Thursday, July 15, 2010

Letter Home 07-14-1944

Friday 1800

Hello Darling:

One of the boys in the tent took a trip over to the mainland today to see about getting some souvenirs. He sure is crazy about that. If he takes home all the stuff he hopes to get he will need two trunks to carry it all.

Anyway he did get a few booklets in Japanese. Evidently they are field manuals. He also got some of the Jap invasion money. There two I am sending you are part of it. They aren’t worth anything. The Japs were going to use them to pay the natives for helping them. I suppose they did use some of it. Maybe that is one of the reasons the natives hate the Japs so much. They certainly don’t have any use for them. They take everything from the natives, but never give them anything in return.

Besides this money I guess I better send you some real stuff that can be used in the good old USA. I don’t know if I will get a chance to go to the finance office tomorrow or not, but if I don’t I will do it as soon as I can. I think I will be able to send you $200.

I got interrupted to go to the show. It was Bob Hope in “They Got Me Covered.” It was old, but I’d never seen it before, so I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Other than to complain of a lack of mail I don’t think there is much more I have to say. I hope we start getting something soon.

I thought of something just now that I would like. A finger nail clipper. Not for my finger nails – for my toe nails. I used to have a nice sharp pair of scissors, but I guess I put them in my foot locker. I got a pair over here and they are big dull things. I used one of the boy’s clippers and it worked OK. So since it is small I though you might be able to send me one.

One of the boys in the mess hall the other day said he had a letter from his mother, and she said that it was no longer necessary to have a request to send packages to officers overseas. I don’t know if it is true, or if it includes enlisted men or not. I meant to tell you before, and let you check up on it, but I forgot it till just now.

I said I could not think of anything, and then wrote another whole page. I certainly ramble along at times don’t I? Now I see I have one more sheet of paper in this pad, so I may as well wrack my brain a bit and ramble some more to use it. I thought the other night I only had one pad left, but I found this one with a few sheets in it, so I still have a pad left.

It doesn’t take any effort to think of how much I love you. I do that all the time every day. I think of you a lot also all the time.

Stangel asked me to something about my drinking at home, and if you drank. It reminded me of the one time I got tight with you. Remember what’s his names party? I know – How could you forget it!

I played a little poker last night. That is the first in quite a while. Not bad though. That’s why I can send you some money. If I am lucky maybe the boys will help build us a hut yet eh? Don’t worry darling I am still careful, and don’t just gamble everything I own whenever I do play.

I love you very much sweetheart. Always and all ways. Deed I do!

Love George?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Letter Home 07-13-1944

Thursday 1700

Hello Darling:

I’ve got a few minutes before chow, so I will use it to the best advantage. And what could be better than talking to you. Being with you and talking to you personally instead of in a letter of course would be better I guess. Or rather I know it would.

I got up at 4:30 this morning for a mission, and then did not go. We all went out to the planes, and I couldn’t get mine started.

The boys in the tent here are arguing about how much damage either of them have done to planes since they have been flying. They are really radical about it. I can hardly hear myself think they are hollering accusations at each other so much.

It just changed, and now the argument is about poetry and Shakespeare. What a crew! Never can tell what will come next. Anyway it is a bit of variety.

We went swimming this afternoon. While you are in the water it is nice, but when you get out and start to dry off a bit you feel too sticky. That is the salt water. I prefer some of our lakes back home.

I am at a loss of things to talk about tonight for some reason. However I am never at a loss for one thing to tell you always. That is I love you. Which I do very much indeed.

Love George?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Letter Home 07-12-1944

Wednesday 1600

Hello Darling:

Here is a sample of our new money. We just got paid yesterday. I meant to send you this last night, but I forgot it. It is one Guilder, and is worth 53 cents. Since they are only worth half as much as American bills it seems as if we are getting an extra amount when they pay off.

However it should help remind us more of the value of money. When we had Aussie stuff we did not really pay attention to its value. The boys would throw Pound notes and 5 Pound notes around like our dollar bills and five spots.

Actually they would be spending $3 on the Pound, and $15 on the 5 Pounders. With these we can throw a whole handful around, and not spend very much.

Money doesn’t mean much over here though. For example two buck privates from some infantry battalion were around here today that had a Jap rifle and a mortar gun. They wanted to trade them for some whiskey. They would not sell them either. Money was of no use to them. They could not spend it if they had any. They only want something they can use right now.

My stationary supply is running very low. I don’t think they have any in the PX either, so perhaps you could send me some? I don’t know what pads like this would be best. I have plenty of air mail envelopes now. I laid in a supply just in case we hit a spot where we can’t get them.

