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Volume 2748

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JAMES H. PIERCE ~ XVII

1944 ERB LETTERS TO DAUGHTER JOAN
For more 1944 letters from ERB see the Wartime Letters of Edgar Rice Burroughs at ERBzine 1026
http://www.erbzine.com/mag10/1026.html
Part of our ERB: THE WAR YEARS SERIES ~ ERBzine 1019

1944
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS. INC.
TARZANA, CALIFORNIA
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
16 January 1944
16 January 19441st Lieut. Michael Pierce,
          Bel-Air Rangers, Bel-Air,
          Los Angeles, California.
          Dear Mike:

          Thanks a lot for your letter of December 22, which reached me a few days ago.   It takes a long time for mail to get here from the
          Mainland, but not as long as it did immediately after Pearl Harbor. Very often, then, it took over a month.

          As a Ranger, you would have enjoyed being with me the other day when I visited a jungle training unit.  The colonel commanding took
          two public relations captains and myself in a jeep and drove us around for about six hours.  I wrote your mother something about it, but
          there is a lot more which I think will interest you.

          The training is certainly rugged.  The men engage in personal combat without weapons, learning all the dirty fighting tricks that gangsters,
          muckers, Apaches (the French kind), and hoodlums ever devised, to which have been added some super-duper atrocities heretofore
          unknown, plus judo.  While I was watching one class, the men were tossing each other all over landscape - and hard.

          Another class was being instructed in river crossing under fire. Some of the men, wearing only their birthday suits, were swimming the
          river, pushing their clothing and equipment ahead of them in little boats made of a shelter half filled with brush.   Others were crossing in
          similar but larger boats made of truck tarpaulins -about seven men to a boat.  These men were fully clothed and equipped.

          Others were crossing on a rope bridge which they had strung across the river between two trees. It was about ten feet above the water.
          Another unit built a narrow foot bridge that floated on the surface. All the time, TNT and dynamite were being exploded on land and in the
          water to simulate bombs, shells, and grenades.  Water and mud flew a couple of hundred feet into the air, nearly swamping the boats or
          almost knocking the men off the rope bridge, and deluging the innocent bystanders, of whom I was one.

          Another unit was learning jungle infiltration tactics.  Two men at a time would sneak down a steep, muddy jungle trail with fixed bay-onets
          ready for any emergency.  From behind a tree, a Jap would leap out and swing a mean haymaker at the leading man.  If he ducked in
          time, O.K.   If he didn't, he got a wallop that sat him down hard. At the bottom of the ravine, a Jap sniper hid behind a tree.  As
          (over)
16 January 1944a soldier bayoneted him, another Jap swung, down from a tree on the side of the ravine and knocked him sprawling into the mud.  While I
          was watching, I saw a captain get it - and how.

          These Japs were. of course, dummies.  But the boys went after them as though they were the real thing.  The jungle is real jungle - worse
          than anything I saw in the South Pacific.  I was surprised that we had such jungles here.  So the training is most realistic, and should save
          many lives by training our men how to meet Jap tactics in a favorite Jap terrain.

          There was lots more that I saw, but these that I have told you and the village fighting were the most interesting.

          I hope, Mike, that you will never have to fight in a war; but I also hope that you will get all the military training you can and that your
          generation will insist on compulsory military training for all young men.  If we train our millions and maintain a large Navy and Army in
          peace time, no nation will dare make war unless we are on its side.  So there won't be any war - I hope.

                                                     Lots of love to you all,
                                                     Edgar Rice Burroughs

                         Censor:
                         If there is any question about passing this story of the Jungle Training Unit, please return the letter
                         to me rather than clip it. The information herein is largely identical with a news release that has
                         been passed by G-2.

                              Thanks,
                              Burroughs



 
 

AN ATOLL IN THE CENTRAL PACIFIC
March 30 1944

March 30 1944Joan darling:

As you see, I'm off again; and, as usual, having a grand time.  I left Honolulu on an LB 30 March 20, remained overnight on Johnston Island, and arrived at an advanced base on an atoll the following day.

Brig. Gen, Landon, Commanding General of the 7th Array Air Force Bomber Command, took me right into his quarters; and I have been living with him and Col. Clarence Hegy ever since.  Landon is a prince, and has been swell to me.  I knew him socially in Honolulu.

