Biography of Julius Adolph "Julie" Kossor
S/Sgt, 42001740, 389th Bomb Squadron and 386th Bomb Squadron, 312th Bomb Group "Roaring 20's", 308th Bomb Wing, 5th Air Force, USAAF, WWII
My Late Uncle, Julius Adolph Kossor, better known as Julie Kossor, of West Orange, New Jersey, joined the United States Army from that town, being inducted on July 3, 1943 and entering active duty on July 25, 1943. He went into the Army Air Force. He began to train as an aircrew member for bombers. At some point he trained at the Georgia Institute of Technology, which he would mention to me years later when I went to college there. Eventually he completed his training and was assigned as a gunner in a bomber crew.
Julie was sent to the Pacific Theater of Operations, leaving his port of departure on December 31, 1944 and arriving at his destination on January 21, 1945. His discharge does not say where he arrived, however his war diary suggests his first destination was Hollandia, New Guinea.
Julie was sent to the Pacific where he joined the 312th Bomb Group, the nicknamed the "Roaring 20's" for the A-20s they flew at the time. He was a gunner on A20s for numerous missions. Later he was transferred to B-32s in the 386th Squadron of the 312th Bomb Group. Julie told stories about the B32, saying how the plane was hated because "the darned thing never came down", flying for many tedious uncomfortable hours or so at a time. He remained in the Pacific after the war until finally coming home in 1946. His discharge papers list him as being in the 389th Bomb Squadron. I am not sure if he started with them and then transferred into the 386th or vice versa. He kept a War Diary which detailed some of his experiences.
Julie's War Diary is not entirely clear as to timelines and details. He kept it in a Service Writing Tablet, a lined note pad. He wrote on one side of the pages, periodically making notes about events of interest. The notes do not seem to be in order, refer to earlier events, and sometimes repeat mention of the same event. At some point he then wrote on the reverse of these pages a list of the missions he flew. Later as to both the diary and the list of missions he seems to have gone back and added date notes and other details, such as mission time. As a result it is not entirely clear as to the order of events, though generally it is. Julie's notes are in bold, my comments are not.
Jan - Landed in Hollandia. After the peace, Japs should be forced to live in New Guinea - a lot of WACs there, but that's all - saw Olsen + Johnson in person, in, "Hells a Poppin" - a nice lot of beautiful faces + figures in it!
Hollandia was the location of an Airfield in New Guinea. It had been the location, until two weeks prior to his arrival, of the rear echelon of his eventual unit, the 312th Bomb Group. However, they had flown to their new base in the Phillipines in the first week of January where their ground element had been preparing for them for several weeks.
Went to Nabzab just as bad as Hollandia - Worse. Seen "This is the Army" and Irving Berlin in Person. - A Swell Joe, and swell show. Our first buddy lost over Rabaul - on the "Baptism of Fire" run - went to his funeral. Cemetary kept nice, but I wouldn't like to be in it. Did a lot of swimming - seen a lot of Aussie Gals - Not BAD!
Seen Jap Graves - Just where they belong! - Went on board a grounded Jap Ship - pretty big - a lot of holes in it. - Got 21 letters when I reached Nabzab. Read "Dotties" & Beverly's about 3 times each. Also the ones from home. Met old Jerry Coughlin. Sure was good to see someone from the old home town. Boy, what a "session" we had. Seen a lot of "head hunters'. They took one look at mine and said - "Its all yours Brother". Left Nabzab seen Pelilu. Shell holes all over the place. Japs only 5 miles away on another island.