I’ve been trying to get some laundry for about 4 or 5 days now. They washed it the first day, but ever since it had been wet. Just when it begins to get dry it starts to rain again. Today has been a pretty nice day though, so perhaps I will finally get some clean clothes. I sure need them!

This is the last sheet in this pad. I’ve got one more to last a while longer though. I guess I will quit for now too.

I love you sweetheart lots and lots –

Love George?

Letter Home 07-11-1944

Tuesday 2130

Hello Darling:

I am soaking wet tonight, so I think I had best get to bed early. We went to the show to see “Johnny Eager”, and it started to rain when it was nearly over. Naturally we had to see how it cam out.

That wasn’t the worst of it though. We were using my sack to sit on at the show, so it is wet too. The bottom half of the air mattress is fairly dry, so I guess I will get by. I put two blankets on it to help absorb what water is on it.

We had a quart of whiskey a few nights ago. George Burgess came over the second night we had it, and the two of us each had one drink apiece out of it. The rest of the boys hadn’t even touched it. Last night George came over again, and we were going to have a drink, only to find the bottle gone. Isn’t that a heck of a note? Someone swiped practically a whole quart on us. Next time we get a hold of a bottle we will sure hide it.

The whiskey is combat whiskey. After each mission all the pilots are supposed to get a shot if they want it. They don’t issue it that way here. Every tent gets a bottle occasionally instead. I guess it is every couple of weeks. So we have to wait a while to get another one.

Someone has a Victrola around here and they are playing a lot of old numbers that remind me of you. I sure hope the day comes soon when we can listen to a few records in the front room together. Maybe if I am not too lazy I might even ask you to dance with me to a couple of them. Would you?

Think I will crawl in my sack now darling. I love you very very much – always!

Love George

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Letter Home 07-10-1944

Monday 1630


Hello Darling:

I hear that we have a show tonight, so best I try writing to you before supper. I hope we have something good tonight.

We were just discussing a couple of rumors we have been hearing. One is that after being over here 10 months they intend to send the boys home for 2 months. Then bring them back here to their old outfit. That is not supposed to start for some time though, so I don’t know if this time we put in until then will count or not.

Another rumor is that once a guy gets sent home he stays there. So you see we can’t believe anything. All we can do is wait to see what happens. At any rate I doubt if anything will happen to us for a year or so anyway.

I was on a mission the other day up over Biak and Noemfoor, but we did not see anything but our own planes. We have a tough time finding Japs these days.

It must be coming on towards the rainy seasons around here. It has rained every night for the past 5 nights. Also we had a couple of day’s rain and bad weather. We don’t complain about rain at night. When that happens we can be fairly sure of a good night’s sleep. The bombers like a nice clear night to do their work.

We are feeling the lack of mail quite a bit these days. We don’t really expect any for a few more weeks, but that doesn’t stop us from missing it.

It is nigh on to being time to eat. Maybe I better leave you for now. You will still be with me though all the time in my heart.

I suppose that is because I love you so much. Could be! Anyway I do love you – but definitely.

Love George

Friday, July 9, 2010

Letter Home 07-09-1944

Sunday 2030

Hello Darling:

I am all tired out tonight, so I hope you won’t mind a short letter. We just came back from a nice long mission, and I don’t feel like sitting down again for a week. We landed just before it got dark, and it took us quite some time to take the boat over here, and eat ect.

They are having a show tonight too, but it was already started by the time we got here. By now it is probably half finished. I don’t think I’d care to sit through it anyway.

I love you darling. Very much, but I think I will hit the sack – Good night – I love you.

Love George?

Letter Home 07-08-1944

Saturday 1930

Hello Darling:

We had a nice day of rest today. The weather was bad, so we could not fly. It rained all last night, and all morning. This afternoon it stopped raining, but the weather still was no good for flying.

Three of us happened to be down at the beach this afternoon when a couple of guys were going fishing, so we went along. They had one of the landing barges to cruise around in, and it was quite a nice ride for the afternoon.

There were 5 of us fishing, but only one guy caught anything. He got a kingfish that I imagine must have weighed around 10 or 12 lbs. It was nearly 2 ft, or so long. The rest of us just fished – period!

Last night just as I started to write you they called us all over to the C.O.’s tent. I thought it was to be a meeting of some kind, but found out different. He had three or four quarts of whiskey, and was having a bit of a party. Most of the boys – no I should say only a few – got to feeling pretty good.

