This letter says it was written on 4 April 1951, but was in an envelope postmarked 6 May. As with the previous letter, I think this one was actually written in May, so I moved it and changed the page title. I don’t know if this is a case of the letter being in the wrong envelope or of my father incorrectly writing the date. That happened a few times in the WWII letters, which he sometimes caught and corrected. So this could be, and likely is, a letter from 4 May.
Anyway, I think what readers are most likely to notice in this letter are his references to people overseas. My father refers to the Chinese as Chinks, which is not surprising for soldiers fighting an enemy. In some of the WWII letters, he refers to the Japanese as Japs. I don’t find the terminology surprising under the circumstances.
Then there are the references to the Koreans. He recounts seeing a stream of Korean refugees and feels sorry for the small children traveling so far. Then in the very next reference to being in town where the population is overcrowded from the refugees, he describes the overwhelming stink. I guess some readers would find a contradiction in those feelings, an odd mix of sympathy and disdain.
A transcript follows the images.
4 Apr 51
We had a rather dull day today as far as flying was concerned but had a good rest—It rained.—I came up to Seoul this morning and have been sitting around ever since.
I played a couple rubbers of bridge this afternoon and “we” were winning when we quit.
I guess before I can write a decent letter I’ll have to wait until I get one to answer. I should get one or two (
tomorror) tomorrow. I hope so.
Shimp is grounded for a couple of days, he caught a cold and his ears or stopped up. I got one also but my ears are O.K.—I have had a sore throat for a five days tho—Hope I get rid of it soon.
One of the few roads that lead into Seoul from the South—the only one I should say—is about 300′ from our tent. There is a never ending stream of trails, tanks, jeeps, guns, etc going both ways—some up to the front some away—talk about a racket—day and night.
At night the big guns [(illegible)] start booming away—Some of them are behind us and every time they fire we can hear the shells whistling over us. They can fire 15 miles and more and sure make a hell of a racket. They’re expecting another drive by the Chinks soon—when it starts we’ll get in many, many missions all at once again—It is a good way to pile them up fast.
For awhile during the last drive they put on there was a stream of S. Korean refugees going by here to the S.—They were leaving ahead of the Chinks—You should have seen it.—I saw little boys and girls no more than two years old with a billet bag of stuff on their backs walking past here—They had been walking all day—probably the day before and I couldn’t even guess when they’ll be stopping—I mean kids only half as big as Sib. They sure are rugged little people—I felt sorry for some of them tho.
I went into Pusan (city) yesterday to see if I could buy some Khakis at the Q.M.—talk about stink—Whew! It stunk so bad I couldn’t breathe. The city has about three times as many people in it as it normally does—I couldn’t take a shower fast enough when I got back to the base.
Well—kiss the kids for me—save one for me—
I love you
x Walt x
x xxxx xxx