Hully blew in to the same atoll on the 26th.  He was busy as a bird dog. I saw him for a few minutes on the 26th and again on the 27th. He was still busy.

Landon moved his headquarters the morning of the 27th, and Hully was down at the plane with two of his men, taking pictures.  He took one of the general and me by the general's plane.  I suppose you know that your little brother is a captain now.   I think he is on his way up here in an LST that is bringing some of our equipment.  He said he wanted to get some pictures on the ship.

I flew up to this advanced base with the general in his plane, a new B-24 (Liberator) heavy bomber.  What a plane.   And am still quartered with him and Col. Hegy.

Have been on two bombing missions. The Japs threw ack ack at us both tines, but didn't come near us.  I watched the bombs fall all the way to the targets and saw the bursts.  They were 500 lb bombs.  A village and a radio installation took them on the chin.

On this atoll, the Japs still stink; and the day I arrived they dug up a couple while excavating a trench.  It is cool and comfortable here, with a stiff breeze blowing constantly.  A blanket is comfortable at night. There is no malaria, no mosquitoes, and very few flies; so, little illness.

The other day I flew with the general to another atoll still farther west, passing over Jap held islands, where the so-and-sos must be starving to death.  They will probably eat the natives first and then the Korean laborers.

Living with a general is something.  We have a 20 ft square frame and screen house with a canvas roof.  We also have a lavatory in the house. The general has a private shower in a nearby building, which I use.  He had a private Chick Sale on the other atoll, but here he shares a four holer with other officers.

I expect to remain here about a month longer, unless the general kicks me out,  Landon is a young general - only 37 - but I am told that he is one of the finest air generals in the array.  His officers and men worship him.  He is a West Pointer, extremely democratic and approachable.  His command is tops.  I have never heard an unpleasant word spoken since I have been with it.  His bombers are doing a fine job over all these islands all the way to Truk.

Lots of love to you all,

Papa







 
 

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
September 23 1944

September 23 1944Joan darling:

Thanks for the group photo.  I shall treasure it.  I have not seen Lorraine for twenty-six years, I believe; but she still looks much as I remember her.  Tell her that I received her postal card, and thank her.  Also tell her that I like to have people I like call me Ed; so I was pleased that she did.

Your picture does not do you justice, but you still look awful good to me.  I wish that I might see you and hear you rattle. The good ol' Mutual Admiration Society has never disbanded, and we'll go to town when I get home.

That party must have been very decorous.  I see nothing but water glasses on the table, or did you hide the others for the picture?   And you all look disgustingly sober.

I have not been behaving very well lately.  Two or three Marines from Saipan have been making my room their headquarters when they come in town from the hospital (they are all casualties).  They have brought in half a dozen bottles of Bourbon and a couple of cases of beer, and they come in and make whoopie.  One of them is Capt. Don Jackson, a friend of Rochelle and Hal Thompson.  I met him through Hal down in Noumea.  When his division was in rest camp on one of the other islands here after Tarawa I saw quite a little of him when he got leave to come to Oahu.  They have to be back in the hospital by 9:50 every night - thank God! But I like them.

Jack writes me that you were expected home on the 22nd; so I suppose you are back there now.  I am glad that you had such a wonderful time in Chicago.  The Allens must be tops.  Old friends are pretty nice.  The Westons are about the only old friends I have kept in touch with, but I have made a lot of new ones, especially since the war.  I've been making a card index of the people I have met since December 1942.  By the time I get it completed, I'll have around two thousand.  These are only those whom I have mentioned in my diary or whose signatures appear in my autograph books.  Of course only a few of them could be called friends, but at least none of them are enemies, I hope.

Lots of love to you and the children.
Papa
 
 


SUPPLEMENTARY LETTERS FROM THE ERBzine COLLECTION
 http://www.erbzine.com/mag10/1026.html

AN ATOLL IN THE CENTRAL PACIFIC
March 30 1944

Joan darling:

As you see, I'm off again; and, as usual, having a grand time.  I left Honolulu on an LB 30 March 20, remained overnight on Johnston Island, and arrived at an advanced base on an atoll the following day.

