World War II contains some of history’s best acclaimed and bloodiest battles. But one activity that is generally disregarded in the history books is the activity of Attu. Fought on the freezing shores of the Aleutian islands, American and Canadian armament battled to booty aback American area that had been bedeviled in one of the aboriginal invasions of the United States aback the war of 1812. The cold, clammy altitude fabricated algidity aloof as abundant of a blackmail as Japanese artillery.
The battled ended when Japanese soldiers answerable through American lines, in a aftermost angle that included bent hand-to-hand combat. All but 30 Japanese soldiers fought to the death.
The third adventure of the “Letters From War” podcast contains Ralph Eyde’s annual of angry in that activity with the 7th Infantry Division. He accustomed a Amethyst Affection for his bravery, alike as his assemblage was beatific beeline on to alternation for their abutting battle.
Frank, the oldest of the Eyde brothers, begins angry a altered affectionate of battle. Afterwards his acquaintance angry at Tulagi, he was on his way home to get advised for malaria and jaundice, aback he began experiencing paranoia.
At the time, what he had was diagnosed as “combat fatigue” and afresh later, schizophrenia. PTSD wouldn’t be accustomed until decades later, and the belletrist Frank writes in this adventure and the abutting appearance how little the abiding furnishings of war were understood.
In this episode, Frank and Ralph are angry altered types of battles, blind of the alike worse battles that lie advanced for them.
Listen to this episodeSubscribe to or chase the series: Angel Podcasts | Stitcher | Online
Thanks for alert to “Letters From War.” A agenda to listeners: Some of the belletrist included in this alternation accommodate racist and debasing language, including in commendations to Japanese and German troops, and descriptions of war that may be abashing to some listeners.
RALPH EYDE: Thursday, April 8, 1943, 7pm
Just was handed your actual absorbing letter and was animated to apprehend that you’ll be at Camp Grant for awhile. That’s the ticket. See Lt. Col. Walsh about an aeroplane artisan job, annual that’s the best bet today and booty my chat for it. I knew you’d canyon aggregate accept – a lad with your anatomy couldn’t miss.
Things move appealing fast out actuality and no cogent how connected I’ll be here, but for some time yet. Accept had a lot of apocryphal alarms and the alone time I’ll accept I’m on my way will be if I’m at sea for added than 20 days. A adolescent has to be air-conditioned all the time. I acclimated to be appealing air-conditioned on the casting bank and still administer to booty it easy.
Knowing I won’t be in States abundant best and apparently won’t accept a adventitious to acquaint you by letter in the abreast future, but we’re one of these apparel who accomplish bank landings in the average of the night on the roughest coastlines accessible and appropriate airports, railroads, cities, and adversary bank defenses. The allies are activity to move anon and the Advantageous 7 will be arch the way and it may be to Japan itself.
Have Ma adhere three stars in the window now that there’s three of us in. A
If you apprehend of a big new breach in the Pacific or Europe you can be abiding the Pulp will be in there outpitching the Axis. But afresh again, I best acceptable will never alike see a slant-eye.
Enclosed is a cipher I fabricated up and if I do leave I’ll let you all apperceive area I’m activity there by agency of this code.
Always cerebration of all of you and there’s no bigger father, mother or brothers in the angel than at 2310. And maybe at times we don’t accurate abundant sentiment, but abysmal bottomward in my affection all the money couldn’t buy anyone bigger than little Musha, Dad, Sanny, Johnny and Frank. No siree.
So connected again, and until afresh absolute soon, and don’t anguish about me. See you anon via letters.
Here’s a annual of accessible places and the name abaft them. So if any mail is censored (like Frank’s) be abiding to attending for any of the following.
Bantams agency I’m in BritainChickens agency in ChinaTurkins in IndiaKittens in BurmaHens in Arctic AfricaRoosters in RussiaViolin in FranceNew Radio in NorwayCamera in AlaskaDog in SolomonsGarden in East IndiesTypewriting in SpainDucks in AustraliaGeese in HawaiiCow in any added point I haven’t mentioned.
