UNITED STATES NAVY
14 Sept. 1944
Dear Miss Blaney + Bryant Service Club:
After leaving Mississippi we spent a few weeks in California. That was our last stop in the States so you can be sure that a good time was had by all. Our stay there short; I will never forget the last look I got at the shores of California. I then realized that it would be a long time before I saw the states again. The band had marched us to the ship + as we loaded + boarded the transport they played the songs & marches that we wanted to hear. As we pulled out they started playing “The Song of the Islands” – I then was sure that our destination was the Hawaiian Islands. Some days later we docked only to leave the Hawaiian Islands a few weeks later.
While visiting Honolulu I met Herky Goldfield + Donald Rubinstein, two Bryant boys. It was a great day for us as we really painted the town red. We swam at Waikiki, dined at the Royal Hawaiian + really had fun. It was the last time I saw both fellas as I then shipped out.
After spending a good part of my life aboard ship we finally debarked upon reaching Tinian (in the Marianna Group) Struggling down cargo nets with full packs + rifles was the beginning of my life on the Tinian. When I hit the beach my first thought was “I wonder how long it will be before I board a ship headed for the Golden Gate”. My thoughts were interrupted as we then proceeded to climb aboard trucks. We were to be taken to our home.
On the way to our camp site this is what I saw: the town could have been a fairly large one; couldn’t tell because everything was a mass of rubbles; from then on the picture was same. Jap planes + equipment was scattered all over. Twisted steel, melted glass, craters and burned (Jap) equipment plus many other results of a barrage were a common theme.
After arriving at camp we started work immediately. Our camp site was in terrible shape but it wasn’t long before tents went up. It is surprising to observe the progress we have made since setting foot upon our site. K. + C. rations have been our food since arriving. I hope that soon we shall eat a hot meal – on tables. Trying to ward off flies, mosquitos, ants, bugs, lizards, worms + many others, and attempting to eat at the same time is quite a job. Milk + eggs, I mean the real stuff + not powdered, is something I haven’t had since leaving Hawaii + I sure miss it.
Rain + mud is plentiful here. It is getting so that we are making good use of rain. There are no shower facilities here so when it does rain we get our soap + towel + enjoy a good shower. When it doesn’t rain, the sun is out + powers forth with all its might. It gets so hot here that you can easily fry an egg (if you had one) on the tents. Dengue fever is the only disease present on this island. I’m looking forward to trying to pass this one up by covering myself well night + day.
Our recreation is reading + writing. Maybe someday we will have monies- I hope so.
Some of the Japs are in the hills a short way from us, which necessitates carrying a rifle with you. For a while they were sniping from the hills but it has quieted down somewhat. Frequently they are caught stealing into camp in search of food.
Please send me a copy of the “Campus” + other student publications. I am looking forward to hearing from you. Give my best to Profs. Appleby, Vinal, Gulski, Naylor and don’t forget Mac + John. Luck + Success to all.
James J. LaRussa y2/c