Army Life – Dave in Okinawa (2) – June, 1945

 

dpg-dave-in-okinawa-2-june-1945

The people are short, not very modest, and go around barefooted. Although I haven’t seen it myself, I’ve been told that the girls take baths while all the American boys stand around and gape (naturally). Much to my surprise somebody told me they had seen an outhouse on the island. I still haven’t seen one. Don’t ask me how they do it. I haven’t seen any traces of human dung. I understand they use it for fertilizer in their fields.

Of course, true to oriental style, every square foot of land that is cultivatable has something of worth growing on it.

I saw Kadona (?) in shambles. It sort of hurt to see machines standing in a pile of rock and rubble. I kept thinking how I would feel if I went back home and saw where your office used to be, parts of our automatic feed and maybe a multi-graph head standing in a heap of broken wood. Now Kadona (?) is just a flat hunk of bull-dozed land. You wouldn’t even know that there had once been a good-sized town standing there. Some of the villages are still standing although the houses have been ransacked.

Our group was the first to set up a bivouac area in the spot assigned to us. There were no other outfits around. We were told that snipers were not scarce and that air raids were frequent. We were a small group and had to supply our own guards. It was all now   to us – this business of guarding a bivouac area for a real enemy who might be armed with grenades, a knife and a rifle. It wasn’t like that old fire ground at Crowder where you walked around with an empty carbine on your shoulder. Here you sat as still as the mosquitoes would let you and every leaf that rustled or every domestic animal (there were a lot of pigs, goats and horses left by the fleeing natives) that moved had a carbine pointed in its direction. But I never did see a live sniper.

The first day after we got to our bivouac area a couple of the boys went out to do some exploring. They didn’t get more than a couple of hundred feet away from the area before they ran across a Jap soldier and a civilian who had been hit by flamethrowers. The soldier caught his before he could get out of his foxhole. Surprisingly enough, they didn’t smell too badly. A detail was sent out to bury them.

One night we had a raid and for the first time we saw an enemy observation plane. We had seen plenty of zeros and had seen lots of them shot down, this was the first time we had seen an observation plane. One of the boys made the speculation that we soon would be bombed. This theory I quickly pooh-poohed, figuring it was too far-fetched. That night I went to bed in perfect peace (nevertheless I was in my foxhole which was covered with my tent). The next thing I knew there was a terrific explosion that shook the dirt loose from the sides of my foxhole, and bounced me up and down on my cot. Then another and another. There were five of them altogether. I wondered what it was so I got up and looked out between the flaps of my tent. I saw that dawn was breaking as I threw on my shoes (I had the rest of my clothes on all night) and went out to see what had happened. The first person I saw was Larry Oeruatoski (?) who was on guard. He said it was a Jap who had come in low just over the trees and had dropped a stick of five bombs, so we took off across the field a few hundred feet to where we found the first crater. We decided that it must have been a 100-lb. anti-personnel bomb because the crater was only a couple of feet in diameter. We found the rest of the craters and started thanking our lucky stars that the pilot of the plane was a poor shot. If he had been a few degrees to the left he would have reduced the size of the US Army by a few men. We found shrapnel holes in our mess tent, supply tent, and one guy had a rip in his tent about 2 feet long.

Tomorrow and Thursday, the other two sections of this letter from Dave, Grandpa’s youngest, who is stationed in Okinawa. On Friday, a letter from Biss to Ced, in Alaska.

Judy Guion

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5 thoughts on “Army Life – Dave in Okinawa (2) – June, 1945

  1. Mrs. P says:

    I checked out Okinawa and there is a base called Kadena and the earlier post most likely is Naha, which is in Okinawa,

    Excellent account…close call..I like Dave’s point of view. I haven’t heard too much about what he thought and he is a very caring person.

    • jaggh53163 says:

      Mrs. P. – Thanks for doing the research…honestly, I was just being lazy.

      I don’t have many of Dave’s letters so this is a real treat.Usually, information from him is relayed through Grandpa’s quotes from letters. I found this one particularly interesting.

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