70 years ago – Reconstructing Guam

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.

Monday 14th

Good morning, precious woman,

Had a good sleep last night. We are still bothered by snipers but just a few scattered Japs left. We have to keep our eyes open. Two dandy letter from you up to Aug. 4th. One from John and Isyl. Wish you would send me one of the papers with the picture. So Savvy sent Louise his helmet! Well I have mine for you. It shows wear and tear, also have a Jap helmet, a sword, a good bayonet, officers dispatch case and a briefcase. Will try to send ’em to you when you get to S.F. and I hope you’ll be there soon. I have reported back up to my command as you know Iwas on temporary duty with the assault forces. I am now with the Island Command. The address: Island Command bldqtrs, Navy #926 F.P.O. San Francisco, Calif.

I have the job of relocating the natives and setting up industry, agriculture, etc. Orme is with us and is very busy as we all are. I do want you to get settled. It was nice for you to be at the ranch with Tonise, but you miss too much. I heard from one fellow, a wounded officer who went back the 3rd day. I would only give him John’s address and told him John wasn’t home. So he saw no one. He had been right near me in a fox hole. Then there’s your church that you love. I know you will find a place.

Gee, I’m glad I got all this Jap paper. Had run out. John said in his letter that he wished he were with me. Everybody asks for him. They ask for you too, my sweetheart. I don’t believe there has ever been a time that I have missed you more than now. Your letters are very sweet and affectionate and keep me going. I’m tired and need you. The strain now is not great. The worst ordeal for me was coming over the ship’s side and coming through that sea over the reef to land. I landed in a LVT [Landing Vehicle Tracked, essentially an amphibious tank that landed troops and materiel] and so many of them were hit. A little soothing at night would help a lot. No one can sooth as well as you. No man has ever loved more than than the love I have for you. You are my own grand wife whose love keeps me going.

– Your devoted Daddy

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