70 years ago – Invasion of Guam continues

When J.B. wrote these missives, he was 59 years old and part of the U.S. Marine invasion force to retake Guam and determine friend from foe. These are his exact words although I have corrected some spellings and any additions/clarifications I have added will be italicized.

3rd Morning

Good morning, Precious.

Last night was a little quieter. All day yesterday was bad and everything is going full blast this sunrise. There is pretty stiff opposition at the southern landing, where we are. The Japs are dug in on the hillsides. The reports are good this morning from all fronts. News flashes indicate internal trouble in Germany and Japan. We, at home, seem to be having political mudslinging. [1944 was a presidential election year; some things never change] Some people will do anything to gain selfish ends. Tell the people not to let the boys out here do all the sacrificing.

Talked to a fellow yesterday who had been mortally wounded. He was cheerful and had no idea of dying. He was wonderful, talked about the battle with enthusiasm. He died in about two hours. That’s the way they are. I haven’t seen a wounded man that showed fear nor had any them lose that cheerful spirit. K rations, warm water, hours in the shell holes and foxholes, every discomfort, bullets, shells and bombs all around. Do they complain? Not one damn bit. Such a contrast to some of the folks back home all safe and sound. Folks who are better fixed with worldly goods than at any time in their lives.

Mortar fire is the most bothersome thing we have to contend with. No more bombing – the Japs have no planes left. Their shell fire is tough. They have so many hidden guns. Up by our old place where we had the big barbeque the Nips are strongly entrenched and have many guns, big ones. We have control of the harbor and will move on today. This is a bloody Sunday. Chaplains are on the job everywhere, holding short services as lulls in the firing occur. The surgeons and first aid going are marvelous. I have seen only one wounded man die.

Everyone out here seems to have the utmost faith in everybody else. I have faith in all of them. The people back home, everything that goes to make up our wonderful Country, our homeland. It’s a grand thing to fight for. I have the utmost faith in you, you [are] the one that gives me wonderful thoughts, you, the one that stands by me and thinks I’m alright in everything. You, the one who loves me and has dedicated her whole life to me.Romance is a grand thing – you and I have had a war and peace. We will have a lot more of it darling. If and when I get back this time I’m going to be with you. John and family are in my thoughts all the time. Ham [Joslin, Anne’s son, ergo J.B.’s stepson] and his family are too, in a different way, but none the less fervent.

I want all of you to think I am doing my level best. I have a fine job coming up. Of course we have to get rid of the Japs first. The Japs are in a mess. A prisoner told one of the marines: “The marines run us off the island and the Navy won’t let us off”. About the only prisoners we get are those who have been knocked out. A few do give up. They say “To hell with it”. I’m glad to be rid of Col. “Fussbudget”. I don’t know where he is. He’s just an observer. Col. “Artillery” is raising hell. I will try to get to his command post today. I like him. He is up on the mountain next to our picnic spot.

Must stop now, my adorable. You have been fine company for me. I have that picture of you and all of you right with me. I just want to do things for all of you. My dear brother [Charles M. “Savvy” Cooke, Jr – at this point an admiral in the US Navy] got me into this and I’m glad. I’ll never turn him down. I won’t fail him. He will get all I can give. Tell him that.

To you sweet angel all my faith and love. Thanks for your prayers. Your prayers make me feel good. A big love to my grandsons, their dear father and mother. You do everything for me and I’ll never fail you.

Your devoted Daddy

Leave a Response