Nadzab, New Guinea, was home to the Combat Replacement Training Center (CRTC), which was also designated as the 360th Service Group, Far East Air Force. This unit served to provide combat experience and training for replacements. The 360th flew missions out of Nadzab from the middle of 1944 until the end of the war. Here is almost certainly where Julie's comrade who died over Rabaul took off to receive his "Baptism of Fire" flying in the well worn aircraft of the 360th, which it seems mostly had already flown dozens of missions with frontline units before being transferred to the CRTC. The only thing that is confusing is that so far as I can tell Nadzab was used to strike Japanese targets that were bypassed, Wewak, Rabaul etc, not ones in the Philippines. Yet all of Julie's early missions are in the Philippines. That poses a problem, since its over 5,000 miles from Nadzab to Luzon, where Julie's mission list sends him in his early missions. Thats beyond the range of the bombers of the time, and would have mission times of 24 hours or more. So it seems that Julie's mission list does not involve missions flown from Nadzab. Julie mentions Pelilu (Peleliu). There was an airfield on Pelilu, in Palau. However that airfield is still 1000 miles away from Manila. That puts it in range of the bombers of the time but Mission times would be much longer than the times set in Julie's notes. So it would seem that Julie passed through Pelilu rather than flying from there. Or perhaps Julie's mission list does not include his training missions? But the mission notes seem to indicate a month and day. And those notes place many of Julie's early missions in February. But his diary says he doesn't join the 312th till March. So either the "F" and "M" notes do not mean February and March, or the March note made on top of the joined Roaring 20's entry was wrong, or Julie flew several missions with some other unit in the Philippines. Were there more combat training units than the one in Nadzab? Was there one in the Philippines, somewhere within an hours flying time of Manila? Or was Julie flying with another unit, or as a general replacement as he awaited permanent assignment? If the March notation is wrong and the dates are right then it would seem he was not flying with the 312th since its missions do not coincide as to all of those dates and targets and losses. For instance Julie mentions that two men were lost on February 15th, but the 312th lost no men on that day. Also the 389th records, as shown in the Roarin's 20's book, have a Cpl Kossor with 9 combat missions in the A20 as of March 13th. Julie's notes would indicate he flew 11 missions by that time. Were they not all in A20s? Or were they not all with the 312th? If it was only going by those with the 312th, though, he only had two missions in March which is when his notes say he met up with the 312th? Its hard to tell from what is available what exactly to make of these conflicts.
Feb 2. Air Raid - 4 Jap Betty's. One shot down. One bomb hit field + camp - 3 men killed 60 or 70 injured - 11 bombs just missed our camp about 100 yards, the first bomb was dropped close, concussion felt. Got my first real Jap souvenir.
Feb 15. Lost two planes over target - two buddies lost - now lost 15 men out of 60 we trained with.
Mar 20 - Another fellow lost - drowned - big waves heavy undertow. Was pulled under several times - decided to lay in the sun.
Mar 22. Another Air Raid one plane shot down. Lasted from 20:00-01:00. Bomb dump hit - a few bombs exploded close by.
Reached Leyte. Joined my outfit - The "Roaring20's". Moved to Luzon (Civilization, first I seen in a long time) - Japs close by - artillery shells 'em every night. Filipinos are swell to us. Traded practically all the clothes off my back for souvenirs. - a few Japs sneaked through our lines, came on our field - slept with my "artillery" every night. (45 piston, machete, knife and rosary) They were caught, and happy to report that they joined their Jap Ancestors - Filipinos got 'em - They can Smell 'em!
Apr. 19 Moved to new field. Clark Field - mist be at least 300 jap planes on the ground over here. Four of them about 50 yards from my tent. Rode down in Filipino coaches - what a rail road - cars were built in 1924. Rode at 8 miles an hour Took 14 hours to ride 110 miles. I wouldn't even put cattle in those dilapidated cars. Japs in the Hills only 8 miles away - sleep with my "Gat" every night.
Given the entries on the page and before and after I suspect this note meant to say May or in fact did say May and I misread it.
Met Naomi's fiance'. A swell fellow - Sure was good to see him again. He sure misses Naomi - also met Billie Latram on the way over by boat - it feels damn good to see someone you know again.
Was awaken at 12 o'clock on April 23 - Japs charging our field. - went down to guard the planes. Felt sleepy - but kept awake all night 30 Japs killed - 10 taken prisoners - seen 'em running, but couldn't shoot. Guerrillas got 'em all.
A lot of small tornadoes around here - once pulled up half the tents - Guys thought the Japs were running over us. Caught 4 more japs by Guerillas. Come down from the mountains almost every night to get food.