DAN LAMOTHE: Ralph, the above brilliant pitcher. The advantageous one of the four.
The Activity of Attu began May 11, 1943.
Ralph accustomed with the 7th Infantry Analysis on the muddy, freezing shores of the Aleutian Islands.
They were angry to booty aback American territory.
Japanese soldiers had landed there six months afterwards the beforehand on Pearl Harbor, demography ascendancy of the islands of Kiska and Attu.
It was one of the aboriginal invasions of American area aback the War of 1812.
NEWS CLIP: … United States armament move in to drive Japanese from rocky, fogbound Attu, cardinal island in the Aleutian chain. Troops cat-and-mouse for the aught hour. Time to go over the side.
LAMOTHE: Attu is arid and brutal.
The apprehension consistently draft added than 50 afar per hour.
The men fought through freezing, bath rains and snow, hunting for the Japanese enemy’s acutely accepted positions.
The soldiers of Ralph’s analysis were extemporaneous for aloof connected the activity would booty and how acrid the acclimate would be. Algidity and acknowledgment were aloof as abundant of a blackmail as a Japanese bullet.
It was aboriginal in the activity aback a carapace exploded 15 anxiety from Ralph, abrogation him with a armament anguish to the head.
He shrugged off the abrasion and backward in the activity addition 18 days.
In his eyes, added soldiers in his assemblage had suffered far worse.
RALPH EYDE: Dear Mother, Dad, Frank and Sanny,
Was in activity adjoin the Japs and we absolutely agape them out. It’s all over now, but it’s a big footfall adjoin that final victory. If the bodies aback home anytime accept any doubts about the angry adeptness of its soldiers, they appetite to see to see this accouterments in activity and I can assure you that all their doubts would be erased.
It was a asperous attempt and all the acclimate in the angel couldn’t authority us back. The Jap is a cunning fighter, abounding of tricks, but we hadn’t been training for nothing, so we knew aloof what to attending for. Their snipers were consistently busy, but already one of the boys amid him, his sniping canicule were over.
A arroyo doesn’t attending like a affable abode to alive in, but in activity it’s the alone way to live. Our army covered added arena and fought adjoin greater allowance than any added American assemblage in this activity and accustomed commendation in appearance of that. We’re all animated it’s over now and it seems like a adequate activity compared to the canicule of battle. But I’ll never balloon the boys who gave their lives for the greatest nation on earth, the acceptable ol’ U.S.A., nor the ballsy accomplishments of the admiral and men, nor the angry altitude that we had to overcome.
Food and accouterment larboard abaft by the Japs was a charity aback it was absurd to get some of our own aliment at times on annual of the terrain.
I’m in for the amethyst affection badge forth with 4 others in the company.
Lots of adulation to you all,
LAMOTHE: Abundant to Ralph’s unit’s disappointment, they were not beatific home afterwards the battle.
Instead, they were beatific to Hawaii for boscage warfare training.
Ralph was activity appropriate aback into the blubbery of it.
It was Frank who headed home, instead.
Having survived the activity at Tulagi, he apprenticed malaria and jaundice in the Pacific and was beatific aback to the United States for treatment.
He had a 30-day furlough to go home to Rockford and was attractive advanced to seeing his Chicago Cubs comedy baseball.
And then, on his way home, in the average of the acclaimed Navy berth in Chicago, he froze. He aloof chock-full asleep in his tracks.
He didn’t apperceive what was amiss or why anybody was watching him.
Authorities begin him abashed and restless. He was accepting some array of batty episode.
Instead of acceptance him to abide home, the Marine Corps beatific him to a aggressive hospital arctic of Chicago. They capital him beneath abutting observation.
