N.O.B. Shanghai, China
January 11, 1947
Since the last time I wrote you I've had the best & most thrilling experience in the navy.
At 2:00 Wednesday afternoon, the 8th we were called on draft after exactly 1 month on Guam. We packed our gear, got cleaned up, ate chow, had a beer & checked our mail by 5:30 when we got aboard a truck with our seabags & left ye olde receiving station & Little Caesar behind.
There was only 20 of us for the others had caught an AVS, a supply ship, the 7th. Then we went to the airport. Yes sir, this time we went in style. We had a little red tape there, our route & that of our baggage & finally boarded the plane at midnite. It was a huge silver one, a C-54 transport, four motored with room for 35 passengers. All the time in the station we were wondering how it would be & were all excited. We taxied out to a big runway stretching about 1/2 a mile, lit with torches on the ground all the way down. He revved up the motors with the brakes on until we thought our ears would break. We had our safety belts on & Mae Wests under the seats. We couldn't smoke till we leveled off. We roared down the runway & then all of a sudden we were off & climbing. It was funny to look down on Guam from the air & think it was small after being on it. Then we climbed above the clouds which was a beautiful sight with the moon shining on them. After we leveled off, Rick, G__, Pete & myself played pinochle on the deck till about 3:00. We were woken up again at 6:30 & hooked on our safety belts for a landing at Okinawa. We had on our dungarees with no skivy shirt because it was so hot on Guam & when we got out of the plane we nearly froze. We took a bus to the chow hall there & ate came back to airport. Okinawa was just like Guam except more grass & growth & the native huts were made with poles of about 4" or 5" diameter with a painted top & mud and canvas on it. We picked up about 10 men there going to Shanghai on 5 days liberty which they get after 16 months. It took us about 2 hrs to Shanghai & got a wonderful air view of the harbor & rice fields & that king of farming in steps up a mountainside like this. -- I forget what they call it but forget Your kids in school probably know.
We circled around & around until we thought the pilot had forgot how to land or had lost his nerve, finally we made a 3 pt. landing & finished about a 1200 mile trip in 10 hrs flying time with supper on Guam, breakfast on Okinawa & noon chow in Shanghai.
I don't think I can ever describe China & all I've seen in such a short time in a letter but will have a lot to tell when I get home. First off it's bitter cold here & we had to put on blues, peacoats & flattops, quite a change from Guam & we all caught cold especially after an 8 mi ride in an open truck to Navy Headquarters in center of town with nothing on but dungarees. I'll never forget that ride as long as I live, I never saw a more screwy place than China. What you don't see here isn't worth seeing. They're dirt poor & wear anything & everything. They dress in typical Chinese kimonas or jackets & knickers which are padded. You see them with about 20 lbs. of clothes on all sorts pulling a load or carrying one that would kill a good team of horses. They're always selling something & wanting to buy clothes, watches, pens or lighters etc. I sold my sweater for $3.50 & soles on my shoes to a Chink shoe maker right in our barracks. There's too many of them, they're all over, like ants, I never saw so many people. On the road there's all kinds of rickshaws, carts, dogs, horses, cars, trollys, people, all going every which way. The rickshaw drivers run all the time, how I don't know.
Every man here has a uniform, more or less, blue, black, brown, grey, & they have Chinese sentries all over & little band of troops of about 20 men heading out of the city carrying rifles, knives, pistols or nothing. They came here on leave from civil war farther in. Every trolley has about 1 to 200 people on it, how they breathe I don't know.
I borrowed a sawbuck from the Red Cross here to help me out till I get stationed. I'm supposed to fly to Tsingtao Monday for duty with the 3rd Squadron but we'll see how it works out. I didn't want to write before I left Guam for fear you'd worry about the trip between letters so don't worry about Tsingtao trip for it's really safe & a wonderful way to travel.
I'll tell a lot more in my next letter about what I've done here its. Right now the guys are calling for me to come in to dance here in _. The girls are all nationalities, all white, mostly European. Having a wonderful time.,