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Leonard J. Arrington Diaries – “Army”

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Somewhere in Fort Bragg

[mailed 4/11/43]

Dearest Sweetheart,

A handbook has just been issued to us and begins with these words, “You are now a member of the army of the United States.”

[LJAD, letter to Grace, written from Fort Bragg, March 31, 1943]

P.S.  I love you.  Enclosed is my rose.  Fort Bragg, N.C.

We loved each other too deeply to think 4-2-43

about removing it, didn’t we?

Dearest Darling,

Today we have accomplished the following.

1.  Had our interview & been classified. for ?

2.  Received our smallpox and typhoid shots.

3.  Been issued all our clothing & equipment.

4.  Had a couple hours of drill.

5.  Been given our “dog tags” or identification disks.

This evening at seven we are going somewhere for something more – perhaps the sex show & perhaps to hear them read the Articles of War.

My preliminary interviewer turned out to be a former student while I taught at Chapel Hill—and he majored in economics—so that was a break.  I spoke with him for an hour.  My classifier was Prof. Wynne of State College.  After he found I could type & take dictation (he gave me two letters) he classified me as follows: “Administrative non-commissioned officer.”  Maybe I’ll be a general’s flunky yet!!?  He said he thought I could go to OCS within 2 or 3 months because I had such a high grade on the Intelligence test. (2nd highest out of 500 taking it here and among the highest 10th in the Army).  It would be impossible to get into the Finance Division, he said, because all of those men were chosen last fall & being given their schooling now.  They are not taking any more men he said.  It may be that I can get in the Administrative end of the Air Corps.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, written from Fort Bragg, April 2, 1943]

Tuesday Afternoon


Dearest Sweetheart,

Those of us that stayed were put again on special detail.  Five of us were assigned to cleaning latrines.  We are the best latrine cleaners in the Reception center, according to reports.  I am getting tired of cleaning them so often, though just “to keep us busy,” & so I’ve slipped away to do a little work.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, written from Fort Bragg, April 6, 1943]

Thursday Evening

4-8-43  Fort Bragg

Dearest Sweetheart,

To tell you the truth I’ve felt discouraged, disappointed, & disillusioned all day today.  It seems like we are just wasting our time.   Today I spent my time on the main post doing K.P. at the Officer’s mess hall—scrubbing floors, walls, washing dishes, etc.  Also cleaning up the kitchen of several officer’s homes & cleaning up the bar room of the officers.  It seems a little bit wrong to me for us to be spending our time doing such things.  There are plenty of coloreds around that could do the job that are in 4 F.  In fact, there were 10 or 12 coloreds that sat around & gave us orders as to what to do to get the places cleaned up.  And I thought we were in the army to fight!  Maybe they would like the war to continue a little while longer so they could enjoy their blessed privileges!

[LJAD, letter to Grace, written from Fort Bragg, April 8, 1943]

April 29, 1943

U. S. Field Artillery

Fort Bragg, No. Carolina

Wednesday Evening

Dearest Sweetheart,

Sweet, this time I’m sure I’ve heard the straight dope.  I’m to leave tomorrow evening on shipment.  And we are to go to Fort Custer, Michigan.  We are to become MP’s.  That is, we are to become interpreters, but we will be classified as MP’s for the time being.  Our address will be:

Pvt. L.J.A.


Fort Custer, Michigan

[LJAD, letter to Grace, written from Fort Bragg, Wednesday, April 29, 1943]

May 2, 1943 Sunday Night

Dearest Sweetheart,

At last we have arrived at Fort Custer.  I sent you a wire today stating that my address is 442nd P.W.P. Co., Fort Custer, Mich.  Here’s what it all means:  We are in the 442nd Military Police, Prisoner of War Processing Co., Fort Custer.  At last we know what we are supposed to do.  We are one of the 4 Prisoner of War companies in the United States.  Two of them are here in Fort Custer.  Our duty is to interview & report on Prisoners of War.  We are to take 4 weeks of basic training in military, and 5 weeks of technical training on the job we are to do.  Then we are eligible for shipment anywhere in the world.  Of course, we may not be shipped out for a year or so, but chances are strong that we will go as soon as we can get the training finished.  We are a part of Military Police & our specific job is handling Prisoners of War.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, May 2, 1943]

May 3, 1943 Monday 6 pm

Dearest Grace,

After chow we went over to the Company Headquarters where Captain Anderson gave us a nice little talk on the aims & purposes of our group.  He told us we were one of four companies in the U.S. set apart for “processing” prisoners of war.  We have 112 men, of which there is a provision for 78 non-commissioned officers (only 21 such offices are filled at the present time).  WE have 5 commissioned officers assigned to us, which is very high.  Our duty is to receive, search, interrogate, classify, fingerprint, photograph, and keep records on prisoners of war.  We are not a combat division; we are not fighting men; we are specialists, handling a special job under the direct supervision of Army Headquarters, such as Eisenhowers, or MacArthurs.  We will be assigned to an army soon and begin our duties either on the mainland or overseas, probably the former.  We are at present assigned for Asiatic service.  After 2 months or more, we may go to California, where we expect to stay at least for a year or so, or until the number of Jap prisoners becomes too great.  Then we may go to Australia.  We will not be at the front.

Because we are not fighters we will receive only the most elementary facts about soldiering.  Whereas the ordinary soldier spends 13 weeks of intensive drill & instruction we will spend only 4 weeks.  We won’t do much drilling.  We emphasize military courtesy & cleanliness & neatness.

After telling us this, the Captain interviewed each of us individually.  He told me I should fit in very well with this company; that he was certain I would like the work; that he would put me in the Record section & give me 5 weeks of Training; after which, if I qualify, I may be put in charge of the records of one Platoon.

In case they can spare me, and I qualify in other ways, he would recommend me for OCS, but he didn’t think I should because he thought I would enjoy my work much more in this company since, being an exclusive company, it has a large number of college professors, graduates, people with high IQ’s, etc. To some extent I believe he’s right.  Anyway, we’ll cross that bridge after 13 weeks, which is the soonest I can apply.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Monday, May 3, 1943]

Fort Custer 25 May 1943

  Michigan Tuesday Night

Dearest Darling,

We’ve had another busy day and a lot of changes have taken place.  We were told that our basic training is now over  & we will spend half a day on specialist training for at least 5 weeks.  Our Co. has definitely divided up into 3 platoons—one with Jap interpreters, one with Italian & one with German.  They will separate later on & go to different overseas headquarters to handle Jap, German & Italian prisoners.  Each platoon was given a place to sleep all by themselves.  Each is complete within itself.

I was assigned to the “Spaghetti” or Italian platoon.  There are about 35 of us in it, including 15 Italian boys who will be interviewers.  This means that we will probably go to New York instead  of San Francisco.  We will definitely go overseas—probably soon because of the large no. of prisoners being taken.  I don’t know what is responsible for all this.  There is one Italian Co. (443d—PWP), which is going to N.Y. in 3 weeks.  They are short 15 men.  Some of us may be transferred tot hem.  About 10 N.C. boys are in this platoon.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Tuesday, May 25, 1943]

July 25, ‘43

An announcement at chow is never made because the crowd is so large & noisy.  But this was one time that an announcement had to be made.  A major had heard it over the radio & he had a soldier, who used to be a radio announcer in civilian life, announce it.  So he stood up and whistled & hollered until everyone was at ease.  Then the happy words, “Mussolini has resigned.  He is no longer premier of Italy!!”  My: you should have heard the boys clap & yell & whistle for 5 minutes.

Lt. Davis came to our barracks & speculated with us on what it would mean to us.  If Italy surrenders immediately it may mean one thing.  If she continues to fight on under military leadership—that is another thing.  Our work may be changed, but I don’t think it will change the likelihood of our staying overseas.  Of course, you can never tell.

At least we can say that it hastens the end of the war and hastens the time we can be together.  With my knowledge of Agric. Econ. I might get a Commission in military gov’t.  Who knows?  I wish you would phone Dr. Forster at State College and get the address of Victor Sullam in Washington.  He is now a big shot in Agric. Dept. dealing with Italian work.  If I could get in touch with him he might be able to refer me to the right individual to see about it.

Of course, if our unit stays intact I’ll want to stick with it.  If it is broken up however, I’m going to try either for a Commission in military gov’t. or a cadry? position in the formation of a new Co.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, July 25, 1943]

Tuesday, July 27, 43

I’m all filled with Italian words & phrases.  There are some beautiful expressions in that language.  I will not be able to write any, however, as long as our mail is censored.  I’ll save up all of them till I come back.  Also some sweet Italian songs to sing to my Grace.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Tuesday, July 27, 1943]


Dearest Grace:

This is being written on the deck of the vessel carrying us to our port of debarkation.  You will be glad to know that I haven’t been seasick.  All the way the sea has been calm and quiet, although we have had localized squalls.

The trip has been interesting.  You’ll have to wait until I get back to hear all about it, for we are not allowed to tell very much.  We have seen porpoises, whales, flying fishes, and seagulls as far out as 1000 miles from the mainland.  I have always heard that the ocean was blue, but I rather doubted it.  Now I know it really is.

The food is not bad.  Altho we’ve had a few bizarre instances, such as liver and onions and hot dogs for breakfast, it can’t be complained of.

Since we were a division of the M.P.s we were given guard duty, on board.  Guard duty on ship is 4 hrs. on and 8 off.  Once I was on the bow deck and once down in one of the sleeping quarters.  Two sessions of guard is all I’ve had so far.  By doing guard we’ve been exempted from K.P. and fatigue details.

You remember Robinson?  He and I have spent nearly all our spare time together trying to learn more Italian.  We are getting onto it more and more.  Maybe by the time we get a chance to use it, we will know enough.  But we are going to keep on learning more and more Italian, as well as brush up on our French and Spanish.  Robinson has a good mind and knows how to learn, so he and I make a good pair.

If you get this letter we will have been landed and going about our duties, so you won’t have to worry any more about my getting over.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, August 6, 1943]

The towns have a terrible stench from camels, camel dung, disease & filth.  There is little sanitation.  We are not allowed to eat native fruits & vegetables.  They all carry disease.  Also meat.  We cannot drink water from public fountains.  The govt. has supplied us with a “Pocket Guide to North Africa” which has helped out a great deal already.  We used the book all day to get words & phrases to address natives & were able to carry on pretty intelligent conversations.  Remember the lessons I taught on Mohammedanism in Mutual about a year & a half ago?  Little did any of us ever think I’d be down here learning about it from first hand experience.  The natives all seem to be friendly & the beggars have learned American phrases.  We give them a penny at a time.  Mostly they want cigarettes & matches or chewing gum.  Native cigarettes & European cigarettes are horrible, so everybody wants some of ours.  Americans are so generous that everybody seems to be living off of us now.

We love in a tent city & sleep on the ground.  Sorta like when we were boy scouts & camped out over night.

Our work will be rather monotonous after a while, I guess.  However, we may move to different camps, which will give us a wonderful geography lesson.

Darling, there is no need for you to worry about us.  We are in no danger, we will not be working too hard, the life we live will not be really “tough”—it is just minus many conveniences.  We will always enjoy what we are doing & where we are, because we are that type.  Lt. Davis is going to give us passes & leaves when possible to visit nearby towns, larger cities, etc.  We are probably more lucky than many other groups in that respect.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, August 10, 1943]

Arrington Aug. 13, 1943

Give your mother my love.

Dearest Sweetheart,

I have already written you a v-mail today, but we have a little extra time, so I’ll tell you about our trip to the large city near here.

We really had a time of it.  Sgt. Williams, Robinson, Coscarelli, Erole, McBrayer & I all got passes.  It was a swell group.  We had breakfast at a European café, out on the street, and used some of our French.  We toured the shops all morning looking for something worthwhile to send home.  There were several articles of native craft, such as women’s bags & purses, shopping bags, etc.  Cigarette cases, men’s wallets, hassocks, etc.  These were all in native hand-made leather goods.  There was some brightly colored blankets, shawls & pillowcases, and some silver knives or swords.  I bought something I thought you’d like, but I can’t send it on yet.  I want you to tell me what you are interested in so I won’t pass anything up.  We have more money than we know what to do with for there is no way to spend our money.  We have no P.X.—no way to spend our money at camp—and prices are low in the city.  So I’ll have plenty to spend to buy things.

At noon we went to the finest European restaurant in town.  They furnished us a set meal, except we had a choice between pork and lamb.  There was lots of everything & a big variety.  Also well cooked.  I meant it was a real meal.  Wine was served automatically.  It was excellent, dry, French wine.  The whole meal cost each of us 70¢–about what the wine alone would have cost in America.

Afternoon we went on a tour of the city, sponsored by the Red Cross.  We saw the native homes—poor section & those of the wealthy; one of the Sultan’s many palaces, the great Mosque where they worship.  We went into the European section & saw magnificent villas & gardens & parks.  Oh, the flowers were so beautiful.  I would have given anything for you to have been with us.  We saw the great house of Prostitution, where only Europeans may go.  It is gov’t. sponsored & controlled.  It is out-of-bounds to American soldiers & officers.  Native Arab & Jewish girls from 15 to 20 stay there.

The last stop was at a swimming pool where we watched French girls swimming.  They were lovely because they were the first white girls we had seen in so long.  But they weren’t really as lovely as American girls.  I think American girls will beat any in the world.

We were walking down the street when we heard an orchestra beating out “Take it off” as fast as Europeans can.  The place was filled with doughboys, laughing & singing & clapping.  Especially colored.  A real American Jam session.

We met Lt. Davis and he went with us to eat at the fine restaurant where we ate dinner.  We had another swell meal—Egg omelet was the headliner—and all the grapes we could eat for dessert.  The meal cost only 75¢.  And the wine was wonderful.  We shall always remember that meal together.  Real comradeship.  Lt. Davis has already suggested a reunion every other year or so.  Coming back we sang a lot of songs.  What a wonderful time!  Everybody likes the Lt. so well because he is a buddy as well as a commander.  By the way, he says there is still some hope for some of us to get promotions of one kind or another.  It won’t be very soon, but they ought to come before the war is over.

We still have no knowledge of any change in our work.  I guess no change will be made until Italy is definitely out of the picture.  After that we may get a chance to go back to the States.  We will know more within a month.  Allen says that the latrine (it’s an outdoor wooden toilet) stinks so much that we can’t get settled long enough to pick up a good rumor.  

The newest addition to our happiness is a wooden bed apiece, made by prison carpenters.  They are hard but we are off the ground.  Before we were bitten by sand fleas (sort of like mosquito bites).  As Deupree says, all we have to worry about now are termites.  

We take Aterbrain  (sp?) tablets 5 days a week to guard against malaria.  We sleep under mosquito nets.

It is very hot right now.  Ward took out a 100 Franc note ($2.00) and said he’d off every bit of it for a cold coca cola.  He isn’t the only one either.  Our water is not exactly cold & heavily chlorinated.  You know, there are a lot of economic lessons one can learn in an out-of-the way place like this.  I shall certainly have some realistic illustrations to give my classes, if & when I go back to teaching.

You know, everything works out just right for us.  Remember the book by Dr. Geo Lamsa you bought for my birthday.  The natives around here are pretty much like those whose customs he explained in his book, as a background to Jesus.  When I go back & get to read the book thru & study it, it will mean a great deal.  It would be wonderful for a Sunday School class, wouldn’t it?  Do you suppose, if we don’t go west, that I’ll ever have a chance to teach another S. S. class?

I really did enjoy our work in Raleigh—Mutual, S.S. & Church.  I hope you have told the Church folks that I’m here & having a good time.  I’m going to write them soon.  It seems like I don’t get time to write anybody but you.  I don’t care if I don’t write anybody else.  You are all that matters & I’m not going to neglect you.  I sent a v-mail to Mom today.

We are hoping it won’t be too long till we get mail.  I hope you have gotten some v-mail & will send some here.

I hope you are finding plenty of pleasant things to do, just as we are.  Don’t you worry about whether or not I would approve of anything, because anything you want to do is bound to be all right.  I trust you implicitly.  I don’t have any trouble living up to my vows.  I couldn’t even think of betraying you.  We have so many long years ahead of us—what is a year or two apart?  One can enjoy himself thoroughly & still do just as he would do if he were with his wife, she was watching.  In everything we do.  I feel close to you darling.  For we have done so many things together.  & had such a good time.  You have put your heart in mine to stay and there is nothing that can move or budge it.  You mean everything to me & I know you always will.  You, by your very nature, will not ever let me down or betray my trust.

I don’t know how to tell you how much I love you, for I love you so very much.


I just read over & over the letter you wrote that night in Battle Creek when I couldn’t come in.  It was so sweet.  And I looked over all the pictures I have of you.  They make me want so much to be with you.  I would take you in my arms & hug & kiss you & tell you how much you mean to me—that I am yours—yours completely—and yours alone.  We’ll be together some soon day & that’s what we’re fighting for over here.

Love Jimmie

[LJAD, letter to Grace, August 13, 1943]

By the way, Robinson & I have been devoting some spare time to learning German during the past few days.  After getting the chance to compare all the major languages, we’ve decided we much prefer German to any except English.  Italian is a rather feminine language.  Italians—speaking to each other sound like magpies at a convention—or a monkey bull-fest.  The language fits so well the temperament of the people.  I’m going to learn what German I can here & learn more when I get back.  I think I’ll use Spanish & German for my languages, if & when I finish out my Doctorate.


They are a fighting people & very nearly came to conquer all of Europe around 900 A.D. when they were stopped by Charlemagne.  They will try to convert a person to their faith & if he persists in believing in strange gods, they cut off his head.  Following that practice, everyone in North Africa up till European influence was either a live Moslem or a dead unbeliever.  Learning & scholarship are discouraged.  All you need to know is the Koran.  No other book is taught in their schools.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, August 25, 1943]

Sometime I feel like the soldier, who wrote home to his wife & said, “Honey, you better see all you can while I’m gone, for when I get back on my furlough you won’t get to see anything but the ceiling.”  It’s much easier for me than I thought it would be, tho.  Probably, it’s because I know that it is impossible for you to be here so I don’t think about it.  We really will know how to enjoy each other when we are together won’t we?  And we’ll never ever separate again!  The war is teaching us something.  

Remember, I love you with all my heart.

Your husband Jimmie

[LJAD, letter to Grace, August 25, 1943]

I was glad you got to talk to Sharon Harris.  Of course, what he said about Camp Phillips would seem funny to us over here.  It is 3 miles from a bus to town.  Isn’t that too bad?—We have no bus lines, except for Arabs.  We hitch a ride when we can.  Isn’t it a pity they have so far to walk to the PX?  We don’t have any so we’re better off.  They complain of the heat.  We’ve clocked it at 135° to 140° many days in our tents.  But it is cool at nights.  Oh well, I’ll admit Camp Phillips is worse than Custer.


You certainly made me hungry, telling about what you’d have when I returned to you.  It was a perfect meal, & we get hardly any of those things here.  We haven’t had milk since we left the states.  We haven’t had ice cream since we left the states.  We have had chicken once, canned yams once, & corn twice.  But, aside from the milk, etc. we actually eat better than we did at Custer.  We have quite a bit of spam & processed & dehydrated foods.  In the Red Cross bldg. in town there is a big cartoon drawn on the wall entitled “Our final victory”.  It shows a bomber soaring over a spam factory & the soldier gleefully throws down tons & tons of bombs on it.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, September 7, 1943]

Even if Germany surrenders before the winter is over we still have Japan.

The O.P.A. will probably fold up after the war, so I guess there isn’t any use hoping I can get my old job back.  There may be a chance I could get work as an economist with some other gov’t agency but it probably wouldn’t be wise.  After all, we want to settle down & enjoy each other don’t we?  If I get a gov’t job I may have to work where it isn’t congenial-like Washington, New York, Atlanta, etc.  And, gov’t jobs—especially as economists—are so uncertain.  Also you can’t exercise your initiative & resourcefulness.  You are bound down by red tape.  It’s the same with working for a big business like Sears Roebuck.

I wouldn’t mind a state gov’t. job in Idaho or Utah but wouldn’t want one in N. C.   

Dean Brown says I can have back my teaching job at State College with a raise.  Taking the job for a year would have a lot of advantages.  It would give me ample time to read up all the recent literature on economics, and to review all my notes.  I could probably pass my preliminary oral for the Ph.D., which means all I’d have left, would be the dissertation & a summer session or two.  Also we could have a pretty good salary, we could live fairly cheaply, and you could be close to your mother & sort of help her along with things.  We could worship with Dr. Townsend & find some friends among the State College faculty.  Then, after a year, we could go out West & establish our family in the heart of the mountains, & I could do work on the dissertation in spare time.

Of course there are disadvantages.  Living in Raleigh for one.  We might not be so happy there, for it’s not easy to shake off old friends or bad memories.  And if we wait a year before going West, it may be impossible to get a job there.

Another idea is for us to go West shortly after I get back.  I’d try to get some sort of work in Salt Lake City and would use spare time in getting together material for my dissertation.  I have more or less definitely made up my mind to write on the L.D.S. Economic Program.  During the summer we could go to summer school in Chapel Hill—and you could be with your mother.  After two or three years I should have my Ph.D. & we should know by then where we wanted to settle.  We would have had a chance to see the West.

I think we should follow either one of these two plans; and I want to know what you think about them.  And I really want to know what you think—don’t just say that you’ll be satisfied either way.

I definitely don’t think it would be wise for me to go to Chapel Hill & do full-time, or part-time study work.  In the first place, I couldn’t get my mind on my studies.  It would be on you.  In the second place, we couldn’t have any fun together—Chapel Hill is too intellectual.  In the third place, I wouldn’t be bringing in any income. 

Teach at State College, or some teaching or gov’t job in the West.  Those are the two alternatives.  What do you say?  Of course, if you have still another plan, we’ll consider it too.  Dr. Ratchford said he’d help me out all he could, which means he’d write a darn good recommendation for me to use in getting a job, if we decided to go West.  If we do go west, tho, we have got to consider:

1.  What to do about your mother.  We just can’t pick up & leave her—and she might not want her to come with us.  You know I love your mother & want to do the right thing for her, as well as for you.

2.  Will you be happy having ? no. 1 in our family way out west—away from your mother?  For that may be necessary.

Anyway these are things we ought to think about.  I guess you’ve been thinking about them, too.  And always remember this:  I love you more than anybody or anything in all the world, and I want to do what will be best for you in the long run, no matter what.  No matter what or where, I’ll be happy, if it’s best for you.

