Rest Camp in the Pacific
March 14, 1944
Your letters today saying that you got my first since Namur, on the 24th. I am glad for that much, but there is a 20 day gap–half a dozen letters probably fluttering home by way of Cairo. Glad to hear it because I know just how very much your letters mean to me. I’ll never forget the tremendous kick I got out of that pile I got when we arrived here–and I still re- and re-read them, and chortle over the ones that come in. Yours may be brief, Mother–nothing will ever change that, but their frequency is very comforting, and somehow, in spite of the length, they speak of you–sound like you. And Gretchen, you’re wonderful–positively my favorite author–more sketches–I love ‘em, as you know. As the current phrase goes that my platoon is writing home, “You write, I’ll fight.” Another goes, “Don’t get nervous in the service.”
Matter of fact, it’s amazing the language that becomes current in a group that is isolated as we are. .812 percent of them are, of course, heavy with obscenity–but humorously so–it even extends to ways of thought on communal subjects, such as the way the fighting went on Namur–who did what wrong and what happened–I’m quite convinced that if you should ever see two members of the same Marine outfit leaning over a bar together 30 years from now, odds are they will be talking about the campaigns they fought together. There isn’t even the slightest sign of slackening yet. And life in the camp–orders, opinions about commanders–what seem like arguments are usually just violent agreements. Our lots and natures and futures are so very much the same that there is very little room for disagreement–on strategy of the war (nobody is doing anything but the Marine Corps, though the Navy does somehow manage to get them from one fighting spot to another–“Dugout Doug” is any number of foul names, down on the Marine Corps and almost as much of a publicity hound as we are–Italy is a disgrace and China is the only one of the Allies that we can trust and ought to help–though England is all right, but she ought to be able to provide for herself now, with the shipping lanes open)–and politics, unanimous in denouncing anyone who smacks of isolationism, strongly pro-Roosevelt, and can’t understand why he’s getting such a riding in the press–and naturally, no mercy for the strikers who are lucky enough to be at home and earning some money.
This group of servicemen, having been together longer than those in the last war, and more numerous, are going to play a big part in national policy when they get home, the dominant part, not because of any organization or Legion they might have, but because they know each others worth and think the same way. I’m afraid though that it will be too easy to lead them–they’re being accustomed to it so young.
Like to go on, but chow down, and I’ve got to chop chop over there.