Lt. Smith crashed on take off - Gunner bailed out. Smith was killed. Number 16-60
Had a practice mission. It cost around $40,000. Everybody was P.O.
Went swimming down in the valley - Japs were close by - headed back to the tents for our .45's - headed down with some of the boys. Guerillas did it again - killed 4 japs - 2 blew themselves up - got some nice, but bloody, souvenirs anyway.
May 16 - C-47 crashed on runway. 1 man burned alive. The rest severely wounded.
The Roarin' 20's does not mention this incident and lists no casualties in May other than those listed below. As such it would seem that the C-47 and its unfortunate passenger or crewman was from another unit.
Lt. Smith + Potts Sgt Darling killed in "pile up" crash. First planes lost in our Sqdn. -Seven planes lost in our Group.
May 18 Seen Gurr. Get two Japs.
The collision, according to The Roarin' 20's, took place on May 19, 1945. On that date 2nd. Lt. Robert E. Sims, and S/Sgt Edwin Darling of the 389th and 2nd Lt. Omar S. Potts of the 387th Bomb Squadron were killed in a collision San Pablo, Luzon, Philippines.
Ricocheting bullets came close by. Finally got the two japs with Tommy Guns.
Lt. Sims and Potts and S/Sgt Darling killed in pile up of two A-20's. One Gunner got out alive - accident over field.
Julie repeats this incident here, this is not a typo.
Lost one of my best buddies - Joe Orinko. Crashed after take off. Pilot also killed - Lt. Biederman. He said before taking off - "I guess I cash in my chips, I'm flying with Biederman!"
According to the Roarin' 20's, the loss of Sgt. Joseph T. Orinko and 2nd Lt. George E. Biederman, both of the 389th Bomb Squadron, 312th Bomb Group, took place on June 6, 1945, ten miles from Floridablanca, the 312th field at the time, Luzon, Philippines, on the way to a target at Viga. They experienced engine difficulties which sent the plane into a spin and crash.
Transferred to B-32s and was assigned to one of three planes in entire group for shake-down cruise and test in combat. Ship has a lot of "bugs". Had to change one engine, and then it caught fire, as we were about to taxi out and take off. We all got out, but fast. Finally after 4 days, we got to fly in it - test fired the guns 0 had a good ride. Ball in bad condition - had to fix many parts. Could have transferred to 417th or 3rd attack but there losses in planes is damn high.
Per 1st. Lt. Rudolph E. Pugliese, historian of the 386th Bomb Squadron in the official unit history of May 1945, as cited in the The Roarin' 20's, the 386th was "selected to become the first combat B-32 Squadron in the Air Force. Our A-20's along with their pilots and gunners were transferred out and assigned to the other three Squadrons in the Group. New crews, civilian factory representatives, and specialists joined the Squadron, and preparations were under way to convert the 386th Bomb Squadron (Light) into a Very Heavy Bomb Squadron."
It is an interesting question as to why Julie, also an A-20 gunner, was transferred out of the 389th and into the 386th when others were going the other way. I speculate that it may have been something to do with his size. At five feet five inches, Julie was a perfect Ball Turret Gunner, a position whose cramped quarters could only be served by men of modest stature. He may also have had more recent or extensive or successful training in such turrets. Or perhaps others didn't want the duty and as he didn't want to fly in A-20s or B-25s he was on the list of men who wanted the job? Either way, Julie became one of the first, and the few men ever, to fly the B-32 Dominator in combat.
Lt. Stone + Sgt Blair, my original crew, transferred to 345th Bomb Gp. Was going to go along, but I didn't want to fly in B-25's _ _ _ _ _ Filled out my form for disposal of my equipment, in case something happened _ _ _ Got a funny feeling, as I had to fly to Formosa the next day _ _ _
June - Flying practice missions in B-32's. Cannot write home about it - still a secret. Expect to move to Okinawa and hit Japan.