Ultimately, I think we both agree that we want to settle down & build our home on the outskirt of a middle-size town where we can have a small acreage, a good fruit orchard, a good garden, some livestock, horses, & chickens.  I want to teach in the morning & part of the afternoon, & spend the rest of the day with you & “the family” on the farm.  Under no conditions must we let go of that goal, sweetheart.  I just can’t wait till we get our home & you are in the kitchen ordering everybody around.  And I want us to have our picture where we will always enjoy it.  I think it must have been painted for us—the white-topped mountains, so solid, yet pointing to heaven.  The cool, refreshing stream—What I wouldn’t give to stand next to you & see it tonite.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, September 9, 1943]

I know of a Chaplain who, when shells & bullets were raining all over would walk around the men, lighting cigarettes, cheering them up, etc.  That takes infinitely more courage than those actually with guns & fighting equipment.  The chaplain would say prayers for those killed during the day; & on Sundays would set up a field alter & lead the men in singing & prayers.  He’d say, “Yes, I know you want to go to town & raise hell, when this is over.  And I don’t blame you.  But I want you to take out just 5 minutes every day to thank the Lord that the shells & bullets have passed you by, that you have been spared and to pray for the loved ones of your comrades who have gone on.”  I have talked to men who were under fire—heavy fire, when large numbers were killed.  They confirm Gen. MacArthur’s statement, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  In the foxholes & slit trenches, during the time of waiting, they read Testaments & repeat prayers from prayer books.  They even get so anxious for them that they’ll fight with their buddies to be “Next” to get the Testament or prayer book.  I don’t want you to misunderstand what I am saying, for I am not trying to show that a man gets converted at the front.  All I’m saying is that when men are under fire, they clutch at their gun & their God.  That is all they can rely on.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday September 26, 1943, somewhere in N. Africa]

Well, the effects of the Army might be summarized as follows:

1.  The experiences we have gone thru together have given me a better understanding of human nature—esp. of men.

2.  Broadening of the knowledge & understanding of Germans, Italians, French & Arabs (as well as Americans).  

3.  More appreciation for the simpler things in life; fragrant odors, pleasant colors, soft things to touch, companionship, good things to eat, etc.

4.  As to personal habits, there has been little change.  Of course, I still don’t smoke, get drunk, or hunt for women.  I have had a few glasses of wine with meals in Casablanca & have tasted out of curiosity, all kinds of drinks, but I’m more disgusted than ever with heavy drinking.  I still can’t get interested in playing cards.

5.  As to whether there has been any change in character or personality, we will not know until this war is over, I return to be with you & pray you won’t be disappointed.  

There is no doubt but what war tends to bring out & emphasize the more masculine qualities of man, such as courage, honor, pride, toughness, hardness, etc.  And war tends to minimize the Christian virtues of tenderness, love, and mercy.  That is the nature of war.  That is one of the reasons we hate it so.  Army life makes the more sensitive souls unhappy, for that reason.  Can you imagine Dr. Cameron being happy with a group of fellows like ours:  For that matter—Marion?

Hardly anybody likes anything about the army or about making war.  You cannot be with loved ones; you are assigned to do something which you haven’t chosen to do in life, & is therefore distasteful; you are subject to a thousand inconveniences such as bad food, poor shelter, poor toilet facilities, drab & ill-fitted clothing, no feminine companionship, etc.  You are “stuck” with fellows, which you might prefer not to associate with in civilian life; you must take orders from officers and/or non-coms you don’t trust or respect.  All these things are the necessary concomitant of war.  The only good thing about it is that by waging war & making the sacrifices it requires, you can look forward to a peaceful life when the war is over.  Each of us has some special one for whom they are fighting.  And that is why I am happy in spite of everything else.  For I know that when we win the war our future together will not be hindered by Adolph of Tojo, & we will know that we have honorably done our part in the destruction of them.  We have sacrificed for our future—and believe me, we are going to make that future count.  The world will not see a more happy, more satisfied & contented couple.  We know there will be no hitch in it because we have someone else looking out for us.  The war, if anything, has strengthened my faith, tho some might say I am less “religious”.

In a way your sacrifice is infinitely greater than mine.  It is aid that the worst punishment is for a person to stand by & watch a loved one suffer without being able to do anything about it.  

You also are happy, tho, for you, as well as I, have everything to look forward to.

Sweetheart, we’re going to celebrate tonite.  While we were at work today, Robinson & Stein went to the PX and got our rations of candy, etc.  We get 1 Baby Ruth per week, 1 box of hard tack or jelly candy, 2 pkgs. of chewing gum & 1 pkg. lifesavers, & any soap, cigarettes, etc. you desire up to 6 to 8 pkgs. cigarettes per week.

Sweetheart, I’ll be thinking of you tonite when reading the Bible, praying, & dreaming.

All my love,


[LJAD, letter to Grace, September 28, 1943]

? a Sunday School service: Opening Prayer, song (Do What is Right), and Sacrament (song, O Thou Kind & Gracious Father),  2 short talks on Baptism and Chastity by members, and a lesson on Repentance by a Captain.  A 1st Lieutenant played the little portable organ, and another Lieutenant and I administered to the Sacrament.  The Captain’s lesson was not at all inspiring—very orthodox & simple like a kindergarten catechism, but he had the highest rank & was the oldest, so it was natural to look to him to teach.  We sang “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet” & closed with prayer.

In a way the visit made me feel proud of our Church, that on their own initiative they should give up part of their spare time for recreation to go to town & go to Church; and prepare lessons, talks, & make other arrangements.  The Church seems to have done a wonderful job with its young people.  They do not wait for the Church or the Army to furnish a Chaplain or materials.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Monday, October 25, 1943]

For some time, as you know, I’ve been thinking about our church and the contribution it has to make to our country.  If you won’t mind my talking with you about it for a while, I’ll take up some of the things.

The most important thing the Church has to offer is a positive and practical youth program.  No church of the same size in the world has been able to keep such a large percentage of its young people active as our Church.  It’s true that hardly any Catholic young people ever leave that church and join another, but they don’t remain active to the same extent.  They go to mass every now and then and that’s about all.  Some go to catholic schools and some study to be priests or go to monasteries, but they are only a small proportion of all Catholic young people.  Just as an illustration, about 15 fellows in our Platoon are Catholic and only one of them ever goes to mass.

Our Church has been able to keep its young people active and fairly religious because:

1.  Everything is based on the family unit in which everyone in the family from baby to Grandpa has a status n the church.  There is a Sunday School class and activity for every one of every age.  21/2 minute talks are not given by a paid minister, but by all ages, under a system of rotation, young boys pass the Sacrament, older ones usher, still older ones administer the Sacrament, and so on.

There is a Mutual class and activity for every age.  One begins to go to Mutual when he is 10 and goes the rest of his life.  Every age group has lessons of its own and activities suitable to that age.  Even the dances which are sponsored by Mutual are expected to be attended by the whole family.  By continually emphasizing the family unit, every person in the family tends to go places and do things together.  All go to Sunday School.  All go to Mutual.  All go to picnics and dances and entertainments.  And this doesn’t prevent each special age group having their own private activities.

2.  The Church from the infant on up teaches that the best way to learn is by doing.  Religion is not something for sad old ladies.  It is not something that can be acquired sitting in a pew listening to a minister.  It is not even obtained by frequent reading of the Bible.  Religion is most living and working together in peace and harmony and happiness.  It is the expansion of power and understanding.  It is the development of the higher traits of the individual personality.  All of these are the result of people working together.  Once cannot be religious if he lives and works with others who are not; that is, he can’t progress in a religious way if this is true.  True religion is a society of happy souls all directing their thoughts upward toward God.

Consequently, religion is not something passive, nor something passively acquired.  It is meaningless if it is developed outside the hustle and bustle of everyday life.   Religion is the way you work and play.  Religion is worshipping God in the field, in the workshop, on a city street, on a baseball diamond, and in a theater. 

If any activity is divorced from its standing as one in which God is worshipped, then there will be that much of an opportunity for irreligion and corruption and unhappiness to creep into the world.  If business is divorced from worship there will be greediness and selfishness and fraud, etc.

What I’m getting around to is that if young people are brought up in such a way that every activity is regarded as connected with their religion in a definite way, they will live and work together with a minimum of friction.  So the church regards every department of human welfare under its sphere of influence.  If you go swimming, dance, play baseball, if you work as a cowpuncher, farmer, or businessman; if you study in school; if you marry, die, have a child; if you get into health trouble or legal trouble—if you do any of these things, or anything else, the church is interested that it is done according to the laws of God.  As I have told you before, the church is a great mother, who looks after us in every way.

The church believes in seeing that young people are provided with activities to keep them busy and keep their minds from getting into mischief.  Why go to a public dance hall when Mutual has such nice ones, which are free?  Why chase around with that crowd which doesn’t understand or appreciate my feelings when I can chase around with a nice church crowd and feel at home?  The church teaches them religion by making them study it to give talks, give lessons, go on a mission, take charge of classes.  They learn to work together by going ward teaching, working on the church farm, helping build chapels and tabernacles, sponsor programs and entertainments.  They learn to play together by Sunday School parties, Mutual games, and parties, etc.  The Word of Wisdom teaches health; genealogical work teaches reverence for parents, family and blood, In everything, the emphasis is on doing and doing together.

In addition to its wonderful Youth Program, the church has other contributions to make to our society.  One of them is its Americanism.  It is the first major religion (it is 8th largest in the country) to be started in America by an American with American ideas.  Whereas other religions continue to look only to the Old World for their inspiration, since the Bible and their religious thought originated there; Mormonism looks as well to America.  We have the Book of Mormon, which is the Bible of the American Indians.  We have the early revelations and struggles of the church, which are similar to those of the early saints of the Catholic Church.  We have the idea that America is the land of promise.  We have the idea of religious toleration, divinity of the constitution, the democratic management of the church.  The early American ideas of cooperation, agricultural communism and the brotherhood of man are all part and parcel.  The idea that Christ may have visited America, as well as Palestine also helps to spiritualize our country.  The only group of people who are conscientiously trying to uncover the mysteries of the Aztec, Mayan, and Zoltec civilizations in early America are L.D.S.  This is the result of the Book of Mormon influence.  

The third contribution is the Church Welfare Plan, which offers a suggestion as to the way out of the mess of the modern economic and social world.  You know the story and meaning of it as well as I.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, November 14, 1943]

5.  The policy of the Catholic Church has been such as to hold back progress & enlightenment.  To that extent it is responsible for Fascism, Italy’s entry into the war, & her defeat.  The Church is to be condemned for trying to save its own neck (power, influence, & wealth).  The Church, which, because of its power, influence, & wealth, has had a remarkable opportunity to help out the common people, has failed utterly.  Italian boys & girls are notoriously immoral and undisciplined.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, December 1, 1943]

15 May 1944   Mon.

Written Sunday

My Darling,

Today is Mother’s Day.  I am going to send a V-mail to your Mother & Mom after I write to you.  I didn’t go to Church this morning.  Instead I spent the time sewing my one little stripe on my sun tans.  I’m getting tired of sewing on that same little stripe, so I’m going to make it my aim & purpose to have another stripe to sew on by the time fall comes & we put on OD’S again.  Never did I imagine that I would have remained without a rating after 14 months in the army.  I didn’t think it was possible for anyone who behaved fairly decently & who had a modicum of brains & ability to remain unpromoted that long.  It has happened, tho, so it is possible.  In spite of what our friends may think, it has nothing to do with my ability as a soldier.  Practically everyone in the Platoon will agree that the two worst soldiers in the outfit are Sergeants of one kind or another.  It is all explained by (1) Our inactivity (2) Our being a 1/0 organization in which ratings are set & determined by sections (3) Capt. Anderson sent a long line of bull to the Reception Center, which is why they classified me to go to Custer instead of somewhere else.  The only way for me to get a rating in this outfit is for Ward to go home or get a commission outright.  Both are still possible.  I’m hoping and praying for his success means my success.  I know that he deserves very much to be a Commissioned Officer & he has a lot of people pushing him for an Outright Commission.    If he gets that, he will not return to the States to go to O.C.S.  Wish we could go someplace where there was an Econ. Board.  Perhaps I could get the same.  The whole trouble is that at the beginning of the war they made anybody with ability at all an officer.  They created too many officers.  Now it is hard for a serving person to become one.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 15 April 1944]

After Church I hunted up our truck & came back to camp with the boys.  And what a change from the fellows I had been with all day.  I didn’t realize how really fine our LDS fellows are.  To get back amongst a bunch of drunks: such language, such indecencies & disgusting acts.  Puking all over, falling all over, hollering such indecencies at women along the way, etc.  Oh, they’re all right & I get along fine, but it’s like Sgt. Williams said, “Watching this crowd is enough to make any man swear off of drink for life.”  It makes me even more proud of the Church & its teachings & the will power of the young fellows in our church.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 28 May 1944]

Got up early this morning & shaved before breakfast.  Then I got a pass & came to town with Sgt. Williams.  He went to the Protestant services & I went to the LDS.  

It was the first Sunday of the month so they had Sacrament & then testimonies.  I found out that LDS services are now being held in Palermo, Sicily, Naples & Foggia in Italy & in Sardinia.  In Sardinia the fellows pooled together their cigarette rations & bought a chapel in which they are now meeting.                                       

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 4 June 1944]

7 June 1944    Wed.

My Darling Sweetheart,

I am going to write you a little paragraph before going to bed.  This is still June 6, the day of the invasion.  I’ll add more tomorrow.

It’s now late the nite of the invasion.  We went over to the Rec Hall of our camp to listen to the news.  We heard a summary of Churchill’s second speech to Commons, the BBC Commentary, and the moving message of the King.  Perhaps you heard the King’s message also.  It was spiritual & abiding, & very moving.  It is a classic, which will go down as a masterpiece in English literature.  I wonder who wrote it.  It is too spiritual to have been Churchill’s work.  Perhaps, after all, the King wrote it himself.  About this time of nite in the States, Pres. Roosevelt is leading all of you in prayer, & I imagine you are listening.

About now you are feeling about like I am—about like the average American & Britisher not actually engaged: very excited about the success so far achieved; very anxious after the future in store for our fighting men; and reverent, prayerful as the chief way in which you can enter into the experiences & sufferings of our men & women & the men & women in Nazi Europe.

We have all planned so long for this day, & the stakes involved are so high, that it gives us all grave concern.  It gives one an excited, but also a humble feeling: a strange feeling of exaltation & exhilaration at the enormity of our preliminary success, but a feeling of anxiety & concern over future operations.

As you looked at the moon tonite, you did not need to worry about your soldier husband who is far from the scene of battle & is apt to remain so.  Nevertheless, being 7,000 miles away from that husband, you could enter into the feelings of the thousands & hundreds of thousands of mothers, wives, & sweethearts–the life of whose loved one has been thrown into the fight for final victory.

Next day

The news continues to be good.  It appears that losses in the initial operations were light.  That is good news.  Now if our bombers & fighters can keep enemy opposition down to a minimum.

We received our PX supplies for this week.  We get 3 bars of candy, 2 bottles of cokes, & cigarettes, soap, etc. according to needs.  I don’t drink any of my cokes, for after all, that is one of the few ways for me to remember I’m a Mormon.  I trade them to the boys for a candy bar or two.  If I were back home, I should probably drink one a day, anyway.  But there are so few ways for me to remember & honor my Church over here, that I take advantage of those things like obeying all the health admonitions, prayer in the evening with you, & reading of good literature.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Wednesday, 7 June 1944]

You have undoubtedly heard of the Civil Affairs Branch of the Army.  It has been widely publicized in magazines & newspapers.  It had to do with the economic & social rehabilitation of occupied territories.  It is relatively new & just being set up.  Its administration will require people with education along the lines of economics or business & experience in administration.

There is a shortage of such people overseas.  The administrative work will require officers with the ratings of Col, Lt. Col, Major & Captain.  They prefer individuals that have made a success in civilian life—as judged by their paycheck.

Lt.. Davis has been good enough to look into this field for me.  He is going to try to get me a commission, on the basis of my present qualifications.

In order to support this application, I wish you would secure letters of recommendation from Dr. Forster, Dr. Wood, Dean Brown, & Mr. Kavanaugh, & phone Dr. Ratchford to send one to my present APO.  In these letters they should indicate the experience they have had with me, & that they feel I should be well qualified to hold down a position as an Administrative Officer in the capacity of an economist or agricultural economist.   Now, sweet, if my luck is very good, I might get a Captaincy within a few months.  That’s what I’m hoping for.  If luck is bad, I might get a Sgt. Rating & stay overseas for a year or two after the war.  It is a risk I’m taking.  Our outfit might go home soon without me.  I might never get the commission.  But I feel that it would be wise to take that risk.  For several reasons:

(1) Pay will be much more.

(2) The work will be more congenial & maybe just exactly the thing I’ll need.

(3) It will be wonderful experience.  When someone asks what I did in the war, I can say    I had a responsible job in administration of such and such country.

(4) If I do have to stay overseas after the war, you can come over to live with me. Pay will include rental for family, rations, etc.

Of course, things may turn out wrong.  But you must trust me that I’m trying to do what I think is best for us.  I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think you would approve.  Of course, as I say, things may not turn out right, but that is just the chance I’ll have to take.  I would also take a chance staying in this outfit. —for it might be called upon to work with prisoners are all repatriated, or do occupational police work.  So you see, there’s little to lose.  I do stand a chance for an advancement in this outfit, but probably not a very great advancement.

Now, sweet, I’m giving my qualifications as follows: — & I hope you will so inform those who are fixing up letters:


4 years at Univ. of Idaho, majoring in Econ. 

2 years at Univ. of N. C.; majoring in Econ.

11/2 year at N.C. State, majoring in Agric. Econ. —Dr. Forster can tell them that I took all their courses—Agric. Econ & also taught for them 1 quarter.  I did not get credit for half of the courses I took, so it won’t be listed with the registrar, but he knows I took all his & Dr. Lange’s graduate classes.

Teaching Experience

11/2 years at Univ. of N.C. as teaching fellow & part-time instructor.

11/2 years at N.C. State as instructor (includes that summer I taught)

Administrative Experience

6 months as Survey & Analysis officer for N.C. State OPA.  I put my total final salary at $3800, for I received $3200 base pay, plus 20% overtime=a total of around $3800 base pay +overtime.

Now they might investigate these men & facts.  And they might also ask for the transcript of my college records.  If so, I’ll let you know.  The main thing I’ve got to prove is that although I am only 26 (will be 27 in two weeks) I am mature & experienced enough to hold down a responsible administrative position in an economic line as a Captain or a Major.  Any statement about this from some of these men would surely help out.  There is a certain officer over here that thinks I’m qualified for a Colonel’s position.  Are you laughing?  Anyway, as I said, let’s make it a try.  And whatever happens, our major aim & purpose will be to get together as quickly as possible, wherever that may be.  Then when we are together after the war, & after my Army job is thru, we can do our year at Chapel Hill & then head west.  We’re still holding to our dream.  And if I make that much more money, just think how much quicker we can buy our house.  

Sweet, I know you won’t mind doing this for us & I hope you think I’m doing the right thing.  Above all, I want to do what is best for us.  I love you eternally,


[LJAD, letter to Grace, Tuesday, 20 June 1944]

My application for Civil Affairs work was fixed up today.  I told you all about it in last nite’s airmail.  In it I asked you to get letters of recommendation from Dr. Forster, Wood, Dean Brown & to phone Dr. Ratchford.  I hope they get here soon—within a month, anyway.  As I wrote, I’m taking a chance because I might never get a commission & might be over here for a long time.  But I might be a rifleman in the infantry in a month if I didn’t apply, so it’s a risk anyway you look at it.  I’m just hoping & praying I made the best move.  If the Lt. finds that it is absolutely impossible for me to get a Commission or to better myself, he will probably hold it back.  He’s very good about helping me to take advantage of this opportunity.

I’ve been working on it most of the day so I haven’t done any reading.  I shall probably do some tomorrow.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Wednesday, 21 June 1944]

22 June 1944 Thurs.

Dearest Darling Sweetheart,

For the last couple of days I have been a little disturbed for fear I may have done the wrong thing in applying for work in Civilian Affairs.  After the movie last nite, I went to bed & rolled & tossed for a couple of hours.  Then I went to sleep & had a dream.  You were in a part of this dream.  When it was all over & I woke up this morning I had a distinct feeling of relief.  I felt certain that I had done the best thing.  I feel confident now & won’t be worrying about it any more, for I feel that everything will happen for the best.  And I also feel certain in my heart that you will approve.  So now I feel better about the whole thing

The Lt. took my papers in this morning & they are now in the hands of the Personnel officer who will, in turn, contact the necessary officials.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Thursday, 22 June 1944]

You had a lot of good news in your letters & you seemed to be right cheerful.  That $72.00 you made was splendid.  You seem to be doing wonders.  You will have that thousand by August after all, won’t you?  

I am glad you had the white dress put away, but I don’t know what chance there is I might see you in it this year.  Things are very confused as regards our outfit.  And, as you know, I have put in for a transfer to Civil Affairs, which may mean I’ll stay over here another year or two.  Don’t be discouraged, but I don’t want to encourage you either.  So we’ll both just hope & pray.  You can be quite certain that, whatever happens, I won’t be in combat.  I would be viewed as too valuable a paper man to go into combat.  I shall look into this Civil Affairs business in a few days.  If it appears they aren’t going to give me a Commission I’m going to ask them to leave me in this outfit until our fate is decided.  As I say, please don’t get your hopes up too high about me being home this fall.  But there is some hope.  I ought to know pretty soon.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Monday, 26 June 1944]

We worked pretty hard yesterday & today.  The work is administrative & has to do with Italian Officers & Enlisted men.  It is giving the Lt., Sgt. Williams, & I ample opportunity to learn some Italian, & we’re taking advantage of it.  I even dreamed in Italian last nite, but still, my knowledge of it is very, very limited.  I can carry on a general conversation so long as I can use my arms, & so long as the Italian is a little patient.  The only thing I will say is that I am trying to learn correct Italian, not dialect.  If I should ever go to Italy, it should not be hard for me to make friends with some of the professional people.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, 29 June 1944]

Now in Italy

Cpl. Leonard Arrington has transferred from the prisoners of war processing branch of the army to the civil affairs division, according to word received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. N. W. Arrington.  He has been moved from North Africa to the Italian theater of war.

[LJAD, newspaper clipping, circa July 1944]

Today’s mail brought letters of recommendation from Dean Brown & Dr. Ratchford.  Each of them enclosed a short note.  Both letters were swell—just exactly what was needed.  In fact, I couldn’t have desired better ones.  Dr, Ratchford’s was an especially good one, as you can imagine it would be.  I wish you would phone Dean Brown & tell him that I received his letters & how much I appreciated them.  I’ll write him later on whenever I find out something definite.  It shouldn’t be long now before I hear something one way or the other.  So far I don’t know a thing more about my application or about the future of our platoon.  So don’t be too impatient.  I am enjoying this opportunity of getting some real studying done.  It isn’t every army man that has so much free time.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 9 July 1944]

11 July 1944 – Wed

Dearest Sweetheart,

Well, guess who’s sitting here by my side telling me about you?  Wayne; none other!  I can’t get over it.  What luck!  He has gotten to see you, the folks, Uncle Earl, & now me.  You wrote the folks where I am & when Wayne talked to Mom on the phone she told him where I am.  Little did he know he’d be at this very place.  It was no trouble at all for him to get in touch.  We’ve been together all afternoon.  He showed me all over his ship, & we had supper on it—with real American ice cream.  The first I’ve had since we’ve been over.  It was splendid.  His shipmates seem to think the world of him & they certainly were swell to me.  We’ve been at the Red Cross talking all evening now.  I may get to see him some more.  Sure hope so.  He wants to say something now.  Good Nite sweet

Your Jimmie

Hi Sis:

I guess I am about the luckiest sailor this side of the ocean night?-today.  We have certainly enjoyed our self.  I guess this must be luck that is following me.  I know it sure is wonderful to see your own brother here & get to have a talk with him. Sis, I only wish you might have this same opportunity some day & I bet you will be just as happy (more so).  I have seen a lot of new things & no doubt will see more.  You ought to know me by now.  Give my regards to Mom “F.”?.  I hope she is ok & enjoying good health.  How I’d like some ???????

