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April 12, 1942

Sunday Ft, Hughes

I’m still sweaty and smelly. They assure us that our bombers bombed in this area today and the Japanese evening broadcast verified it for us. Starting a little before noon our gang, With the help of a few Army men, took over two 12″ mortars and we fired 26 rounds having to knock off for a Japanese shelling and then resume fire again. Our fellows get a mighty kick out of it. At all other times they are kept busy as hell toting stuff up this damn hill. Since the salt and fresh water lines are not functioning – all water (and everything else) has to be carried up by hand. It’s a job. My only discomfort so far has been constipation – a helluva thing to mention here but my whole system has been pretty well shocked by the suddenness and extent of this change. I said I’d describe my surroundings, so here goes. Ft. Hughes is an island not over a mile long and quite high. The eastern end is flat and all the rest quite precipitous and fairly high. It has four 12″ mortars and two 14″ rifles and numerous small guns. We are housed in a casemate of one of the mortars. It is about half way up the hill, approached from both ends by tunnel. The “Wardroom” has cots crowded together side by side with barely space for us all and no facilities. The bulkheads and overhead are reinforced concrete but large timber shoring has been placed at various points as an after thought to protect against bombings. Everything is miserably dusty and we all stink. Each afternoon about 5 o’clock a large part of the officers gather in one corner with gin or alcohol, obtained from Lord-knows-where, and fortify themselves with a concoction of lemon extract, water and grain alcohol. A little shameful, I think. Obviously this fort was not designed for war — or anything else for that matter. The guns are here but no provisions for living with them. Now that there are enough men to man the guns —- the place is miserably inadequate; no galleys, no heads; no berthing space; no water -— no nothing. I almost forgot the main decoration in the “Wardroom” – many Petty girls from “Esquire” on all bulkheads, furniture, overheads, and other available space. We have brought an ice box up from the ship now. Frankly, darling, I hope there isn’t too much of this because I don’t like it although I can adjust myself. Some cannot. The Army officers have been very nice – the colonel O.K.