July 4 Seen Army-Navy football game in Manila Score 0-0. Held in the Big "Rizal" Stadium - had a swell time in Manila Seen some beautiful Am. Girls again - a "shot" costs $1.50 Inflation is skyrocketing cost $4.00 for sandwich, coffee + ice cream.
July 18 Flew a transition flight 3:50 bombed at 20 ft above the Sea.
July 22. Another transition flight - 3:50 got caught in a storm - got "lost". Finally made home and landed in a rain storm. Rough Landing.
July - B-24 crashed on Baton Island - "Cat" went in to pick 'em up, and crew was captured by Japs. Two men escape. The Japs burned the rest of the crew alive.
August 9 moved to Okinawa. - Yon Tan. Harbor filled with about 300 ships - Air Strip has about 500 different planes on it. Japs made a raid on a Harbor Close by and the Battleship U.S.S. Penn. Was hit by a torpedo. - It didn't sink.
Had an aircraft alert every night we were
Here - one night 34 Jap fighters strafed us. 32 shot down by A.A. 2 by our fighters.
When false surrender was announce, every gun started to fire. 6 men were killed by shrapnel, and 160 were injured. What a celebration.
Our "beer ship" was sunk in the harbor, so no beer.
'Santi + Shultz shot down over Formosa - both "ditched" about 50 yds off shore - Japs killed 'em with shore battery fire.
Aug 28 Today, a B-32 crashed. First accident over here - 13 men were killed - entire crew. I was assigned to clean + keep the ball turret in good shape. The day before, I had it sparkling. The runway runs right towards our camp.
RUNWAY ACC.X OUR CAMP (he draws the runway and camp on paper, basically rectangle around runway, larger rectangle with six squares in it before the words Our Camp). Engine caught fire on take off. Pilot tried to stop ship. But had too much air speed. He crashed down a 70 ft. coral pit. All bodies were burnt - today, at 4:00 we're having church services for them.
Aug 28 - "Black Tuesday" Just got back from Church, and learned another B-32 went down off Japan Coast. All of crew bailed out over water. 9 were picked up. One drowned and one is missing - unlucky day. Odds were 6 to 1 it could have been our crew. Only 12 crews fly on B-32s, ours is No. 11. My Nose Gunner grounded himself. I was too, but am waitin' to decide_ _ _ _
On the reverse side of the papers from the diary like entries Julie wrote a numbered list of his missions. The Dates and times are notes to the side and seem to have been inserted later. So may be the (#) between the 1st etc and the target. Im guessing he was adding up flight times in the date and time section for his log. Unless its take off time but that would seem late in the day? Can add up hours and compare? Not sure about the (#) notes as they do not seem to jive as hours. Plane? I dunno. F's on this page February M is March? Unfortunately alot of these notes do not seem to coincide with 312th missions listed in Roarin' 20's though that book does not try to give a comprehensive list. But its possible the dates here are wrong, are not the local date but the USA date, or that I am misreading the notes (perhaps F and M mean something else?). Also if Julie flew a mission from Nadzab in training, as seems likely, he did not list it here as that would not have been to a target in the Philippines or Japan etc as all of these are. In any case I think we can be assured that with whatever unit and on whatever date, Julie flew the following missions.
1st (1) W. Clark Field - F.5 2:10 Supp. Gr. Troops. Flight Okay - Curosity - A bit Shaky.
2nd (2) S. of Manila F.8 2:00 - 5 mi town - strafed - hit two trucks - .50 cal fire at us. - seen Manila burning.
3rd (1) Salomogue F.9 1:45 Town - big fires no Ack Ack - "Milk Run".
4th (4) Luzon Mountains F.10 3:00 - Hit Road - Trucks + Troops Strafed - A Close One. (drawing of a bomb or bullet with lines coming out from it)
5th (3?maybe a 2?) Supp. Guerrillas in Mount. F11 2:05 - hit troops + supply dumps - Okay flight
6th (1) River on Luzon F15 1:50 - Hit All Types of Boats - Got Plenty of Japs. A Barge Full.
7th (1) Close to Corregidor F.17 2:20 - Town - Burned down completely - Feel Pretty Good.