        With Love & Kisses


[LJAD, V-Mail to Grace, Wednesday, 11 July 1944]

I’m writing you tonite for two reasons.  First, because it is during moments like these when I’m alone & content that I think most about you, & feel most deeply our love.  Second, I have something to tell you.  It is explained by the enclosed order.  Your husband is now Corporal Arrington!  

This afternoon the Lt. gave us the order to type out.  And that is one we did with pleasure.  Sgt. Williams is now Platoon Sgt., for which we’re all thankful.  Ward is mighty happy over being a Sgt. (we phoned him & told him); & of course your hubbie isn’t the least excited of the group.  In fact, he’s as pleased as can be.  The Lt. said to me this afternoon to tell you I’m on my way up, so there’s even more reason to be happy.  Let’s see, only 18 more to a 4-star general or something like that.  

This is not a line rating; a technician rating is awarded where there is need for ratings for men of ability.  I think you know how it looks: ?. (cannot duplicate insignia)  Strictly, I’m a T/5 or Tech 5th, but to avoid misunderstandings, etc., I’m going to use just Cpl. Arrington as a return address.  It’s perfectly proper, because I’m a corporal, but in all army communications, I’m a Tech 5.  

Incidentally, the pay is about $13 more per month.  The promotion will not affect my application for a Commission, but they will have to be notified of the raise in grade.  At the first of the month, I shall probably make out an allotment to you of $20.00 per month.  Thus, you’ll get the $50.00 every month, plus $20.00, that will be deducted monthly from my pay.  So you can put $70.00 per mo. into bldg & loan.  I have over $100.00 now, & with next payday, I’ll have much more.  So I may have to send you a money order unless I get a chance to go to Italy where I can buy that tablecloth I’ve been wanting to get for so long.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Tuesday, 18 July 1944]

Now for the good news.  Received word by telephone today that my application for transfer to Civil Affairs has been approved.  I am being transferred in grade, which means I will remain a T/5, for a while, anyway.  It’s entirely possible that when I get into the set up & “sell myself” that I can get a higher rating & perhaps eventually become an officer.  Of course, I shall try like the devil to get them to appoint me an officer right off, but you know that the army doesn’t work that way, so I’m not expecting too much.  I have all the letters of recommendation & the pictures & I’m going to push it for all it’s worth.

I’ll be leaving here in around 3 days for another city in North Africa.  I’ve heard it’s a real swell place, so I imagine I’ll enjoy being there.  After I report there I don’t know what will happen.  Maybe some other theater of operations.  Of course, I don’t know what work I’ll have, where it will be, or anything.  All I know is that I’m to be transferred to a Civil Affairs regiment in a certain North African city & will report there as soon as I get written orders & transportation.  Maybe I’ll go by plane.  Wouldn’t that be swell?

If you had in mind any packages, don’t send them until you know my new address so as to avoid delay, but you can keep sending letters here & they’ll forward them on to me.

The Lt. & the rest are happy for me.  Of course, Sgt. Williams, Robinson, Tub Jones, etc. don’t know it, but I shall take a trip around to see them before I go.  I have been very close to Sgt. Williams ever since June a year ago, & I’ve worked in as his clerk, so you know I shall hate to leave him.  I really think a lot of him & of course I shall also hate to leave some of the rest.

All in all, tho, I’m pretty happy about it because of the experience, chances for a promotion, & all.  I just hope it doesn’t mean that I will be away from you longer.  But if I can’t come back to you for a while, maybe you can come over here.  And I think my chances of going home are just as great there as in this outfit, because they might send me back to go to school.  And, after the war, they might allow me a leave to visit you.  We shall both be hoping & praying.  Above everything else, I want to hold you in my arms & know we wouldn’t have to separate again.  I shall move heaven & earth to accomplish that.  And I would make any sacrifice this side of desertion in order to be with you.  Nothing I would do to be with you would be a sacrifice, & I know you feel the same way.

I’m a little excited.  I told Lt. Davis I would probably be pretty much of a bore because I’ll be thinking & talking Civil Affairs for the next few days.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Thursday, 10 August 1944]

There is another thing I hope you won’t worry about.  Suppose I get into this Civil Affairs & become part of the occupational police.  Suppose I get a good commission job & get happy.  Now even if you could be with me, I would still not give up our dream.  In other words, no matter how well things go, I’m going to get out of the Army & go back to the States as quickly as possible.  Our dream means too much to both of us & we must never abandon it.  We must always work toward it & never away from it.  I know you are doing just that & I want you to know I shall always be doing that, too.  This separation would be very difficult for both of us without the plans we have.  As you say, they are much more concrete than most people.  God grant that we may soon be able to realize them.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 13 August 1944]

Dearest Sweetheart,

As you can see, I have a new return address.  I wish you would write Reader’s Digest, Time, & Improvement Era to send the issues to this address.  Also I wish you would look thru the Fortune Magazines there & see if there isn’t an article in one or more of them on Civil Affairs:  that is, on military gov’t.  There’s one on the school of military gov’t at Charlottesville, VA, but I’m not interested in that, just the ones that show problems of military gov’t.  There ought to have been one or two in the past year or so.  If you wish to clip out the article that’s OK.  Or, if you’d rather, send the whole issue, whatever will be handiest to send.

I’m happy to be with this outfit.  Altho I shall not have much chance of advancement, I shall get plenty of experience, the kind which should be most valuable to me in later life.  I won’t be able to tell you much about it now.  Later on, perhaps I’ll be able to tell you quite a bit about it.  So far, I’m just learning; feeling my way.  But I am pretty excited over being here in this group.  Darling, remember I love you with all my heart & soul.  Your Jimmie

[LJAD, V-Mail to Grace, Wednesday, 16 August 1944]

16 Aug 1944   WED.

Dearest Sweetheart,

Well, I have really been set back between my ears.  The blow struck & it struck hard, when I was just beginning to be sure it wouldn’t strike any more.  What with everything happening the fine way it has been, I was beginning to have hopes that the Army wasn’t as bad, after all, as I thought it was.

I went down, just out of curiosity, to visit a Civil Affairs Regt. detachment stationed at a camp very near ours.  I thought I’d find out a little about the whole set up since I heard they came from where I was supposed to report for my transfer.  Well, I mentioned to a certain tech. Sgt. sort of casually that I had just been transferred to 2678 Regt. Headquarters in a certain city near here.  He just looked at me kind of funny.  Then nodded his head toward a Capt. who had just drove up in a jeep.  The Capt. asked, “What’s that, now, Corporal?”  When I told him, he began to get very angry.  Not the cussing, explosive kind of anger, but the deep, more fearsome kind.  He said he, the Capt., was the Adjutant of 2678 Civil Affairs Regt.  He did not know I was being transferred to his organization, he did not approve any transfer & that he couldn’t say he didn’t want me, but it amounted to that.  He said he wasn’t angry at me but at higher headquarters who had gone ahead & transferred me.  Furthermore, his organization already had all the ratings & he didn’t know whether he could let me keep my Tech 5 or not.  Lastly, he said, since I had been transferred, all I could do would be to pack up my things & report to him tomorrow for training & work.  The tents & living quarters, conveniences, etc. are much worse than here & I expect they’ll hike my head off.  Of course, I won’t be in North Africa long, that’s a consolation.  But all these dreams of being a commissioned officer, or a Sergeant, or anything else, are all just dreams & have vanished for the time being, anyway.  However, & I want you to remember this all the time, I’m going to keep on plugging.  I may have two strikes against me but I still have one swing left, & I’m going to make the best swing I know how.  A man may be down, but he’s never out until he gives up.  Your hubbie is far from giving up right now honey.  He still may have a chance & when that chance comes little Jimmie is going to be in there fighting.  I guess it’s a good thing for me that things turned out this way because it keeps my head from getting in the clouds.  This man’s army is giving me a liberal education, but it is not exactly the kind of an education I expected.  I guess it is really better for me tho because it helps to educate the character.  Your hubbie should be more realistic & of firmer will & of stronger character after having worked his way thru two or three years in the Army.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Wednesday, 16 August 1944]

17 Augusts 1944   Thurs.

My Darling Sweetheart,

You can notice the new return on the envelope.  It means, Civil Affairs Training Schedule, Allied Force Headquarters KPO #512.  Of course, I’m still in the same old North Africa so far.  Just having come in the outfit I don’t know very much about the setup.  Our work will have to do with the administration of military government in some occupied territory.  It won’t be so very different from much of the work of local city & county gov’ts. Except it will work under Army methods instead of established & traditional civilian procedures.  Personally, as I said last nite, I’m very happy to be in this outfit & think that I shall get a great deal of valuable experience.  And you can rest assured that I’m not in the same danger that some fellows in my old outfit may be in sooner or later.  Not that I care so much, but I know how you feel.  And I know I can do more for the Army & for our country in an outfit like this.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Thursday, 17 August 1944]

Just today I learned my old outfit are now processing Germans here.  So in a way I was very lucky to be transferred when I was to Civil Affairs.  As you know, I am always anxious to learn & I was beginning to go stale in the old processing outfit.  Here, unlimited opportunities are open & will be open for a curious mind.  They have moved to another camp, so I probably won’t be getting mail from them for several days.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Saturday, 26 August 1944]

Sept. 17, 1944 Sun


My Darling Sweetheart,

It is “our” day once more, & I have been thinking of you & of our future together.  I have thought about you so much in the past few days even tho I haven’t written to you.  I am somewhere in Italy now.  Of course, I can’t tell you where.  Nevertheless, I can tell you I’m in Italy.  You should use the same APO—512 for the time being.

You can imagine how happy I am to be in Italy at last, after all these months.  What I have learned of the Italian language & of Italian people has already proved advantageous.  I have visited one Italian city already & spent many interesting hours talking with the people & shopping.  All of them appear to prefer the Allied cause.  Whether or not they are sincere in this I don’t know, but they are sincere in wanting the war over quickly whoever wins.  War has wrought devastation on the people of Italy.  They are poor hungry, ill clad & without most of the advantages of civilization.  Some say, they have brought it on themselves.  I think it would be truer to say Mussolini & the wealthy Fascist clique have brought it on the rest.  Now Mussolini has skipped out to enjoy the comforts of Hitler & his gang & is even helping to further destroy Italy—he who did so much to make Italy a stronger more progressive country.  His power and authority went to his head.

Italy is lifeless & dead now.  She has no purpose, aim or ideal.  The Italians simply cannot grasp democracy & liberty.  Such concepts are foreign to the Italian mind.  With Mussolini they did have a purpose for work & for living.  If he hadn’t betrayed Italy into Hitler’s hands in 1937-38 he might still be regarded as a great man & Italy might work her way into the world of nations in honor, glory & prestige.  Other dictators & dictatorships have done so.  Russia, Brazil & China.  We have not been fighting dictators or dictatorships.  We recognize many countries prefer them & indeed are probably better off with that form of government.  What we refuse to compromise with is dictators who don’t want to let other countries alone—aggressive dictators—war-making dictators.  We have fought dictatorships only when they endanger our security & prove dangerous to other free peoples who wish to remain free.

Here I am being with you for the first time in several days & I’m not making love to you, but delivering a political lecture.  Well, I’ll have to get it off my mind.  Then I can devote myself to the delight of my heart.  Have you ever noticed how when a person receives several letters or packages they usually open last the most important, or rather the dearest & closest to the heart?  The reason is simple.  They wish not to have anything else on their mind when transacting some item close to their heart.  If they opened the most important letter first, back in their mind, they’d be wondering what was in the other letters.  In that way the most pleasure & most complete enjoyment is derived by dispensing with formalities, unimportant business first, & then settling down to enjoying fully the letter of a sweetheart, wife, or loved one.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 17 September 1944]

I survived this trip in excellent shape.  I didn’t get sick; in fact I felt swell all the time.  It was pleasant & interesting.  Knowing a little ancient history I imagined we were some ancient Roman ship of war-or from Carthage or Greece.  

The first parts of Italy I saw were poor sections.  Since then I have seen more of these sections & they are really terrible.  Street scenes are similar to many in the Italian tenement districts of New York before Roosevelt’s New Deal.  Narrow streets, crowded apartments, no windows, everything stinks like the devil.  No plumbing.  Sewage all out in the streets.  You have to pay attention or a pan of dishwater may be thrown from an upper window.  Lots of ragged little kids & pitiful old people.  Young girls have been forced to feed their families by giving American troops what they want for a can of meat & beans or c rations-or money.  Disease is prevalent.  Some ¾ of the street girls, of whom there are thousands, have venereal diseases.  It is a real problem for Allied government officials.  They seem to be meeting it the best way they know how considering the difficulties.  There is every kind of juvenile delinquency.  Stealing-well every kind of crime & delinquency.  The church seems to be lost in the situation & its strongest efforts are devoted towards encouraging the better off to donate for the relief of the worst off & telling both they’ll go to heaven.  This place offers a marvelous opportunity for the Catholics.  No place in the world has more need of the help of missionaries.  The church is not answering this call as far as I can tell.  Even the Arabs are better off than a great many of these poor people.  And the Mohammedan church does do what it can to help its people out economically & socially, tho in a different way than we do.

So much for the bad part of Italy.  The good part of Italy is pretty good.  Works of art everywhere; thousands of good souvenirs.  The chapels & cathedrals are the most beautiful in the world; the works of art, the best.  Public buildings, erected by Mussolini & his gov’t. are very modern & beautiful.  Building & road construction are well developed in Italy.  There are few cars now, but Italy had in peacetime a big automobile industry in Turin.

Here are some of the items on sale to soldiers:  Necklaces, & bracelets, pins & rings of every possible kind—all of good workmanship.  Pillowcases, hankies & pennants in bright colors with Italy on them.  All kinds of clothes for women & children.  Works of art of every kind & price.  Since I haven’t been able to cash that #100 money order yet I don’t have any money to spend.  However, I bought about 12.00 worth of postcards showing all the points of interest.  I bought some extras for Wayne, should he want them.  I have in mind a couple other things I might get if & when I get the money order cashed—I want to get some little hankies for my nieces & a little bracelet or cheap necklace for Doris.  I’m still keeping in mind what you wrote me to look for.  So far I haven’t found any good bedspread or tablecloth.  And no cameo beautiful enough for you to wear.  If & when I find one, I don’t care if I have to pay $100.00 for it.

I went to air opera here also.  A busy day, you’ll say.  The opera was Tosca by the Italian composer Puccini.  It was very good.  I enjoyed it tremendously especially because I could understand many of the words.  We went with an Italian Sergeant Major, who incidentally bought our tickets.  Previously we had taken him to dinner.  He showed us his favorite eating place.  The meal was very expensive: $9.00 for 4 men.  But the food was good & we had all we could eat.  The fellows ran up the bill ordering a little more of this & that.  We had some Italian dishes & enjoyed them.  No spaghetti I’ve had yet tasted as good as yours.  That’s the truth, too.  

I certainly wish you could have heard that opera with me.  When we take out trip to New York we’ll go to one at the Metropolitan.  The opera I hope we shall see some time is La Traviata.  I know you will enjoy it because there are so many pretty melodies.  I have never seen it, but have heard it over the radio.

We are living in fine quarters now.  Actually, we are quartered in barracks built by the Italians for German troops.  These barracks were long occupied by the Krauts.  They are works of art & artistically camouflaged. The flagpole is of the type one sees in German movies many times.  Now Old Glory is flying from the top.  She really is beautiful.  One seldom sees an Italian flag.   Generally speaking, it is flown only over Italian soldier camps.  The camp has a fine Red Cross with all kinds of entertainment.

We have cots to sleep on, electric lights in the orderly room, & some desks & chairs.  So you see, we’re pretty comfortable.  Every free minute, I spend with Italians inside the camp.  Just hope I can get a pass often.  

Two or three letters from you came right after my last letter to you.  They were very sweet & were enjoyed many times during the past few days.  

I still don’t know any more about the work.  I’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Darling, I’ve got to go on guard now for 4 hours.  I’ll write more tomorrow.  Remember I’ll be with you during our tryst.

All my heart,


[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 17 September 1944

Today I obtained the names of two economic instructors at an Italian University near here.  If I can get a pass I’m going to visit them in order to find out what they are studying here.  The European system of college education is quite different from the American.  As soon as I learn more about it I’ll write to you about it.  There is an Italian girl (married) who works for the Red Cross who has been 4 yrs. To the University.  She knows English, French & German and is well educated in other fields.  I hope to get a chance to ask her some very frank questions about Fascism, American soldiers, education, etc.  She told me today a story illustrative of the way Italians feel toward Frenchmen.  Italians & Frenchmen are always fighting.  Well, in this town an Italian had a knife & the Frenchman a bayonet & they were cutting each other up.  Both were bleeding profusely.  The Italian managed to run a little way toward a church & fell inside the church, crawling toward the altar.  The Frenchman followed him in there, almost to the altar, plunged his bayonet into his heart.  A Priest saw this last act & is responsible for this story.  “Now,” said the girl, “I don’t think any American soldier would do anything like that.”  The post war adjustment between France & Italy is going to be very ticklish.  Only the English would know how to work it out.  And I doubt if they would do it satisfactorily.  For instance, will the Island of Elba, now under French occupation, be given back to the Italians?  The French would object.  Will Nice & Savoy, always claimed by Italy, be given to the French?  What about Sardinia?  And the Italian islands near Yugoslavia & Greece?  Libya, Tunisia, Eritrea, Italian Somaliland?  I don’t envy the diplomats the job of deciding this adjustment.

The problem of post-war adjustments is becoming more real & immediate all the time, now that we have cracked the Siegfried line & are heading into Germany.  I enjoyed the clipping you sent last month about what we intend to do with Germany.  I am saving it.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Monday, 18 September 1944]

19 Sept 1944—Tues.

My Darling Grace,

This afternoon I have been talking with the Italian girl at the Red Cross who is a University Graduate (quite a rare thing in Italy).  She has been telling me many sad things.  They are sad because I know they are true.

This section of Italy, as I have already written, is suffering from a tremendous moral laxity.  This fact has been reported in the papers & magazines, but it does not touch the heart until one actually sees it & knows the individuals involved.  Some 8,000 girls from the ages of 10 to 15 in Naples have a venereal disease.  The situation is similar in Palermo, Sicily.  Many fathers & mothers make their daughters commercialize their bodies to get money & vendible items from American soldiers.  This girl knows of a case where a Father made his 10-year-old daughter stay with an American for $1.00 and she was critically injured & taken to a hospital.

Almost every evening one can see American soldiers with teen-aged girls in parks & in the dark streets.  The MP’s, if they see it, turn the other way or help themselves.  MP’s are frequently used by GI’s to tell the girls where to go so they’ll be safe & then the GI’s go there.

Well known is the drunkenness of the American soldier.  Worse still is the truck of these Italian girls with Negro troops.  The freedom of these girls with Negroes is going to create a problem when the Negroes return to America.  They have had white girls whenever they wanted them.  And they will continue to want them when they are in the States.

This moral situation did not exist in this section of Italy when the German troops were here.  The German troops as a whole were very well disciplined.  Thy did not get drunk in the Streets & their MP’s could be depended upon to enforce all regulations.  When Lt. Col. Charles Poletti was head of this area he made a serious attempt to clean up the black-market, lessen poverty & disease, prevent drunkenness & prostitution.  He has gone to Rome & Florence, tho, & this area is worse than ever.

Respectable girls will not go out with American soldiers.  A really nice girl will walk down the street only when she absolutely has to.  Whole lines of American soldiers will say, “How much, you?”  “I give you five dollars,” etc.  It is a hard thing for me to swallow when the really fine group in town prefer Nazi to American occupation & are justified in feeling that way.  

How is this situation to be explained?  It does not occur to the same degree in other parts of Italy or anywhere in North Africa or Europe.  It started last October when American troops came into Naples.  The people were poor & hungry.  Americans were rich & had plenty of everything.  The soldier had been thru England, Ireland, thru all of North Africa & Sicily & now Italy.  Maybe 2 yrs. or more since he had been home.  The girls had no boyfriends.  Italians were away at war & they were afraid to go with Germans.  The whole situation was ripe for a development such as this.  The Church?  Well, what could the Church do?  Its power was moral suasion & more suasion was not anything the people cared about.  9/10 of the soldiers never saw a chaplain.  Those who did were made fun of.  Same with these rough girls of Napoli.

I think a lot of the blame can be attached to the lack of any adequate Italian authority.  The Fascists had been in power for 20 yrs.—a whole generation had been reared under that organization.  No organization except the Church was permitted outside of Fascism.  The Fascist organization was synonymous with all social & political organizations.  Consequently, when the allies stepped in there was absolutely no Italian group, which could take over the reins.  There was no underground, no Free Italy organization.  What opposition to Germans & Fascism there was did not line up until after the Allies entered Italy.  The only group, which could possibly take over was the Church.  We did not encourage them to do so because of political repercussions back home.  All the big Protestant groups (& they are very powerful) would say we are trucking with the Pope, helping Catholicism, etc.  The Catholics weren’t anxious to take over because they might be accused of political cooperation with the Allies & thus lose their power in German-held regions.  If we had been able to take all of Italy at once, we could have set up a friendly Italian gov’t., which could have dealt adequately with the situation.  There was no agency we could have set up in South Italy & Sicily.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Tuesday, 19 September 1944]

Many fine Italians, as well as many poor Italians, have lost hope in Italy’s future.  They know a democratic gov’t is not for Italy & that another Fascism is impossible.  They cannot see the possibility of a regeneration or resurrection (they call it a risoigimerito (sp).).   So they want to go to the States after the war.  If we allow it, there will be a wholesale migration of Italians of every class except landowners to the States.  If some young AMG official wished to do a great deal for America, the Allies, Italy & humanity, he would gradually gather together a group of bright young Italians to work out a future program & then work for it as Communists work for their ideal society.  I don’t know such a program might be, but I know that Italy needs one badly & knows it.  “If only we knew what to tell our children,” they say.  The teachers say, “If we only knew what to teach our students.”  They cannot teach Fascism, because they see that it has brought ruin to Italy.  They cannot teach democracy & have a conscience.  A teacher is a most responsible individual.  Only a Priest has a greater responsibility in Italy.  For Italians are easily led.  The teacher has in his power the ability to mold the young people of Italy of the future.  He is responsible to God.  What can he tell them of Right & Wrong when he does not know himself?  Presumably, Roosevelt & Churchill could arrange some government for Italy, but they are too busy with problems even more important for the world—occupation of Germany, defeating Japan, etc.  It is a pity more could not be done for Italy’s future because there are many fine people in Italy.  They can make Italy a respectable & useful member of the family of nations if only they are given something to work toward.  The Italian people—many of them—are skilled workmen, cultured & enlightened people.  They could add to the happiness & enjoyment of all if only things were correctly arranged.  I am afraid all this may die out if things are left to drift.  There is a selfish interest for us, too.  If they work for themselves we won’t have to give them all UNRRA relief money, & they can the easier pay us back what we have & will give them.

