Question 65: Free Response


Attitudes of Combat Infantrymen


Form E
If you have any further remarks to make on any subject relating to your combat experience please write them below as fully as you like:
Put words or phrases inside quotes to search for an exact match.
After a man has had so much combat in the jungles, I think that he should be sent back to the States or be put in some non-combat out fit, so he can get his health back. Fore in the jungle a man loses his health easily. For I know that it is a plenty of men back in the State that would like to come over & take a chance at combat.
I don't think that we should be kept in the jungle for so long a time and at times good [could] be treated better than just ordinary slaves.

I don't see why officers should be treated much better than enlisted men after all we too are human. Officers can have more rights than enlisted men it may be so but I can't seem to see why. We are all in this war for 1 purpose so therefore we should all be treated alike .
My experience is combat with the Japs is, that he is a very good jungle fighter, a person should try to learn all about jungle warfare that he can before he goes into combat. But he usually has more to learn in one day in actual combat than he could ever learn in training. Anyone will be scared but I found the best way to keep courage and survive dangerous battles, is first to have faith in our Heavenly Father, next is make up your mind that you will do your best regardless of odds, and that nothing can make you show cowardly. The jungle itself is a tough enemy but always try to make it your friend by taking cover and concealment regardless of rain mosquitoes.
Our officers figured the New Georgia Campaign to last no more than one week. When they showed us on the maps what was going to take place it looked easy. But when we went into battle it was hell. Our infantry had big losses, and at times men were killed for some foolish idea of officer. Some officers go into battle with the idea in their head for promotion for themselves regardless how many men they lost. At times men notized [noticed] it and those officers are only a bad memory.
I think that after a man has sank on a ship and got out of it alive, and spent 18 months in the jungles on islands where there wasn't any civilization, he should get a chance to go home. There are lots of fellows who would like to get over here and fight so why not give them a chance we fellows don't want all the glory. We are just ordinary men, and try our best.
I'd like to have more time off. They tell us were going for a rest & they make us unload boats. When they give us a day off & they think they are giving us a gold mine. I'm disgusted with the whole army. They use the infantry like slaves for all the other outfits & they, "call us Queen of battles"!

We've been in the jungles too long & the food was lousy. We had too much corn beef hash, & "vienna sausage"!
With all the troops trained in the States, I see no reason why we should be so very fortunate as to rot away in the jungle under this hot burning sun. Give us a break. We're only human. There are too many U.S.O. soldiers in the States who hardly know there's a war on. Give them a taste of it. We're forgotten really and if they overlook us any longer we'll all be bed-riders soon.
I believe the officers that lacked the leadership qualities during combat should be removed from the company for the benefit of both their good and that of the men. The enlisted men of my company put in the very best they had without the aid of an officer. The men for the most part take the war much more seriously . Commendations were handed to men who did the outstanding work - whereas a medal was passed out to the officer in charge - for - essentially perfect communications.
Well we finally came back for a rest after 16 months without even seeing a white person. Then we get here we are going to get plenty of leave. But the thing that happens, two days after we are here we start training. No transportation to town 40 miles in the hills and when you do get to town you have to be in camp for eleven o'clock. If this is what the army calls a rest and have a chance to relax it stinks. I believe after being in the Jungles for that long we deserve a break. What is the army trying to do, win the war with one small percentage of the men. Bring them from the states and let them have a try at it. A man can live on can rations for ever, I am sure that I am no Native. I've seen two Christmas over here and I sure would like to see home the next one.
Replacements should be more thoroughly trained in jungle warfare. Officers being sent into combat units should have a taste of the conditions a man of combat has gone through. When he's fresh out of civilization he tries to enforce those rules that have been dropped by a combat officer or enlisted man in the early days of combat. Men getting back to the states & being discharged when we all along knew they were useless but yet knowing they are as physically fit as we they are discharged. Lies being told by these same cases of how valourous they had been and having it printed all over the front page.
The officers getting medals for work that some enlisted man did and accepting them without a word of praise for said enlisted man.
One thing I don't like is having to stay over here so long before returning back home. I didn't mind coming over but the idea is staying and also getting replacements and having to go over the same road again. I really think after 18 months all the old men should be taken out and just sent for a break to the USA. And give some of those USO soldiers a chance at this over here. But after all there haven't had but 3 outfits that has ever done thing in the SWP and I happen to be in one of them. That is what I don't like, and the army For sure and one thing I would like to know is when this 18 months bill is in Fest, So good bye.
I think after a man has been overseas 18 mo. and has seen some pretty tough combat and was lucky enough to get out alive he should be allowed to go home for a while at least. I don't think that because a fellow was lucky enough to get through he should go on and fight until the war is over or he gets knocked off.