8th (2) N. Luzon Supply Dumps F.21 3:10 - Good Bombing Supplies Burn - 3 holes in plane
9th (4?) Guerrillas. Sup. In Mount.F.2 2:50 - Burned Japs out of woods. Wrecked up there.
10th (1) Dalapuri Is. M4 2:15 - Strafed huts + Supply Dumps - Seen thousand horses running wild - that's all! Like the flyin' - not scared - routine work
11 (6) San Fernando - Mar 12 (time obscured or not here) Support troops no building left in town - Got caught in cross fire - few holes in plane. Troops reported we killed 30 Japs, got 3 big guns.
12th (1?7?6?) Baguid Mar 25 1:00 - Resort Town 36 miles away - Was a beautiful place - now demolished - Got a few more Japs. - Town intended to be our Rest camp - Was One for the Bataan Men before the War.
13th (5) Baguid (Belete Pass) 27 Div. Hit Artillery of Japs. Was wipiung out 27th Div. - Very cloudy, but good hits scored. 3 planes had trouble - Seen a P-38 on fire - Crashed in the Ocean - looked for pilot but believe he was lost.
14 (1) Lotorre Apr 7. 1:50 - hit a lot of Huts, burned down almost whole town - 3000 Japs in town. I strafed and burned 4 houses, shot at some Japs running from the houses - think a few have seen their last "setting sun"
15. (3) Belette Pass - xApr. 14 1:10 Support Gr. Troops - knocked out artillery pieces - Infantry has a tough job - tryin' to go through.
16. (2) S.E. Manila - May 7 2:20 Bombed strafed Japs in Caves. Infantry reported Japs shooting motar, rifle + machine gun fire at us. But due to their slanty eyes, they missed us. Felt Good to fly again after all the sack time I had
17th (1) S.E. Manila - Hit jap Troops May 15 2:55 (might be May 1st? - compare to 312th book). Got many good bomb hits - killed a lot of Japs - heavy smoke and fire on target. No Ack Ack.
x18th (2) Viga Bombed with Parafrags - many planes hit with Ack Ack - ours had two .50 cal. Holes - burned many houses - killed a lot of Japs - no planes lost - no one injured.
x19 Sante Fe - June 3 4:15 5 mi. of strafing + bombing - parafrags - one plane got .50 cal holes. Last mission in A-20's. Will now fly on B-32's! Glad its my last mission in A-20's. Really had some close calls these last few missions.
About 22 points
20. Formosa, Koshun - June 13. Flew on the first mission to be flown in B-32's. A good fast ship. Made round trip in 6:40 - hit an air field with 12 1000 l.b. bombs. I fly in the ball, and had perfect view of target. Three bombs made direct hit on run way. Others all around field - No fighter interception. No damage to our planes only two planes went. Three planes in entire group at present. Slept to and from the target in my sack - cots in the B-32. Major Britt pilot - ate Mom's candy + Auntie's cookies for Diner.
21. Taito, Formosa June 15 Little Trouble on Take Off. Bombed Town at 20,000 Ft. Damn Cold in Ball. Each plane carried 1200 fire (??) bombs 20,00263. Made a beautiful bombing - whole town burning. Smoke up to 3000 FT. - Seen 4 fighters turned out to be P-51's. Just 3 ships - clocked 5:30. Colonel Scott Pilot. Had "Whinnie" sandwiches for dinner 0800 T.O. Got a few bursts of Ack-Ack but no holes in planes. B-24's went to hit town next day. Said no town was there to hit. It was entirely burned out. They had to hit the secondary target.
22. Okinawa Aug 8. - Left Clark Field - didn't see any Japs. Ships landed with our Bomb load at Yon Tan.
23. Tokio Area Aug. 17 - roughest mission I ever had. It took 11:25. Was attacked by Jap Tojos + Zeros, 12. My ball wasn't down. Col. Wells C.O of 312, our pilot, said it made ship drag. I had to work on the Ball while the fighters attacked us. They attacked us from each wing, and then flew under my ball as they passed. A perfect target, but because I obeyed orders we may have crashed in Tokio. Then we got hit with flak. It was heavy and damn accurate. Just off our wing. We listed a fighter shot down as a probable. We were all alone. The other 32 got 59 holes in it from flak + fighters. A box fell on the Radar man, and he thought he was hit with Flak. On the way back everyone got sick. The sandwiches we had for lunch were poisoned (aluminum). Col. Well - pilot, Nav. Bomb. And three gunners got sick (me too). 5 are still in the hospital. I used "Moms Remedy". Wells yelled like a 5yr old kid when planes attacked us.
