Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

July 19, 2013

Corsicana man’s letter recounts WWII experience

Corsicana — A letter written 68 years ago surfaced recently in Corsicana, detailing a Corsicana man’s experiences in World War II.

Cecil Aldama, who wrote the letter as a young man fighting in the Philippines in February 1945, did make it home to Texas but then died picking vegetables in a field after being struck by lightning.

“He served in the war, was happily married, and then killed by lightening,” said his sister Eva Marie (Aldama) Barlow of Chatfield.

His sister kept the letter all these years.

“I’m one of those people who keep things forever,” she said. “It’s history, is the way I look at it. It means a lot to the family.”

Cecil’s letter to his sister avoided the military censors because he had a friend who was being furloughed home mail it when the friend got back stateside. It’s a four-page letter on tissue-thin paper, only slightly faded by time. It was mailed with two one-cent stamps.

The entire letter is transcribed and available to the right of this story.

Below are some excerpts from the letter:

Dear Sis,

I guess by the heading of this letter you think there is something fishy, eh? Well there is, if you will notice that the envelope does not have my return address. That is because this was mailed in the states by a friend of mine that is getting an emergency furlough to go home. He is now packing his bag and getting ready to leave in the morning.

Well, before I go any further I am hoping that this letter finds you in the best of health. And tell mother and dad and the kids all hello and may we be together again very soon...


Aldama was in the U.S. Army aboard a hospital ship that sailed around New Guinea, now Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines. He spends much of the letter talking about the ports he’s been in, as well as a little of the action they’ve seen.

Biak is where we had Jap Raids at two and three o’clock in the morning. The first time that we saw dead Japs all over. Much equipment and many Japes were still all around. Next to Biak comes Sansapor, which is another place where we had a Jap air raid. That was in October of ‘44. It was still plenty hot around there. Then came Moratai, this is a small island which was so dangerous when we were there that they couldn’t go out with out an armed guard.

Now comes the Philippines and I am now in Leyte, which is APO 72. The APO in Luzon is 70 so if and when I change APOs again. It will be in Luzon, probably Manila. Hope so. About Ramon Carrizales. Well, he was a prisoner here in the Philippines, but we were told that a lot of prisoners were moved to Formosa another island close to Halmejae. We rescued a lot of prisoners. I will try to get the list of names. I may see his name. That is why I want to know what his old outfit was.
(Formosa is now known as Taiwan -- Editor’s note.)

Well now that I’ve told you all that I will tell you how I came across. Well we left San Francisco Harbor Oct. 27 at 8 a.m. aboard the U.S.S. Monticello which can carry ten thousand troops. It use to be an Italian ship. It’s a giant of a ship. We landed in Sydney then went by train to Brisbane then to New Guinea.

The guy, his name is Philip Lenkowitz, he lives in Tucson, Arizona, that is taking this for me will leave tomorrow. If he goes by plane he will get there in a week. I mean the letter, he will probably get in three or four days. But if he goes by ship it will probably take every bit of three weeks to a month to get, if and when ever you get it. Please let me know right away if you received this letter how you like the places I’ve been. I’ve been in all the places I’ve mentioned except Formosa, which is a Japanese held island.

The Philippines is civilized and we expect to go to Manila next trip. There is a little fighting there now but not much. I will tell you about the “Jasman” our ship. (Probably the U.S.A.H.S. Jasmine- Ed.). She is a five thousand ton ship. We carry from 300 to 400 patients and our speed is about fourteen knots. About sixteen miles an hour, which is fast. A Liberty ship makes from seven to eight knots. You know before the invasion of Leyte there were so many ships in Hollandia Bay all around those small island in that picture in Life, that when i went up on a mountain to look down I couldn’t see any water there were so many ships so close together. It was a grand sight. Here in Leyte you can see ships as far as the eye can see. We had a raid here in Leyte the other trip around the first of Feb. An fuel tank was hit and it burned for two days. As I was running I bumped into an iron post and got a black eye. A casualty (Ha ha).

Well we may get to Australia again. I don’t know but I guess I will close for now. I hope you have enjoyed this letter. I tried to tell you everything I can think of. I probably miss a lot but hope you like it. Translate it to mom and dad. After the Philippines I will either be the China coast or Japan itself. I heard on the radio where they landed on a Japanese island close to Japan. It could be Japan, it might be China. Who knows?


It probably won’t be long before they make another beach head somewhere.

Six months after Cecil Aldama wrote this letter, the first atomic bomb was dropped in Japan. The Japanese surrendered on Sept. 2, 1945.

—————

Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • 7-25-14 AgriLife additions.jpg AgriLife adds two new agents to Navarro office

    It’s been awhile since the AgriLife Extension office in Navarro County has been fully staffed, but it’s going great guns now.
    New to the staff are Meredith DeBorde, and Lorie Stovall, who will be heading up the 4-H programs and the family and consumer programs, respectively.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff seeks salary shuffle

    Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner went to the County Commissioner’s budget workshop Thursday to ask for a change of how his officers are compensated, or, alternately, an 8 percent across-the-board raise.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7-25-14 CAC boat.jpg Floating a big fundraiser idea

    The big night is fast approaching for the 10 Grand Country Jam, an Aug. 2 fundraiser for the Child Advocates of Navarro County. What will make it a big night is the grand prize, a $31,000 pontoon boat.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Candelario Garcia Jr. (main) Honoring a hero

    Since March of this year, the family of Candelario Garcia Jr. has been so proud of him, they could burst.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • County Budget Commissioners start budget process

    The Navarro County Commissioner’s Court held its first budget workshop Wednesday, the first of a dozen or more over the next month or so.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-23-14 pianos main.jpg Public pianos invite players

    Corsicana has always been a musical town, with emphasis on country and western, rock and roll, bluegrass and Gospel, but now the parks and recreation department is moving towards bringing music to the masses in a different way. They’re going to put pianos downtown, on the sidewalks for anyone to play at random.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Navarro County 4-H Club holds event

    Texas A&M AgriLife Extention will hold Summer Exploration Days at the Navarro County Expo on Tuesday, July 29 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

    July 22, 2014

  • New date for IPL Job Fair announced

    Tarrant Regional Water District IPL (integrated pipe line) Project will hold a Job Fair from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 at The Cook Center.

    July 22, 2014

  • Making voting easier

    A new county-wide voting system would let voters cast a ballot at any polling place on election day, eliminating the need to drive to a specific precinct to vote.

    July 22, 2014

  • Aaron Tidwell Tidwell tapped for top Mildred High post

    A baseball coach at heart, about a year ago Aaron Tidwell began to seriously focus on education administration. He just didn’t think an opportunity would present itself so soon. Mildred Independent School District board members approved the 31-year-old Corsicana native as the high school’s new principal Monday night.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo