Monday, January 16, 2023

Post #696 - September 17, 1945 Brace Yourself for a Bit of Bad News


17 September 1945

My Darling,

I've been sitting here for ten minutes or more wondering how to tell you what I have to tell you tonight—It isn't going to be easy to take, baby, so brace yourself for a bit of bad news. Ready? O.K. then—In the simplest terms I can muster, I’ll tell you what happened today. Remember last night I told you that only those men with 70 points or more would ship home as the 866 Engr. Sq. 440 Air Sv. Gp.? Well, we were all led to believe that it meant 70 points as of VJ day. How could we even suspect that it meant VE day, since there are only 9 men in the entire squadron with 70 or more points VE? Still, that is what I learned today. The irony of it is almost killing me—me with just 3 days service less than enough to give me those magic 70 points! The program now is this: The 9 men now in the squadron with the necessary points will be supplemented by some 210 more lucky guys, the "combat" men who have just a little more than 2 years total service with perhaps a year to 18 months overseas service—and the six "battle participation stars" (yes, those again!) that give them 30 points and a pass home! And they are the guys who will go home in October as the 866th Air Engr Sq! Do you wonder that I am just squirming in futile rage at the injustice of it? Now what? I wish I knew, Chippie. Right now I feel like the whole U.S. Army has walked on me, and my mind refuses to accept the possibility that I may be stuck here with all the others in my unfortunate circumstances for 2-3-4 months more, yet that, in all probability, will be the way it will be. It breaks my heart, after reading your cheery V-mail of 9 Sep, which closes with “Soon—I know," to have to tell you this, especially after the way I've built up your hopes in my recent letters, You say that you've been watching the shipping lists. Well, if you should see the 866th mentioned, you can just think to yourself that, in all justice, it should mean that me and all my buddies that have “sweated it out" from 25 to 27 months are coming home, but you will know that it isn't us at all, but 200 other guys, who have far less right to be on that shipment. I'm so disgusted and blue tonight, honey, that I'm not fit company for a dog. My heart is heavy as lead within me. I'm so riled up about this latest screwing we are taking, that I'm almost beside myself. Another thing—Hq knew the plan two weeks ago, and they knew full well that all the guys were figuring the basis of their VJ points—why shouldn't they? But they just let us think so. Why? Because they knew darned well that the guys would have croaked before they'd pack our equipment for some other guys to take home!—And that's only part of it! I could tell you many similar instances, but what's the use? Please, darling, don't think me a cry-baby and a weakling for airing my grievances this way. I just have to get them off my chest or bust. Don't think I'm alone my recriminations, either, ’cause right now in this hut there are four guys blowing their tops over this latest outrage. Honestly, honey, it is enough to make a strong man cry!—The hell of it is—we have no voice to protest with—we are soldiers, and right now that is synonymous with slaves. We are abused, maltreated, and ignored—and there isn't a goddamn thing we can do about it. It's no damned wonder that a great majority of soldiers discharged with CDD's were “psychoneurotics”! Frustration is almost constantly our chief emotion, and the discharge lists prove how dangerous it is to men's minds.

Sorry, honey, if my news has saddened you, but you know it isn't my doing—
It wouldn't affect me nearly as much, either, if I didn't know how anxiously you and the punkin are awaiting my return—

Kiss the punkin for me, Sweet, and tell her that daddy is looking forward to the day when she will lay in bed between him and Mommy—but only in the morning! My everlasting love to you, my darling Evie. Love to all.

Your Phil

P.S. It was too good to be true, wasn't it?