August 18 Tokio Area - Two different crews attacked the same area. 14 fighters attacked 'em. We never had any of our own fighters as cover - one 20 m.m. came through side of ship. - killed one photographer instantly. The other went to give him first aid, he was then wounded seriously by another shell. Top Gunner shot down a plane, and then was hit by 2 .50 cal. in the head. He too was seriously wounded. They have a 50-50 chance to live. Both planes came back. 1 killed two wounded. One plane came all the way back on 3 engines. The B-32 got its Baptism of Fire and its rotten "glory" of shootin' down 4 jap planes and three probables. The War was supposed to be over Aug. 15, but our men are still getting' killed. To us it isn't over for some time yet. Nobody's celebratin' "The End" over here. Because the war supposed to be over, We do not get combat time for these missions. We got the rotten deal of flyin' 'em "on the house!" Suckers it does not count for getting medals or getting home sooner.
Julie was wrong, that was The End, the incident he describes and the Americans killed being the last Combat and American combat losses of World War II. It was also the end of the B-32, as the 386th stood down on August 30th. Was it a revolt of the crews at the unreliability of the Dominator? Or just official recognition of that fact?
What Julie did after this is not clear. He was in Japan at some point. He remained with the 312th, though his discharge lists his Squadron as the 89th. Did he return to the 389th and that was a typo? Or did more transferring take place during the occupation? I do not know. But we do know how Julie got home as he wrote the following letter.
Hi Ho! I'm finally on me way. The fact is, I've been on my way for the past four days. Due to "unforeseen" circumstances, this is the first time I felt in the mood to write. This little pond and me just ain't pals, but unfortunately whether I like it or not, it's still got the best of Joisey!!
Ah -L-L-L---"when its moonlight on the Blue Pacific", and the ship is gently swaying, a soft breeze comes across my face, the ship, rocking as smooth as a cradle, Yep that's when this ol pond gets the best of me!!! The railing and me, are practically "inseparable". Thank goodness, I'm exaggerating a little, but it sho' if a rough trip. Some of the G.I.'s haven't eaten a thing in the past five days. But even so he's pretty cheerful. Poisonally, I think it's the thought of going home that's keeping this one Joe alive!!
Gosh I sure miss my little "puppy". I was thinking of putting him in a barracks bag, but by the time I'd get half-way up the gang-plank, he'd most likely be carrying me!! I mist have said 'so long' to him about a half a dozen times! Would you even know it, I'm out of ink.) (letter turns to pencil after h in half) Boy what a corny one (oaf? Hard to read) that was huh?
Anyway, I hardly miss the ol boy, mostly because of this floating feet shopI'm on. Its Verboten to take any animals back with us, but somehow or other, we have everything from a parrot to a I don't know what. But the parrot beats 'em all. I'm positive he'll be a long ways from heaven with the language he uses. Holy Smokes, I never thought I'd learn new cuss words from a parrot!!
Yesterday was Wednesday, and so was the day before that. There's no need for me to explain "how come", is it genius? Anyway one G.I. had his birthday on that, or I should say those days. He saved a bottle of Kickapoo Joy Juice, just for that day. Well since he legally had two days of a birthday he got two bottles. To sum up the results in a short quick sentence, we're still getting buckets of cold water for him to dip his head in. Some of the bright G.I.'s figured out that due to the rockin of the boat he won't sober up till we reach land!! Well, you know me motto, live and loin. Dat little word reminds me of steaks!! Ain't the Joisey language really something!!
