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Smitty ~ Getting Close to Shore ~ Letter VI

December 15, 2016

Pacific Paratrooper

Ships in anchor at Milne Bay, 1944 Ships in anchor at Milne Bay, 1944

Just as Smitty expected, their destination was quickly coming up over the horizon.  The fleeting glimpse of solid land, Milne Bay, New Guinea was only a short stopover for water (such a disappointment) and they continued their cruise north.  The 11th Airborne Division came upon the humming waterfront of ships manipulating to unload troops, supplies and equipment in Oro Bay.  They witnessed a paradoxal view of organized chaos.

Down the rope ladders they went to the beach taxis, DUKWs (2 ton amphibious vehicles commonly called “ducks”) and onward to the awaiting shoreline.  At latitude 8*52’60S and longitude 148*30’0E, this would become the first step for many a G.I. on foreign soil.  Once they actually hit the beach, the heat seemed to slam into the troopers and their uniforms became soaked within minutes, but they proceeded on to the Buna-Dobodura area to make their new base camp.

Oro Bay, New Guinea Oro Bay, New…

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  1. Thank you for reblogging my father’s letter. It helps to show how some of the troopers felt aboard ship.

  2. Following yours and a couple other blogs about the wars has made it more personable. They no longer happened years ago and in foreign places. I was born shortly after the WW2. My mother always said the war changed my dad. I never saw it until a few years after I became a nurse. Finally, I noticed the mild brain trauma he suffered. He was still a great dad, but I wished I’d been a better daughter.

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