It is no longer a question of punishing Italy for taking sides with Hitler.  She has already been punished, & often it has been the wrong people, the friends of the Allies, who have suffered the punishment.  The Italian countryside, from top to bottom, has been devastated.  Only Rome & Florence were saved.  They have gone hungry one long winter & are apt to be in pretty bad shape this winter also.  I doubt if Germany will even suffer so much.  The problem now is (1) to make Italy a paying going concern (2) to salvage what is possible of her p???ties & cultural heritage.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Wednesday, 20 September 1944]

5 Oct. 1944  Thurs.

My Angel Wife,

Yesterday I had a very pleasant tour.  I visited a University founded in 1620, then visited a stamp dealer who happened to be a graduate of that University & had a long talk about education stamps, allied occupation, etc.  Then I saw another opera, Madame Butterfly, which had so many beautiful arias & scenes.  I wrote you when I was in North Africa about listening to good recordings in the Red Cross, one favorite of which was One Fine Day, An aria from Madam Butterfly.  It was beautiful & we clapped so hard she sang it again before she went on with the act.  It is a song this girl sang while her husband was away overseas & in it she expresses her faith that he will return soon & she expresses her love & devotion.

After seeing the opera I saw an Italian vaudeville.  This was higher class than the other two I’ve seen—more girls, prettier girls, more acts, & better music.  Some good old Italian songs were rendered as well as some modern ones, patterned after American music.  There was one dance number that was almost as good as anything in the States.  The setting was an Egyptian harem.  Now don’t start worrying, because the girls were all clothed:  it was no more revealing than a Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers movie.  But the dance was magnificently preformed.  These Italians can sing & dance as well as they can make artistic pins.  This vaudeville was strictly for Italians & there were some jokes made of Americans in it.  I had no trouble passing for an Italian in order to get in.

It is a rather peculiar thing how the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.  American shows used to idolize French girls & French dress creations.  Italian shows idolize American girls, bathing suits & dress.  Tall blonde girls are always preferred in all vaudeville shows, & if not blonde, then brown or red head.  One never sees in these shows the typical Italian girl who is short, brunette (decidedly brunette) and has a big bust & big hips.  In all the shows when a scene is made up to introduce the pretty girls, they introduce them as being lend lease girls from America, or maybe they’re an American USO unit stranded in Italy or maybe they’re introduced as American girls meeting Italian airmen in Cuba or something like that.  The point is that America is the entertainment capital of the world & that entertainment all over the world is a copy of American entertainment, American dress (or undress), & glamorized American girls.  People know that women are Queens in America.  Every young foreign girl imagines herself as a young Princess in America.  She contrasts that with her situation here.  Then she primps up to get an American soldier.  No matter at what the cost in future sorrows, she sticks around soldier boys, —who love ‘em & leave ‘em.  After a few such experiences they are hardened prostitutes.  Still, the status of a glamour girl is the aim & ideal.  I hear the same story whether it is from Australia, France, England, Italy, or Palestine.  American soldiers are as a rule, generous—with their money, their time, their emotions.  We are all propagandists for a happy, free world.  I just wonder how the Germans will take to American occupation.  Germans are so German that I don’t think they will cater to us & spoil us for our money as the other nations have done.

In this letter  I’m sending three stamps issued in 1942 in Italy to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Galileo.  I bought some other stamps, which I’ll send in the next day or two with pictures of Italian heroes.  Clark Fails, my friend in Costa Rica, wanted me to buy up a collection of current stamps in use in Italy & in buying for him I got these others in on the bargain.

Oh yes, there’s another thing I wanted to say about American girls.  When we were in town yesterday we saw two girls in a crowded street that somehow or other seemed different from the host of other girls passing by.  They were dressed as civilians.  Somebody said, “I’ll bet they’re American girls.”  That seemed impossible.  How could there be civilian American girls here?  We got a bet on, then went up & asked them.  Yes, they were American girls—both from Minnesota–& working for the State Dept.  As a matter of fact there are 8 American girls working as secretaries. We walked with the two girls to their office & saw one other girl.

The point is:  How could we tell those 2 were American girls out of thousands of women passing by?  Something about their simplicity in dress & manners, their quietness, the intelligent look, with none of the cares of war written on their faces.

I said at the beginning that it seems to be a trait of our human nature to think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  Remember what a premium Americans have always paid for imported objects.  Imported commodities always brought more than domestic goods.  Furs, tweeds, women’s hats, wines, silverware, jewelry, perfumes—all of these brought more when imported.  In fact, many things were made in the States, exported abroad, brought back under a foreign name over a tariff, & sold for 10 times the original domestic price.  Everywhere American soldiers go, they realize that the grass is not as green abroad.  Now it is turned round the other way.  The grass is greenest in America.  “Everything in American is better than anything abroad.”  Whether it’s wines, cigarettes, foods, sweets, jewelry, clothing, cars, books, or what.  Where is the best spaghetti?  Italy?  Nonsense.  New York!  The best Scotch Tweeds?  Scotland?  No, America!  The best wines?  Italy or Southern France?  No, California!  All the soldiers are saying these things now.  America is a wonderland & we’re all working to the end of going there, regardless of taxes or anything else.  That is all of us but a small minority who would like to stay abroad because knowing what they do, they can derive great economic profit, power, & social position.

I don’t know about the rest of it, but America has one wonder for which I live & breathe.  No country—no other man—has such a wonder.  She is God’s wonderful angel.  She is real, genuine, honest & good.  Besides that, she’s beautiful, lovely, smart, & intelligent.  She’s the superlative of superlatives. The Italians would say she’s meravigliosa.  I call her Grace, my love, sweetheart & wife.

I love you!

Your Jimmie

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Thursday, 5 October 1944]

Once more I have visited an opera.  This time, La Boheme.  I don’t know why it is but each opera seems to be better than the last one.  La Boheme had three beautiful arias—three of the most beautiful ever written.  We’ll have to get records of these arias sometime, because I want you to hear them.  If I remember correctly you have never seen a full-length opera.  So I hope you aren’t bored too much when I mention opera in my letters.  When I was younger I used to think anyone was a sissy who like classical music.  Then I heard a good symphony orchestra play at the Univ. of Idaho.  I was crazy about symphonies ever after.  Even after I liked symphonies so well I still had no taste for opera.  To begin with I had never seen an opera.  And one can’t appreciate operas sung over the radio or from records.  Italy is the home of beautiful operas.  Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Rossini & many other famous composers of opera were Italians.  As you know my custom is to participate as much as possible in the culture prevailing in the places I visit.  I have seen 5 operas so far—all Italian operas.  The stage effects are beautiful, the music is wonderful & the acting is good, too.  We must take a trip to New York during opera season so we can attend the Metropolitan.  I want us to see an Italian opera because I think you would enjoy it more than a German or French opera.  The only factor detracting from my enjoyment of these operas is that you can’t be with me to enjoy them also.  Every time there is a beautiful aria I keep wanting to look into your eyes to see if you are enjoying its beauty, or hold your hand feeling your soft clear white skin next to mine, & know we are one & nothing can ever separate us again.

I hope I am not turning out to be a sissy with all this beautiful music art, & culture around me.  The only defense I have to offer is that one should try to  be well-rounded, appreciating the heritages of truth, beauty, & goodness that civilization make available to us.  Our great men—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Lee—As well as great Europeans of every generation—have enjoyed this art & culture & it has made their lives more refined & cultured.  I don’t want to lose contact with the culture of poor peoples.  They have their cultural heritage, too.  The opera has always been primarily for the rich & aristocratic families.  Poor people in Italy have street singers & cheap vaudeville.  I try to hear those as much as possible in order to partake of the experiences of the common people.  Allied troops are advised to stay away from these as much as possible because of the danger of typhus fever & other pestilences.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Saturday, 7 October 1944]

Well, things are much different & I will probably be in the Army until Japan is defeated & maybe longer.  My discharge credits aren’t very large because I haven’t been in the army long, have not been in combat & have no medals—or dependents.  The question has nothing to do with my being in Civil Affairs because I’ll get out as quickly as in any non-combat outfit.  It’s just that they won’t be discharging men like me for a long time yet.  I may not be overseas all this time but I’ll still be in the Army.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Thursday, 12 October 1944]

All of the things in the Vatican have to be seen slowly to appreciate them, so I spent dozens of hours in the various places.  I got my art appreciation by looking at the best.  You can just imagine all my feelings & emotions.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Tuesday, 17 October 1944]

What I would like to tell you about now is the time I met the Pope when visiting Rome.  When the Germans were in Rome very few of them ever visited The Vatican.  Individual German soldiers never went in.  A few parties of German Catholics, led by their German chaplain went to St. Peters.  The Pope gave no audience to them.  Only to General Kesselring & a few other German big shots who wanted to arrange matters between Germany & the Vatican.  Since the Americans & British occupied Rome in June the Pope has granted numerous audiences, given preference to generals & colonels, of course, but otherwise being pretty liberal.

When I heard it would be possible to see him, of course I strained every effort.  From the Catholic Club (maintained for Catholic troops by money from Catholics in America) I purchased a nice set of beads for the Pope to bless.  Of course, that doesn’t have meaning for me or for you but it does to good Catholics.  I am going to send the beads to you in the next package.  If you have a close friend who is a good Catholic you can give them to hr for a present.  If not, you can save the beads until such a time as we have a close friend who is a good catholic & would appreciate the beads.  They are for a woman, & I should say the color, etc., would suit any woman from 16 to 36.  I tried to get them in good taste, although they cost only $2.00.  If you do have a close friend you know would appreciate a Christmas gift of beads blessed by the Pope, you can give them to her.  If they don’t get there by Christmas you can tell her about them & give them to her when they get there.  Otherwise you can just hold it until we do have such a friend.  

During the morning I was to meet the Pope, I went thru the Vatican museum, Art Gallery, library, & the famous Sistine Chapel.  They, together with St. Peters, are the attractions of the Vatican famous all over the world.  The museum is filled with famous statuary practically all of which is Roman & Greek sculpture.  I’ll send home cards of some of the most beautiful & famous work.  These statues come to us from before or shortly after the birth of Christ & used to be in Roman hones, forums, & temples.  There are thousands upon thousands of pieces.  In the museum I met a Red Cross girl who I knew well at the Univ. of Idaho.  I roomed with her brother for a while.  She is L.D.S. but is pretty wild.  Furthermore, she was with a Captain & you know what enlisted men think of Red Cross girls who go with officers all the time.  Anyway, I spoke to her a few minutes.  Her name is Betty Brown & she works at Foggia.

The Vatican Art Gallery is a priceless collection of original paintings, mosaics, & tapestries by such masters as Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Domenichino, Perugino & many, many others.  I would liked to have spent hours there.  I am just getting to where I can get enjoyment out of good art.  If a man can’t enjoy this art, which is the finest ever created, I’m afraid he’s hopeless.  However, the appreciation of art, like anything else, comes very gradually.  The finest Italian art dates from the Renaissance—between 1200 & 1400 A.D.—so most of this is pretty old.  The themes are nearly all religious.  None of them treat of nature.  A few of them treat of classical subjects; that is, of subjects pertaining to ancient Rome & Greece.  I wish I had a little book on painting, sculpture & architecture so I could learn the history & meaning of many of the things I see.  I think, however, that if I ever get to Florence I’ll be able to find such a book.  Don’t try to send me such a book because by the time it would get here I might be 2,000 miles from here.  You can never tell about the army.

Mail seems to be long in getting here, especially packages.  Lucky I got the glasses when I was in Africa.  Of course, the packages will probably be here by Christmas.

The Vatican library is the finest collection of medieval & ancient books & parchments in the world.  Scholars from all over the world come here to study & compare.  I saw a lot of old manuscripts of monks & a lot of early Bibles done by hand in beautiful colors & with colorful illustrations.  The N. C. library has 2 such books.  The Vatican has thousands of them.  The library itself is richly decorated with frescoes, gold leaf, tapestries, mosaics & canvas paintings, as well as vases, lampshades & other decorations.  As to all these riches there’s more to say later.

The Sistine chapel is the most famous in all the world.  It was designed & decorated by the greatest master of them all, Michelangelo Buonarroti.  He was among the world’s greatest in architecture, painting, sculpture, philosophy & literature.  He was a great mind like Shakespeare & the remarkable feature of his life is that he maintained his creative power & technical skill to a ripe old age.  The Sistine Chapel contains the famous paintings of The Last Judgment & The Creation of the World.  I have reproductions of some of the paintings.  It is much too costly to buy reproductions by an artist, so I buy photographs.  I’m sure reproductions in color are available in America at a much cheaper price so I can buy two or 3 back in the States.  That is if you think you’ll be able to put up with them in our house.  One of the paintings I like is called Sacred & Profane Love by Titian.  One of the women in the painting is practically nude.  She is very beautiful, however.  Would you regard it as a breach of something or other to have a little picture containing a nude woman.  Funny that we have never talked about that before.  We have never visited an art exhibit together, have we?  I know absolutely nothing about your art preferences except that I think, like me, you have a preference for religious & nature themes.  And I’m quite sure you don’t like what is called “modern art”—impressionism, surrealism, cubism, etc.  Again, I say, I just wish you could have been in Rome with me to see what I saw so it would all be a part of our common experience.  I figure all this I have been seeing & doing will make our married life even more happy & interesting, if possible, for as a result of it I should be able to help introduce more culture into our lives—more that I can teach the children and more ways to show my love for you.  I just wish I could paint, for I’d do a picture of you as my ideal of beauty, goodness & honesty.  Oh, you just can’t imagine how deeply & fervently I worship you!

In buying what few photographs I did I had in mind getting ones I could show to you, our children, & Mutual classes.  As is generally the case, they didn’t have photos of the most desirable paintings & sculpture.  I guess they are already sold out.  I tried like the devil to get a photo of the fine big statues of St. Paul & St. Peter, because I know you would like them.  There is one Church in Rome, St. Johns in Lateran, which has statues of each of the 12 Apostles.  They are very good.

The Sistine Chapel opens right into one of the Pope’s reception rooms.  It opens into still another & that opens into the Pope’s throne room where we met the Pope.  All these rooms are richly decorated with paintings, frescoes, rugs, gold leaf, etc.

The Pope was borne in on a hand-carriage or litter, borne by 6 colorful Swiss attendants.  He was preceded by 2 Swiss guards, dressed like medieval knights with Maces, Iron helmets, & colorful plumage.  Behind them, a Monsignor, the Pope’s “handler.” Then the Pope.  He was carried to a sort of stage near the throne. (I worked my way right to the edge of the stage, so I could see everything that went on).  He quickly got out of his litter & went over to an American general & 2 colonels, talked to them a few minutes, & walked quickly to the throne where he sat, with a microphone attached to a loudspeaker in front of him.  He said a few words in Latin then in English, then in French.  His English was pretty broken.  I could have understood better if he had spoken in Italian.  His French was pretty good.  

He said he was glad to see all of us & glad that he could be meeting under such favorable auspices.  He said he blessed us all & wished all of us would stay near to God & do as He wished us to do.  Saying this he put up his arms & looked up toward the ceiling. He spoke rapidly & moved rapidly.  Then he walked straight to the right of where he sat as if led there by intuition, & blessed a French soldier on crutches & a wounded American soldier.  Then he spoke some more with officers & then began to shake hands with the enlisted men who crowded around the stage.  There were a few nurses & WACS.  As he came to each soldier he would say, “American”?  Or perhaps, “English?”  If they were French or Polish he would say a blessing in their language.  Practically all who met him must have been Catholics because they knelt and kissed his ring.  When he came to me he blessed the beads I held.  As I shook his hand I told him I was an American from the west.  I bowed as I shook his hand but did not kneel or kiss the ring.  

The Pope was dressed in the white habit shown in the picture they handed out to each of us which had gold trimmings.  He had a gold chain with a large crucifix made of sapphire with gold setting.  There were 9 large rectangular sapphires in the crucifix.  The ring also was sapphire with gold setting.

The Pope seemed to be very friendly & not very profound.  He would seem to be a fine host to a party of dignitarians, but a very poor judge or philosopher.  All in all, I do not think he is a strong personality—as strong as some of the great Popes in history.  That is demonstrated by his refusal to speak up against Fascist or Nazi tyranny, while appealing for mercy to the allied officials who in many respects are already too merciful.  I’m inclined t agree with Nelle Battle Lewis statements, which I’m send back by regular mail.

When the Pope had met those around the stage, he climbed back onto his litter and was carried out to the edge of the throne room where the General & party were waiting.  They walked to his apartment, which was near the throne room.

Sweet, this is another one of those long letters.  I’ll close now, with a hg, a kiss, and a heart full of love.

Your husband,


[LJAD, letter to Grace, Thursday, 19 October 1944]

1 Nov. 1944—WED 

Darling Sweetheart,

There is big news today.  Finally, at long last, I had my interview with the assignment officer.  He referred me to a major in the Economic Section of N.C.C.  The major asked me to write out in detail the experience I had in the OPA and return later.  I did a little bragging on myself and attached Dr. Ratchford’s letter of recommendation, it being the only one pertinent at this point.  The major was satisfied and referred me to a civilian economist who is supervising much of the work in this region.  He interviewed me; pronounced himself satisfied, and began the necessary technical details to get me assigned to his unit.  I’m to start to work tomorrow morning and will be doing something similar to the work I did for the OPA in Raleigh.  Commissions just aren’t available n non-combat outfits, so I might as well despair of that hope.  And neither the Economist nor the Major gave any indication that I might be promoted.  So I’m forgetting about that for the time being also.  They’ll be watching me for the next few weeks to see what I can do, so I shall work pretty hard on whatever tasks they give me.  What I want is freedom, responsibility and authority even if I have to get busted to a private to do it.  This is the chance I’ve waited 18 months for & I don’t propose to lose out if I can help it.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Wednesday, 1 November 1944]

One nice thing is the fine quarters we have.  We live in a hotel—a really fine, high-class hotel.  About an average of 3 to a room.  We have regular beds, sleep between white sheets, have a maid who makes up the bed and cleans the room every morning, have a wash basin with mirror right in the room, and have a closet for our clothes and a desk for writing letters.  So you see, we’re living like kings.  After 13 months in North Africa I have to pinch myself every now & then to see if this is me.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Friday, 3 November 1944]

I didn’t mention in last nite’s letter one of the reasons I felt a little low.  Yesterday afternoon, an English WAC (ATS) Lt. who does welfare work in this area invited me to go with her to visit an orphanage.  Major Tooby let me off for a couple of hours to go with her, although it has absolutely nothing to do with my work,  Well, I never saw such a sight in my life.  There was a large, marble building, constructed by some rich fellow 10 years or so ago.  Inside were 7 nuns & 880 girls.  The girls were between the ages of 2 & 20.  You couldn’t say they were alive & yet you couldn’t say they were dead.  They were sort of a living death or dying life.  They had been on short rations for over 5 years.  The Mother Superior is a stupid sort of person who hasn’t allowed them to make the best of their short rations, & she doesn’t allow them to get adequate sunlight & exercise.  There were perhaps 10 girls between 18 & 20.  They were mere skeletons, with absolutely no color or life.  There still remained just a glimmer of the fact they were women.  When they saw me—the first ordinary man who had smiled at them & talked with them in all their lives—they sort of tried to blush & smile back.  I picked up a little girl who I thought was 5 or 6.  She turned out to be 11.  When I picked her up she literally jumped round my neck, so anxious she was to be caressed.  She gave me a little kiss on the cheek & the Mother Superior happened to see it.  She called down the girl and me.  According to the Mother Superior she had already had her first communion & she wasn’t supposed to love anybody but Jesus.  The Mother Superior said she would have to do penance but I talked her out of it by saying I thought she was around 5 or 6 and I asked her to give me the kiss, therefore it was all my fault.  And I promised her I wouldn’t kiss any more girls, in fact I’d kiss her before I would anyone else.  She laughed at that.

She showed us their rations for breakfast, lunch & supper.  It was less than the Germans fed the Poles in concentration camps, according to the WAC Lt.

The Catholic Church, according to the Lt. who has visited hundreds of these institutions in the area, has absolutely no system of inspection of these places.  Neither does the Prefect & civil authorities.  Result is that this orphanage—St. Antony’s orphanage—has been forgotten by everybody.  Upon being asked why she didn’t go out & beg for food for the kids the Mother Superior said that would show lack of faith.  St. Antony will provide, she said.  Evidently St. Antony forgot until the Allied officials came along.  The Allied officials are trying to prod & needle the Italian authorities into providing an organization to inspect & see that these organizations are in good shape.  The A. T.S. Lt. said she’d get that Mother Superior fired if it was the last thing she did.  All the nuns seem to be swell, except that like the children, they are terribly undernourished.  The children have  some classes—in religion  mostly.  But most of the day they work—cleaning up, sewing, etc.  They have no heat & their uniforms are thin & cold.  They had hardly ever seen any people from outside the orphanage in all their lives.  They had never seen a movie or heard any music except the religious chants the nuns taught them.  I asked them to sing a song & they did gladly for it was one way they could express themselves.  The folded their little hands over their breasts like a pyramid (you know how the Priests & boys walk down the aisle in Midnight mass) and give out with this long religious chant or song.  It was about 10 minutes long.   Those 70 poor kids, in that cold hall with the nuns standing around ?? there’ll be enough to give something to all the girls.  In the meantime I’m going to help the ATS Lt. in he efforts to get a new Mother Superior.  

I couldn’t get the orphanage out of my mind last nite & even dreamed about them.  They will always come to mind when I see a beautiful Catholic Cathedral.  The Pope is carried by 6 beautifully dressed guards, while Jesus carried His own cross up Calvary.  I wonder how many Mexican Spaniards, Poles, & French have been kept backward by the Church.  Altho I don’t believe in revolution or Communism, I can hardly blame the Bolsheviks for throwing out the Church.

