70 years ago – Bad Day at the Invasion

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.

My sweetheart,

This is a hell of a place. I’m kind of fed up on shell fire. Not more than 5 minutes of quiet. Got me a new gopher hole. The first natives came through the lines yesterday. 3 I knew real well. Some were just boys and they all knew John. One was working at the hospital when Bleecker was born. If you could have seen the joy on those faces. They saw me and let out a yell, “Oh Mr. Cooke” “There’s Mr. Cooke”. The movie news took pictures of all of us. Gee, they even tried to kiss me. The correspondents are holed in near my outfit, so here they came and took it all in. The United Press man and the New York Times man asked me a lot of questions. As I talked natives, the oldest one, said “Mr. Cooke do everything for the natives”. I don’t know if it will ever go in print but he wrote down my name and asked me where from, etc.

A rumor started yesterday that mail would go out. I hope so. Hope some comes in too. Your last letter was dated a month ago today. Outside of being stiff of joint and dirty, I’m just fine. In the water too long, both salt and rain. Everytime you get a letter be sure to let John and Isyl know. Keep ’em posted. Forgot to tell you about the land crabs. They get in the hole with you and try to take over.

I love you my darling and it helps me so much to just think about you. You are beautiful, adorable and sweet and my wife.

Your devoted mole.

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