Letters From Arthur #21: 22 Oct 1944, Guam

by Jess Clackum

General MacArthur lands on Leyte. (Photo: National Archives)

General MacArthur lands on Leyte. (Photo: National Archives)

"Leyte was to be the anvil against which I hoped to hammer the Japanese into submission in the central Philippines - the springboard from which I could proceed to the conquest of Luzon, for the final assault against Japan itself." ---General Douglas MacArthur. 

The Allies landed on the east side of Leyte Island on 20 Oct 1944, they faced an army of 20,000 Japanese soldiers.  The US Sixth Army numbering 175,000, landed on the northeastern coast of Leyte under the command of General Walter Krueger, transported by the 7th Fleet. On 21 October, forces reached Leyte's capital city Tacloban, cheered on by civilians. While the Japanese were already well-situated in the capital city, the US 8th Cavalry secured the high ground. 

Because of the conditions there, the mission was as much humanitarian as combat. Residents of the city of Tacloban were desperate for food and shelter. American soldiers offered what little they had and forces opened up Japanese warehouses to distribute whatever they could. 

 

Dearest Sis May:

Received your ever so welcome letter and was glad to hear from you. I do believe Bill will get his discharge from the Service just as Si may get on account of ulcers.

'Tis a pity that I have to be so healthy; to have to endure the filthy hardships and agonies of war. I've seen so much of destruction in the past. It will lie in my memory as the blackest experience of my life. The Infantry is no picnic, dear, because you get no privileges of comforts or conveniences and although living conditions aren't what I'd call drastic, but, men do age fast in this outfit.  Forgive me if I appear to be bitching, but I'm not really, it's just that conditions existing here amongst Infantry troops are terrible, especially where rest is concerned while this may be called a rest it really isn't at the end of day I feel even too tired sometimes to go to a movie.

May, dear, I'm enclosing a money order to mail in a letter to you. If it isn't enough, let me know and I shall send you another money order. I have no idea how much I'd have to send especially for a bathrobe and slippers.

Love Brother

Arthur