Letter Home to My Wife, Early 1944
from the South Pacific
Sgt. Richard Perkins, Black Hawk, SD
I am finally getting around to writing to you again. I have been skipping from Island to Island here lately so fast that we have not been settled long enough to write or any thing else. We will perhaps just be at our present location a very short time and from here only the Lord and the Colonel have any idea where.
†††† It seems that the Japs are on the run now and Uncle Sam donít intend to stop chasing them. I guess you can get a fair guess at where I will be from now on just by following the news. The only thing that I am permitted to say is that I was in action on Parry and Engebi Islands in the Marshall group. I sure have a lot of sea‐going time to my credit now and needless to say I still get seasick and hate the ships as bad as ever.
†††† I have given up all hope of getting back to the States this summer. It looks like I will be over here for the duration if I can dodge bullets that long. It is two years now since I saw Randy [his young son] and it will soon be two years since I last saw you. I have twenty‐one months of overseas time nowÖ
†††† I suppose you are a bit curious as to just what I thought of combat but there really isnít much I can say except that to say it is horrible is putting it mildly. I had the holy hell scared out of me a few times but so did everybody else. I had the satisfaction of disposing a few of the yellow bastards to the infernal regions. They are the most barbaric creatures that one could ever imagine. They will never surrender and they continue to fight till the last one is killed. The worst part is at night when one has to lay absolutely quiet all night in a foxhole peering over the edge of the hole into the darkness, trying to spot the Japs that try to sneak through the lines. It is sure a long, lonesome way to spend the night. Usually bullets and shell fragments fly around all night and then it always rains a bit so a fellow donít know quite for sure whether his is shaking from the cold or partially of fright. All in all it is a rather rough way to earn a living but I canít complain as I have been very fortunate in that I have received no injuries and physically I never felt better in my life.
†††† I am sending you some more Jap money. I sent four bills in the last letter but maybe you didnít get it as mail service is in a rather primitive setup out here at times. I will also send that Jap wrist watch as soon as I can. It really is a nice little watch and the Mongol didnít mind giving it to me at all. The money also represents Jap charity.
I appropriated a lot of their gear including a mortar, field glasses and a bayonet but some Marine relieved my of the glasses and bayonet while I wasnít lookingÖ
†††† I look like a native now as I have a real sun tan. All I wear is shorts and shoes. I swim in the ocean about an hour every night. Most of these Islands have no fresh water so bathing and laundry is a rugged problem in this salt water. I solved the laundry problem by wearing practically no clothes but bathing is a pain. A personís hair gets so it wonít hardly comb and the dirt almost refuses to come off in salty water.
†††† The heat here is terrific but where I am now there are no mosquitoes. However there are countless millions of flies and huge ants that attack in formation.
†††† You would really laugh at the bed I made out of sticks and camouflage tape but it does the job and it is the envy of the entire platoon. The bad part about sleeping on the ground is that the ants and land crabs invariably move right in with a man at night.
Perkins on 90th birthday in 2009 (right)†
†Richard 1-1-11 from Covington, LA