I have more or less believed these things before but never did it strike home so forcibly as it did at the orphanage yesterday.  Never did Fascism seem so evil (for breaking down public trust & morality) and never did Catholicism seem so evil.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 26 November 1944]

I have read through 3 times the letter you wrote about me getting a commission & I love you for every word ? letters.  One of the reasons I am so confident about the future is because you are so confident & sure of everything.  You have had a great deal of experience in the hard knocks of life.  If you can feel absolutely sure about the future with things as they are, then I am completely satisfied  & happy.  I feel certain about it, too.  I am not half so keen on a commission  I was because I think I will get discharged quicker as an enlisted man & have less military duty in peacetime.  I have an idea they’ll retain all officers in the Reserve, which means they’ll have to do a month training per year.  I wouldn’t relish that a bit.  The only point about getting a commission is that I think their wives will be able to come over quicker & they’ll have their expenses paid.  I’m not sure about that because there’d be one hell of a stink if it turns out that way.  Enlisted men are always griping about officer’s privileges, anyway & they’d be quick to howl if it happened that way.  I find it a little hard sometimes getting some colonel or major to take me seriously when I go around for information or help, but I get a kick out of it, because they always feel small afterward.  I would like to get a Sergeant’s or Staff Sgt’s rating before I go home so I’ll be better treated in the camps in the states, but that’s about the size of my present ambitions.  I’ll probably continue to gripe about some good-for-nothing officer who doesn’t deserve  his Commission, but that won’t mean I think I should have it.  Being around a lot of smart majors, colonels & high-powered civilians has humbled me considerably, in the right way.  Now all I’m concerned with is trying to do what they expect of me.  And they expect plenty.  Tomorrow when I have more time I’ll try to tell you all that’s possible of my work so you’ll know just what it is & be able to appreciate it more.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Monday, 27 November 1944]

The group with which I am working is the Central Planning Division for the Rehabilitation of the Italian economy.  We have at our fingertips all the data & information collected by the Italians’ & allied officials.  Our specific job is to set up with the Italian gov’t., a schedule for the rehabilitation of industrial plants in liberated Italy and to plan the imports from America, which will be essential to that rehabilitation.  It is well known that nearly all factories & plants have been heavily damaged by the war, either by Allied bombing, artillery or German demolitions.  Transportation facilities are lacking & electric power production, to which Italian industry is geared is low.

We have a very responsible job.  We could wash our hands of the whole affair, as did Pilate, and say that is up to the Italians & let it go at that.  However, it is to our own interest as well as to the Italian, to reactivate her industries.

The work is especially interesting & educational to me because I am at the center of the whole process, where all the information is gathered & all the policy decided.  In that respect, it is the best job in all of Italy, for me.  I have absolutely no say n policy, of course.  My job is to execute tasks for the big civilian economists & the Major. I have made up two summary reports already & am working on a third.

I have been keeping my eyes open for material for a thesis, but so far haven’t found anything.  After more has been accomplished, it will doubtless be possible.

The Major & I have a secretary, who is paid 5 times as much as I am paid & who gets the same salary the Major does.  She’s a civilian girl brought from America.  Why they don’t use WACS & ATS girls for this work I don’t know because these civilian girls live & work & play just as they did in Washington.  They get to work later, leave early & spend maybe a half hour a day planning what officers’ dances they will go to, etc.  They have absolutely no understanding of war & the sacrifices of the soldiers, particularly on the front line.  They are pad entirely too much & have the status & accommodations of officers.  In fact, they live in a hotel with officers.  Not only I, but other American soldiers who have watched them, feel that if they are typical of the girls back home, they (the soldiers) aren’t so anxious to return.  I have heard several soldiers say they prefer an Italian date anytime, because:

(1)  American girls expect too much.  Too much money & transportation (which officers can get, but enlisted men can’t ).

(2)  American girls don’t understand what the soldier has been through & so is not a good companion.  At the same age as the soldier, she is sillier & talks of trivial things.  The soldier ages a good deal, especially on the front line & he can’t take all this pettiness & childishness.

(3)  Italian girls have seen the war for years & they know just what it is.  They understand the soldier’s mentality—his desires & his funny little ways.  And they don’t expect too much.  They are used to expecting very little so that for anything they get they are very grateful.

I hope you understand what I’m driving at.  I’m saying the problem of adjustment for returning soldiers will be difficult & that a lot of soldiers are apt to wish they had stayed overseas.  People in America have had too much prosperity.  They have not suffered or sacrificed as the soldier has.  Like most officers, they are making more money than they ever made before.

You know I’m not speaking of you don’t you Darling?  For I know you have suffered just as much as any soldier.  Not so much in a physical way, but in a worse way.  Our separation has brought heart tears to you as well as to me; spiritual anguish which is the deepest of all suffering.  It is not a suffering of disappointment, discouragement or unrequited love.  It is the suffering of two people who have been welded into one & then separated.  I am luckier than any other soldier, for I know I return to a loved one who understands me perfectly:  who knows what war means & who will be a perfect companion.  Way back in your family line some one must have suffered from war, for you seem to know instinctively what war is & what our boys are going thru.  I am so proud of you, sweetheart.  You are more wonderful than anything on earth.  I love you.

Your, Jimmie

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Tuesday, 28 November 1944]

29 Nov. 1944   WED

My Darling,

Just to show you how uncertain things are in the Army I have a new job today, whereas I just explained our work to you yesterday.  I shall still be assigned to the Supply & Resources Division of the Economic Section.  My bosses will still be Major Tooby & the Civilian economist.  But from now on until the job plays  out your Jimmie will be the Allied Controller of the Italian Census Bureau.  It offers no immediate advancement.  If I do the job well & if it lasts very long, I may get some kind of promotion.  That, however, is beside the point & I don’t expect it.  I cannot assume the title of controller of the Census because I am not an officer.  I’m taking the place of Coast Guard 1 Lt. who has held it since the census began 4 months ago.  He’s going back to Washington.  I spoke to him today.  He is Lt. Earl Hicks & was the teaching fellow at Chapel Hill the year before me.  He’s very bright & a little older than I am.  He has done his job very well.  My job will last from one to two months.  Possibly longer.

The last Italian census was 1930.  In order to have reliable statistics on which to base plans, the Economic Section and the Italian gov’t. required accurate statistics.  Some 3,000 individuals work for the Bureau & most of the census is completed.  My duty will be  to make available to Allied authorities the result of the census.  I shall have a large big office all to myself.  The office at one time was occupied by a big Fascist.  It has a private elevator.  A private bathroom with hot steaming water, a private room for taking a nap, etc., large chandelier, a conference table, a wonderful hand carved desk & every other luxury.  I am to take over tomorrow or next day unless the orders are changed.  I’m grateful of the assignment.  Although I know very little about statistics, it will give me something I can take charge of & be responsible for.  It gives me an empire so to speak.  Of course, there is a rich, wise, old Italian who is the Italian Director.  But he is subject to Allied recommendations.  This is really a break, isn’t it?  Now you’ll have something to brag about to the ladies who come in your shop.  And little Jimmie is going to put this little experience down as a qualification when he starts looking for a job in post-war years.  The work may give me a lot of responsibility & headaches, but I’ll love it.

If & when the job is finished I’ll revert back to my present job, of chief assistant to Major Tooby.  He got a new secretary today & she will take over my desk.

I wish you could see how exited & happy I am.  ? you  will feel better if you know I am happier—am getting valuable assistance.  Of course, this doesn’t matter one millionth as much as getting you over here or getting me back to you.  That will always be main Project No. 1.

My love for you is boundless & I want to share everything with you.  You are so wise, loving & understanding.  You are my dearest sweetheart & always will be.  Here’s a big hug & kiss from Daddy.

P.S.  Sweet, in our library is a

large gray book called Applied General Statistics Lovingly

by Crofton & Cowden.  Would you send it Jimmie

just as quickly as possible?

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Wednesday, 29 November 1944]

This position of mine is a new experience and although I never want one exactly like it again, it gives me something of an insight into human character.  For one thing, I am the only American – the only Ally – who works here.  I occupy the President’s office & have every person & facility at my disposal, subject of course to the approval of the Major.  Well, the Italians all know this old & young, they rise when I enter a room, all the ushers & secretaries, etc. say “Good morning” & “Good evening” to me as I come in or go out.  At my slightest desire they all jump.  They can’t do it fast enough or good enough.  To an American, especially a Westerner, & to one who was poor & raised on a farm of a large family, all this is strange.  I can’t put on my coat or hang up my hat.  I can’t sharpen my pencils or open my door.  I can’t call a cab, my usher must do it.  And if I try to do these things myself the Italians don’t like it, because they are used to caring for “Il Presidente” in such a fashion.  Their job depends on it.  If I did these things myself, as I want to, they wouldn’t have any job.  They’re too old to try something else.  They’ve worked here 20 years & expect to work till they die.  I find it very difficult to be dignified enough.  My age, as well as my personality, rebels against it.  It is a very unfree job, for I must watch my position.  I can’t joke with an assistant or a clerk.  I can’t let them call me by my first name (they call me Dottore Arrington).  I can’t kid around or walk up or down stairs too fast.  It’s a sort of a game.  I love my job because of the service I’m performing the Allied Commission, but I don’t relish my position, if you get the distinction.  And there’s always the further problem that I represent the victorious nations & they represent the defeated enemy.  This is something entirely new in my life.  If I had been an officer I would have been accustomed to it, I guess.  I know I’ll never want a position like that in life.  I wouldn’t last more than 2 months, then I’d cut loose & do some fool thing like slide down the banister or stand on my head, just to express my distaste of such dignity.  In school teaching you are allowed to be “eccentric” and “different.”

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Monday, 4 December 1944]

When teaching at State, I used to spend a day each year on the subject “Why some nations or regions are wealthier than others.”  I used to give several reasons, most important being the presence or abundance of natural resources.  Now I feel that a factor just as important is how hard the people work.  The L.D.S. had fewer resources in Utah than there is in N.A., let alone Italy, and yet they are incomparably better off because they worked hard and schemed.  People can accomplish wonders when they just keep working.  We’re doing here in 4 months work which would normally require the agency 2 years, simply because we have set our minds to it and worked hard.  No one ever thought of working this hard under Fascism.  Italians are always crying about us being richer than they.  Well, we worked for it; we earned it.  A people cannot get wealthy by being theatrical and putting up monuments.  They must work to provide food, clothing & shelter.  That is what America, built up by hard-working pioneers, has done.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Wednesday, 6 December 1944]

Today I presented a preliminary report to Major Tooby, and now it seems I have got to get it expanded by Thursday.  It won’t take any work on my part because I have plenty of helpers here at the Institute on whom I can rely.  However, I’ll have to stay in the Institute long hours so as to be there when the rest are.  Sometime I want to tell you how the Institute fooled the Germans last winter when they occupied the area.  The Institute gave all sorts of misleading statistics & names to the Germans.  This took great courage, and some were placed in concentration camps and some were shot.  I am becoming more & more convinced that the ordinary Italian opposed the treaty of alliance with Germany in 1936 and opposed even more bitterly the declaration of war against France & England in June 1940.  It is no coincidence that the people who have fought against the Italians have not the same hate for them they have against the Germans.  Greek, Russians, Yugoslavs, Ethiopians, English & Americans—all feel no strong hate for the Italians.  The only exception is France.  

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Monday, 11 December 1944]

A couple of American officers came to see me today and they expressed amazement at the size & beauty of my office, as visitors always do.  Italians are good workmen.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Tuesday, 12 December 1944]


T/5th Leonard J. Arrington, native of Twin Falls, is serving in the administrative department of the rehabilitation program in Italy.  A former economist in the OPA at Raleigh, N. C., Corporal Arrington went to Italy last September and was stationed at the Allied commission headquarters in Rome.  His wife lives at Raleigh.

[LJAD, Newspaper article, Ca, January 1945]

Tonite after I finish this I’m going to start looking thru the book on Statistics.  Now is the time I will have need of it and I’ll be able to use it plenty unless they change me to another job or to another area.  After all, I’m young, healthy and physically fit and I’m very lucky to be working here.  That is one of the reasons I’m working so hard.  I’m doing two men’s work.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Tuesday, 16 January 1945]

The day didn’t start so good because I had a 2-hour talk with a captain about some statistics.  He was just a young fellow, without experience and after the conference I began to feel once more that old feeling of the injustice of it all—the least they could do would be to make me a Sergeant when I am filling a Captain’s job and have the responsibility of an officer.  I’d hate to live in a dictatorship because it is like the army.  Free labor is one of the greatest of all freedoms in America.

But this feeling passed before the morning was over and now I feel on top of the world.  After all, I could be back in Africa—or I could be at the front—or I could be a private, or I could be wounded—or, worst of all, what if I didn’t have you.  God gives us what He sees we’re fit for and I’m satisfied.  In fact, I’m lucky and I know it.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Friday, 2 February 1945]

Mrs. L J Arrington Cpl L.J. Arrington 34670297

1918 Fairview Road Hg. Co. 2675th Regt (Allied)

Raleigh, APO #394 c/o PM New York, NY

       North Carolina

7 Feb. 1945 WED

Dearest Darling,

The Director General of the Institute has just been suspended on the false charge of Fascist connections.  There is some dirty politics involved.  At any rate nobody has yet been appointed to fill his place.  Even when somebody is appointed it will almost be the same as if nobody has been appointed.  Boccia and I are the only two besides Dr. Molinari who was suspended who know anything about the over-all work.  So not only do I have all my regular work, but I also have all the Director-General’s work.  That is Boccia and I.  For the first time since I’ve been overseas I may not be able to write you every nite.  The emergency is great, and I’ll have to work nite and day till its over.  Remember, above all else, I love you.  You are my darling angel.


[LJAD, v-mail to Grace, Wednesday, 7 February 1945]

Darling, your sweet letters are coming pretty regularly now, and it grieves me that I can’t answer them regularly in the way I want to.  But after my meeting tonite [tonight]—it lasted until way past supper—I decided I’d write you every day if I had to do it during a meeting.  After we were all thru tonite [tonight]—7:45, the officers present piled in a cab and went to their hotel for supper.  Supper is served to officers until 9 p.m.  I piled on to my shanks ponies and walked home, where it was long pasts suppertime.  Enlisted me can’t eat after 6:30 pm.  I ate PX rations I had saved up.  I decided then and there that there was no percentage in me making all these sacrifices when the officers will get (and take) all the credit for what I do, anyway.  I’ll work hard, but I’ll also insist that they grant me equal privileges.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Saturday, 17 February 1945]

2 March 1945  FRI.

Dearest Darling,

Today I worked very hard making an alphabetical index in Italian from the English one I made last nite (night).  It seems there is no end to a publication, especially a statistical one.  If I ever have to publish statistics in the future I ought to know just how to proceed.  I’m learning the hard way.  Most people think that is the best.  I don’t agree.  One loses too much time and may never learn the right way.  Trial and error is all right for people with lots of time and lots of money, but I don’t have either.  If they had left Dr. Molinari here he would have been able to show me the right way because he has published dozens of statistical books for the Institute.  He was Technical Director here for 16 years and was always Anti-Fascist.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Friday, 2 March 1945]

5 March 1945  Monday

Sweetheart Darling,

The publication is rolling right along.  I’ve received three seddicessmos—that is, the 16 page sheets which roll off the press.  The publication will be about 235 pages in length.  And every blasted word is in English and Italian—and I’ve had to do all the translating into English and have done much of the original writing so you can imagine how much work I’ve had to do.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Monday, 5 March 1945]

Those 13 months in North Africa seem a long way off—as if they were part of a dream.  And not a very pleasant dream at that.  Altho (Although) it opened my eyes, and doubtless helped to mature me.  I much prefer, and logically so, the type of maturation I’m getting here.  This is just the sort of job I can do well, and I get a lot of mental satisfaction even if I don’t get but $75 a month out of it.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Tuesday, 6 March 1945]

10 March 1945 Saturday

Sweetheart Darling,

Today was a pleasant one in every respect.  Two sweet loving letters came from my honey—Feb. 23 and 28.  This morning Boccia and I took the first 3 volumes of our publication—hot off the press—to Mr. Stauffer, Mr. Cleveland, and the public relations officer.  That official act over, we returned to the Institute to take up several minor matters.  We drifted along leisurely until 5 pm and went home.  Boccia’s wife, who is now on her feet for the first time in 3 months, invited me for dinner tomorrow.

When presenting the volume I gave Mr. Stauffer every opportunity to tell me whether I would receive any acknowledgment or promotion as a result of all the work I’ve done, and he gave no indication of any, so I’ve given up hope of that and will continue to work, as before, with the knowledge that I’m getting valuable experience and that things could be worse.  I could be on  the front line.  I could be an MP in Africa—as I was for those long 14 months before I joined this outfit.

As far as our future is concerned, it would not help materially to have been promoted or to have been an officer.  Experience counts most.  If I were planning a business or government career it would matter a great deal.  But in the Universities the only recommendation they require is an apt mind, an open mind, and a trained mind.  And being a Professor I’ll always have sweet revenge.  I shall be able to flunk every student who used to be an officer, without any fear or compunction.  A friend of mine, an enlisted man, who is responsible for 9/10 of the wisdom of a certain Colonel told me that knowing officers’ pride the way he does, he’s going to skin hell out of them when he returns to his business back in the States.

Well, I can’t complain about my boss.  Mr. Stauffer is one of the smartest men I’ve ever known and I’ve learned a lot from him.  He reminds me a lot of Dr. Ratchford whom I admired so much.  He is very informed and democratic in his dealings with me and if it weren’t for being separated from you, and if it weren’t for the food we have to eat, I’d forget I am in the Army.  I enjoy an enviable position and I’m the first to acknowledge it.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Saturday, 10 March 1945]

13 March 1945—Tuesday 

Sweetest Darling,

Another loving letter from you came today.  It was written March 4.  You were pretty tired but had rested most of the day.  And I hope your Mother continues to get better.

Yesterday it was tractors and fuel oils.  Today its’ sugar and molasses.  There is a wide variety of knowledge, which a statistician must have.  For one thing I’m very glad to have been born and raised on a farm.  No one not born on a farm can possibly know and understand that important segment of the economy unless he has lived for a long period on a farm.  As for industry, well, I started learning when I was in OPA and I’m continuing my education here.  A statistician has a wonderful opportunity for he must cover every field.  And there is another point about statistics.  Everybody needs a statistician; people will always need statisticians and statisticians are never fired by one party or a group.  When I was a student I used to have a very low opinion of statisticians.  No doubt we have too many of them in America, especially the kind who think everything can be measured in quantitative terms.  And no doubt we have too many people collecting statistics and not enough people who know how to interpret them.  The rub comes in interpreting and using the data.

Right now, with all this planning and reconstruction gong on everybody is looking for information and data.  Nobody can go ahead with anything until they know how much, where, and in what condition.  This is undoubtedly much the same position Washington was in in 1941 and 1942.  Everybody wanted facts.  Everybody sent out questionnaires-millions of questionnaires.  Pretty  soon, people were tired of forms and began throwing them in the wastebasket.  Well, after Washington had gotten a certain amount of  basic information—which took about a year—they no longer needed to flood the public with forms.  Italy is about 10 times worse than Washington in 1941 so far as the need for data is concerned.  But we have not the transportation or communication facilities.  Nor the local organization to carry out a survey.  So much of the planning here is not done at all—for lack of facts to justify a plan—or is made upon guesses.

Into this picture fits the statistician who keeps hammering away at the need for spending money and using materials to get good, reliable statistics.  And  goes on working and re-working old data to make it more meaningful.  Never in all my hopes (or fears) did I think I would ever be a statistician—and like it.  And here you see me explaining why I think Mr. Stauffer and I are two of the most important individuals in Italy just because we are statisticians.  We are never recognized for our work but every morning the Italian—or Allied—papers come out with plans based on facts, which we have supplied.

Since I have always hated statistics I haven’t learned much about it in school, and I’m sure I’m a very bad statistician because I use my good judgment in 9/10 of the cases instead of the rules which statisticians have worked out over scores of years of experience.  There are some people who think one learns best by this kind of experience.  But one may never learn the best way.  Practice does not make perfect.  Only perfect practice makes perfect.  One can practice for years, but if he uses the wrong method of practice—well, you see what I mean.  A Baptist Missionary (American) has been in Italy 33 years and knows about every Italian word there is.  But he speaks so broken that the Italians can understand only a little of what he says.  He has  practiced a long time but he has practiced the wrong way.  Many soldiers have learned in a year to express themselves better than this missionary who has be here 33 years.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Tuesday, 13 March 1945]

Mrs. L J Arrington Cpl L.J. Arrington 34670297

1918 Fairview Road Hg. Co. 2675th Regt (Allied)

Raleigh, APO #394 c/o New York City

       North Carolina

22 March 1945  THURS

Sweetest Darling,

The work is still hard, long, and strenuous—in a nervous sense, anyway, but I’m learning a lot—and also very pleased that they regard me highly enough to give me such important work.  After all, I could be just an ordinary clerk—typist, spending my time copying memos and filing them.  This morning at 11 am, for example there was a conference to determine major policy with regard to a certain commodity.  Present were 2 Lt. Colonels, 3 majors, 2 civilians equivalent to full colonels, and two civilians equivalent to majors—and, one T/5.  You guessed it!  I really appreciate them letting me carry this responsibility for it is the best kind of training and experience.  As you know, I have always been very ignorant of business and industry.  This work on National Reconstruction is in a sense, a business planning job, and it is giving me an experience, which I have long needed.  I’ll probably never be a businessman in outlook but at least I should have a better understanding of the business side of life, about which you already know so much.

[LJAD, v-mail to Grace, Thursday, 22 March 1945]



23rd April 1945

Mr. Kenneth E. Stauffer,

    Economic Sub-Commission,

        A. C. Headquarters,


Dear Mr. Stauffer,


The assistance which you have given to the Welfare Division in providing statistical data essential to planning feeding operations has been called to my attention.  The usefulness of the data which you have prepared has been demonstrated by its application by our Welfare field personnel.  Without it, it would have been difficult to determine the areas in which feeding should be undertaken and the extent of feeding operations.  Of particular usefulness is the population breakdown by age groups for whom UNRRA will provide assistance.

Miss Kernohan who was assigned to work with you extends her personal thanks for your thoughtfulness and cooperation in the preparation of tables which were not a part of the studies which you had undertaken.  She appreciates your willingness to prepare special tabulations for this office and is grateful for the assistance which you gave her.

It is our understanding that the Instituto Centrale di Statistica will issue monthly bulletins which will report significant changes in social and economic conditions in Italy.  We should like at this time to ask that the name of our organisation be placed on your mailing list.

With kind personal regards,

(S. M. Keeny)



[LJAD, letter to Kenneth E. Stauffer regarding LJA’s service from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration’s Chief of Mission, S. M. Kenny, Monday, 23 April 1945]

13 May 1945

Sweet Darling,

Today is Mother’s Day and in the years to come, on this day we will honor you.  I am truly glad that we decided, as we did, not to begin our family until I returned.  It would have been extremely difficult for you and I would never have forgiven myself.  I’m sure a lot of soldiers’ wives are thinking now—oh, if only we had a baby my husband would have enough points to come home.  Well you don’t have to think that way.  I have 46 points.  If we had 2 babies I would still only have 70 points—which is way below the line.  I have been in the Army only 25 months.  And, too, I have never been in a combat area.  Those are the reasons I won’t be discharged for a while.  Everybody is talking and thinking about points.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 13 May 1945]


APO 394


P/318/PRB                                                                                                             22 May 1945

Press Release Immediate

The production of an impressive volume of statistics dealing with the reconstruction of devastated Italy has been one of the major tasks to which Corporal LEONARD J. ARRINGTON has been assigned in his duties with the Economic Section of Italy’s Allied Commission.

Censuses and Surveys for the National Reconstruction is the title of the volume, which was issued under the joint sponsorship of the Allied Commission and the Italian Central Institute of Statistics and on which the corporal spent most of his time in recent months.

During its production he was the Allied resident “controller”, or representative, with the Institute.  He supervised the tabulation and editing of the data which make up the volume’s 250 pages.  Translation of terms from the Italian was also largely either done or supervised by the Corporal, who has learnt the language during his 25 months of overseas service.