Gitten back to this boat ride_ _ _ _ (I sure wish I didn't have too!) I don't know what it is, but I think it's a rougher ride than it should be. In me opinion, its because we're getting this ride for free. And anything one usually gets for free, isn't worth a tinkers damm!! Those two underlined words are not from that parrots vocabulary! It refers to a guy that makes a damm around a tinker or maybe its because his name was tinker. Anyway "tinker" got in there somehow, and besides you could probably explain it better to me. Well the ship's a rockin;, the winds a blowin', the sweet aroma of food is in the air, so _ _ _ _ two guesses as to where I go - the chow hall, or the ol' rail - (answer over) on back oft page is a drawing of a ship with a couple guys inside it at a table in the rear and a line up a ladder to the rear rail where a guy is leaning over the side with his hand to his mouth)
Holy Cow what a storm we had last night!! It was as bad as the one we had at Okie Island, and the less said about Okie, the better anyway. This old' canoe rocked so much that half of the guys kept falling out of their sacks. Boy, am I glad I got a low bunk!! Even though, on two occasions, I had to yell "O me ackin' G.I. back!! But not even a little ol' storm could stop us, and now we're just two days out of Seatle, Wash. Everyone is getting nervous and as anxious as could be. Gee, I feel like a refugee, going to the promised land. Just to show that good ol' land how much I appreciate it, I'm going to eat some of that land, with a sprinkle of grass for flavor, as soon as we hit Washington, even though its more or less, still a "furin" country.
So, as you can see, I'd still consider myself "overseas", as long as I'm out of the Joisey boundry!! (I'll put in a good for Denver and say that its second best to come back too!)
I hope you liked those things I sent. The kerchief was gotten by little me in Tokyo, and it was the hardest thing I ever tried to buy. I offered yen upon yen for it, and it wasn't until a half hour later that I understood what he wanted. It may sound cheap, but that baby was gotten for 5 packs of cigarettes! The fact is, cigarettes are just about as good as Yen. Now if I was a bad boy, (I was!!) I could sell 'em on the black market for about $1.75 a pack! Boy, if anyone had a few thousand packs, they could become a billionaire over night. Well, I'm already a "throllionaire", so there's no sense in me playing around with a few trifle billion! Woo-o-o-ain't I the biggest liar!! Speaking of nickels + pennies, this ship is officially known as "Joe's gambling joint!" To the left of me is a dice game, in front and back of me a card game, and another dice game on the right of me, just to keep the left one company. The one on the left is for "big stakes", while the one on the right is for nickels and pennies. And my, my, there's a steady flow of fellows going from the left game to the right. As the ol' saying goes around here, "yoiur a good (sucker) to the last penny!! Thanks goodness I spent all me dough, cause a guy with loose horns would be chasing me all around the ship, trying to tempt me in a "pass away the times (?)" game!!!
(back to pen) Hold everything - - we just sighted the promised land!! Some G.I. came down the stairs yellin' land, land!! Everybody made such a mad dash for the deck, that if a stampede of cattle was in front of us, we'd mow 'em to one side! We were just like a bunch of kids, seeing America for the first time. Of course, little Kos was up in front, and when I hit the deck, the only thing that stopped me from being pushed into the Pacific Pond was my ol' buddy the railing!! There we were, at about 9 o'clock in the evening seeing a flick of light and what we thought land. It came closed + closer, and holy cow, it turned out to be a buoy!! But it wasn't too disappointing as we finally got the first sight about on hour later. And from then on, it was push, push, push!! We ran down the gangplank, hopped on trucks, and went so fast, that we didn't even have time to whistle at the best goils in the woild! (Oh yeah!!) There were a few "painted up" gals at camp to welcome us, but me + a few other younguns' kept yellin', "bring on the bobby socks!!" To us fellows, they're the one who represent the true American gals! We then got a "new form fit" set of clothes, a lecture here, a lecture there, a lecture everywhere, then 5 sleepless hours on such a soft mattress and spring beds, that we all woke up screaming "O me ackin' G.I. back!" Got all our bags packed stood out in the rain, and got soakin wet, back on trucks, down to the station, and into the good ol' Amer. Cattle cars, we went.
