from Ensign John M. Alderige to his parents.)
Dearest Mom and Dad:
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.
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.
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.
all this furor, my vital interest on "hot-
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.
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
From there I popped off to Saipan, Guam, and Tinian,
getting in on the last stages of that operation. After that it was
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.
is just about set, so I'm going to quit now. This guy might even
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.
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.)
here to read a letter from Allderige to his sister and brother-in-law.