52: The “Daring Dozen.”

13 March

Dear Girls,

Nothing special [has] been happening the last few days. I’ve been working on recommendations for awards–Silver Star, etc. They’re tough to write and hard to get the facts on, but it’s pretty interesting. Two of the men in my platoon–Sergeant Tucker and Corporal Ervin–are up for the Navy Cross–for a long time we were considering Tucker for the Congressional–the highest the country has to offer. You may have read some of the stories about him and the “daring dozen”–A Company boys.[1] They are flamboyant in spots, but on the whole they don’t do him justice. Harry is up for the Silver Star–he and Dyess are the only officers. There are quite a number in the battalion, and I’m doing them all.

Life here in camp is pretty pleasant on the whole–we have our Officer’s Wine Mess, which serves drinks from 4 to 7 daily–we all drink a scotch & soda or two before dinner–and chow is good. By contributing $5 a month we get extras such as fresh milk once a week, fresh fruit & vegetables. The NCOs do the same for their own mess. And we have electric lights now, which means poker games almost every night. I’ve gone down a little recently, but am still the big winner. Don’t worry Mother–it’s a game of skill, not chance. I think.

We have cement floors in our two-man tents–I’m living with Joe Swoyer, a hell of a good man that I’ve been with ever since OC class. From Germantown.[2] We have cots and even sheets now–I hocked a couple of very comfortable chairs, and Joe and I even bought a lampshade in a happy moment on our last town liberty.

The only think I don’t like is the return to the petty disciplines of “barracks life”–we got along so well without them on the island–it’s like putting on a pair of tight shoes again after going barefoot on a grassy lawn–I suppose it’s necessary, but I chafe under them at times. Probably a good long leave wouldn’t do me any harm–in New York, say, somewhere around Gramercy Park, where I could look up a couple of beautiful women I know.[3]

Love,
Phil

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FOOTNOTES
[1] Newspaper stories about “the daring dozen” appeared in AP newspapers nationwide shortly after the battle. Tucker, who personally accounted for nearly 40 Japanese soldiers in a long night of sniping, was a household name for a brief period.
[2] Lieutenant Joseph Swoyer had the machine gun platoon of Company B.
[3] Gretchen and Margaretta lived at 120 East 19th Street in Manhattan, just a block from Gramercy Park.

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