There are plenty of boys in the states that have been in the army long before a lot of us and are well trained. I think they should have a chance to do something. It isn't fair to keep one outfit overseas and let them do it all. When we are lucky enough to get back to civilization I think we should be allowed furloughs and not quite so much training. It's OK to have rifle inspection once a week but I don't think we should have so much garrison.
I belong to an outfit which has been overseas for going on nineteen months now. We have been in a malaria zone all this time except at the present time. I believe men who have been in combat for this length of time should have a chance to go home for a leave & get some place where there is civilization, which we do more good to the boys after the war is over. We all are willing to do our part but feel that there are some outfits that have been back in the states to long & could be sent over to replace the men who've been over here as long as we have and think something should be done.

We also were on the USA President Coolidge when it was hit by your own mines & believe all men in our case should get some kind of consideration & get a brake [break].
First: the jungle fighter is loaded down with too much equipment.

The main thing - When we came here to N.Z. from combat we all were real happy about it. That happiness did last for a few weeks. But we all are now pretty well burnt up for being put into training again, especially so soon. The God's honest truth I'm damn well disgusted and so are all the other members. And it's about time they start rotating the troops.
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Another thing we spent 1 year in the jungles, facing malaria all the way through. Before going in, we heard all you could stay in malaria country was four months we stayed for twelve, I think, even though we only went through one big campaign, we went through hell for that year, therefore, I think we should be sent back to the states, & give a few of those U.S.O. soldiers a fighting chance over here. I think you could use most of us to train troops for jungle fighting. At least we know what it's all about. I think you should something about the guys who haven't been home in a couple of years. Myself I haven't been home in over 2 1/2 years, & in 3 1/2 years of army life I've had fourteen days furlough. Do you think that's fair? and there are a lot of guys in the same boat as me. Lets do something about these things. These aren't bitches, it's the truth.
Once or twice our Commanding officer pulled out on his men once he left a position not knowing what all of his men were with him or not. And another time after the firing started we did not see him until we had beaten the Japs off. I don't think they should leave troops in combat so long. And neither should they have to stay overseas as long as some men have to stay. For to long over here cause a man to have a lot of sickness and probably will bother him all of his life.,
I believe negro troops should be used for combat instead of service troops. Their casualties are few while much clean white American youth is being killed off. Life is cheaper to a negro and we'll not miss many of them because there is too many in the country now.

We are fighting because we had to & not because of national security or we would have intercepted the enemy long before. All wars are economic wars and are won by diplomacy not by destruction. Stop praising MacArthur. He's the best ally the Japs have. He should have stayed with his men in the Philippines and he set his defense in Australia instead of some of the other islands closer to Japan. If he had airfields at Rahual even at the time. The war would have started where we've come after 2 years. I have no confidence in bombings. We have 6 million Japs to fight underground when we get to Japan proper. We need a new weapon for underground warfare.
I feel that we would have a better fighting unit if the morale of the men were much higher. All of our officers, with the exception of our C.O. who was K.I.A., have only one object in mind. That is to get some own personal glory. Either in the way of advancement or medals. They all try to "polish the old apple" for their superior officers. And care the least for the training or welfare of the men. They expect to cramp their military courtesy down our throats. While if they were the type of officers they should be and put forth their best effort toward winning the war, it would be a pleasure to salute them and every enlisted man would feel proud to give them a salute.

Three of the five of our officers just turned plain yellow. The C.O. was killed and it left us enlisted men out on the limb. If the officer would display leadership and courage and really take an interest in their men, I am sure there would be lots more men on the fighting line. The enlisted men in our company have had to make all kinds of sacrifices for the luxury of the officers. I feel that the enlisted men should obey an officers order to the letter but I feel they should have no different privileges than we do as we are all fighting this for the same cause.
Col. Walsh of the 1st Btn 169 Inf. had men lose their lives when a little common sense could have saved more men than he did. These are the kind of men that gets decorated in my Division.

Most of the men that were evacuate with nerve trouble were just yellow, and when they did return back to duty they were given the rates. Fellows like myself that saw everything are still wear [wearing] the number of stripes we had before we saw action and they are supposed to be leaders. As far as I am concerned it is a dam foolish idea. I can't see why officers should go home with nothing wrong with them and let the enlisted men stay over here to carry on. Give the enlisted men a break. Make officers that has come through the ranks and not those young kids that are just getting out of school. We know what the boys went through and the men will get a break. Most of all get us home and get some of those men over here that has been sitting on there ass for over a year mostly 38-31 Div.