Corporal Arrington graduated from the University of Idaho and did graduate work at the University of North Carolina.  Experience gained as an instructor of economics at the North Carolina State College and as an economist employed in the Office of Price Administration both at Raleigh, N.C. has been of considerable aid to him in his work.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Arrington of Twin Falls, Idaho, the Corporal is marred to Mrs. Grace F. Arrington, who lives at 190? Fairview Road, Raleigh, N.C.

News, Twin Falls, Idaho

News and Observer, Raleigh, N. C.


[LJAD, Press Release, Headquarters Allied Commission, APO 394, Public Relations Branch, Tuesday, 22 May 1945]



APO 394

30 May 1945

SUBJECT:  Tec-5 Leonard J. Arrington, 34670297

TO:         Commander, Headquarters Company, 2675th Regiment Allied Commission

  1.     It is desired that you bring up-to-date the duty classification of Tec-5 Leonard J. Arrington, 34670297.  It is my understanding that he has been classified as a clerk-typist.

2.     T/5 Arrington has worked since November 1944 at the Central Institute of Statistics as a statistician, administrative consultant and liaison between the Institute and AC Economic Section.  He has acquired an excellent technical and professional vocabulary enabling him to also serve as translator of the technical documents of the Institute.  He has served credibly in all the capacities enumerated, his good work being a major factor in completing the census of southern Italy.


Chief, Price Office

[LJAD, Headquarters Allied Commission, Economic Section, APO 394, Wednesday, 30 May 1945]

13 June 1945 Wednesday

Today I went back to the Price Commission for Northern Italy (Italian).  They had an office all fixed up for me with beautiful modern office furniture.  S now I am more or less settled in Milan

 [LJAD, letter to Grace, Wednesday, 13 June 1945]

14 June 1945 Thursday

Sweetheart Angel, 

Today things were much calmer, although I kept busy all the day.  Right now, we have to proceed slowly and with caution until we get the big shots approval on what we are doing.  I am speaking with regard to prices and their control.  We have an Italian Price Commission for North Italy all set up, with 4 members on the Central Committee, and an organization consisting of many consultants and experts.  My job is to be the liaison between Mr. Stauffer and this group.  In addition I am to be liaison officer with the Branch Office of the Institute of Statistics, which will be set up here in Milan.  Consequently, I shall divide my time between the Allied Commission, the Price Commission and the Institute Branch Office.  Of course, all of this may change.  Who can predict the future when the political situation in Italy is so unsettled?  The Allied Commission cannot decide what to do until the new Italian Government is set up.  The Economic Section of the Allied Commission cannot go ahead until they know what the Allied Policy—etc.

Perhaps I should tell you that the Allied Commission consists if 2 divisions: the Economic Section and Civil Affairs.  Each has national, regional and local officers (offices).  The Economic Section is made up of the Price, Planning, and Administrative Divisions and the following Sub commissions: Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Industry, Public Works & Utilities, Transportation, Shipping, Finance, and Food.

Mr. Stauffer is head of the Price Division.  Major Tooby is head of Planning Division.  The Price Division consists of Mr. Stauffer, Chief, Mr. Cerrito, in Rome, and me.  Just 3 people, mind you.  And we have the added responsibility of statistics and research.

Mr. Stauffer is a very gently and kind man, and very smart.  But he is very cautious.  No doubt that is best, but I like action and quick decisions, and so I get to going along settling everything till one fine day Mr. Stauffer stops me and unsettles them again.  I suppose it’s because I’m still young, aggressive and impulsive.  I like to get things done, even if they aren’t done as well as they might be if I had hesitated and thought twice or thrice.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Thursday, 14 June 1945]

A lot can happen in a year.  A year ago I had never even heard of the Allied commission for Italy.  Two years ago I had not the slightest idea of spending a year in Africa and a year in Italy.  Three years ago I didn’t even have the idea I’d be in the Army.  Four years ago I hadn’t even met you and was going to summer school in Chapel Hill.  Five years ago I was on the farm in Idaho, or at least headed there by hitchhiking from N. C. via New Orleans, Houston, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake.  I remember visiting a little girl friend in Los Angeles.  Gee, I don’t even remember her last name now, and I never received any letters from her after my visit so I have no idea how she is.  And it doesn’t matter.  The only one who matters is you, and you are the only one who will ever matter.  My heart is filled with love for you.  You are my eternal ideal of beauty, love, and goodness.  

Forever yours, Jimmie

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Friday, 15 June 1945]

This morning I got up around 9 and ate my breakfast in my room from a tin can.  Then I wrote a letter to Mom, Woodrow, & Worth Jones.  After lunch I had a nap and then took a stroll through the galleries in the center of town.  After supper I went to the Red Cross and entertainment area and messed around until almost dark.  I saw a German Atrocity film and a Hugh Herbert comedy.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Sunday, 17 June 1945]

The girls in this town are not as pretty as in Rome, but there are fewer streetwalkers here.  There are a great number of refugees in Rome—and Rome has been occupied by a large number of soldiers for a long time.  The few soldiers that are here have very little trouble finding a girl; those that want one, but the girls are all amateurs.  The girls dress about the same way that our small town girls dressed 10 years ago.  The girls and women would all like to be independent like the girls are in America.  They would appreciate the right to vote, the right to divorce, equal chance for a job.  The Catholic Church has done more to hold women down than any other agency or factor.  The Church wants them to bear children—all possible—and nothing more

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Monday, 25 June 1945]

Sweetheart, I want to repeat to you some things I may have told you in a round about way before so you’ll have the complete story.

Our platoon left Camp Custer the 18th and arrived in Camp Patrick Henry, near Norfolk, the 19th.  We stayed there 10 days before we got our ship to leave.  We got on ship the afternoon of the 29th and set sail—the morning of the 30th of July 2 years ago.  We were under strict orders in Patrick Henry & couldn’t telephone, wire, get out or otherwise communicate with the outside world.  It was one hell of a camp, especially for July & the only god part of it was we got one quart of good milk each morning for breakfast—if we preferred milk to coffee, which, of course, I did.

Our ship was the Empress of Scotland and was British operated.  It was a Canadian passenger liner, which, before the war, operated between Vancouver and Tokyo and was called the Empress of Japan.  It still had some of the Japanese writing.  Normally, as a troop ship, it accommodated 3,000 soldiers.  At most it could hold 5,000.  Well, we were 6,600 strong & you can imagine we lived like rats.  We were on it6 days & 6 nights I & docked at Casablanca the 4th.  The food was twice a day & perfectly terrible.  We slept on deck, on stairs, on top of each other & anywhere we could lay our head.  I did guard one night on the ship.  We contacted one submarine but outran him, and one strange ship, which turned out to be Swedish.  For two days & nights we were without aerial protection; the other days we had some kind of aircraft to serve as eyes.  The ship was fast—around 30 knots or so.

From Casablanca we left in the dead of night for Prisoner of War Camp 101, at Ber Rechid, some 40 mi. from Casablanca & distinctly in the wilds of Morocco.  There we slept right across the fence from 25,000 prize Nazis and 20,000 Fascists.  An average of one would get shot a night trying to escape.  The guards were Moroccans who were trigger-happy.

We stayed there almost two months and then boarded a French 40 and 8 train for Bizerte.  40 men or 8 horses it means.  Well, it was hell—for a week, until we got to Bizerte.  From there I think you know most of the story.  It was a hellish life for some, but you know how I like adventure.  I rather enjoyed it.  I might as well have enjoyed it since there was nothing else I could do.

Sweet, I love you with all my heart and soul.

Your boyfriend, Jimmie

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Tuesday, 10 July 1945]

You have also probably been thinking of the atom bomb.  It is really a terrible thing to contemplate.  The papers report it killed 150,000 people in Hiroshima and probably almost as many in Nagasaki.  It is horrible from that point of view.  But if it has shortened the war by 6 months or a year, it has proved well worthwhile.  It was the Japanese who started the war, and they asked for it.  I’m sure if any of us, if we had to make the decision as to whether or not to use the bomb, would have said “Yes.”  However, we must realize it was a horrible choice and that the U.S.A. has lost a great deal of prestige among the peoples of the world.  It has been a psychological loss that we were the first nation to use such a destructive power.  We can redeem ourselves only by using it for the well being of the world from now on.

[LJAD, letter to Grace, Friday, 10 August 1945]



APO 394

13 November 1945

SUBJECT:  Promotion of T/5 Leonard J. Arrington

TO:         Commanding Officer

        2675 Regiment AC (OVHD)

1.  T/5 Leonard J. Arrington, Serial Number 346770297, has been overseas since 29 July 1943 and was promoted to his present status 17 July 1944.  He was assigned to the 2675th Regiment on 16 October 1944.  He now has 54 points.

2.  From November 1944 to July 1945 T/5 Arrington has held the position of liaison officer at the Instituto Centrale di Statistica, where he supervised and actually completed the final work on the National Census for Reconstruction.  In this work he was in continuous contact with the various sub-commissions, which were vitally concerned, holding conferences with them in order to incorporate their suggestions in the final job.  At the Institute he had quite an extensive staff working for him and cooperating with him, which was only possible because of his excellent command of the language.

3.  At the present time T/5 Arrington is a member of the Price Office, which also has an office in Milan.  Arrington has been on duty in Milan for the Price Office and has been the sole representative there.  His work there involves close contact work with the North Italy Price Fixing Board.  Here he is called upon to make decisions of utmost importance in the price field.  In the absence of the Chief of the Price Office he has complete charge and holds conferences and meetings with the various members of the Board, which are without exception held in Italian.

4.  Because of his excellent work and initiative in the various duties assigned to him and the necessity of having rank somewhat in relation to his assignment, it is recommended that T/5 Arrington be promoted to the next higher grade.


Chief, Price Office

[LJAD, letter from Headquarters Allied Commission, Economic Section, Tuesday, 13 November 1945]

In accordance with the provisions of Public 2, 73rd Congress, as amended you are hereby notified that as a disabled veteran who was discharged from the military service of the United States on the 4th day of January 1946, you are awarded pension in the amount $11.50 from January 5, 1946, on account of disability resulting from the following conditions held to have been incurred or aggravated during your war service: Asthma.

[LJAD, Award of Disability Compensation or Pension (Service Connected), 27 April 1946]

“Diary Leonard Arrington 1971- ”

Dictated:  December 7, 1971  (Tuesday)

On this day everyone in my generation remembers December 7, 1941—Pearl Harbor Day.  Just prior to that, in October, 1941, at the birthday party held by Ruth Partridge for Nyle Brady, I had met Grace.  We had had a date to a Halloween party and maybe two or three other dates before Pearl Harbor Day.  At the time, I was an instructor of economics at North Carolina State college in Raleigh. I had been going, occasionally at least, with a girl from Durham, Idell Savage, nicknamed “Sug”.  My recollection is that for some reason or other I drove that morning to Wilmington to see Marion Henderson’s parents who knew my father when he was a missionary, and I also saw some of Marion’s brothers and sisters.  I remember especially redheaded Jimmy.  I seem to recall having Sunday dinner with the Hendersons, and then driving leisurely back to Raleigh.  My memory is that I drove into a Raleigh service station to get gas and the service station fellow was very excited and said that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor and that America was about to go to war with Japan.  Since it was just a rumor, I didn’t think very much of it.  However, I have a recollection of attending the afternoon or evening performance of the Messiah in the Raleigh Civic Auditorium.  I think Grace was also there but I didn’t see her.  At any rate, there was talk at the concert of the Pearl Harbor attack.

In the weeks that followed I continued to teach at State College but became increasingly anxious to become involved in the war effort.  During the spring of 1942 I was offered a summer position with the Department of Agriculture checking cotton acreage.  And so I spent the summer in the country village of Lilesville, North Carolina, staying at the home of a family I cannot remember, riding to the countryside each day on a bicycle and stopping at each farm to measure cotton acreage.  Every Sunday I attended Baptist Sunday School and after two Sundays was appointed teacher of the college age class.  What would they have thought if they had learned that a Mormon Elder was teaching their Sunday School class!  This was one of the most pleasurable summers of my life—filled with work, to be sure, but association with interesting people, people of a different culture, people who seemed to be serene and close to the earth.  The honeysuckles, the huckleberries, the grapes—all of which grew in profusion—the pleasant way of life, the politeness, all of these combined to make a pleasant and enjoyable summer.

Also during the spring of 1942 I learned that the Office of Price Administration had been established and that they were interviewing economists for positions with the North Carolina office of OPA.  I went to Durham for the interview, and then after going to Lilesville, forgot about it.  During the late summer, however, as I was preparing to teach at State College, I was offered a position as Price Analyst for the Raleigh office of OPA.  I accepted the position and was given a leave of absence from North Caroline State.  Our Price Officer was Ben Ratchford, a professor of economics at Duke University.  I had a very pleasant assignment there, and very pleasant people to work with.  It was a wonderful opportunity to gain experience in public service.  My chief assignment was to work on setting the price of firewood.  Then arose the problem of setting laundry prices, which made it necessary for me to travel through east North Carolina visiting a number of laundries.  My last assignment was the pricing of butter, milk, and other dairy products.  I visited a number of dairies and became a kind of expert on the North Caroline dairy industry.  We wanted to get some adjustments in price, and I went to Atlanta, Georgia, the regional office of OPA to discuss the possibilities of an adjustment.  And I went to have conferences with William J. J. Smith, the regional analyst under the charge of Joe Spengler.  William J. J. Smith refused to let anyone call him Bill or even William.  He was a little fellow, about five feet, and very anxious to assert his authority.  He put me off for several days and then when I talked with him, refused to pay attention to my requests.  So after about a week in Atlanta, I returned to Raleigh.  However, while in Atlanta, I stayed with some missionaries, and somehow or other got into a discussion with them about literal interpretations of the Bible.  This caused the missionaries, on one occasion, at least, to kneel down and pray for me.  Being a considerate person, however, I did not kneel down and pray for them.

During 1942, I was the president of the Raleigh LDS Branch, and eligible for exemption from selective service as a minister.  I wrote to the Twin Falls Draft Board and told them I did not want to exercise this option, that I should be classified 1A.  During the fall of 1942 I volunteered for a commission with the U.S. Navy.  I took the examination but could not measure up in the terms of height.  One had to be 5 feet 6 inches and the best I could do was 5 feet 5 ¾ inches.  I took some exercises over a period of about a month to try to increase my height, but failed to achieve 5 feet 6 inches.  Next I volunteered for the Air Corp.  They put me through various tests but finally turned me down because I had been plagued with asthma.  I also volunteered for the Marines but they turned me down because of asthma.  So I waited out the call from selective services to be drafted.  

In the meantime I had been going steadily with Grace and felt certain that when I received the draft notice we would be married.  That call came in March, 1943, and I reported for induction at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  Grace was doubtful about the wisdom of our marriage and so I was drafted without that taking place.

We remained at Fort Bragg for a month and they informed us at the end of that month that we might have a weekend pass.  Learning of this, I telephone Grace Friday evening and asked her if we could be married the next morning.  She said yes, so I picked up my pass at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning, rode the bus to Raleigh, met Grace about 10:00.  She had a series of tasks all lined out for us to do:  (1) go down to the city clerk to get a marriage license.  Normally it wasn’t open on Saturday morning but for our sakes he agreed to go to the office long enough to sell us the license and take our blood tests.  (2) Go to the barber to have my hair cut.  Grace had made a precise appointment with him to make sure we got it done at the specified time.  (3) Went to the tailor shop where I stood in my skivvies while he pressed my pants.  (4) Went to a clothing shop where I purchased a military cap.  (5) Went to the Baptist minister, Carl Townsend, pastor of Hayes Barton Baptist Church for a conference about the marriage in the afternoon.  I think the real purpose of it was to give him $10, but maybe there was more to it.  I told him I was a Mormon, and he said he already knew it.  He asked Grace and me if we had agreed upon a religion basis for our marriage and we said yes.  Grace outlined her plans for the marriage ceremony to which he agreed.  He was dignified, friendly, and helpful.  (6) Had lunch in Grace’s apartment.  (7) Went to Hayes Barton Baptist Church at 2:00 p.m. where the wedding ceremony was to be pronounced.  Cloe Hodge, a member of the Raleigh Branch and a splendid singer, sang “Because.”  We had a double ring ceremony, and my recollection is that Grace had already purchased these and brought them to the ceremony.  Some of my friends at OPA were bridesmaids and ushers.  As we walked down the isle after the ceremony I say the audience for the first time and was flabbergasted to see about 200 people—all friends of Grace.  I tried to be solemn but Grace smiled very proudly and poked me and told me to smile to which I did finally.

As we walked out OPA people threw rice on us.  We climbed into the car and drove to Fayetteville and after some sightseeing secured a hotel room.  I can’t remember where we went to church Sunday, probably Mt. Airy or Fayetteville.  Anyway, I reported back to Fort Bragg, as I had to do early Monday morning.

We left the next day, as I recall by train for Fort Custer, Michigan.  After a few weeks there we were given a furlough of nine days, after which it was possible that we would be sent overseas.  We had not finished basic training—had not gone through the combat portion of basic training—so we assumed we would not be assigned to combat service.  They did not tell us what we were being trained for, but we learned later that we were being trained to process prisoners of war.  Since a number of Italian-American’s were in our platoon, we realized that we would be processing Italian prisoners.  The spring offensive of 1943 had brought in tens of thousands of Italian prisoners, which made it necessary for some group to process these prisoners.  Thus the necessity of sending us to North Africa before we had completed basic training.

At any rate, I called Grace to meet me in Detroit or Chicago, don’t recall which, and she accompanied me to Twin Falls to meet my parents and family during the nine-day furlough.  We had a very pleasant experience.  A few days after returning to Fort Custer we were sent to Newport News, Virginia to await embarkation.  Grace was able to be with me most of one day before we were sent overseas.

We embarked in July, 1943 on the Empress of Britain (former Empress of Japan) a British Ship.  We had no idea where we were going.  Our group was assigned to sleeping in hammocks about 5 stories below the surface of the ship.  Most of the fellows were sick during most of the passage and stayed in their bunks.  I felt very strongly that I should get up every day and watch the ocean.  This proved to be healthy for me despite the turbulence of the waves.  I did not like the British food, which was some kind of fish for breakfast and supper—no lunch.  So I stood in line a coupe of hours each day to get an orange, and that was my primary food.  It was the first time that I had crossed the ocean and I enjoyed watching the flying fish, porpoises and so on.  When we saw ships on the distant horizon we had no way of knowing whether they were enemy or friendly ships.  We followed a zigzag course all the way across to prevent detection from any submarine.  We saw submarines on two occasions but had no way of knowing whether they were friendly or not.  Many rumors went through the ship about submarine attacks.  I was only a private, so had no access to reliable information

After seven days on ship, we arrived in the middle of the night at some port, and nobody had any idea where it was.  (It later proved to be Casablanca.)  We were loaded into enclosed Army trucks and carried out away from the city about 40 miles and we were told to set up our pup tents.  The ground was sandy.  During the night we felt the sand fleas come through to bite us.  Early in the morning, when it became light, some of us poked our heads out of the tent to look around.  We thought we were in dreamland as we saw hundreds of Biblical-like persons mounted on camels and donkeys carrying their wares to market.  It was like being translated back to the Old Testament.  That morning we got up, with permission of our Lieutenant, went into a little town, which the soldiers called Bear Shit, but the real name of which we learned afterwards was called Ber Rechid, which meant Rechid’s Well.  We visited the market and walked through the little village.  This was the only time we were able to see that village, as the Lieutenant received instructions that no more soldiers were allowed there.  I assume because of the poor sanitation there and the danger of disease.

After a few days, we learned that we were to process 50,000 Italian prisoners.  That is, fill out forms giving their names, rank, serial numbers, address of relatives, fingerprints, etc.  It was really quite interesting, and, of course, the Italians were not in the least hostile.  Only the officers—and, of course, none of us dealt with them.  The prisoner of war camp had 50,000 Italians and 75,000 Germans.  The Germans were hostile.  After we had processed them we helped to convoy the prisoners to the port from which they were carried to America.  What an irony, that the captured prisoners went to places like Ogden, Cache Valley, and Montana and Idaho to enjoy the duration of the war, including “collaboration” with our girlfriends left behind while we were in North Africa and were away trying to make the world “safe for democracy.”

I felt a strong desire to learn Italian after finding out how poorly our Italian-American interrogators spoke Italian.  I acquired an Italian grammar book, and made arrangement with an Italian Lieutenant prisoner to teach me.  Strictly speaking, this was illegal.  But nobody paid any attention to what privates did.  I gave him my cigarette rations and occasionally chocolate rations in return for his instruction.  Before very long they allowed me to interrogate the prisoners and fill out the forms on the typewriter.  I continued to improve my knowledge of Italian and this became very useful when I was later sent to Italy.

After four months we were sent to Bizerte, Tunisia, to process Italian troops, and we remained there during the winter of 1943-44.  During those months we accompanied a number of German and Italian troops to Morocco.    The Bizerte period was interesting for several reasons.  We had the opportunity to go to Tunis several times.  There they had a USO with a fine library of books and records.  I read many books during these months; both volumes of Gibbons, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Dostoyevsky, Brothers Karamazov; Tolstoy, War and Peace; and Anna Karenina, and many others that I do not now recall.  It was there, that I first heard “Un Bel di” from Madame Butterfly.  I went out to Carthage several times, acquired some Carthaginian coins, and visited in some homes including the palace of the Bey of Tunis.  In the summer of 1944 we were transferred to Oran and spent some months there.

We learned that an invasion of southern France was planned, and I volunteered to make this invasion.  For this purpose I volunteered for the Army Finance Corps.  They did transfer me out of my prisoner of war platoon and put me in the replacement depot (repple depple).  We were prepared for the southern France invasion, but at the last moment DeGaulle said he didn’t want military government troops—he would handle all of that himself.  So we were sent to Italy instead.  Next we spent two or three weeks in Bagnoli, near Naples.  During the period of the Italian Campaign we were able to get to Naples to or three times and listen to some operas—Tosca and Il Trovatore.  Then we were sent to Rome, where we were housed in an Italian villa.  During the first pass day, I went to the chairman of the economics section of the Allied Commission, Harlan Cleveland.  I asked him if he would like to have me work for him and if so could he reassign me.  I pointed out that I was only a PFC and should not offer any problems in staffing.  He said he would have me transferred immediately.  In that way I escaped assignment to the combat front—a fate for which I had not been prepared in basic training.

Mr. Cleveland assigned me to be his personal assistant for a few weeks, doing various kinds of odd jobs for him.  Then he assigned me to be the Allied Controller of the Instituto Centrale di Statistica in Rome to replace Lieutenant Hicks who was being transferred back to the states.  This gave me an organization of about 5,000 persons, whose task it was to prepare statistics for the use of the Italian, American, and British governments.  I had a personal staff of 30, including a personal chauffer, an usher, an errand boy, a secretary, and others.  I was the equivalent of undersecretary of the Department of commerce of the United States in charge of statistics.  Beautiful large office.  Certainly no PFC in the United States Army had such an honor and privilege.  The Italians called me “Il Controllore Americano.”  The errand boy stood in line for me all day to get me general admission tickets to the opera, and in the weeks that followed I went to 54 different operas in the Royal Opera House in Rome.

