t where we were supposed to be. 

Now, of course, we weren’t to blame, as after all, this is a strange and new place to us and they didn’t give us a Socony road map or a compass reading, so no matter — drive on — come what may.  Of course, some large and strange appearing trees which grew in the road had different ideas and no matter how hard we hit them, they consistently set us back.  How they ever managed to find a road to grow in is beyond me, but then they were here before us.  Naturally, after the way they treated our truck, we gave them a wide berth, eventually leaving the road al together.

When after what seemed like hours, we finally found our area, much to the delight of the lower hind part of our anatomy.  Then, our shoulders and backs had to haul our bags around until we found our tents.  This was done very systematically: someone had the idea of first asking the captain just where we belonged and he proceeded to take us there.  We could see at once that this place was no place for us and got right down to thinking up goldbricking alibis.

Work here is the main word we soon found out, and might I add we are all still trying to duck, but it seems that as soon as one finds a spot in the woods, oops I mean jungle, the tree-chopper-downers come along and there you are not only up to your neck in work, but also find out that now your haven is so exposed as to make it useless again as a hideout.

You might wonder what all this labor is about and also expect to find out in this chapter or letter, but no, it shall never be.  I’m saving that for the next installment, which I’m sure you will be breathlessly awaiting. 

 Regards to all.

Love, Your son,  Everett

Quartermaster Corps collar disc

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph Barno – Nesquehoning, PA; US Navy, WWII  /  USMC, Korea, Sgt.

Wesley J. Brown – Helena, MT; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Arthur W. Countryman – Plainfield, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, TSgt., Co. F/12/4th Infantry Division Bronze Star, KIA (Hürtgen Forest, GER)

Robert F. England – MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, “Hump” pilot  /  Korea, 1st Lt.

Kenneth G. Hart (100) – Stanwood, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Floyd D. Helton – Somerset, KY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Oklahoma, Fireman, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Donald Johnson (100) – Lake Orion, MI; US Navy, WWII, USS Takanis Bay (CVE-89)

Henry J. Kolasinski – Clayton, DE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 511/11th Airborne Division

Charles E. Lee – McLennan County, TX; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. K/3/34/24th Infantry Division, Field Lineman, KIA (Taejon, SK)

Thelma Miller – Akron, OH; Civilian, WWII, Goodyear Aircraft Corp., F4U construction

Robert Read (101) – London, ENG; Royal Navy, submarine service / Korea, Lt. Comdr.

Merle Smith Jr. – New London, CT; US Coast Guard, Vietnam, Cutter Comdr., Coast Guard Academy graduate Class of ’66

John J. Trumbley – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Co. H/137th Infantry, Sgt.

Stanley Wilusz – Holyoke, MA; US Merchant Marines, WWII  /  US Army, Korea, Sgt.

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My week went well……

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About GP

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

Posted on June 28, 2021, in First-hand Accounts, Letters home, SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 128 Comments.

  1. Every letter I read has me thinking of your mom with a smile on her face at Smitty’s ongoing wit. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These letters are priceless but I’m not telling you something you don’t know. Thanks for sharing a soldiers eye view of service in the Pacific in WWII.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t realize there was a PNG unit. Good story

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the cat picture. I have been there

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for following my site, and for your like of my post, “Tribulation Prophecies And Doctrine 12 – The Beginning Of The Sixty-Nine Weeks 4;” you are very kind.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so enjoying these letters! On a side note, the quality of your dad’s writing- language, grammar, and vocabulary- is outstanding.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thanks for your like of my post, “Tribulation Prophecies And Doctrine 12 – The Beginning Of The Sixty-Nine Weeks 4.;” you are very kind.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good one. I read a story about an encounter with an indigenous person from New Guinea and our soldiers. An old man was nearly immobilized with elephantiasis of his testicles. Some of our soldiers rustled up a wheelbarrow for him to transport his danglies in. Smart guys.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. And I spy Australians in that first photo. My father often spoke of his affection for the Fuzzy Wuzzies who acted as stretcher bearers in the New Guinea campaigns. They were nicknamed Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels by the press and I remember reading a poem written about them by an Australian soldier. I worked for quite a few years at a mine on Bougainville Island in the 80s and a number of my PNG workmates were the sons of those Fuzzy Wuzzies. Also while I was working at the mine we had a new Japanese-made mining machine break down, and a Japanese engineer was flown in to help get it going again. I worked with him for a week or so. Toshi was his name, and his father had fought against the Australians and Americans on Bougainville. I didn’t ask him for details, but he must have survived the war, I guess as a POW. We got along just fine — strange world.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. What a great letter. I love the way he always saves a little back for the next installment! The mention of the Fuzzy Wuzzies intrigued me. You may have written about them before, and I missed it. The first thing that came to mind was the childhood poem: “Fuzzy Wuzzy wuz a bear; Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wuzn’t fuzzy, wuz he?” I wondered if the poem came from the Fuzzy Wuzzies in New Guinea, but I found this: “The origins of this nursery rhyme aren’t clear but the term “fuzzy wuzzy” was used to describe the Hadendoa warriors in Sudan in a 1892 poem by Rudyard Kipling.”

