|HOME FROM SITKA
With as much nonchalance as if he were posing beside a sign pointing to Starved Rock, Ill., Russell Jones, Radio Man 2/c, poses beside a Sitka (Alaska) national park directing sign. He spent 21 months up there on scout plane duty and while he says it was pretty dull, it was exciting to see a different part of his vast country. USO troupes visited there often and the last Russell saw was the one with Ingrid Berman, who sang Swedish songs dressed in Swedish costume, and seemed to be a very nice girl. The son of Mr. and Mrs. William M. Jones, 3117 N. Damen, he will report to an eastern station after his leave and will be sent to some other battle front.
EAT ‘TILL THEY RESEMBLE ‘STUFFED OLIVES’
Transporting ex-Jap prisoners and watching them fill themselves with food until they looked “like stuffed olives,” was the most pleasant job he ever had, writes Russell L. Jones, RM2/c, while aboard the USS Marathon, a troop transport enroute from Nagasaki to Okinawa.
“The prisoners had their first hot meal aboard the Marathon, and they really ate,” Russell wrote his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William M. Jones, 3117 N. Damen.
“They ate so much that they now have fat bulging stomachs, and it’s quite funny to see the long skinny arms and legs for such fat little tummies,” he wrote.
Although only 21, Russell is an acute observer of life, and vividly describes all that he sees in his letters. His ship was torpedoed off Okinawa last July, but it was patched up and sent to evacuate prisoners from Japan. He writes: Rode Out Typhoon “Patched up, we left Okinawa in the early morning. On our way out the Port Director told all large vessels to leave immediately as a heavy typhoon was coming our way.
“We were put under command of a cruiser and had to stay with it as protection in event the storm harmed our patched side. It was very rough and even those heavy battlewagons were tossed around, so you can see the Might Marathon took a beating.
“When we entered Nagasaki bay a mine sweeper came out and led us in. We saw the outskirts of town and could see Japs walking along the roads or riding bicycles into town.
“There were two aircraft carriers, destroyers and a few other ships in the bay, but the only Jap ships were two merchant ships just built, and a couple of sunken ships.
“All day the prisoners, American, Dutch, English and Australian, were brought aboard and some were so weak they had to be helped up the ship’s ladder.
Talked with Oliver: “I talked with a prisoner whose name is Oliver and he lives on Sheridan Road, not very far from our home. He’s a Sergeant and was in a machine gun company on Bataan when it fell to the Nips. He’s a large man but if you could see his starved body, you would knows that regardless of any shortage of food at home, you people are a thousand times better fed.
“One Dutch prisoner said that at his camp they ate rats if they could catch them. He said all they got was a cupped handful of uncooked rise, and perhaps a little soup which consisted of water and a few vegetables.
“When the Japs heard of the end of the war they started being nice to the men, but the prisoners took over. They took swords from Jap officers, their money, and even took over their railroads. The Jap officials would keep asking them if they were to be put on General MacArthur’s criminal list. When the prisoners wanted something they gave the Nips a piece of paper with MacArthur’s name on it.
“These prisoners have been through hell. You can bet we enjoyed seeing their happy faces as they came aboard, and I think they deserve the best in life,” concluded Russell.
Seaman Russell enlisted in the Navy at the age of 18 over 3-½ years ago. A brother, William, 18, is entering the Navy this week.