Letters to our boys
(Editor’s Note: This is another installment of The Express’ “Letter to Our Boys,” written during World War II to let “our boys” know what was happening back in their home towns. The Express will bring the letters to you occasionally, thanks to the efforts of Fred and Anna Snyder, who compiled the letters over several years of research and donated a full copy of them to the Clinton County Historical Society.)
October 13, 1945
Two brothers survive typhoons off Okinawa during the latter part of September. They are F1/c Edward Charles Myers and Pvt. William M. Myers.
Ed writes about his experiences on the U.S.S. Repose, a hospital sp, and Bill tells his story about the ground forces during the typhoon.
Writes Ed: “We went through a typhoon last week right through the center. I guess we are the only ship that ever did that. The waves were between 90 and 100 feet high with a 150 mile-an-hour wind. You couldn’t stand on the top deck; you would have been blown away.
“At one time the captain gave up hope and said we were going down. The ship was just about on its side. It stayed that way a couple of minutes. That was another time that I prayed and asked God to save us. Every one of the ship prayed. I believe that is what saved us. I know that He saved me a good many times and will bring me home safe.
“That’s the last typhoon that we will have for another year. There is a bad one out here every year. We lost a couple of ships out of it.
“Fellows went to pieces. That happened to a lot of them. We had two hospital wards filled up for a while. Some of the fellows were hurt pretty badly. A couple of the army nurses got their arms and legs broken. Some one told them that we were going to abandon ship. I guess there was some tall crying given out.
“About 10 o’clock we hit the center of the storm. The wind quit blowing and our ears started to hurt. They began to lose steam in the boilers. What happened — it was forming a vacuum outside and the pressure dropped to below 26. How far we don’t know. That only lasted about ten minutes. Then the wind came again this time behind us. We were doing 40 knots. That’s 45 miles an hour, but the storm was going the other way by then, and it kept getting better.
“About 12 o’clock I went below and hit the sack about 1:30. I got up at 4 o’clock and the wind was just about all gone; but we had some pretty big waves yet. The storm did a lot of damage.”
Writes Bill with the 106th Infantry, 27th Division: “We had a terrible storm here — one of the worst storms I have ever seen in my life, and I hope I don’t have to go through another. It poured down rain and the wind blew 100 miles per hour. It blew so hard that you could just barely move against it.
“Almost all the tents were blown down, and some of them were carried several hundred yards to the ocean. We worked like dogs and looked like drowned rats but were lucky enough to keep arms and all our clothing dry.
“The wind was so strong that it sank a ship between here and Japan, which was in our convoy coming over.”
Ed has been through two other typhoons during the Summer, and in July he was given a 30-day leave and then was assigned to his present ship, the Repose. He has spent two years in the Pacific.
Before he entered service, he and his wife, the former Ruth Aikley, of Lock Haven, lived in Flemington. He had been employed at Fromm’s and later at the Piper Aircraft Corporation.
His brother, Bill, is a veteran of a year. Although they were both stationed at Okinawa, they did not get to see each other, as Ed was not permitted to leave ship.
Bill’s wife is the former Shirley Fetterman, of Flemington. They have a son, William Jr. Before he entered service he was employed at the paper mill.
Both are the sons of Mrs. Margaret Myers, 449 Bellefonte Avenue.
W. E. Hammond, Castanea to MM1/c. Marlin W. Remick, to Sgt. Lawrence Probst, Jr., to Sgt.
Cpl. Walter Mann, Monument. Cpl. Lyman Baker. S/Sgt. Charles Johnson, Renovo. Pfc. Earl Grier, Flemington. T/4 William Laughlin, Renovo. Pfc. Loyal Y. Berry. Cpl. Paul Probst R.D. 1. Cpl. James Duane. S/Sgt. Paul Pitonyak, Westport. Jennings Ransdorf, storekeeper 1/c, USNR, Renovo. Cpl. William Robison, Renovo. Pvt. Joseph Graff, Avis. Sgt. Stanley Donahay, Mill Hall R.D. 1. Sgt. Harold Sorgen. Pfc. George Hayes, Flemington. Pfc. Francis Boardman. S/Sgt. Archie Shearer, Mill Hall. Cpl. Chester Viechcki, CSP. (A). Sgt. Cpl. Edward Strunk, Howard. Pfc. Donald Stoltz, Renovo. T/Sgt. Robert Livingston. Sgt. Denzil Ammerman. 1st Sgt. Robert Glaze. Clyde White MoMM, 1/c, USN, Renovo. Frank Scott, MM, 1/c. Donald Bratz, BM, 2/c, Renovo. Pfc. Adam Auman. Pfc. Roland Leathers, Mill Hall. Pfc. John Matty, Renovo. Cpl. Joseph Sullivan, Renovo. T/5 Harold Clausen.
Biggest news of the week here was how much you or some other guy (or gal) won (or lost) in the World Series pools.
Irvin Hotel having its face lifted as Bill Cook is putting on a new marquee to replace old balcony and expanding grill.
Several hundred of 5th Army boys held up here for more than three hours as locomotive of train enroute from Indiantown Gap to Atterbury, Ind., is derailed but the boys were used to it seeing as to how their ship broke down on the ocean, they had three days loafing at Indiantown and then were put in day coaches which got them farther than LH in nearly a half day; one good thing about it all was that they were enroute to honorable discharges.
School board meeting so well attended by public that seat of operations changes to Junior High auditorium after clash between board on one side and students, faculty and parents on the other in regard to one-session school day; one session continues but school day is shortened.
Mrs. Meriam Elliot heads county Republican women. New TC watchman, Dave Laubscher, of Swissdale, recovers his stolen car at McEwensville, Northunberland County. Ernie Quiggle slightly burned in small fire at his home.
Piper Cubs now on sale at Wanamaker’s store at $2,010 f.o.b. Lock Haven. Julia Gardner, 10-month-old daughter of Clifford Gardner, drowns in pail of water after falling from crib. War Fund-Community Chest Drive opens; goal $45,000. Mrs. Annie Myers, 512 E. Church St., is 90.
Mrs. Roy Goodlander, Betty Marie Baird and Jack McCormick win $100 War Bond each in The Express’ essay contest during National Newspaper Week.
Mrs. Fred McEntire heads Eastern Clinton Red Cross. St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, N. Fairview St. and Bellefonte Ave., dedicated.
Mill Hall Sylvania plant wins Navy’s highest award for production of radar-type fuse for artillery and anti-aircraft shells; only one to win four-star flag among 32 plants.
LHHS ties Mt. Carmel Twp. High 6-6; loses 48-6 at Huntingdon. Jayvees tied Bellefonte 7-7. Jr. High wins 14-0 from Jersey Shore Jr. High. Kelly Shadle buys fast three-year-old colt, “Deep Thoughts,” a pacer.
TC plays East Stroudsburg here today.