Col. Blair E. Henderson, 06/29/1945

29 June 45

Dear Pop,

Finally made it after bumping my head against the ceiling for 40 months. Maj John Porteus, one of the peasants from Honolulu, met me as my plane landed here 12 June and changed my insignia. To complete the arrival he informed me I had been awarded the Bronze Star (commonly referred to as the “Officer’s Good Conduct Medal”). Now I feel that my landing was all that a guy could want.

Visited Corregidor last Saturday 23 June. It was a sight seeing trip 11 of us took. They killed 1 or 2 Japs there just a few days earlier. My real estate appraisal of the improvements such as buildings is very low, actually less than 0.

As for Manilla, most of the buildings were destroyed and the remainder are generally holed by shells or bombs. Others were gutted by fire. It’s pityful to see such large reinforced concrete structures smashed just as if a mythical giant had set his foot on them.

The principle occupation here seems to be having children and how they live past an age of a few days is a mystery, what with all of the filth and poverty. However, there are a hell of a lot of our “little brown brothers” on hand and they are equal to Ali Baba & his Forty Thieves. They steal anything that isn’t guarded. Added to that they eat the garbage from the messes so you can see they are not living in luxury. Expect to move out of town soon and will be away from noise & dust.

So far I’ve been on 19 Pacific Islands. New Caledonia is a backward island but it beats Luzon as conditions now exist. On the other hand Oahu is the best rock in the Pacific. Have 95 points but it took Uncle Sam 55 months to get me on an island where he was fighting Japs & since I have only been overseas 14 months I feel I should see it out.

Kindest regards to you and Mrs. Turner. I vividly recall the mangoes & that inviting mint julep, an excellent meal, & the beautiful view from your home.

Blair Henderson