Letters From Arthur #11: 11 Aug 1944, Guam

by Jess Clackum

Soldiers in the 77th Infantry. Guam, August 1944 (Photo credit: US Army Archives)

Soldiers in the 77th Infantry. Guam, August 1944 (Photo credit: US Army Archives)

The Second Battle of Guam was fought 21 July to 10 August. The Japanese inflicted heavy casualties on the American forces as they approached the beaches. The 77th had no amphibious vehicles so they had to wade ashore resulting in massive casualties but by nightfall they had established.  US supply ships could not get close and there no amphibious vehicles to ferry supplies. On 25 July, the two beachheads would join and capture the Orote airfield and Apra harbor. The US forces exhausted the Japanese who were quickly ran out of supplies. The Japanese line collapsed on 4 August and the Americans took the island. The Japanese lost nearly 20,000 and the US nearly 2,000. 

After securing Guam, the 77th moved north to Mount Tenjo and joined with the 3rd Marine division. US Marines captured Tinian Island with a loss of 389 troops versus 9,000 for the Japanese

 

Guam

8/11/44

Dearest May:

Today I received your ever so welcome letter and enclosed I found the good likeness pictures you took of yourselves up in the Poconos. I enjoyed seeing you both its been so long since I last did so and thanks a million for them! Its the best present a fellow could get. Hope you had a swell vacation up there. I'd give anything to have been able to be there with you both.

May-you mentioned you saw me in a newsreel at a movie. Its very peculiar because I do remember taking a native child out of the road upon request of a high ranking officer. I hadn't realized anything would come of it. Honest I'm stupified just think this newsreel will be shown practically all over the world. Well, It can now be said that I made headlines not realizing what was going to materialize.

Bill looks good, sure hope the day will come when we three can have a re-union. I bet you had a nice visit with mom & dad. How are they, I hope they are well, sure hope the diabetes doesn't come back to her.

May, I know that I can depend on you Dear, I wish you'd send Mom a Christmas present which I would have liked so much to send her. Next month, wherever I'll be, I'm going to send you money and knowing your excellent taste for things, I know that she will be happy when she'll receive it from you, for me. Its impossible for me now while I'll be here in the Pacific to get anything, so sending you the dough to make the purchase is the only thing I can do.

You wouldn't mind, would you Dear? I'll also send you the money to give Joan a present for me. I wish I could have sent her something from Hawaii while I was there but it was too late. Before I knew it, we left for combat almost suddenly.

The weather here is at its peak of humidity, and its terrific. Did you know that Si's wife Anne had a miscarriage. I was surprised when Si wrote me today about it in his letter. I didn't even know that she was pregnant.

I haven't a picture of myself here in the Jungles of Guam resting for awhile, and picture taking is taboo, especially due to censorship. Hope Joan gets over her cold. Poor dear she's always getting sick, what bad luck she has.

I wrote to Bill yesterday and I'm looking forward to hearing from him. When you write to him May, give him my very best regards.

Its close to midnight, and I can hardly keep my eyes open, see what I mean? Isn't this handwriting terrible? A perfect job in scribbling. Please forgive me for it. I shall write you again day after tomorrow. Give Joan my love, and to Mom and Dad. Take care of yourselves. My best to you both.

Your Devoted Brother

Arthur.

If you send me a fruitcake, it will take an awful long time to get it so I don't know what to tell you. Thanks anyway.

Love - Arthur, Brother