Brig. Gen, Landon, Commanding General of the 7th Array Air Force Bomber Command, took me right into his quarters; and I have been living with him and Col. Clarence Hegy ever since.  Landon is a prince, and has been swell to me.  I knew him socially in Honolulu.

Hully blew in to the same atoll on the 26th.  He was busy as a bird dog. I saw him for a few minutes on the 26th and again on the 27th. He was still busy.

Landon moved his headquarters the morning of the 27th, and Hully was down at the plane with two of his men, taking pictures.  He took one of the general and me by the general's plane.  I suppose you know that your little brother is a captain now.   I think he is on his way up here in an LST that is bringing some of our equipment.  He said he wanted to get some pictures on the ship.

I flew up to this advanced base with the general in his plane, a new B-24 (Liberator) heavy bomber.  What a plane.   And am still quartered with him and Col. Hegy.

Have been on two bombing missions. The Japs threw ack ack at us both tines, but didn't come near us.  I watched the bombs fall all the way to the targets and saw the bursts.  They were 500 lb bombs.  A village and a radio installation took them on the chin.

On this atoll, the Japs still stink; and the day I arrived they dug up a couple while excavating a trench.  It is cool and comfortable here, with a stiff breeze blowing constantly.  A blanket is comfortable at night. There is no malaria, no mosquitoes, and very few flies; so, little illness.

The other day I flew with the general to another atoll still farther west, passing over Jap held islands, where the so-and-sos must be starving to death.  They will probably eat the natives first and then the Korean laborers.

Living with a general is something.  We have a 20 ft square frame and screen house with a canvas roof.  We also have a lavatory in the house. The general has a private shower in a nearby building, which I use.  He had a private Chick Sale on the other atoll, but here he shares a four holer with other officers.

I expect to remain here about a month longer, unless the general kicks me out,  Landon is a young general - only 37 - but I am told that he is one of the finest air generals in the array.  His officers and men worship him.  He is a West Pointer, extremely democratic and approachable.  His command is tops.  I have never heard an unpleasant word spoken since I have been with it.  His bombers are doing a fine job over all these islands all the way to Truk.

Lots of love to you all,
Papa


Honolulu
April 28, 1944
Dear Mike:

Was glad to learn that you had joined the den at Sherman Oaks. It is good training for boys; and will be helpful to you all through your life, besides being fun while you are a member.

I know just how you felt about sleeping in your own bed again. For the past five weeks I have been sleeping on Army cots, usually without a pad or a pillow. And for all that time I never had hot water for washing or shaving. Those things are not hardships - they are just discomforts. They are good for a fellow once in a while.

Coming back from Tarawa, I was on a big four-engine transport plane bringing back some casualties. There was one extra litter, so I flew home horizontal, which was far more comfortable than the gosh-awful tin bucket seats. I was at the bottom of a tier of four litters, with just barely room enough to squeeze out occasionally and roll on the floor in a most undignified manner before I could stand up.

I flew about 7,000 miles this time - in C-47s, C-54s, and B-24s. The B-24s were most uncomfortable, as the wind blew up around the ball turret and out the tail-gunner's back window. And it was darned cold at nine and ten thousand feet. I always stand up in B-24s to keep from freezing to death. Just that little moving around keeps my blood from congealing. But I'm sure tired by the time we come in.

One phase of flying a B-24 always scares me stiff. Those in the waist have to go forward when the plane is taking off. The only place for me to go was the cat-walk through the bomb-bay. It is about eight inches wide, and the space between the bombs is so narrow that I have to slither through sideways. It is also dark and cramped and no place to look out except a tiny crack at the forward end of the bomb-bay doors. And noisy! Gosh! And rough, too, as the plane gets up speed. You know they run about a mile during the take-off. And there is the knowledge that in a crackup, everyone in the bomb-bay is always killed. I used to watch that crack in the bottom of the front end of the bomb-bay, and I didn't breathe easily until I saw green water and knew that we were airborne. I can think of lots of pleasanter places to travel than in a bomb-bay.

As a matter of fact, Mike, I hate flying. I have flown about 15,000 miles since the war began, all over water. I am never air-sick, nor do high altitudes affect me unpleasantly; but I still hate flying. If I ever get back where they have trains, I'll take the Super Chief every time.

