New Britain Is.
I suppose you think I've been lost or something has happened to me as I haven't written you in ages it seems. No, I'm very much alive and in the best of health. I sure hope everything is tops with all of you.
I've been pretty busy since I've been here and that accounts for the fact I haven't written sooner. I am cooking for a group of men and also am in charge of the mess -- so between doing the cooking, baking and looking after the kitchen and mess hall, I have only a few minutes in which to write home and to my friends.
Our mail comes to us like bananas -- in bunches. But it doesn't matter how old the letters may be they are welcome out here. This place is something like the Kankakee river lowlands back home. We are at a swell spot with nice cold stream flowing down from the mountains. We dammed it up and made a swimming hole. Sure feels good to go in after a hot day's work. It's pretty warm here but the nights are cool, so a fellow can sleep good.
We are starting to be rotated for furloughs but it will be some time before they get down to me. We have a few men here who were overseas a few months longer than most of us, so they will get to go home first, which I think is right.
We have been feasting on wild pigs lately as they are plentiful here. They don't taste as good as our pigs back home, but anything is better than canned stew or corned beef - that's what we've been eating the past few months.
My morale is quite high now because I can begin to see an end to the war. We have a radio and you can bet we listen to the short wave news broadcasts. One of these days I hope to wake up and find out it's all over with.
Best regards to all my friends,
While Joe was in a writing mood he also wrote to W.A. Clark, and as he wrote it at about the same time as the one to Mahlers it contained much the same news. The letter, in part follows:
We are in a cleared portion of this island and I had the opportunity to go over a battle area. Plenty of dead Japs lying around. They went through them so fast they did not even have time to bury them. They still lay where they fell. In some places you can see a big heap of bones, so you begin to wonder how many got it there. You count the shoes lying around and you have your problem solved. I found a jap wallet with some occupation money in it, which I sent home to my sister. She is a souvenir fiend - always writing to me to send something from here.
I hope this finds all of you in the best of health. Best regards and luck to all,
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