This is a letter home from Frank Murphy.
He is standing behind my Father, Frank Padden, in Crew Picture #5
When this letter was written, V-E day had occurred on May 8.
Ernie Pyle died on April 18, 1945 at an island just off Okinawa.
The men were preparing for the next invasion-China or Japan.
May 28, 1945-aboard the USS Neshoba APA 216
How you doing? As for myself, everything's okay. But the spirit isn't quite to normal assumption. Due to the fact that there is a war on, that I've just gotten back from part of it, and I'm right here in the dear old USA, and unable to get leave, doesn't seem right does it? Then to, about ten days from now we'll be back to sea again. Where the climate is hot, the chow is poor, not too much sleep, your company isn't so friendly, and no mail (By the way I'm not getting any now either). I've often wondered why so many fellows can keep that good faith, and why so few of you can't even compare, never had to sleep on a battle station have you?
I wish you could see my little place of business, where I work, sleep and do everything but eat. Would do that too if I could. I have just freshly painted it and everything seems so clean and bright. I think it is swell. I always like everything that way, it's quite cozy. It is painted white with the two desks and two file cabinets light gray.
I can't get away from the subject leave- I want it so bad. But there is such a drive on in the Pacific, especially for the men that are assigned to ships. It seems every available man and ship must be used and I'd almost sacrifice anything to bring this thing to a conclusion. But gee! We went right to Japan almost and went thru so much hell and it seems that it couldn't be fair coming so close back home and not getting to see you. It has been our prospect that we would make a trip to Europe and pick up men there and bring them to the Pacific. But my opinion has changed quite some bit. I figure that we will be on another invasion within three months, either occupied China or striking nearer Tokyo.
If you might be interested in our cruise since we left San Francisco on January 6th, I'll cut you in on the dope. We went to Pearl Harbor, from there to Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands, from there to Ulithi, and from there we went to the Palau Islands. From there we went to Leyte and got there in time for some of the Philippine campaign. We then went on maneuvers south of Leyte and after completing this we went on the invasion of Okinawa.
Before we left Leyte, or where the invasion forces grouped, we had aboard Neshoba Ernie Pyle's staff. He was a grand fellow. The Neshoba led the convoy of Attack Transports and it was escorted by Destroyer Escorts, Destroyers, Mine Sweepers, and Carriers. Before we got there, there were several Submarines there. Just about sundown every evening we'd pick up several mines laid in the waters by Jap war planes. They sure tried to stop us. They laid mines just ahead of us, but they didn't out smart anybody. We were all prepared.
It was a time where mama's babies, bullies, salts, generals and privates put there heads together. Where the greatest of top secrecy was thrown around on decks and crammed in some private's pocket. All guns shot the same ammunition. The greatest amusement of the journey was a Brig. General, second in command of the 96th Army Division. You couldn't tell whether he was scared or just happy. But he sure boosted the Boys with his speeches on the boat deck each evening. When we arrived there, we found everybody had come to the meeting. We pulled in beside some of our famous neighbors, the Battleship ALABAMA, the Cruiser BIRMINGHAM, and a hell of a lot more.
Coming back from Okinawa, we picked up Jap prisoners from Iwo Jima and brought them back to Pearl Harbor. In a magazine a couple of days ago, I found three of these Jap prisoners picture in it. I wish I had enough to send you all one, but can't.
We can say the combat war is over in Europe, but there will be a great political war over there, one that never has been encountered. It will be communism and broken democracy. For the first few years, communist ideas will have a tendency to overcome democratic, because it can give immediate action. But don't worry, democracy will never die.
I find dear old San Francisco in one of its' blooms on life. She sure is a crowded place now. I'm taking a competitive examination for advancement in rating while I'm in San Francisco. As you know, the ten days I got off last Christmas knocked me out of examination. If everything comes out okay, I'll make another advancement the 1st of the month.
These days, even while in port, are found to be miserable and lonesome. I'll be so darn glad when this is over with. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Truly good people here. There just isn't any more I can say at this time. Don't forget there's a Soldier, a Marine, and a Sailor right in your own family who is just wishing their life away to hear from, be with, and see you. We are fighting for the things that are back there, and when we hear from you we kinda feel that all is well. And may I say, "I'm beginning to see the light."
Worlds of love to all,