Lyman County, South Dakota  Genealogy

 Military Letters, WWII

As found in old newsletters.
Transcribed by barbara stallman-speck

Restored   Thursday, March 04, 2010  

  Soldier in Philippines  Writes the Home Folks  1945

    Joe Hieb, son of Mr. and Mrs. John J. Hieb of Reliance, writes the following letter from the Philippines under the date of August 3rd.:
    Dear folks: - Well, I'm kind of getting settled down and getting things lined up. I still have a lot to do, but most of it is done. I'm making friends with all of the boys here. They are a good bunch of fellows to get along with. I can't write you the name of any of them, but they all want to know what the US looks like and how the home people feel about the war, and a lot of other questions.
    We work from or do our duty from 8:00 a.m. until 11:30 and then we work from 2:00 until 3:30 p.m. and the rest of the afternoon we can do what we like.
    The ocean is about 10 rods from my tent and the most wonderful beach you ever saw. They don't let us go alone, you have to have another fellow with you for safety reasons. We also have fresh water showers and the best of eats. We play baseball and volleyball during the evening. Volley ball is really a lot of fun.
    There was a USO show here last night. That was fairly good, too. I went to church last Sunday and will go again next Sunday. We have a good Chaplain. The best I have listened to since I've been in the army.
    This morning, a bunch of the boys caught a leach and put it in a bottle for the mess hall. It's a dangerous thing. It infests all the swamps and fresh water in the tropics, and if you should get in the water without and shoes or clothes on, they catch hold of you and suck the blood out of you. You can't get it off you unless you burn it off. It's about the size of a mouse and the ugliest thing you ever saw.
    In our battalion we have two captured monkeys, one of which is always getting loose and we have a heck of a time to catch him/ A fellow also has four parrots with their wings clipped. We can go to the canteen and get a cup full of fountain coke for 10c and the beer we also get ice cold. They have lots of different kinds of candy and magazines.
    A fellow has to be careful when he goes out walking not to walk under any coconut trees because they keep falling off and the trees are about 40 feet tall and the coconuts often weigh ten pounds.
    I guess I'm going to get about five weeks training for my new job. We have movies every night and so far I haven't missed a one. How's everything back in South Dakota? You should have the crops all harvested and the hay put up by now. Boy, what I wouldn't give for a slice of ice cold watermelon. I guess they don't raise them here. I'll have to wait until I get back to the US.
   Well I guess there isn't much new so I'll say so long for now. I have not received any letters while here. I suppose it will take quite a while.



Joseph R. Hieb                                                               October 6, 1945

  Joseph R. Hieb, who has been in the service over a year write to his parents, Mr. and Mrs.  John J. Hieb,  from Hirosoki, Japan.

Well, I finally received five letters from you so I figured that Id write and answer some of your questions. The first thing is the bonds. The captain said it would take several months before they would start coming through so theres nothing to worry about.

Well Im still as good as ever and feeling fine. We landed combat loaded just in case of trouble, but so fare we have only killed three. We landed in Oamori docks and marched through the city to the airport, which is about 3 miles. There we camped for three days.

When we marched through the city most of the civilians had taken to the hills and the few that were left were really curious. They thought we would torture them. They bowed three times and saluted as we passed by. At the airport we got a look at the Jap Zeroes and dive torpedo bombers. There were 10 still left and a transport which made a crash landing. It was shot up by American flyers.

The last day before we moved out American transports started to land and among them, one over-shot the field and the pilot tried to get back into the air, but got caught in some highline wires and crashed. It didnt burn, but killed all five of them. The places was a terrible mess. The body was broke in two and badly demolished so they started a cemetery and they were the first five in it. There are Americans buried all over the world, I guess.

When we moved we marched back to town and got aboard a Jap passenger train, which is about half the size of ours and not nearly as modern as ours. We moved 30 miles inland to Hirosaki where we got off and man, what a crowd. They all wanted to see what Americans looked like. One of them even offered to carry my bags. When a man walks down the street who is a U.S soldier, they bow and salute.

They have some of the most beautiful apple and grape orchards you ever saw, and man, the rice fields. They have very rich soil here.

We moved into the barracks which were formerly occupied by the  Jap Imperial Marines. There are three barracks here. To give you an idea of their size Ill tell you how many rooms theyve got. They have 32 rooms which will house 14 men in each, so figure it out. Were really fixing them up. Besides that, they have for stables what they used in the time of Calvary, which are about three times as big as the Mellegard barn and numerous smaller buildings. There is an orchard right behind the barracks where we go and eat and pick all the grapes and apples we want.

They also use very little space for garden stuff, which we also raid.

There is a space between the barracks and barn which is about as wide as the distance between our house and barn and about twice as long, which they use for observation places as an airport. We have nine planes and they go in and out a lot. They had to cut down some trees on one end so they could land and take off.

We had movies the second night here and they show movies every night. Tonight was See My Lawyer with Olson and Johnson. It was good. They have lots of trees here and we have beautiful lawns and hedges around the camp.

Its going to be freezing pretty soon. It rained today and last night. The work here is not hard, mostly getting ready for winter. We make the Japs do all the dirty work. We are fixing up a building as a gymnasium for basketball and all indoor sports. They are also getting ice skates and skis for this winter.

We had a beautiful flag-raising ceremony here. A big beautiful American flag now flies where a Jap flag used to fly, but never again. This town is right by our camp. We walk in easily. It has a population of about 100,000. Each soldier gets a rifle for a souvenir to send home and lots of other little things.

Well, its about time for lights out so will say so long and be seeing you before long.





This website Copyright 1996-2010  by barbara stallman-speck   
All Rights Reserved


    Created with Microsoft FrontPage