WAR LETTERS: LEVITY - 1944 Philippines


How does a soldier physically and psychologically survive
the anguish and hardships of war? Humor in the face of adversity can help.
The following are three letters, beginning with one from the Civil War,
which describe moments when war and battle were briefly suspended.

1944 Philippines

First Lieutenant John R. Sandberg sent this letter to his parents in Lincoln, Nebraska. Lieutenant Sandberg tells us he was with the Psychological Warfare branch in the Southwest Pacific area, on detached service to the 308th Bomb Wing in the Philippines.

September 15, 1944, The Philippines, Southwest Pacific Area
First Lieutenant John R. Sandberg

September 15, 1944
The Philippines

Had an interesting experience the other night. Lew Ayres, the former movie actor ("All Quiet on the Western Front", "Dr. Kildare") spoke in chapel, and the choir sang for the event. As you may have read, Ayres is a pacifist and plans to go into the ministry after the war. Right now he is a chaplain's assistant nearby.

About the middle of his talk the red alert was sounded, the lights put out, and he went on. Most of us think we can tell the sound of a Jap plane, and one mean drone had everyone pricking up his ears. About that time we hear the fluttery swish that means a bomb, and Lew's audience was in the aisles, not to mention between the rows and in the drainage ditches. You would have gotten a kick out of seeing the bass and baritone section roll over backwards as one man. Real precision and unison! Lew remained standing and asked, "Were those bombs?" Someone replied, "Them was bombs, Lew!" But they weren't close, and after a brief period of brushing off and slightly nervous laughter, the talk went on.




1862 Missouri          1944 Philippines
1945 Luxembourg