(Letter from Ensign John M. Alderige to his parents.)

Dearest Mom and Dad:

It has been a rather long time now since I've heard from anybody, mail just can't come out to us here. I have a feeling it won't be too long, though, for we have a fueling rendezvous tomorrow and the tankers usually bring out the mail. I don't know if this will get off the ship then or not, but here’s hoping.

Probably the best news I have for you is the very excellent move made by the Navy Department lifting the ban (to a certain degree) on telling about our whereabouts. So from now on I can be much freer in telling you where I’ve been (with certain restrictions, of course);, but not where I am right now.

Your recent conjectures have been in error to a degree; perhaps my references to the heat have been misleading. Anyhow, Iwo Jima was hardly hot, climatically speaking. Yes, I got a bird's eye picture of the holocaust and was mighty glad that I was on board ship. A pall of smoke covered that island for 20 days or so, never giving us a chance to see the Stars and Stripes on Mt. Surabachi until it finally lifted. It was quite a thrill to spot the flag looking so tiny atop that immense volcanic heap, but it was quite a. shock to realize that guys you had joked with on the transports and waved at on their way by you in port a month prior were no more.

Our particular part in the operation is not for release. But I can tell you of all-night GQs (General Quarters — all hands at their battle stations), sleeping with gun booming right above you on the next deck, having food run out, and water, too. Oh, we had a great time while it lasted. That steady GQ routine was rough for awhile but by eating and sleeping in shifts we managed to work it. Some guys thought they could never sleep with all that racket, but after 30 hours straight they were hard to stir.

Despite all this furor, my vital interest on "hot- dope" did not wane. I spent as much time as I could in the radio shack flipping from one frequency to another, following the troop movements. I found myself with tank, infantry units, minesweepers (land mines) "Howlin’ 'Mad" Smith himself (his private circuit)’, the works. It was fascinating to watch the intricate plans unfold, accurate to the last detail, unfailingly true all the way. In the course of our operations there, I had a chance to chit- chat with an Admiral, who we were transporting from one large ship on one side of the island to a flagship a good distance out. That also proved intensely interesting. He had lot to say and I pumped him with questions to keep him going. The skipper didn't get much of a kick out of it and. read me off Afterwards. "Insolence" he called it, but what the hell, you don't get a chance like that every day and I sure as heck wasn't going to let it pass.

One of the most gratifying angles was the marvelous cool weather. That was the first time in a year that I felt really clean, rid that sweaty feeling that was always so prevalent beforehand. Sleeping was no strain, I found myself getting by on much less and feeling twice as rested.

This censorship business now lets me shoot you some more dope, a way for you to catch up on my actions since I left Honolulu. Eniwetok (an atoll in the Marshall Islands) was my first stop. If you recall, I spoke of 10 rather blissful days being spent on a repair ship in my letters. Eniwetok was the place and it was blissful considering the location.

From there I popped off to Saipan, Guam, and Tinian, getting in on the last stages of that operation. After that it was Eniwetok again, Manus Island (in the Admiralty' s) Palau, Biak (or Bisk) Uluthi, Saipan again. Oh, I've made the circuit, except for the Philippines. As far as what was done at those places, I'm still held back. It's not exactly my desire, the Exec. just won't let them off the ship.

Chow is just about set, so I'm going to quit now. This guy might even have mail for me, which would be nice. Here's hoping. I'll be waiting to hear news of the Smith’s set-up in Florida. They're getting a taste of the weather I’ve been having for a long time.

S'long for now, love to Dad.

All my love,
Nip (Nip is short for “Hipper,” Ensign Allderige’s childhood nickname, still used then in the family.)

Click here to read a letter from Allderige to his sister and brother-in-law.