We wouldn't have been mad, even if they were sleigh trains all we knew is that we were home, and there's practically not a thing that could make us sore!! Rit now, I'm in ol' Montana, sailin through a nice snow-storm. Just a short time ago, we had our first snowball fight in years - results, the "Yankees" tied the "rebels", with cuts + bruises all over ourselves. Gosh, I sure wished we went through Denver, but as is, we on the Northern-Pacific line, quite a ways from the ol' place. Due to a sizzleing blizzard, and "foots" x feet of snows, I can't see a thing. Pretty fair description of Montana, don't you agree? _ _ _ _
Last night I crawl into a contraption that had a thing called a pillow and a soft pad, full of feathers. How did you ever guess, it's a bed?! Oh Boy, it sure does feel good to sleep on a soft sack again. I really miss those G.I. cots, but after all, I got to keep up with the woild! Well look ye here, we're now passing through Not' Dakota. It would take "pages" to describe this state too, but if you refer to that song "Don't fence me in", it sums up this state! Its all Farms on Farms, that is, if you exclude Bixville, Trixville, + Hicksville!! Bot no matter what I say about these secondary states, its still all a part of home to me!
So far, we didn't meet up with any "water-melon" trains, but we have some of the thirstiest fellows you've ever seen on bo'rd!! Most of 'em got some of that Montana Moonshine, and 75% of them voted that when the train moves, it goes so fast that it takes off + floats through the air. To put it in clear toims, they were slightly pixilated!! Poor little me had a lower bunk that night, and it seemed that everyone who was just passing through, had to test out me sack, using me as a spring. T'was no great surprise to me, when I woke up, a sweet aroma filled the air, and a bottle of moonshine was layin next to me. I know I look guilty, but all I can say is "I was fraimed!"
Gosh, Bev, here I am at Fort Monmouth!! Ever since I hit Chicago I was so anxious that I forgot to jot down a few lines. The towns just kept a' comin,and I got a boid's eye view of each of 'em, and before I knew it, I was stepping on the golden soil of Joisey. As we stepped off the train, we each gave the ground a sweet little pat. Its just wonderful to be home again. Wow! Within 48 hours, I'll be one of (those) rare things called a civilian!! And the way I see it now, me troubles are just beginning!
I called up my Mom and she said I had two letters from you waiting for me. O Happy days. Well, as they say all good things come at once!! I still plan on going to college, but *I think I'll wait till September. Is I, or is I not going to take a vacation. Boy I certainly am!!!
Julie left the Air Force soon after the war, being discharged at Fort Monmouth on January 30, 1946, and returned to his native New Jersey where he continued his relationship with the love of his life, my Aunt Dotty. They had nearly forty happy years together till his untimely death in the early 1980s. I was in the Air Force ROTC then and I remember when I last spoke to him that he was pleased when I told him I had joined the Air Force because of him.
Uncle Julie was a great man, I used to spend hours of my childhood being regaled with tales of flying and adventure sitting in Aunt Jane's house in Asbury Park. It was no doubt the primary reason I took to books of flight and eventually joined the Air Force years later. Julie's tales, however, were always ones of fancy and amusement. He did talk of serious things - describing the P39 as a grave digger since upon crash landing the rear mounted engine would in all likelihood drive the cockpit into the ground. He also talked about bailing out over water and how at any speed water is like concrete and could break your legs. But mostly Julies stories were happy ones. He would tell me fanciful tales of Air Force planes, P51s, meeting UFOs, grey orbs from which the plane's bullets would just bounce off. Always silly happy things, tall tales, for Julie was an upbeat man. When I pressed him on his war accomplishments, he would get a little quiet and wistful looking, mention that his plane got 11 kills and move on to something pleasant. Having read his notes now, I see why.
I will always cherish my memories of Uncle Julie, who took the boredom of family visits away and gave me so many happy hours of tales of adventure in the sky. I would also love to know more about his service. If anyone served with Uncle Julie or knew him, please e-mail me. Thanks.
----- John Justin
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