Give my love to "Mom" and Joanne, and accept a lot for yourself.

Grandpa Ed.


Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
June 23, 1944
June 23, 1944Joan darling:

Am glad the package arrived, but evidently you never received (or I never wrote) the letter explaining the silly things. I could have sworn that I wrote to both you and Jane, telling where I got the souvenirs and for whom they were intended. But I can find no carbon copies of any such letters. Am I slipping! Antiquity has sneaked up on me and batted me on the bean.

The Jap bill and photo were for Mike. The soldier who found them in a Jap barracks bag when we took Kwajalein gave them to me. I also explained about the cowrie shell necklace. I think that the one I sent you was given me by the soldier who made it on Kwajalein. I tried to get the silver or gold chains that the boys use in stringing these, but there were none left in Honolulu. Our servicemen had bought them all.

The loose shells I got on Apamama. My none too subtle hints that I would like to hear something about you from you having met with no success, it has finally dawned on me that you consider it none of my damn business. Well, I suppose it isn't. It may interest you to know that I met Col. Frank Capra the other evening and all evening until midnight, and that I had him at lunch at the Outrigger Canoe Club yesterday. Almost from the first it was 'Frank' and 'Edgar'. I think he is a very swell person with a great sense of humor (he laughed at my sallies). He told me the first evening that he had heard a lot about Hully and his work, and of course that endeared him to me immediately.

It was good news about Jane and Danton. Jane and Jack are doing more for America than they could accomplish if he were drafted. At my luncheon yesterday a French colonel (the Governor of Tahiti), an American colonel (Capra), Capt. Phil Bird, and Capt. Lawrence toasted Danton. And yesterday evening at Fort Shafter, a colonel, a lieutenant colonel, two majors, and four wahinis stood and toasted him. Do I brag about my grandchildren! I wish that I had a late picture of Mike. Joanne's is very much admired by all my friends. I also wish that I had a good portrait of you. If you will have one taken, I will pay for it.

Tell Mike that the knife was given me by a 7th AAF Bomber Command Flight Surgeon on Kwajalein.

Lots of love to you all!
Papa

 COLONEL FRANK CAPRA (1897-1991), was a Hollywood director, who had first been commissioned as a Major in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. During the war, Capra, who was discharged with the rank of Colonel, would be assigned to the Morale Branch of the Army and was ordered by Marshall "to make a series of documented, factual-information films - the first in our history - that will explain to our boys in the Army why we are fighting, and the principles for which we are fighting." The seven films in the Capra produced/directed "Why We Fight" series included Prelude to War, The Nazis Strike, Divide and Conquer, The Battle of Britain, The Battle of Russia, The Battle of China and War Comes to America. By 1943, the War Department had developed a program to bring movies of all kinds to the soldiers on the battlefronts, where, as General Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "next to guns, what the boys need most is movies and more movies."


NO IMAGE
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42, Hawaii

September 6, 1944
Joan darling:

Was delighted by your letter of August 31.  So was Hulbert. We were both so glad to know that you were having such a good time, and we both agreed that you had a lot of good times coming to you.  Lorraine and her husband sound very good to me.  When you write Lorraine, say hello for me, and tell her I wish that I had been there with you.

You mentioned a lot of places there with which I am more or less familiar, but I didn't see anything about Chez Paris. Don't tell me you didn't go there. I was dragged there nearly every night for two weeks, as our host and hostess practically lived in the joint. Did you get to the Pump Room in Ambassador East? That place practically floored me. I never before or since saw so much silly mumbo jumbo connected with donning the well known feed bag. The serving of food closely resembled a Ringling Brothers circus parade.

Thanks for the birthday wishes. I got an inkling that some of my friends were going to pull a birthday party on me; so I asked Hulbert to invite me out to Hickam for dinner and the night. There were Hulbert, three other officers, and myself. Hulbert did the cooking, and  is he good! Steak with onions, french fried potatoes, corn, tomatoes, raisin rolls!

He came in yesterday afternoon and we played poker. He took $5.75 away from me. He looks fine, but is homesick. Says he'll be a psychopathic case if he doesn't get home pretty soon.

I wonder if you saw Judson. He must be an old man by this time. Golly! how many years it seems since I saw any of them.