One of the reasons, or perhaps the only reason, for the party was to celebrate the promotions of three of the boys. Morrison, Wheeler, and Blend got their Captaincies, so they had to celebrate.

Along about 10 o’clock I was getting read to leave, when I met with a slight accident. One of the boys was standing in front of me with a drink in his hand, and someone hit his arm. Nearly all the drink hit me right in the face. I was blind from the whiskey in my eyes, and was trying to get it out, when someone decided to help me. He took a glass of water, and threw it in my face. Kind of rough first aid, but it sure felt good.

Well that settled it I was soaking wet, so I left. I came back here to the tent, and took off my clothes. Then I was going to write you, but my eyes still burned, and it was beginning to give me a bit of a headache. I hope you will excuse me (and the boys) for the little mishap. Am I forgiven?

I found out that I can tell you a little more about where I am now. I am not in New Guinea any more. I am on a little island off its coast. Can’t say what one.

You remember I said we lived quite a distance from our strip? Well in fact we are living on another island. The two of them are quite small, and very close together. We take a barge across the water that separates them every morning when we go to work. It is a pretty nice set up.

I guess that’s all the news for tonight darling. Except that I love you very much – always I do!

Love George?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Full Color Photos of the 341st Fighter Squadron in New Guinea 1944

George M. Barnes

George M. Barnes

George M. Barnes and his plane, "Little Edie" named after his wife Edith

George M. Barnes (Left)
George M. Barnes (Right)
George M. Barnes (Center)

R to L: Harold "Junior" Wurtz, Kenneth A. Steel, George M. Barnes, Harold P. Stangol

The "Jenny"

George M. Barnes and the "Little Edie"

Letter Home 07-06-1944

Thursday 1430

Hello Darling:

It is so hot today that I am wringing wet. I’ve got the afternoon off, so I though I would log a little sack time. I tried it, but I was soon lying in a pool of water, and had to give it up. I will try to cool off talking to you. I don’t know if that will work though, because I always feel warm and happy when I think of what a lucky guy I am to have you for my wife. I sure do love you darling.

Well look who just walked in! Burgess no less. He wants we should go take a swim, and lie around the beach a while. I will be back later to finish this later. Bye for now.

Here I am again. We just finished up supper. There were sausages for a change. I am not over fond of these big fat sausages they have in the Army, but it was still better than Bully Beef!

George and I had a pretty nice lazy afternoon down on the beach. I don’t care too much for salt water, because I can’t swim very well, and every once in a while I was swallowing some of it. Not a very satisfying drink either.

I hear tell they have some Coca-Cola tonight. It is rationed so everyone gets 4 glasses a month. The cooling machine had been busted the past week though, so there were no cokes for anyone. Best I get over to see about getting some of it.

I dreamt up something else you could send me. I’d like a pair of shorts. Maybe there was a pair in the clothes I sent home. I don’t mean underwear. It is khaki I want to use when we play volley ball ect. I have been considering cutting the legs off a pair of trousers, and I may do so yet. However they would not last long if the weren’t hemmed, and naturally if I cut them they won’t be. So if you could send me a pair I would appreciate it very much.

I think I will go see about the Cokes now. I love you lots and lots honey. I hope you are well and happy.

Love George

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Letter Home 07-05-1944

Wednesday 1900

Hello Darling:

Well the long vacation is over. We are working again. We flew our first mission at last. These missions run a lot longer than any we ever had before. By the time it gets to be 3 to 4 hours or more our fannies are plenty sore. I never got so sick of sitting on one spot before. We can’t squirm around very much either, because we are strapped in very well by the safety belt and shoulder straps. Of course I suppose we could loosen them up, but after one experience I had (remember?) I want them tight.

Then we have to sit on a little rubber boat without any cushion. It is made into part of the parachute, and there isn’t any room for the cushion. Doggone it is hard too!

After that I did not think I would be able to work for a week, but after playing some volley ball, and taking a shower I feel pretty good. Very surprising. I feel as if I am ready to go again.

They have a pretty fair set up here. We can usually get ice water every day. They have a little kitchen set up on the line too were we can get sandwiches and cold drinks also. I had something good last night too. These boys got hold of some canned chicken, and they were making sandwiches in their…

…get me some.

Burgess and Morrison wandered in as I finished that last line, and they have kept me busy batting the breeze all night. Now it is time for lights out, so I have to hurry up to say good night. Don’t blame the boys too much for the interruption will you. It is swell to see them and talk to them.

