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World War II: 1939 ~ 1945
United States of America (All Branches)
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Selling Price: $535 - Postage in the U.S.A. is: $25
Direct NOK, "Next Of Kin" Purchase from the estate of Private First Class Freeman Wayne Wilcox, of Copperton/Bingham Canyon in Utah. Wayne was in the Anti-Tank Company of the 136TH Combat Infantry Regiment and fought valiantly along Kennon Road, Skyline Ridge and Baguio. He was a hyper-intelligent man and wrote home extensively about his combat experiences. Letters describe coming across large amounts of women and children bayoneted by the Japanese, to the smell of death just out in front of his machinegun emplacement.

These are the best of some 800 communications that happened between this vet and his wife. It's refreshing to see these two kids play well together - until the War tears them apart. Overall, this is a well-constructed tale of virtually uninterrupted romance, and intense combat as viewed by this man in the Philippines. He holds nothing back. Describing the stench of dead enemy around his position, his Tommy Gun in combat, shot friends, grenade duels, night patrol, death and disease. He describes a land, "full of dead Japs," and believe me - he does describe the details in striking terms.

I have every letter fully digitally transcribed into a word document as well, but this group is only the letters themselves, nothing more. I am not willing to include my many hundreds of hours doing transcription work for free.

There are also a lot of letters from a P-38 pilot friend in the 8th Photo recon who just about writes a flight manual of experiences as he goes through all his training - long and detailed letters.

Here letters are extremely well poised as she bolsters him. As a note, all of the really great writing and scenes of war and the most important emotional letters are in this grouping here offered.

His best writing is described by the stench of the land he fights for:

My Darling,

I received your first Airmail letter of March 7th today, and I was very glad to hear from my little wife. Since I last wrote you, I have moved farther up the line so we are in a new place now. We sit around all day and watch the Japs through our binoculars and then strain our eyes all night waiting for them to sneak through our lines. This is some Jap stationary, as I didn't have any, so I thought I would write you on it. The Japs have just been driven out of here and their stuff is lying all over. I can finally tell you I am in the 33RD Division, so you can watch the papers and maybe you can find out where I am at and what I am doing. We have been in combat 44 straight days with no relief.

Everything is about the same here - we had a little excitement last night. We have two foxholes here and we heard a grenade go off last night and we didn't think much of it until this morning and the guys in the other hole asked us if we threw one and we asked them if they threw it. It turned out that neither one of us threw it. It's very mysterious, either a Jap was awfully damn close or else the monkeys around here are learning how to throw grenades.

There are hundreds of fireflies around here at night and right out in front of our position is a tree that they seem to like. It looks just like a Christmas tree at night with all those fireflies flying around in it. When you are sitting on guard at night listening and waiting, the slightest sound gives you the creeps. An ant walks down the road and it sounds like about four Japs sneaking up on you. A trigger-happy guy would go nuts here, because he would be shooting all night. If you fired at every noise you heard, you would give your position away - so you just wait until you see something move and then cut loose. It's amazing what you find the next morning - anything from a rat to a Jap!

We are still in the canyon but farther up. We are perched right on the side of the mountain now, where as before we did have a little level spot to move around. Last night was the first night up here and what a night it was. There are about 27 Japs buried near us and two un-buried Japs about 100 yards from us. All in all we have a delightful aroma all the time. I can hardly write this letter because the flies are so thick - one just crawled in my nose and out my ear! I know the smell is pretty putrid. It seems that no matter where you go, you can always find dead Japs. That is one thing about the American Army, they always pick up their dead and try to give them a decent burial.

They say the Japs are pretty smart, but so far I haven't seen anything brilliant about them. They know we are dug in here and yet they come walking down the road in plain sight and never take any cover. They either don't care much for their lives, or they are just extremely stupid.

I will explain about my little home I live in now. We are dug in about a foot into the ground and the rest is built up with sandbags for walls. For interior decoration we have hand grenades hanging in rows along the wall and then we have a machine gun muzzle sticking out the front, which is used as a "Welcome Sign" for our slant-eyed friends. We use old Japanese grain mats to sleep on and a poncho to cover up with. Our lavatory is movable and consists of a Jap helmet, which is used for both purposes. There are three men in a hole, and one man is awake at all times. If the going gets rough, the man on guard wakes the other two who are ready for instant action at all times. We have a Merry Old Time, but I am ready to go back any time. No - Woody & House aren't with me - we are all split up into squads and I hardly ever see them. Hod went home with tropical sores, so he is out of the Army for good. The red spots on that letter werenít blood, just stains from the paper.

The other day some civilians snuck through out lines from the North. We were the first Americans Troops they had seen since before the war and they were delirious with joy when they saw us. One guy was carrying a little baby that was about five years old and the baby was so thin and run down that he looked like he was about two. He carried him for two days and nights and when they got to us they were about ready to drop. I mixed up some K-Ration cereal and gave it to the baby and I thought he was going to eat spoon and all. I gave a guy a slice of bread and he looked up at me with tears streaming down his face and said, "I have waited four years to see you."

They were all crying they were so happy to get away from the Japs. About four days after that, I saw a truck load of guerillas go by and every one of those guys were on it. They had joined the guerillas so they could go back and help free their families from the Japs. These people know what they are fighting for. When I hear people crying about the Brown-Out they are having back in the States, it makes my blood boil after seeing the spirit of these people and what they are going through down here. They are crying because they can't go out to a night club at night, and these people never say a word - even when they watch the Japs kill their families.

I guess the Lord has been with me so far. I haven't had a scratch. I kneel down and pray every evening that He will protect me and I feel safe all night. I don't think it can last much longer and we will probably stay right in the Philippines. The flies are terrible here because of all the dead bodies. There are two unburied Japs about 100 yards from us and they smell so bad. We can't get close enough to bury them. The trouble with killing a Jap here is that you have to work all the next day burying him and cleaning your gun. Oh well, the more we kill the sooner we get home. So I guess it is all right. Well, I guess I had better sign off. I will write again when I can. I love you both so much.

I sure would like to have been to that Brigham-Murray game. I remember when Bob, Jhon A. and I used to go to those games and yell our brains out. Those were the good old days darling, but they are gone now and we don't realize they were happy days until they are gone. Our team won here too - we took another hill from the Japs - there wasn't much cheering because several of out players were hurt, but we won anyway. There is another game scheduled for tonight and tomorrow - and quite a few more nights in the future.

We have a little Swede in our foxhole - he is about 34 years old and all his front teeth are out. He is the damndest sleeper I have ever seen in my life. He moans and groans and makes the funniest noise with his mouth. Some nights I have been on guard and heard him blowing around and it dang near scared me to death. It sounds like a Jap was right in the hole with us and it took me quite a while to figure out what it was.

Gosh Punkey, I have just been thinking how swell you have been taking everything. All your letters are bright and cheerful and that is just the way I want it, because there is no use worrying about something that can't be helped.

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