Am glad that you had such a good time. I hope you had lots of pretty things to wear.

Had two nice letters from Jack. He told me about his new position. Am mighty glad he didn't go back to Douglas. He should go a long way in the work he is doing now. He's a swell kid.

Lots of love to you all,

Papa (sig)

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
September 23 1944
Joan darling:

Thanks for the group photo.  I shall treasure it.  I have not seen Lorraine for twenty-six years, I believe; but she still looks much as I remember her.  Tell her that I received her postal card, and thank her.  Also tell her that I like to have people I like call me Ed; so I was pleased that she did.

Your picture does not do you justice, but you still look awful good to me.  I wish that I might see you and hear you rattle. The good ol' Mutual Admiration Society has never disbanded, and we'll go to town when I get home.

That party must have been very decorous.  I see nothing but water glasses on the table, or did you hide the others for the picture?   And you all look disgustingly sober.

I have not been behaving very well lately.  Two or three Marines from Saipan have been making my room their headquarters when they come in town from the hospital (they are all casualties).  They have brought in half a dozen bottles of Bourbon and a couple of cases of beer, and they come in and make whoopie.  One of them is Capt. Don Jackson, a friend of Rochelle and Hal Thompson.  I met him through Hal down in Noumea.  When his division was in rest camp on one of the other islands here after Tarawa I saw quite a little of him when he got leave to come to Oahu.  They have to be back in the hospital by 9:50 every night - thank God! But I like them.

Jack writes me that you were expected home on the 22nd; so I suppose you are back there now.  I am glad that you had such a wonderful time in Chicago.  The Allens must be tops.  Old friends are pretty nice.  The Westons are about the only old friends I have kept in touch with, but I have made a lot of new ones, especially since the war.  I've been making a card index of the people I have met since December 1942.  By the time I get it completed, I'll have around two thousand.  These are only those whom I have mentioned in my diary or whose signatures appear in my autograph books.  Of course only a few of them could be called friends, but at least none of them are enemies, I hope.

Lots of love to you and the children.
Papa


See the letter image also at
http://www.tarzan.org/docs/441021.jpg

CLIPPER
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Tarzana, California
1298 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu 42 Hawaii
21 October 1944

21 October 1944Joan darling:

Under separate cover I am mailing you via steamer some photos that have been cluttering my desk for some time. I thought you might like to look at them and then paste them in your hat.

The one in front of Pacific Tramp (General Landon's Liberator) was taken on Mullinex Field, Tarawa, March 27, 1944, just before we took off for Kwajalein. From Left to right are Col. Clarence Hegy, Capt. Scheur(?), Genl. Landon, ERB, Lt. Col. Jay Rutledge.

Another is of Wilma and Phil Bird, ERB, and Kitty Braue (rhymes with zowie), one of the guests at Louise Rogers' party, who dances a mean hula. I didn't have a stomach ache. I was merely holding on to my palpitating heart. Phil is not frightened. He was letting his hair grow so that he could part it again and look like a human being. Wilma, Col. Fielder (his boss) and I had razzed him into it.

The third is of your dear old father after Sue Brown had painted on eyebrows and what she thought a mustache should look like. It happened like this. "Duke" Willey, a man in his fifties, was teamed up in a mixed doubles tennis tournament set with a wahine he didn't like; so he prevailed on me to play with him, taking the part of the kane opposite his wahine. He put on one of his wife's bathing suits, she painted his face and rouged his lips, and a Red Cross man pasted false eyelashes on him. He was something to look at! And he was in character all the time, mincing and simpering. When I pinched his leg, he slapped me. He was darned good and got a lot of laughs. We lost the set.

I don't know when you will get the pictures. I have to get an Army O.K. to send the one of Genl. Landon, and then they will go by steamer mail. You will probably get them around the first of January, if at all.

Haven't seen Hulbert for a couple of weeks. He still wants to go home. I wish that he might. I think he would soon get it out of his system. Ralph tells me to stay here, that there is nothing that I could do there; and I know he is right.

When am I going to get decent pictures of you and Mike? I have one of Joanne.

Just talked with Phil, and he is going to stop at my office on his way home and get the pictures to O.K.

Lots of love,
Papa


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