Jan. 4, 1942
We worked again near the front lines putting 5000 rounds of 150s up near the batteries of 10s guns. Our barracks bags came in today with the rest of our Co. from Caledonia. Had a mail call this evening and I rec'd a letter from "Mom" and one from Madeline "Blum Blum" of Caledonia. Still can't understand why she wrote to me.
Tues., Jan. 5, 1943
We haven't done a thing all day, although it is now 1:32 P.M. Sgt. Snitzler, Joe Meller and Rehrman's crew did however take a few trucks up to the front. The fellows in Wisler's area aren't doing a thing but checking and we're doing all the work. Very considerate of the Capt. Also we're in alot worse place than he is when the bombs start falling. At least they don't whistle over their heads.
Wed., Jan. 6, 1943
This afternoon 7 of us were picked for guards in the depot near the front. So around 1:30 P.M. Bud Robertson, Mangine, Hall, Sarno (General), Harry McCarthy and myself loaded all our things on the truck and went up. Sgt. "Red" Forrest went along also. All of us were cursing up a storm upon arriving in the jungle and unloaded our stuff. We found that Pitcher had packed up a burnt tent by mistake. So we slept in the pouring down rain all night. Of all the dopey things to do. Also we have no watch and we have to guess at the time.
Our first night was quite an experience. All through the night, shells of every description whistled over our heads. Besides that, there was the continuous sound of rifle and machine gun fire. The Japs are sure taking a beating, believe you me.
It gets pretty nerve wracking because we couldn't sleep and Sarno went all to pieces.
It's pitch dark here in the jungle. And why we have to guard something we can't even see is beyond me.
Fri., Jan 7, 1943
We thought we heard someone last night so we were tense and alert throughout the night. We are pulling 2 hrs. at a time. Bud and I are on together. There wasn't quite as much artillery firing and it was deadly quiet for hours at a time. A gun would go off and a shell whistle over your head and you would practically jump out of your pants.
Pitcher brought up a new tent finally at 2 P.M. and we had a hard time getting it up. "Red" has been pretty sick since last night and we all feel pretty bad. This afternoon I took a swim in the the Tenarau river with Bud and Hall. Boy! how that water does stink. It's salt water on the bottom and clear on the top. Here in this damp jungle it smells awful.
I took sick about 3 P.M. so I went down to the first aid station. Their med Colonel gave me 10 grams of quinine and sent me back. I don't think I have Malaria. I believe it's pneumonia, if anything. This damn jungle is a good place to get it, too.
Sat., Jan. 8, 1943
Rec'd another letter today from Blondie (Madeline Hardee). The second one in 3 days. I am feeling much better and I am sure glad of it.
The artillery has moved to new positions closer to the front and the guns have been going off pretty regularly all day.
This is Harry's War Diary. A special series of articles that honors Harry's service during World War II.
No calendar and no watch to tell time, explains the error in dating his entries: Harry skips Thursday but continues the calendar date. Later in his life, Harry was very focused on time and after reading about his experience in the Pacific theater I can understand why it became so important to him.
Harry was not known for sarcastic remarks, so I chose the 'very considerate' comment as the title for this post. His Tennessee way of talking: "believe you me" and "took sick" just makes Harry's thoughts all the more real to me.
Ten days pass until the next entry in his diary: January 17th. Come back tomorrow and read some of the longest notes that he's made so far.