68: Known For A Gung-Ho Spirit.

6 May, 44
Twenty five years now[1]

Dear girls,

No sensational news, except that we’ve been doing a lot of work lately. Except for those pretty grim inspections, we had little to do for the first six weeks after we got here, but the last six weeks have been spent getting us back into shape–and we are in good shape now. “Don’t send any more V-Mail, only Air Mail” is all that I’m authorized to say.

Got your “Good Night, Sweet Prince” yesterday–looks so good that I’ve decided to save it for a while. We’ve been so busy the last few weeks that I haven’t had time to read. Sit down with a book and I fall asleep half the time. Don’t even have much chance to play poker. Also got Aunt Kit’s package and it was delicious–some special kind of rum cakes that Napoleon loved–thank her for me if I don’t get to it, will you?

Ervin made Sergeant last week, and Henderson, one of my Squad leaders, made Corporal at the same time–they had been waiting for it for a long time, so I gave the Section a beer party to celebrate.[2] Rounded up ten cases of it–hard to get, as they are limited to two bottles a night at the slop chute–even had to steal two of the cases–got grills and hamburgers to cook out there–had it all taken out to a little spot in the boondocks–ice, cigars, pogie-bait and fruit–then broke them out in marching formation at 4 PM. They didn’t know anything about it, and grumbled about it, thinking they were going on a special working party–when we got there and they saw the spread, a great shout, and they fell on the food and beer. It was a great success, since everyone got potted–we even had to carry two of them home when it broke up about midnight. We talked and chatted and sang old songs around the fire–and one squad put on an impromptu floor show which, as I remember it, was very funny.

They’re a damned good bunch of boys–we’re known in the Company for a Gung Ho spirit–which is just fine, as far as I’m concerned.

Phil Wood (standing) with some of his mortarmen, 1944.
Phil Wood (standing) with some of his mortarmen. April, 1944.

Had an amazing time on liberty the other day–we had been working, and were stiff, so when we saw a massage parlor, it looked good. I went in with Murray Fox–neither of us had ever had one.[3] It was a Jap place, and the prop[rietor] told us to go into one of the booths and take off our clothes. I left my scivvy drawers on, but when he came in to do my back, he made me take them off. It felt good–very restful. I was dozing after he left and a woman came in. I thought she had come into the wrong place, and grabbed a small but handy towel to protect myself. But she pounced on me, pushed me back prone on the table, and started mauling me, jabbering all the time in Jap.

When she had pounded me until I was gasping, she stepped back, hands on hips, surveyed me up and down, and said “Too much to do, charge and a half”–reached over, and snatched my towel away. I sat up, screaming that she had no sense of shame, but she had a bottle of rubbing alcohol in her hands, and she poured it on my stomach, and it was frigid (I use that word after due thought) and ran all over the place–I realized that I was helpless and relaxed to enjoy the inevitable.

I liked the massage itself, but no more masseuses for me.

The pictures with Harry are the conventional thing to do here, but it took a bit of persuading to get Harry to do it. For a quarter more it would show her kissing us, she said, but we said we didn’t have another quarter between us. You can even see the rosy glow on Harry’s face.

Phil Wood, Harry Reynolds, a young lady who offered kisses for a quarter.

Until later, lots of love, and a kiss for each of you–free.



[1] The significance of this note is not known.
[2] Promotions came down on 27 April. Claude T. Henderson embodied PFC–“Praying For Corporal”–for months, even sewing corporal’s chevrons on a spare shirt in anticipation. He would later earn the Silver Star on Tinian, on the day he died from a bullet to the throat.
[3] 1Lt. John Murray Fox was Phil’s counterpart, the mortar section leader in Company C.

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