49: My Thoughts Are With You, Mother.

March 3

Dear girls,

In my last, which went “free” by slow freight, I explained that we were only allowed to send one airmail letter a week, but since I have found out that I’m the one that has to enforce the regulation–well, here we are again. Things are quiet and actually restful. We had our first liberty a few days ago, and though the town is small and quiet, it felt wonderful to get away for a few hours, and do just exactly what you want to do. See a woman, the first woman white or black in almost two months. That’s just about as close as you can get to them around here, too–see them.

There have been many changes made in our outfit–most of them caused, not by casualties, but by Colonel Hart’s (Regimental Commander) belief that we have been too long in our present jobs, and need a change–new faces. Also the fact that Headquarters Wash. has changed the organizational set-up of a company. What used to be a separate heavy weapons company–heavy machine guns–is now a part of our rifle company–to that new platoon is added my section (3 squads) of light machine guns. And my mortar section has been slightly increased–my command now consists of the mortars, and Company Headquarters personnel.[1] Which suits me fine. Our Battalion Commander wanted to make me TQM–a job peculiar to the Marine Corps, concerned with Combat loading and unloading of ships. I would have had charge of all the supplies for the Battalion. A responsible job and all that, and someone has to do it, but I didn’t want it. It meant leaving my men, and the Company, and I like working with the mortars–and it’s too far behind the lines. So the Captain and I screamed like wild Indians, and I stayed. But most of the rest were juggled, and they were all very unhappy about it. I think it’s a hell of a theory myself.[2]

Dammit, I wish I could talk about the action–casualties, etc. Every time I start out to tell you something I run into things I cannot say–and it’s very damned annoying.

I’m sending (via the next express tortoise, free mail) a souvenir for Warvy. Take especial pains that it gets directly to him, Mother–kids of that age go for things like that. And if ever a boy needed a helping hand, he does. If there comes an opportunity for you to take him in, I thought you ought to. It would do you and Gretch good, too. He’s pretty white, and the world just isn’t giving him an even break.[3]

Today is March 4, and my thoughts are with you, Mother.[4] So much has happened since–to all three of us–but somehow that relationship which he founded has not changed, but only grown in strength–your love for him–and from it our feeling of family, of unity and love.

If he were living–I’ve said that a thousand times–he’d be in this with me, and we’d be so proud of each other!

All my love,


[1] This was a Corps-wide change to a new Table of Organization (T/O) called the “F-Series.” Phil’s machine gunners were reorganized into a new platoon under Lt. Joseph Stevens. The mortarmen became part of the company headquarters, allowing him to work more closely with Captain Irving Schechter.
[2] About one third of the battalion’s officers were shuffled around to new jobs. The position of TQM (Transport Quartermaster) went to Lt. Charles W. “Bill” Carbeau.
[3] “Warvy” and his souvenir are unknown. The mysterious sentiment about “take him in” has no previous context in Phil’s correspondence, and the subject never came up again.
[4] The anniversary of Phil Senior’s death.

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