I love you very much darling. Always and all ways – Take care of you for me won’t you? I love you –

Love George

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Letter Home 07-04-1944

Tuesday 1800

Hi Honey:

I am finally in the old outfit. When we got here to the Group the rest of the boys had not been assigned to Squadrons yet, but they had me all slated to get back in the 341st. It sure is nice to be here with the old gang. They haven’t changed any. Still a pretty swell bunch I think.

You are probably wondering what I have been doing, because I haven’t written for two days. I did not mean to neglect you darling. We were too busy, and I did not get a chance to do any writing.

The first day we spent coming here. Then yesterday we had to go through the process of building another happy home. Besides doing that we had to dig a fox hole. Up till now we did not have to do that. However they have had a few raids here, so it behooves us to invest in one.

Usually the raids here only consist of a very few planes, and they never drop bombs in our area. We are quite a distance from the planes and everything. The Japs don’t have hardly any planes left in this area. What the bombers (ours) did not wreck on the ground, our fighters have taken care of in the air. Most of the boys haven’t even seen a Nip since around March. They still keep their eyes peeled of course while patrolling though.

I like it fine here. We can go swimming if we want to, and there are practically no bugs or mosquitoes to bother us. The food is fairly good. Except that we still get too much bully beef. Those are all just minor discomforts. On the whole it is a nice set up.

Last night we did not have any lights. We got our tent set up and all, but we had no wire and stuff to use. We remedied that today, so when it gets dark tonight we should have some lights.

We had an air raid alert the other night, but we did not see anything. The big guns of the Ack Ack boys were shooting at something, but nothing came of it. All it meant was a loss of about an hours sleep.

We crawled in our fox holes and waited, but nothing happened. Those big guns certainly blast when they go off. It really shakes the place every time on goes.

Seeing them and hearing them remind me of fireworks, which in turns reminds me that today is fore crackers day, the 4th of July, and that reminded me that Dad has a birthday today. So although this might get to you a month late will you wish him a happy birthday for me?

I don’t know when Mom’s birthday is, but if you let me know I will try to remember to wish her a happy birthday when it comes. In case I am already too late wish her one for me anyway.

George Burgess has a dog here, and she just had ten pups recently. I haven’t been over to see them yet, but he says they have had a lot of laughs from them. The dog is an Australian Retriever or something like it.

Another of the boys has a Cocker Spaniel that just had pups. Three of them, and they are cute as the devil.

Best I sign off for now sweetheart, or I won’t have anything left to tell you tomorrow. I enjoy talking to you too much, and get to rambling occasionally. Do you mind?

I love you very much darling. Always and all ways –

Love George?

P.S. – I’ve got a new address.

341st F.S. – APO #565 Unit 1

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Letter Home 06-30-1944

Friday 1900

Hello Darling:

Still doing business here at the same old stand, although (can’t spell tonight) we haven’t been flying since they told us we were being assigned to the 348th. We certainly are ready to go join them whenever they give the word.

I had hopes that I might get a letter or two from you before we left. However for the past few days no one has received any mail. I know that once we leave here our mail will very likely be balled up for almost a month.

There seems to be an extraordinary number of bugs buzzing around here tonight. The worst of are the little flying ants. We always have a lot of little brown ants here, but tonight they have wings, and they keep bothering the dickens out of us.

I went over to get a hair cut today. My hair was getting about an inch long. First thing I knew it would be getting in my eyes. Mostly what bothered me really was the way it was starting to curl over my ears. Now that is remedied now.

Junior is cussing New Guinea tonight, the bugs, woods and everything. He is very disgusted, and wishes he was back in England. He is a really good kid, and will be ok, all of the boys are telling him he is crazy. Everyone else is glad they are here. His real name is Wurtz, and he comes from Dearborn. He is the youngest one here, and that won him the moniker of Junior. Usually he is one of the best natured boys I know of, but he is disgusted with this place tonight. In much different words of course. I couldn’t write the actual language being tossed around here at the moment.

However he feels about it doesn’t change our opinion. This is where we want to be, other than to be at home. Since we have to go somewhere to fight this is the best in most of the boy’s opinion. Don’t get me wrong Darling. I am not praising the jungle life. If we were over in England we would find plenty to be griped about too I think. This to my mind is the lesser of the two evils.

These ants are getting in my hair too much darling, and I don’t have too much news tonight, so I think I will sign off for now.

I love you – always and all ways. No matter how far apart we are you are always here with me in my heart. Take good care of you for me won’t you? I love you.

Love George