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 I’d 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 there’s
nothing to worry about.
Well I’m 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 ½ 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 didn’t 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 I’ll tell you how
many rooms they’ve got. They have 32 rooms which will house 14 men in
each, so figure it out. We’re 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
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.
It’s 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
Well, it’s about time for
lights out so will say so long and be seeing you before long.