After eight months in Rome I was assigned to go to North Italy, along with invading troops, to find statistical machinery and return them to Rome.  After which they left me in Milan to be an American Officer with the Committee of Price Control in North Italy.  After another eight months in Milan, including a week of leave in Switzerland, I was returned to Rome and then to Naples and then boarded ship for return to the United States.  I was discharged and reunited with Grace on January 4, 1946.  She had waited Christmas for me and the night of January 4 was really Christmas Eve in our household in Raleigh.

Transcribed by RaNae Allen

Corrected 12/9/71 by LJA

[LJAD, LJA Diary, 7 December 1971]

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, I was an instructor in economics at North Carolina State College in Raleigh. At the same time, or shortly thereafter, I was made branch president of the Raleigh Branch of the Church—a small congregation of perhaps eight or ten families. I am not sure just when this appointment was made, but it was before the summer of 1942. As publicity for the war built up, as public opinion augmented the spirit of patriotism, loyalty, and defense, I decided to volunteer for some kind of war service. Upon completing my class work at N. C. State in June of 1942, I was asked by one of the extension workers in the College of Agriculture at N. C. State to work for the Department of Agriculture measuring cotton acreage. Under the cotton program, a farmer was given a certain allotment of cotton, based on his base-period production, and he could not plant more than this without a certain penalty. To say this in another way, if he complied, he would receive a certain subsidy, called a “cotton payment.” If he allowed some of his land, previously planted to cotton, to be used in connection with soil-building practices, he received certain credits for that. So during the middle of the summer, several hundred young persons were employed, furnished bicycles, and went from farm to farm measuring the cotton acreage, and the acreage in soil building. We worked from aerial photos which had been made.

I was assigned to go to Lilesville, Anson County, N.C., along the southern border of the state near South Carolina, more toward western N.C. than eastern. It was a small country village with thousands of relatively small farms. I got a room with a woman whose name I do not recall, who had a couple of children in their teens. I do not recall whether she was a widow or whether her husband was away much of the time on business. At any rate, I arose early each morning and worked all day, going from farm to farm. It was hard work, and after supper I was ready to go to bed. On Sundays I went with them to the Baptist Church,  and participated fully. In fact, within two weeks I was appointed teacher of the high school and college age Sunday School class. We studied the Bible and I had had some preparation for this, having taken a number of classes on the Bible in the LDS Institute at Moscow, Idaho. The Baptists, of course, knew that I was from Idaho–who would mistake that western brogue? But I think they did not know I was a Mormon. Or if they did, they did not recognize the name of the faith as being in disrepute. In my class were not more than a dozen persons–perhaps even less.

I may have letters I received from Grace at the time suggesting items which I do not recall here. Also she may have saved my letters to her–I do not recall saving any but there may be some in our trunk full of letters.

For the first time I became fully involved in the country life of North Carolina, and I enjoyed it, appreciated it, recall it with distinct nostalgia. The lush, green countryside; the warm still days; the hummingbees; the birds–redbirds or cardinals, mockingbirds, and many ether songbirds; the squirrels, possums, and raccoons. Occasional moccasins and other snakes. Scuppernong grapes and other grapes. Lovely, quiet days, albeit warm and humid. Pleasant country people–proud, independent, hard-working, pleasant and courteous. I felt right at home among them and feel to this day that I am only at home with these kind of people. There is a certain artificiality about the intellectual and literary and town life.

During the summer I was invited by the Civil Service to Durham to an interview to choose the head of the price division of the North Carolina Office of Price Administration. I don’t know what made me go to Durham for the interview except perhaps curiosity. At any rate I went, filed applications. I did not receive the job, of course. This was given to Dr. Benjamin U. Ratchford, a professor at Duke and graduate of Davidson College, N.C., as I recall. I think a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

After the summer was over and I reported back to N. C. State, I was invited by Dr. Ratchford to join his staff as an economic analyst. I accepted.

But let me go back to mention one other aspect. Upon my return to Raleigh, I had a strong feeling to volunteer for service in the war. I saw others volunteering, and felt left out, perhaps. I volunteered to serve as an officer in the Navy. Filled out all the blanks, took the written exam, and was given a physical exam. They finally turned me down because I was too short. Their rules permitted them to take persons who were no shorter than 5’6”. I had been under the impression all along that I was 5’6″, but I was half an inch shorter. They suggested I take a series of exercises and come back in a month; they thought I could make up half an inch. Well, I went back in a month or so but still couldn’t quite make it. Determined to get in the services, certain that I would be drafted as a private sooner or later, I then volunteered for the Air Force. They weren’t worried about the height, but turned me down because I had a history of asthma in N. C. Then I went to the marines. Same result.

Then when I had the offer of a position with the O.P.A., I thought this would be a way of contributing according to my particular training. When I went to my N. C. State Dean, B. F. Brown, to tell him what I had done and to ask for a leave of absence, he was very critical. He was pretty close to a pacifist, I suppose. He thought it stupid to volunteer for war service; also thought it stupid to work for the OPA when I had a perfectly good job teaching at N. C. State College. But he granted a leave anyway.

In the meantime I wrote to my local draft board in Twin Falls, Idaho, and told them if they were classifying me as exempt from the draft by reason of my service as “minister” to the Raleigh Branch of the Church, to change that classification. I did not think it proper to be classified exempt because of my church service activities. Thus, forces were set in motion which led to my becoming inducted.

My first job at the North Carolina OPA, offices in downtown Raleigh, was to become familiar with the regulations. Then to write a succinct summary of them for distribution to businessmen. The next job, based on complaints, was to set the price of firewood. I had a couple of traveling investigators who brought back information and we then wrote letters recommending prices. Then I got involved in laundry prices. Took a trip or two myself investigating laundry charges and costs. Then the price of milk. I remained on this project the rest of my service with the department. I was a natural to handle this since I had farm experience, and had some knowledge if the complex pricing involved. I must have spent three or four months on this. I visited various dairies, made cost studies, made price recommendations, went to Atlanta for a week or two to lobby for price adjustments for our dairy farmers, and so on. When I was finally drafted in March 1943, and the OPA office force held a farewell dinner for me, I was presented with a little ceramic cow—a little planter. Grace planted some cactus in it and we still have it in a window–same cow, though several times broken and repaired–same cactus.

I enjoyed my service with the OPA. The personnel were a pleasure to work with. I enjoyed the regular nature of the work, which permitted me to take off evenings to be with Grace. There was some socializing, parties, etc. And once again, it gave me the privilege of working with farm people in connection with my milk pricing assignment.

A notice requiring me to report for induction came in March 1943, and I reported to Fort Bragg in April 1943.

[LJA Diary, 31 May, 1975]


When I was inducted into the Army at Ft. Bragg, they very early gave each of us the Army’s equivalent of an IQ test. As I recall, it was an all-day test. I think this was the first IQ test I had ever taken; at any rate I received a grade of 139–presumably that was my IQ at that time. This was regarded as “very high,” and when I was called in for my placement interview the interviewer, seeing the score, said, “Do you have any choice?” I said ”yes” I did. “1 would like to be assigned to Air Corp Administration. I understand there are many opportunities for rise in rank and I think my training and economics would equip me to handle some of the Air Corp problems of logistics.” He thanked me and said he would surely give me something fine. When it came time for the assignment, he sent me to Ft. Custer, Michigan, where the Military Policies Division had its headquarters. It turned out that I was assigned to a prisoner-of-war processing company. This company was to process enemy prisoners of war and was divided into three platoons. One platoon was assigned to process Japanese prisoners of war, one to process German prisoners of war, and one to process Italian prisoners of war. I was assigned to the Italian unit, the 442nd prisoner-of-war processing platoon. We got to thinking later that of all the branches of the service the Army was the least desirable. Of all the branches of the Army the least desirable was the MP’s. Of all the branches of the MP’s the least desirable were those assigned to look after enemy prisoners of war. Of all the branches of those  assigned to look after enemy prisoners of war the least desirable were those assigned to look after Italians. That, dear reader, is my testimony of the important status I was given in the Army.

We operated as a completely separate unit from that time and as long as I remained with them. We were not attached in an integral way to any company regiment or division. The Italian platoon consisted of some 42 people of whom roughly half were Italian Americans and the other half Anglos. Of the Anglos, the vast majority were from Ft. Bragg, and the vast majority were persons who probably scored above 130 on the IQ test. One was an accountant, one a lawyer, one a photographer, and so on. Of the Italians, nearly all were from the Detroit area, nearly all were poorly educated (by that I mean had not completed high school), nearly all would have had low IQ scores. Our sergeant was Manuel Garcia, from Los Angeles, a Spanish American; big, husky, brusk, mean, and a believer of brute force as a method of command.

We thought that the company commander, a person named Captain Anderson, had conveyed the impression to the Ft. Bragg assignment officers that his group were to do intelligence work, but this was not true at all. Once we were overseas we were to travel from prisoner-of-war camp to camp, interview each Italian prisoner, take his photograph, get his fingerprints, and fill out a Geneva accord form which listed his name, address, relatives, occupation, etc. My assignment was to take their fingerprints. What they had to do with high IQ was never determined satisfactorily. Others in the group were to take a photograph of each prisoner, get the information on their names, etc. After we had arrived in North Africa and began to process enemy prisoners, the lieutenant of our outfit, Richard Davis of Indiana, discovered that the  Italians who were to do the interviewing were so poorly equipped that the Italian prisoners could not understand them. Moreover, they wrote so poorly that nobody could read the form, so in making shifts of assignments, Lt. Davis assigned me to be a typist and to fill out forms on each prisoner. I learned how to ask the prisoners their names and how to spell them, and that was my assignment: to interview the prisoners, fill out the information on the forms, and type it. In addition to this, each of us occasionally had to do guard duty and other responsibilities around camp. The whole idea of these processing platoons was a complete waste. The camp administrations already had sufficient records of these prisoners already taken shortly after capture. Moreover, the photograph equipment was always requiring repairs and supplies that never did arrive, so we didn’t take more than 100 pictures out of the 100,000 people we were supposed to interview. The lieutenant was a coward–a physical coward–and did not want to admit that we were useless and that we ought to be put into some useful work like fighting. So he stalled us along doing one little job and another and thus he and we kept out of the war zone and war activity. Ultimately, one by one, members of our platoon began volunteering for other things and he reluctantly allowed us to go. In my own case, I got out of the outfit after about a year by volunteering to make the invasion of southern France. I convinced the relevant officers that I should be put in the finance corp which would introduce invasion currency into France. Finally they transferred me and we sat around for a couple or three months training and waiting for the invasion. A day or two before the invasion was to occur, General de Gaulle notified our command that he didn’t need our services; Frenchmen would handle all of these matters. After a short delay we were sent to the replacement depot in Italy. After a month’s stay in Bagnoli, near Naples, and another three weeks in Rome, I saw that we were  headed for positions to fill places on the Italian front joining troops who were fighting under General Mark Clark against Kessellring.  All of those with whom we conversed persuaded us that this whole campaign was a useless blood bath. I am more certain now than then that this was the case. There was never a more stupid general than Mark Clark (actually there were probably many more stupid than he, but anyway he was stupid). At the first opportunity I got a pass to go into Rome and introduce myself to the civilian administrator of the Allied Commission, Harlan Cleveland. He was an economist that was about as close to the Ph.D. as I was and about the same age, and here he was the equivalent of a Major General and I was a P.F.C. I told him of my training and capabilities and asked if he could use me in the Allied Commission. He said he would have me transferred the next day and I would serve him as an economic assistant.

For a few days I followed him around to conferences and meetings. Then he said, “I have an assignment for you. I want you to serve as the American representative with the Istito Centrale di Statistic.” He said a British officer, a Major Toobey, would be assigned as the official Allied representative but that actual coordination and direction of their work would be under my immediate supervision. He took Major Toobey and myself over to Istito and introduced us to the relevant Italian officials and showed us where our office would be. I was taking the place of a naval lieutenant by the name of Hicks, also getting a Ph.D. in economics from the University of North Carolina–but I had not previously met him. The branch major did not like the idea of an American representative who had no rank and he treated me coldly–and disdainfully–very snobbishly. I thought to myself, “We are fighting with these people, against those good Germans and Italians?” Anyway, I now had a job equivalent to an under-secretary of Commission in the United States. The Italians, insisting upon calling me by some title, called me “Dottore.” I had at my disposal not only the finest office in a huge government building but also three personal secretaries, two men and a woman, a personal staff of thirty people, a chauffeur, two ushers–one to stay at my door, one to go on errands, and five thousand employees. Our job was to get statistics of interest to the Italian government, the Allied Commission, and the Allied armies; also to publish such statistics with appropriate presentations in both English and Italian. I am sure that no private in the United States Army had such a plush position and status, and I am sure no one in the world with such status in any government or army was paid as little as I–$67 per month.

In the spring of 1945 when the Allied Armies made the big posh to clear the Germans and fascists out of north Italy, I was assigned to take a group of six of my Italian statistical friends north to pick up sophisticated statistical equipment which the fascists had taken north. In a weapons carrier we followed immediately behind the invading army. We arrived in Milan in time to see Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci hanging by their heels from the roof of a service station. It was perhaps three or four days after they had been shot. We then went to the center on Lake Como where the fascist statistical center was located and arranged for this material to be sent back to Rome.

In the meantime the Allied Commission assigned me to remain in Milan as the Allied representative with the Comitato per i Prezzi in Alta Italia. Our assignment was to meet regularly and decide on prices for northern Italy.  I remained at this work until December when I had finally accumulated enough points to return to the States to be discharged. I left in December, was on the boat for America on Christmas day, arrived the 4th of January, and was discharged about that time.

So much for my job description.


(1) I was inducted at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina in March 1943. Remained there thirty days, after which they gave us a weekend pass which was when Grace and I were married.

(2) 1 was assigned to Ft. Custer, Michigan. Remained there from around the first of May for approximately two months–I think ten weeks. Then around July 9 or 10 I was told we would go overseas and I was given a nine-day furlough. Grace and I met at the Chicago airport and went to Twin Falls where she met my parents for the first time.

(3) After our return from the furlough we were sent to Newport News, Virginia, the staging area for our boarding ship for overseas. We were there perhaps four days. Then we were taken on board a ship which had been called “Emperor of Japan” which had carried passengers between Vancouver and Japan. There were 8 thousand on board. We were I think exactly seven days crossing the ocean. None of us knew our destination nor could we even imagine what it was. We arrived around 2 a.m. at a port where we saw French signs but we also saw some other signs that looked Arabic. 

(4) We learned afterwards this was Casablanca. We were loaded immediately into trucks and carried about 20 or 30 miles out into the desert to a place which we were told was called Ber Rachid but which Americans in the area had been calling “Bear Shit.” Since it was dark we had no idea where we were. We pitched our pup tents on the sands of the desert and then went to sleep. After a few hours the sand fleas began to bite us and we woke up and peeked outside of our pup tents and saw off in the distance caravans of camels, donkeys, biblical men with turbans in a steady stream going to market. This would have been around 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. around the last of July. What a disclosure; what romance.

We remained at Ber Rachid approximately four months.

(5) We were then assigned to take the overland railway and ended in Bizerte, Tunisia. Bizerte is the port of Tunis, which is maybe 10 or 20 miles away. My recollection is that we were in Bizerte approximately eight months from about January to about September of 1944.

(6) We were then assigned to Oran in Algeria. We were there for approximately four months before I transferred to a finance corp of the French Invasion Division which was also in Oran, and remained there with them another month or two.

(7) Around November of 1944, I was sent to Bagnoli, Italy near Naples and was there for approximately one month. There we had orders, got passes to go to Naples and to go to Caserta and elsewhere.

(8) We were then sent to Rome. We went to Rome probably early December 1944, and after a few days I was transferred to the Allied Commission and lodged in a hotel that had been taken over by the American army. I believe it was called “Albergo Grande.” I remained there roughly five months–from say December to about April. Then made the invasion of northern Italy. 

 (9) Lodged in a hotel in Milan for about eight months. From about April or May to December of 1945. During the month of November I think I was given the privilege of making a week’s tour of Switzerland. Then returned to Rome and then Naples and departed on ship to the USA just before Christmas.

(10) Traveled on ship to the USA over Christmas and New Year’s and was discharged around January 1.

(11) Stayed in Raleigh with Grace and her mother teaching at North Carolina State College and at Meredith College until June. Then headed west for a job at Utah State Agricultural College, arriving on July 2, 1946.


Although I am naturally of cheerful, optimistic, buoyant nature–perhaps because of my good health–perhaps because anything was better than milking eight cows on a Twin Falls farm and being one of nine children–the military experience was not necessarily disagreeable or dissatisfying. Because of the nature of our assignment I was able to do a lot of reading and to write regular letters and to do essentially the things I liked to do. I got passes quite often which enabled me to visit the cities–their museums, their parks, their libraries, their churches, and to talk with interesting people. I did meet many interesting people and learned a great deal about the culture of different peoples. In Rome I had one of my ushers stand in line each day that seats for a new opera were being sold and in that way got the cheap center balcony seats which were the only ones a private could afford. I saw a total of 54 different operas in Rome. I attended some also in Naples and in Milan. I had the opportunity of spending a few days in Venice and I already mentioned the week’s tour of Switzerland. In North Africa I was able to go to Casablanca a number of times and to Tunis. I talked with many native Arabs and visited their markets. I bought a number of interesting things which we still have in our home. In North Africa the North Carolina boys that had been assigned with me to go to Ft. Custer were there and I gained much from conversations with them and enjoyed staying with them in the same tent. Basically my army experience was educational, broadening, and pleasant. At no time were we in danger of being killed–that is, any more than one would in Salt Lake City today. If my letters read cheerfully I guess this was the way I saw the experience. As my mother used to say, “Try to look on the good side of things,” and remember that our family was very poor in Idaho and we did not always have enough to eat or good food to eat or opportunities to travel or to read, so in essence I was drinking in all the culture and worthwhile experience possible.


I was an extremely ambitious young man. I was determined to make something of myself. I was determined to make my name in the world in some way. Throughout most of my high school and college experience I had visions of  becoming a United States senator. William E. Borah was my hero. I thought this was within the realm of possibility and Borah encouraged me in it, as did Senator Reed Smoot when I talked with him about it when I was in high school. When I almost won the Rhodes scholarship to England, that signified I still might realize some important ambitions.

But when I was drafted into the army, remained a private for so long, received very little income, saw the rest of the world and the millions of people whose status was higher and better, I suppose there was a certain drying up of my ambitions. I felt more humble, less certain that I would ever amount to much or make much of my life. That business about my job in Rome was a fluke, in the result of accomplishment. I think I truly was humbled and I think I got out of my system some of the pride, some of the driving ambition. As I look back upon the experience I seemed to he content to be satisfied with life as long as I had good food to eat, a reasonably nice home, nice children, nice community to live in, nice friends to associate with.

There was a certain revulsion, of course–revulsion against the language of the soldiers, against the overbearing nature of most army officers, against the officers system, against the drunkenness, against the unsettled nature of military life, against the reliance on force and hierarchical command. That revulsion, I suppose, caused me to feel that there were some values which were more important than intellectual and status and achievement. I suppose that helps to explain why I have never kept in touch with any of my “army buddies” whose values were so different. I was truly content to go to Utah State Agricultural College and remain there the rest of my life. Some of my friends thought I should have moved on to a major university after finishing the doctorate but I was quite content to be there among friends that I admired and respected and enjoyed and would still be there today, I suppose, if the First Presidency had not called me to this job.

Certain effects on my feelings and attitudes and outlook are obvious. The importance of having a certain privacy. The importance of recognizing human worth whatever the country or the culture. The importance of little things in the enjoyment of life; the periodic hamburger and milkshake, the occasional visits with relatives and close friends, the pleasantries of discussing religion and life values. On the other hand, I am sure this experience which was completely outside the church–I never met another person that I knew to be a Mormon during all of the 16 months in North Africa and only the briefest of meetings with anybody I knew was a Mormon in Italy–made me react to Mormonism upon my return to Utah pretty much like an outsider. I remember the first conference we attended in Logan in the summer of 1946, in that beautiful old Logan Tabernacle. The 2 thousand people all stood up to sing “Come, Come Ye Saints.” It was the first time I had heard the song since I was a boy in Twin Falls, and I wept through the entire song. I think one of the most emotional experiences I have ever had. It must have been like sailing into port after a long absence and after tearful stormy seas. But above all I was now in the position of looking at Mormon life much as an outsider and yet feeling an emotional attachment to it. This gave me a certain perspective which has been helpful in all of my historical studies. It has enabled me to see and admire certain aspects of Mormon group life which might never have occurred to me if I had not had this experience outside the church. 

Grace was an older person–three years older than I–and she had had a reasonably rich experience in life as well. This meant that when we were back together we were glad to make the home the center of our life. I did not wish to be out with other follows fishing or hunting or bowling, nor did she enjoy being out playing bridge with other women. So we had a relaxed home life and were pretty joyful when we could have people in our home as guests at meals and in the evenings. To say this another way, my army experience probably contributed toward an attitude of life in which I have enjoyed good food, good stories, a good home, and good friends. On the good food, I weighed 150 during most of the three years overseas and gained 40 pounds the first six months after I returned and have stayed at that weight ever since. It is just too delectable to eat good food. I think that is a product of my army deprivations–the sea rations, camel eggs, and so on. To have a home that is warm and lovely and convenient with running water–none of which we had even in Twin Falls–all of this has caused Grace and me to put all of our savings into a good home. Anybody who would think we ought to be living in the home we are with no savings and considering the income I have would say we were crazy, but that is the way our values go. I think that was influenced by the army experience.

There was one strong feeling which came out of my Army experience. As a boy from an Idaho farm, in a region completely informal and democratic, I would have in any case been opposed to caste and privilege. It was almost an axiom that people on the Idaho frontier were anti-monopoly, anti-eastern business, anti-New York, anti-foreign. My army experience insured that I would be anti-officer class. To persons acquainted with the Army in recent years it is  incredible that a citizen’s army of 15 million people, as in World War II, were so completely dominated by an officer caste. Not a hereditary group, but bound by rules, regulations, and customs similar to those of Germany, France, and Britain whose officers were members of a hereditary class.

At any rate, my experience helps to suggest just how anti-democratic, how officer-class conscious the Army was. Enlisted men never ate with officers; the officers ate one place, the enlisted men another. Enlisted men did not eat the same food as officers; the officers always had better food. Officers of course had better clothing, and better looking clothing. Enlisted men in trouble were judged by officers, and our experience was that officers always regarded themselves different from, and superior to, enlisted men. One never talked casually with an officer. One always saluted an officer. One always stood at attention in the presence of an officer. An officer’s word was absolute; his command was total. An officer read our mail and censored it–and our officer really did, very systematically. Officers had good tents, while we had pup tents. Officers had heat in their tents, we had none. Officers had jeeps or weapons carriers to ride in; we had trucks. Officers never carried their baggage; we carried it for them. Officers had an officers club where they went for drinking, recreation, eating, etc. We had a “Rec Hall,” which was little more than a frame structure with a ping pong table.

