LETTER FROM YAY (2)
October 18, 1944
As far as we have been able to verify, Mrs. J. is still in the Fort. If anybody can get to her, the person picked by the Porch Club unit can. No reports through yet, but be sure that for both official and personal reasons, to they’ll try their best.
Action again today. Because of clouds and mountains in the way, we couldn’t see it – just over the ridge. Seemed 1ike a bomber dumped its load before rolling up its sleeves — or our boys lingered and gave three pursuing Japs what they were asking for; only two came back. That relieved our anxiety for our own fliers. The fight took place over solid guerrilla territory (as what inch is not here in Luzon?) and our observation post of ours to boot, so reports will come galloping in. Our boys have “cavalry” — a little rat-eaten and thin, but like the guerri11as themselves, stil1 in service to get anywhere fast. From where you sit, we must look a little ridiculous, but oh! How seriously we take the peanut orders (helping and hiding fallen fliers, which we would without being asked) and no guns that we get. Marking finally got, through the kindness and courtesy of Major Anderson and the New Guinea Boys, a carbine. Now he wants a Bazooka. Give him a bazooka, and he’ll clamor for a tank. And by that time, he’ll have the whole Jap Army on his tail and all you’ll have to do is tell him which way to come to lay for ‘em.
No gloomy day was happier. The dumped bombs seem to have been the Jap plane when it bit the dust, it exploded. We’re waiting for reports… and guessing in the meantime. Is there anything in the Rules and Articles of War against guessing?
Our city men comment on the fact that the Japs hide in their holes until it’s all over, then make a big show of getting out and off to give the Americans hell. It has become a singsong that the Japs are cowards. Too many Filipinos stand around watching; refuse to miss the show¬. Comes the story of one agent that his old parents flatly refuse to leave the city; as if what they have endured is price enough for the ticket to see the show to the end. A lot of others won’t budge. And at this headquarters, we don’t fear the bombs for them; it’s berserk Japs…
In the towns, the Jap engineering corps is bui1ding or repairing the bridges, measuring the water, asking how long the realms will last, etc., looking for the shallowest part of the rivers, etc. Civilians and our men offer their help, to delay things, to know the ground. Flatly, surely refused. The Japs are building their own bridges this trip. Can’t blame them, after what the Fi1ipinos have done to them all along. Now the Japs understand that Amer¬icanism: “If you want it done right, do it yourself.”¬
So the boys are preparing their dynamite and blasting caps, and Marking is dividing up his fighters to knock the bridge sentries over. It’s alright. Don’t worry. They might as well make plans and dream dreams… Until McArthur gives the word Go, everything’s under control. No harm in being ready just in case…
Hope you’ve met your old friend Joe I card by this time Talk about a man darin’ to go… All fight. Marking calls him Scorpio. Likes him very much.
Funny thing. There’s a mimeographed Jap release that tells the truth. It is meant to urge the Filipino to fight. So we read it and my God! They’re telling more than we ever realized could be. 300 American bases in China! Encirclement right, left, north, and south, MacArthur, Nimitz, Chennault. The whole idea is that if we don’t stand up and fight we’re licked. So what happens? FOR THE FIRST TIME, WE HAVE FULL REALIZATION THAT WE’RE WINNING! AND WE CHOSE THE LOSING SIDE IN 1942, WHY SHOULD WE SWAP SIDES NOW? But that isn’t something the Japs are hiding from us. But Marking orders copies and copies and copies of it, and the poor extra typist is pounding away hell bent for leather. I protest – “We have only so much paper, there’s lot of work the typist could be doing, orders and such; and the Japs have spread all this themselves.” But this time, Marking is out to aid the Japs. If they want to tell the truth, HE’LL SURE HELP THEM. He enjoyed every paragraph of the thing himself, and surely is the loudest, most excitable member of his own outfit. Can’t hear you think when he gets started.
I am sending it to CPR, along with this month’s Review with a double-talking cartoon and caption that will show you all more than any report or letter how we feel over here. Clever work, getting that past the censor. And the leading up to “Word to the Wise” is as tortuous as poor Amando Dayrit, Good Morning Judge, who passed away of T. B. a couple of months ago. Remember how he used to meander around in his column, and then connect with the chin? This cartoon and caption make us remember him with both regret and appreciation for all he did do before he died.
Now the guesswork here – Marking’s talking – is that the American fliers are using 75 MM – baby cannon to knock anything out of the sky. Maybe that was what we thought were dumped bombs. Chick, we’ve been faithfully waiting all this time just to see what else America could put out. A new can opener? A new brush? Leave it to America. Which reminds me, could they invent a dry bath? Because Marking hates getting wet. He’d take a bath if it weren’t for that. I’ve been thinking of tacking on a little dry-cleaning establishment to the headquarters … not that it’s very important. As he says, “Nobody ever died of not taking a bath, but look at how many people catch pneumonia.” I did get him into the creek the other day, and then had a hell of a time getting him out. Don’t ever let anybody kid you that Marking is one of those enduring untold hardships – he can be most eloquent on the subject however. Actually, he enjoys every minute of it, and the only reason he’s doing his duty, I think, is because it is excitement and fun and he doesn’t like the Japs anyway. While the couriers piled up, he enjoyed the bath – once the ordeal of getting wet was passed. Getting him dry was the next number on the program.
Then, refreshed, on top of the world, he told hilarious stories for an hour instead of going through, what mail? As he put it.
We’ve got a good typist now, and he’s making the copies of all the orders. I have leisure to spare now and inflict it to you and several others, turning myself into an uninvited pen pal.
Downpour that will take care of all the shallow places the Japs were measuring around the towns.
Chick, I wonder what kind of people you’ll find when you get back. Just rains and we think of more difficulties for the other side. Nothing too slight to escape notice. “A song of hate is a song of hell,” and the guerillas are a clan that sing it well…
Draftsman across the table is touching up maps, scaling, scratching his old head. Came from the city hall. Every time the boys announce a flight of American bombers, he grins and draws a little faster.
It’s not us who are the lost world now. The pro-Japs and the blood-money Japs’ spies are all in a quandary. They tell the Japs, “We’ll go with you,” and the Japs are too busy getting someplace themselves to give a hoot in hell what happens to ‘em – in fact, with a scorn for traitors, they probably hope it does. No pity from this end; we hope so too.
Will write again when there’s good news to tell you. Joe will tell you enough in the meantime to ease Katsy’s, Sue’s and Tom’s troubled hearts.
Goodbye and good luck and we pass our motto on to you, coined from Marking’s initials.
MORE VICTORIES AHEAD,