    When I went looking for more information about the New Guinea Fuzzy Wuzzies, I found this terrific article about the so-called Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels and what they did for our troops.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is an amazing article about them and not one word an exaggeration. They were tireless and being more accustom to the weather, had more stamina than the troops. If I’m not mistaken, the Australians made the term Fuzzy Wuzzies a household name.
      I do remember Fuzzy Wuzzy wuz a bear… you do know how to bring a smile to my face – thanks, Linda!

      Like

  11. I really enjoy these letters. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Written Letters were once an exciting way to communicate. Nice share.♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  13. He would have made an excellent blogger with his ‘installments’ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for sharing the actual letter! I love reading the perspective of people who lived before us.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. It is so great that you still have all these letters. I hope you have a future repository for them. They are important parts of history.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They are all going to the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Being as i lost my only child, I figured everything I have of Dad’s, plus whatever I’ve collected on my own or given to me by other bloggers needed a safe place to go.
      Thank you for your concern.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. New Guinea must have been an incredible place for somebody who had never seen the jungle on TV like we all have. Last night, I watched a programme about the bayous of Louisiana and that was enough for me! And that is no slight on the Louisianians, of course.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. One of my bosses in the early 1980s was often down with the malaria he caught fighting in the jungles during WWII. I seem to remember stories of the jungle reclaiming the land as fast as it was cleared.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Some good Smitty humour in this one

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Even though his mom was worried about him, I know she would have had to smile at that letter. His descriptions created pictures in the mind. Speaking of pictures, I’m surprised at how many pictures of your dad were taken on foreign soil.

    Liked by 2 people

    • He tried to avoid the military cameraman, so as it keep himself out of a newsreel. I do not know if these were with his camera or what. I have none from the combat stage. (which is understandable).

      Like

  20. Smitty was certainly feeling his oats when he wrote this letter!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. In the picture, your father looks good and healthy, but a little slim, doesn’t he? You learn to write very quickly, which does not have to be censored. 😉 Thank you for sharing, GP! Enjoy a beautiful week! You are living in the State of Fun! 🙂 xx Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dad was slim here and also in the best shape of his life – actually all the troopers were. There continuous training contributed to the low KIA rate for their division.

      Like

  22. What a fabulous sense of humour Smitty had! It can’t have been easy in those conditions and it’s nice to know they are still human!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Sounds like his first adventure in New Guinea happened a little sooner than anticipated!

    Another note for your next farewell salute: https://www.staradvertiser.com/2021/06/28/hawaii-news/pilot-who-flew-bombing-missions-in-wwii-dies-at-97/ (member of the 38th Bomb Group)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for contributing to Pacific Paratrooper, but I’m very sorry for the 5th’s loss. Jack DeTour will be in the Salutes next Monday!!

      Like

  24. Wat zzn lizve zoon was je pa toch

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Lovely attitude. I love how he found enough humor in everything to (probably) ease the stress back home. It’s clear that he was thinking of their feelings. as he wrote these letters. Thanks so much for sharing them.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I enjoyed the letter, GP. Cute cat photo.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Thx for posting the amazing letter from Smitty to his Mom! Yeah, I can picture the coconuts. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Ha! What a great letter. He sure kept his sense of humor in a difficult situation. I love the hut photo too, GP. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Smitty is a very descriptive writer! I can picture everything in his letters.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Your dad looks like a happy man full of optimism. I noticed it in other earlier photos. Work in the heat of the tropical island of New Guinea must have been awful.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I love the way Smitty described things. He writes very well. The coconuts remind me of when I bought a coconut here and tried to extract the water in it. I ruined a good knife!

    Liked by 2 people

  32. I love these letters. I can only imagine Smitty’s mother’s excitement to receive this letter.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. He had a great sense of humour….and nice how he kept it light and amusing for his mother.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. ‘Not wanting to show the natives here how smart we are…’ whooboy, this one gave me a good chuckle, GP, as did the military humor. (Though, having been tragically born without a sense of direction, maybe I’d better not laugh too loudly!)

    Liked by 2 people

  35. what an interesting duty they had, great for telling their stories.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Smitty had a wonderfully sly sense of humor. I loved your cartoons, 3 sillies and a somber. I’m expecting that you may have a few marvelous 4th of July graphics for us.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. He writes so well, I love reading his letters, I bet Mom did too.

    Liked by 4 people

  38. Wow – trees in the road sure made for an inconvenience and imagining all those coconuts available was a nice image – and also
    Good Nourishment

    Liked by 4 people

  39. Always good to hear about the reality of trying to dodge heavy work. I respect how he keeps almost anything bad out of his letters, making life sound as if it is always tolerable so as not to worry his beloved family.
    (And we got a cross-eyed cat in pirate costume too! 🙂 )
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

  40. There is so much unknown history. Too bad they waste time teaching Common Core and CRT in schools.
    How about they teach them how to be a real superhuman that fights evil?

    Liked by 3 people

  41. The letter reveals a lot of Smitty’s subtle sense of humor.

    Liked by 5 people

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