In short, it was a caste system, with no recourse for the enlisted man. Even in the system of justice was the system unequal. After the invasion of Sicily, a number of men of Sicilian ancestry wanted to go to the country to visit relatives. I personally saw on the bulletin board announcements of two court martials held the same day for a similar offense. Two men in North Africa, a captain and a corporal, decided to visit relatives in Sicily by ”borrowing a plane” and flying over from North Africa. This was against the rules, of course. In the resulting trial, the officer was reprimanded, the corporal was sentenced to 11 years hard labor. Such was military justice.

Anyway, I (all of us) was anti-officer, anti-officer system. While the officers may have thought we were fighting the Nazis, to many enlisted men, they were fighting the officers. It was no accident that a high ratio of lieutenants were killed in the Army. A good share of them were shot from behind by their own enlisted men who hated the lieutenant’s guts because of his arbitrariness, cockiness, and meanness. My own experience would suggest that officers made no attempt to be fair; arbitrariness was characteristic of the officer mentality.

In retrospect, I recognize that my own experience was not typical; that there were many fine officers; that many officers treated their enlisted men as men, not as subordinates; that many officers were fair and just and reasonable. I have since become acquainted with many men who were officers, who have become close friends. Joe Lacey, for example, a colonel. But my personal wartime experience was not at all a pleasant one in that respect. I developed a real hatred for the officer system and for entrenched privilege, undeserved status. This may have caused me to be less respectful of certain ecclesiastical, governmental, and business high officials than I might otherwise have been.

Well, there are some thoughts. Ask me some more. I am sure some of this will sound a little corny, but it expresses an attitude which we can probably make more sophisticated before we go to press.

[LJA Diary, 9 Mar., 1976]

My recollection of my draft situation was as follows:

During the fail of 1942 after I returned from Lilesville, N.C., I attempted to volunteer as an officer in the Navy. I filled out forms, got recommendations, and was approved if I could pass the physical. One had to be 5’6″ and I couldn’t quite reach it, so they turned me down. I then volunteered for the Air Corps and was turned down because I had had asthma. I volunteered for the Marine Corps and was turned down by them for the same reason. I therefore determined to work for a war agency, so I obtained a leave of absence from N.C. State and was offered a position as economic analyst with the North Carolina Office of Price Administration in Raleigh. It was a good job and I enjoyed it very much. It also paid better than N. C. State. My salary at N.C. State, as I recall, was $2,200 and in the N.C.O.P.A. it was $3,200.

My work had been completely satisfactory as far as I am aware, and my boss, B.U. Ratchford, was fearful that I might be drafted. So he put through a request to have me exempted from the draft; that attempt failed. He then urged me to get an exemption based upon my religious function. The leader of each religious congregation, the minister or pastor, was entitled to 4D classification. On Dr. Ratchford’s request I petitioned for a 4D classification and was given that classification, I think about November or December of 1942. As the war proceeded, however, I became increasingly dissatisfied with that arrangement. I thought it was not patriotic, I did not think it was just or fair for me to have a 4D classification when I was not a full-time minister. So I wrote my draft board and told them to remove that classification and classify me however I should be classified. I was classified as 1A and so was drafted in February of 1943 to report for duty in March of 1943 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  If there is evidence that I protested the 1A classification it was only on the urging of my O.P.A. boss who felt very strongly that he needed me in the O.P.A.  At any rate I was drafted about the same time as other persons my age were.  Nearly everybody who went to Fort Bragg at the time I did was about the same age—26.

[LJA Diary, 7 Apr., 1976]

Today is Pearl Harbor Day. None of us who lived through it will ever forget that day. Just as we always remember our wedding day, we shall never forget the events of that day. It was on a Sunday, I was in Raleigh, N.C. I had gone to Goldsboro for a date with an LDS girl. First date I had with her, I think. It was not an exciting date and I left her about five o’clock or so and drove back to Raleigh in my old Plymouth (my first car). Driving into Raleigh I noted that my gas tank was about empty (those were the days I would buy two or three gallons at a time). As the station attendant was putting in the gas I heard the radio playing, and just news. I asked the attendant, very laconically, “Anything in the news worth noting?” He said very excitedly, “They say Pearl Harbor has been attacked.” It didn’t dawn on me right off. “Where’s Pearl Harbor?” I asked. He said, “Hawaii.” Then added, “Sounds like war.” Then it sunk in. I drove on home with increasing disturbance, and then turned on the radio. That evening I telephoned Grace. I had met her the previous October, had my first date with her in November, and had another date or two after. She said she had heard the news in a Raleigh Auditorium, where she had gone to hear “The Messiah” or “Elijah” or some choral program put on annually in Raleigh. During an intermission, they had announced the attack on Pearl Harbor, and “‘This may mean war.” Well, it did mean war, as we found out within a day. . and it altered our lives. Oh yes, this occurred in 1941. I taught for another year at N.C. State, then volunteered, was turned down, and volunteered for the Office of Price Administration, worked there for six months and then was drafted in April 1943, married the same month, went overseas in July and stayed until December 1945. Back in NC in January 1946.

[LJA to Children, 7 Dec., 1979]

December 7, the day that would live in infamy. Well, fortunately, it did not live in infamy. Hardly anyone remembers it, and they remember it, if they do, as the day that provoked us to war. But hardly as one that will live in infamy, Everyone in my generation remembers when they first heard of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and what their feelings were. It was a Sunday; I had gone to Goldsboro to pick up a girl friend and driven to Wilmington, N.C. to attend church with her. I returned to Raleigh around 5:30 pm or so. I stopped to get gas at a service station on the east of Raleigh. The attendant said, did you hear the news? What news? They say Pearl Harbor has been attacked. Where is Pearl Harbor? Hawaii. Who attacked them? The Japanese. What did they do that for? I guess we are in war! I thought about it driving to my home, which was west of Raleigh. In the days that followed I read of all the events. But it didn’t come home personally until the fall of the next year, 1942, when I volunteered for the navy, then the air force, then the marines. Turned down by all for one reason or another. So I left the N.C. State College faculty to join the Office of Price Administration, remained there six months, then was drafted, in the spring of 1943. 

[LJA to Children, 7 Dec., 1983]

Second, My Activities at the Institute Centrale in Rome.

My father was a very democratic man; that is, he treated every man equally.

Regardless of color or nationality (black, Mexican, Finnish, Norwegian, Chinese, whatever). Regardless of social status (banker, hired hand, bum, whatever). Regardless of belief (LDS, non-LDS, radical, conservative, whatever). He treated everyone with respect, with dignity. My father enjoyed being liked. Did not want to disappoint people. Was not condescending or patronizing. Was not insensitive. Was not cruel. Did not laugh at people’s problems.

With that example, all of us in the family more or less imitated. I never had any prejudice against talking with, eating with, working with any person. This was demonstrated when I went to N. C. and became fascinated with blacks and had many conversations with them.

When I went to Rome and was placed at the Institute Centrale di Statistica, I could not act in a military way. Although I was “in charge” I could not treat the employees as defeated enemies, nor could I act like an Italian general who treated his troops as inferiors and was cruel and arbitrary. They were people, and I treated them equally just as my father had treated his hired hands. So they responded warmly to “il Dottore.” I attended their musical concerts Sunday afternoons. I was invited to participate in staff picnics in the country, and went with them. I was invited, with other employees, into homes for piano recitals, for games, for snacks. I don’t know whether any of this shows up in my letters from Rome, but I formed friendships, and had a good relationship with my staff, just as I did (I think) with my staff in the Church Historian’s Office.

[LJA to Children, 10 Aug., 1989]

One other brush with history. My experience during World War II. The memory tends to sanitize events, partly out of patriotic feeling and partly out of moral feeling. The war was important, we had to win it, we feel happy to have been a part of the effort, and we forget the grievances and complaints, the cruelty and corruption. Human nature is not perfect; not everyone strives to do right. I once saw an American soldier let a little boy shine his shoes. When the little boy held out his hand for pay, the soldier kicked him and walked away.

[LJA to Children, 29 Nov., 1989]

Recently I bought myself a copy of WARTIME: UNDERSTANDING AND BEHAVQOR IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR by Paul Fussell. I spent much of the day reading most of it. It is a book about the impact of the war on common soldiers and civilians. He analyzes the ways in which people dealt with the unacceptable realities of the war, particularly the damage the war did to intellect, honesty and individuality. Fussell was a lieutenant in a rifle platoon in France and had a first-hand acquaintance with what he describes. He later went on to achieve the Ph. D. in literature at Harvard, and has a distinguished career as a teacher, writer, scholar, and critic at the University of Pennsylvania.

There are two things that I had forgotten about my Army experience, particularly in North Africa; namely, the cruelty of our platoon sergeant, Manuel Garcia of Los Angeles, and the Army language, which was filthy and obscene.

Our platoon, prisoner of war processing platoon, had two cliques. The one of which I was a part was a group of Southern university boys: Blackwell P. Robinson, history student at the Univ. of North Carolina, who was a cousin or nephew or some kind of relative of Eudora Welti, a respected Mississippi writer; Ward, a UNC law school graduate and lawyer in Smithfield, N. C.; Bo Allen, a chemistry student at UNC from North Wilkesboro, N. C.; Worth Jones, a would-be student in Spanish at UNC who was from Hickory, a mill town in western N.C.; and Evan Williams, from Tupalo, Mississippi, who ended up as a rural mailman, just retired. The other clique was made up of Italian-Americans from the Detroit area, all essentially uneducated, and mostly speaking with some Italian accent: Francesco Netti; Martello; Ciatti; and others.

Sergeant Garcia was big and rugged, and quite possibly led a gang in L.A. His mother, I think, was in charge of a bordello in L. A. He had a little accent, but mostly had it in for us N. C. boys. He thought we thought we were a little better than the rest, and he was determined to show us that he was boss. He put us on KP (kitchen police) duty often, made us do guard duty often, chewed us out often, punished us by making us do extra exercises, denied us privileges like passes, and so on. We had no recourse, of course, and had to put up with him.

As for the language, it was partly a product of the petty injustices and grudges of the soldiers. No one complained, particularly, of the overcrowding, lack of privacy, general boredom, deprivation of personality. There were plenty of jokes about Army food, such as it was, but not really complaint–that went with the war. But soldiers objected to policies, procedures, officers, and noncoms, who made our life worse than it needed to be–the petty harassment by noncoms in authority, the sadism disguised as necessary discipline, insistence on the letter instead of the spirit of regulations. Things that had nothing to do with winning the war. The military obsession with haircuts, public verbal humiliation, snap inspections, generating maximum anxiety over matters of minimum significance. The Army seemed to bring out the worst in everybody. Soldiers developed obscene words and expressions, all-purpose expletives that I cannot bring myself to duplicate, as a device for registering their disdain, their contempt, their scorn for what was going on-as an approved way of expressing bitterness and anger. I guess the real irony is that our soldiers were heroes fully as much as those in any literature, but their words destroyed the concept of themselves, of their associates, of all soldiers, of war itself, as heroic.

The anodyne to the damage to selfhood, the boredom, the silliness of the regulations, the unfair treatment, was a recourse to drunkenness. Everyone, it seemed, felt that he had a constitutional right to get drunk. When they couldn’t get wine or whiskey, they drank methyl alcohol or aftershave lotion, or locally produced poison alcohol. We were told that the officers were given two bottles of hard liquor each month, just as a matter of policy.

Most of this never got to the people back home. Army blunderings, which resulted in many deaths, were hushed up, writers who accentuated the positive, were employed. The war was sanitized and romanticized, Norman Rockwellized. Few on the homefront ever realized that the war destroyed many human beings, friendly as well as enemy. The general impression gained from journalists and from the letters home (which were heavily censored) were that officers were admired (anything to the contrary cut out from letters), that soldiers were frightened but dutiful (not all were), that everyone on the Allied side was sort of nice.

I had conveniently forgotten most of this, and it is a little painful to be reminded of the negative aspects of my Army experience. What it taught me, I suppose, is that human nature is not inherently benevolent and cheerful. War is evil, horrible, indescribably bad. It may be inevitable, it may be the lesser of two evils, and I believe World War II was, but we must not overlook the damage it did to our values, our standards, our sense of right, our being children of God, with ultimately divine potentiality. There was, however, we must remember, nobility, greatness, heroism, gallantry, intelligence, and goodness. For which I thank God. And I thank God for the good years that I have had since I was discharged. If for a period I was deprived, fellow-traveler in a vulgar, offensive environment, I have been blessed with a fulfilled and satisfying life ever since. People I have associated with have been generous, tolerant, imaginative, high-minded, and charming. And I thank God for having been introduced at the beginning of the war, to E. B. White, whose “One Man’s Meat,” helped me to concentrate on the real life: on nature, chickens, flowers, trees, cows, good people, and the Lord’s blessings. Many of my letters from overseas carried that tone. After the war, I found a home in economics, history, and association with good people. May your own lives be as sweet and satisfying!

[LJA to Children, 30 Dec., 1989]

It is interesting to watch the news broadcasts—filled with homecomings of soldiers and outbursts of patriotism. I was just thinking of my own homecoming. The war ended in August 1945, but they didn’t get around to sending me home until January 1946. And when we landed, no band, no placards, no meeting of the ship by the President or the General of the Army, nor anybody. They took us to a port office where we were all duly registered and checked off (after 2 days wait). Then we were told to go to our home the best way we knew how (I took train to Raleigh, N.C.) and to report as soon as possible to Fort Bragg, N.C. for discharge. I took the train, we had a day or two, then headed for Fort Bragg, and I got my discharge. Very matter-of-fact, no celebration, no medals. I’m glad the soldiers are home, and I’m glad people are showing their appreciation for them, but how long can it last? Take the soldiers who come home six months from now—what kind of appreciation will be shown to the sad sacks like I was? We were so unimportant that they left us behind until the important ones had all gone home. Oh well, we did get home!

[LJA to Children, 14 Mar., 1991]

With the celebrations of the 50-year anniversary of VE Day, the end of the war in Europe, I looked in my letters to see what I had written that day from Rome. It was a four-pager, and it said that the Italians were celebrating, the British troops were celebrating, but very little celebration of American troops. We still had another war to fight—against the Japanese. The papers had pointed out that it would take 8 million troops to invade Japan, of which 2 million would come from troops in Europe. My colleagues and I supposed we would be among those transferred to the Pacific front. Considering Okinawa, we supposed the casualties would be heavy. I have nothing but contempt for the revisionist historians who think we goofed by dropping the atomic bomb. We probably saved the lives of many millions of troops and civilians, both American and Japanese. Dreadful as was the bomb, the invasion of Japan would have killed millions.

[LJA to Children, 8 May, 1995]

I watched the TV series (8 hours) on World War I. Very well done. Interesting to see comparisons between WWI and WWII. On the latter, one regret is the two armies–the officers and the enlisted men. All through North Africa our platoon ate C rations, while the officers had a mess of regular food cooked for them. Never once did an officer eat with us and never once did any of us eat a regular meal. Some democratic army!

I told you I thought Truman made the only decision he could on the atom bomb and that would have been the loss of 1 million Americans to make the invasion of Japan. Well, I thought of another factor of importance. There were 100,000 American prisoners of war in Japan. Japanese officers had issued an order that every one of them was to be killed in the event of an invasion. As an enlisted man who could have been redeployed to Japan and as a friend of persons who had been taken prisoner, I am grateful for the bomb, despite the tragedy that made it necessary. 

[LJA to Children, 21 Nov., 1996]

Dear Children:

This is beginning to look like one-letter-each-day week. I don’t apologize, because it is doing me good if it isn’t doing you harm.

I just saw the PBS documentary on the GI Bill, and thought I ought to emphasize its role in my life. The GI Bill was passed in 1944 because the nation was fearful that the end of the war would put 12 million veterans on the streets without jobs. The law had three parts:

1. Unemployment compensation for veterans without jobs. They would get $20 per week for up to 52 weeks. This had no application for me because I had a job at N.C. State from the time I returned in January 1946 until June, and then had accepted a position at USAC beginning in July 1946. But millions of vets did receive these benefits.

2. G. I. Loan. Veterans could buy homes at 4 percent interest for up to 40 years. The loan was guaranteed to banks by the Federal Government. I bought our home in Logan for $6300 in July 1946, put $1,300 of mine and Grace’s savings down and borrowed $5,000 on the GI Bill from Cache Valley Bank. I had to pay $50 per month to pay it off in 10 years, so our old home was clear by the time we sold it to move into our new one. 

3. G. I. Bill. They paid for your education. When you enrolled in a course at the University they paid tuition, $50 per month maintenance for singles, and the cost of books. I signed up for USAC courses each summer while I went to the Church Archives to work, and so received some compensation. I also received compensation during the year 1949-50 that I was in Chapel Hill. Finally, I received compensation from Jan to July 1952 when I went back to finish my Ph.D. So I received welcome financial help. And in those days $75 a month for a married vet with family was good income.

Thousands, millions, of veterans went to college who would not have done so without the G. I. Bill. Approximately 2.5 million veterans, including 60,000 women and 70,000 blacks, took advantage of the G. I. Bill. At a cost of $5.5 billion we trained 450,000 engineers, 240,000 accountants, 240,000 teachers, 91,000 scientists, 67,000 doctors, 22,000 dentists, 17,000 writers and editors, and thousands, millions, of others. By granting a paid education to every qualified veteran, the bill transformed our colleges and universities, changed the educational goals of our nation, and fueled a giddy postwar boom.

Everybody thought few veterans would go to school; most thought they would go back to their farms and factories and stay there. The Saturday Evening Post was so confident of this that they commissioned an article entitled “G. I.’s Reject Education.” Within a year of the time the article was published there were a million veterans in school under the bill. The bill guaranteed military personnel a year of education for 90 days service, plus one month for each month of active duty for a maximum of 48 months. Tuition, fees, books, and supplies up to $500 a year would be paid directly to the college and university.

Total enrollment at universities doubled. There were not enough beds, teachers, classrooms, and laboratories. USAC and other colleges brought in Quonset huts and surplus barracks. My first class was in an old barracks. No one was prepared for the deluge of married couples and families—at least half the veterans at USAC were married. They lived in trailer camps, and had their own LDS Quonset hut for their student branch (later ward). Students were on the high council, in bishoprics, and Relief Society presidencies. Some college traditions were suspended: the freshman beanie skullcap worn by entering freshman was unthinkable for veterans. No 25-year-old-freshman who had gone through the Battle of the Bulge and had a wife and two kids was going to put on a beanie cap.

The highly motivated vets were excellent students. Grade-point averages went up. Flunk-outs and absenteeism hit an all-time low. Classrooms and labs were used all day, even on Saturdays. Professors used to teaching a dozen or two dozen students suddenly had 150 students in a class. In the three 5-hour classes I taught in the fall of 1946 I had 46 in one, 41 in another, and 110 in the third.

I realized the importance of the G. I. Bill in my Ph.D. In the Preface to my dissertation I included this sentence:

I acknowledge the subsidies obtained from a kind and considerate government under the G. I. Bill (Public Law 346).

Blessings to all of you.

[LJA to Children, 22 Oct., 1997]

Next Tuesday will be Armistice Day. I thought it would be interesting to see what I wrote on Armistice Day when I was in the Army.

Here’s what I wrote from our P.O.W. Camp at Ber Rachid in Morocco on Thursday, November 11, 1943. This was a five-page letter, and I do not copy everything but just samples:

Today is Armistice Day. Our unit did not remember in any way the purpose for which this day was set aside. We worked right on thru 11:00 A.M. Yet every soldier deep down in his mind is observing, in a fitting way, the war his father’s fought. The young men fighting this war are less idealistic than their fathers were. They are more serious, more determined, more resolute. They know that an idealistic world cannot be built up when the fighting is over. They know that this war will not be the last war and that our military victory does not assure winning the peace. This is not a singing Army. It is an Army of pretty realistic fellows.

On this Armistice Day our attitude should be one of resolute determination to see the fight thru, and to put into the unfinished business department a determination to make an effort to peace. These soldiers are too close to death, suffering, and hardship to forget what their fathers went thru. The last war was not useless. It taught us a lesson. We must never betray the fine boys who are doing so much for us in this war. 

We worked today. We also got our PX rations. I’ve been feeling good today. I have a good appetite. There are several sick boys in our tent. Erale, Robinson, and Helsdon have colds. Ward and Allen are sick from too much wine. Williams and I are the only healthy ones in the tent right now.

I love you my darling.


My letter of November 11, 1944, said not a word about Armistice Day. It was written in Rome, where I had gone to work for the Allied Commission for Italy assistant to Major Tooby, and Englishman, who was in charge of the Central Institute of Statistics. He did virtually nothing during his months there, and left it all up to me. Don’t know what other duties he had, must have had some. I sent Grace $90 that I had saved to buy a camera; I commented on the people I worked with; I told her of a plan I had to furnish a Christmas to a bunch of poor kids in Rome; and told her about the operas I was seeing. I wrote the following: “There are some reasons for believing that an opera is the supreme artistic creation of man, for it is a combination of many arts, all beautifully blended together to accomplish a pleasant sensation of deep emotion: orchestral music, individual solos, choral music, acting, play writing, dress design, background and lighting.”

On November 11, 1945 I was in Milan, Italy, working with the Committee for Price Control in Northern Italy. It was a Sunday, and I wrote:

Today is Armistice Day, but nobody did anything special. There are only about 30 G.I.s stationed here. Mr. Stauffer has a conference and I’m sure I’ll be there all day tomorrow. I’ve spent most of the day reading Time, talking with Malcolm, my roommate, and staying in bed covered up because it is cold—a damp cold and my asthma is acting up. Here are some impressions of Italians: (1) They are not house-staying people, but spend a lot of time out on the streets, in restaurants, bars, etc. Consequently, at all hours of the day and evening the principal streets are filled with people. (2) Italians lack the stuff of real religion. A majority don’t go to church and never think about religion. Religion is a minor part of the life of most of them, just as it is in the life of a soldier. (3) Italians are a very demonstrative people. They talk a lot and use many gestures. (4) Italians hate Germans, and somewhat less the British and Russians. They like Americans because we are more easy-going, generous, democratic, and easy to get acquainted with. (5) Everybody talks about a revolution this winter between the Communists and the Monarchists. We made a big mistake in allowing the English to impose the rule of “Allow the monarchy to remain.” We should not have permitted it. The Italian people really desire to get rid of the monarchy. (6) The longer I stay in Italy the more I love America.

Don’t send any more packages or letters after December 1, because after that they will have me moving about and getting ready to go home, which will happen about Christmastime.

Those are three letters from overseas on November 11, 1943, ’44, and ’45. I returned to Raleigh in January 1946 and taught winter and spring quarters at N.C. State and Meredith College. In July we were in Logan at our old house on Fifth East. I was teaching at USAC beginning in September. So what did I write in my diary in November 11, 1946?

November 11. Armistice Holiday. Studied. Grace was appointed chairman of preparing eats for a big bazaar supper for 400 to raise money for the Tenth Ward Budget.

Love to all of you.

[LJA to Children, 9 Nov., 1997]