Letters From Arthur #2: 27 Jul 1943, Mojave Desert

by Jess Clackum

Desert Training Center

Desert Training Center

In late June 1943, the Allies advanced to the Solomon Islands. On 6 July, the US battled the Japanese in the Battle of Kuala Gulf in the Solomons. Days later, the Japanese went on to win a tactical victory at the Battle of Kolombangara. On 24 July, the US B-24 Liberators from the 42nd Squadron of the US Army Air Force enroute from Midway Island bombed the Japanese garrison on Wake Island. 

Dear May -

Once again I write hoping you'll forgive my long silence, but we've been on extensive maneuvers in the Mojave Desert in California and they took up all of our time, I wasn't even able to write to anyone else.

We arrived back here in this Base Camp several days ago, and I'm sure glad to be back, we need a long, long rest. We're pooped out with exhaustion.

I sincerely hope you and Joan are well, I've thought a lot about you and have wondered many times how could I get a letter to you, but there was no way. These past maneuvers were really the worst I've been in yet. The humidity was up to 158° in the shade, we'd hike for miles across the hot sands of the Desert, with only one canteen of water. It was hell, believe me by midday the water would no longer be cool. It would be hot from being out in the sun, with parched throats, you can well imagine how we felt when we'd reach for our canteens, we'd be drinking water that had become hot. As for food, well we saw very little of it, there were times we'd eat only once a day, I'm so happy I have gone from such ungodly country.

Now we are back in camp where we are getting an ideal rest, however its dreadfully hot here too. Please let me hear from you as I never for a minute intended to call our correspondence to a halt. Let's hear from you real soon. My love to Joan. Regards to Bill.

Your loving Brother,

Arthur