This post continues quotes from Dave, with insights and observations from a 19 year old.
This is the Water Works building in downtown Manila where Dave works on one of the upper floors.
The other important thing I want to tell you is far more saddening to me. A group of the boys went down to Shuri — I think it was the last Sunday in July — souvenir hunting. There were about nine of them. Shuri was a scene of hard but swift fighting. Naturally there were a lot of explosives left there by the swift advancing army. Minefields weren’t cleared and duds were still left lying around without being detonated. The supply sergeant, who is a wild sort of guy, saw a Jap dud and raised his foot to kick it. Al Rundel, who was in my class
Page 2 9/15/45
back at Crowder, told him not to kick the dud, and when he saw him doing it anyway, he dropped to the ground. The dud went off throwing shrapnel all over the place. Bernie Arnold was in front of Sgt. Hamm, the guy who kicked the dud, and caught most of the shrapnel right in his stomach. He screamed and fell to the ground. He died about an hour later. There were three of us who were quite good friends — Hensley, Bernie and myself. Hensley was there and saw the whole thing. He gave me the complete story which wasn’t very pretty. I’ll never forgive Sgt. Hamm for the damned-fool thing he did. If we’ve seen one training film about leaving duds and charges alone, we’ve seen fifty. He escaped with the damaged foot. Leg injury to one of the cooks, complete paralysis to the arm of one of the clerks and other cuts and bruises were some of the other damage done. But as usual, it was the best man of all that had to die. Naturally I felt terrible about the accident and loss of Bernie. I want to church that night and that helped, but not enough. I felt pretty bad for a number of days. All I could think of was the picture he had shown me so many times of himself, his wife and his three-year-old daughter sitting in front of their Christmas tree the year before last. To top it all off, about two days later I got a letter from Ellie asking me to thank Bernie for the bracelet he had made from a Jap plane, which I had sent her. Bertie was no longer there to thank. He had missed the end of the war only by a few months. He was 38 and would probably be on his way home now. I’m doing crypt work here or at least I will be when our Co. get set up in Korea in a few days. We will handle the communications between GHQ and the Co. I think the rest of the Co. will be in Korea. We are no longer a monitoring Co. and now have reverted back to a plain service Co. When the rest of the Co. landed on Okinawa, Lieut. Greenberger intended to give me the T/4 that was open on our team. At that time he didn’t know how good Salamone was, and was more deserving of the rating and been in grade longer than I. So Sallie got the rating but Lieut. G. told me that when the chance permitted, he would see if he could promote me. As he is in charge of the group here in Manila, my chances are fairly good I think. All I’ve got to do is stay on the ball. The only trouble is it’s been so long since I’ve worked in a code room, as up in Okie I was working in the compilation section.
Tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, I’ll post the rest of this long letter. The posts will include more news from Dan and also news from Brazil.