October 5, 1944
Dear Col. Turner,
Since coming here in Southern France a few days ago, the fury of impending winter smacked us to disappointment. Quite to be expected, after we unloaded from our ship, to reach our bivouac area required some nine hours, and the devil of the thing is that we moved at a snail’s pace to cover the distance of seven miles. While enroute to our area, after night fall, the wind suddenly flared and chilled us to our bones. If some of the more imaginative ones did not bellow at the top of their lungs the popular obscene songs, our spirits would have been chilled, for mine was shrunken to almost nill. Obscene songs have their points for they almost always evoke laughter if not a feeble smile. On this trip, they caught fire, and they put us in a fine frame of mind. At least I would have sworn that out gang was the merriest, although our good chaplain ears two conveyors away must have vibrated continuously.
Since joining the 442nd, our morale has not fluttered much. For my part, now that I am under the wings of the Field Correspondent of the GO FOR BROKE OUTFIT, my policies and manner of writeups are governed by the desires of the Four point Two. The 442-PRO(Public Relations Office) has made known his wants on more than one occasion, that he intends to exploit the commendable doings of the 100th. I have told him that inasmuch as our problems were different, that I should be allowed to go about writing just to inform the Island people that, these are some of the things that we are doing at this front, and let alone the propaganda angle. None of the boys in the 100th want deliberate propaganda! If any good comes from the human interest stories, or heroism stories, so that our stand in the islands will be strengthened, why so much the better for us. When we were attached to the 34th Division, I was allowed to shoot my stories direct to the Division, and even to the Fifth Army, but now I have been ordered to address my stories to the Four Point Two Unit. I may seem a little selfish in not wanting our Unit exploited for the good of the Japanese in the States, but the boys feel as I do, that “the boys” from the mainland should paddle their own canoe, as we have been doing since out formulation more than two years ago.
On a day’s pass to Marseille I was struck by the beelike busyness of the people. They thronged through all of the streets, as if a holiday spirit prevailed in the city. Unlike so many of the Italian cities, the thoroughfares were choked with civilian and military vehicles. Charcoal, wood, battery, and gas driven vehicles, cumbersome things, rolled along as if to tear the sides of the pavements. Women with grotesque hairdos promenaded the streets. For example I saw a dark haired woman with a clump of bleached blonde hair above her brow, walking like a peacock with the tail feathers spread before her. I saw other variations of such grotesqueness. High school aged girls nonchalantly walk the streets in their dresses four to six inches above their kneecaps. For the most part, the women seem to me to be from the farm stock, possessors of strong legs, broad hips, and large bosoms.