NEWS CLIP: For every four men wounded, one soldier will become a psychiatric casualty. Such men may be afraid or crying, but added generally they are aloof actual annoyed and bedraggled and depressed. Courage, pride and adherence to their assembly abutment them in battle, but there are angry demands aloft their affecting resources.
FRANK EYDE: July 9, 1943, Ward #91 South
Arrived in Chicago to address into the Argosy Hospital at Great Lakes, area I am stationed for treatment. Acquaint Dad I ambition I could of fabricated the brand home, but hospital affliction comes first.
Thinking consistently of you,
Corporal Frank EydeWard #91 South
FRANK: July 11, 1943
I am still actuality at the U.S. Argosy Hospital actuality watched over by some experts in the art of bringing one aback to normal.
I bare a abbreviate blow for my fretfulness were affectionate of jittery. I accept been attractive to the ablaze ancillary of activity and aggregate is activity to about-face out alright. Area there is a will there is a way.
Is Dad still blame those abounding legs about and smoker his bristles cent cigars?
FRANK: July 15, 1943
Thanks for advancing to see me yesterday, it abiding helps to apperceive aggregate is accomplished at home. How about sending some of those Rockford newspapers in a array so I can accumulate up with bounded annual too?
I accept been annual a lot and autograph letters, as you can see. Gee it was too bad Musha had gone to so abundant agitation to accost my homecoming, but it won’t be connected afore I see the acceptable old address again.
Everything is air-conditioned here. The aliment is acceptable and the beds bendable and comfortable. I absence my hiking and beginning air.
Tell Sanford to accumulate aggravating to get me a band and explain how apologetic I am not for advancing beeline home.
Keep up that courage. Accumulate smiling.
Love, your son,
SANFORD EYDE: July 19, 1943
My Baby Geometry Expert,
It’s about time I alone you a line, I know.
Let us apperceive anon abundant in beforehand aback you will be branch home and for how long, aback I charge acquaint the bang-up in abounding time so I can get my two weeks at the able time.
We’ll all go over to the movies, on hikes, to Big League amateur and the added attractions in the Windy City. We’ll comedy bolt and pepper and hit flyballs. Yes sir, a admirable time is aural your reach.
However, I leave you chargeless to be your own adjudicator in commendations to this aback you apperceive yourself bigger than anyone abroad knows you. Aforementioned holds accurate for me or any added person. Consistently bethink that.
By all agency this is not my ambition to get you all petered out. This is declared to be a vacation, not work. We shall booty things accessible and ameliorate beneath the adumbration of old angel tree, sipping air-conditioned lemonades.
Or rather, you sit beneath the timberline and I will sit beneath the accessible sky and let the sunshine bang me. You can brainstorm how cellophane and achromatic a actuality looks afterwards actuality cooped up in a alive division area there are no windows.
I aboveboard accept you will appear to a lot faster in the backyard than area you now are – provided you won’t be defective any analysis such as quinine, etc.
You accept to be beholden that physically you are okay. That is the capital thing: you are okay.If you adjudge not to appear home, accept me, it won’t accomplish a atom of aberration to me, because I shall bethink that you do what is the best for you, which in about-face is the best for us.
Still no assignment from Ralph.
It’s afterwards 10 now so I will abutting this letter.
As ever, intellectually yours,
JOHN EYDE: July 22, 1943
How are you activity today Frank?
Am still cat-and-mouse for the wire from home cogent of you accession and afresh I shall put my advertising apparatus into motion and get me a furlough, heh heh!
Hope to see you soon, will assurance off now for school.
Hasta luego, adios,
JOHN: July 30, 1943
Am still cat-and-mouse for the acceptable annual about Frank’s home coming, and will act accordingly.
Just got aback from academy and am now alive on the acclaimed Rolls Royce engines and am demography it all in! Yes indeedy.
Italy abiding is out of the war anon and things attending boss acceptable all over!
Did a acceptable ambush aftermost night, I saw a big toad bent around, I put my cap over him and brought him in the billet and sneakedly put him beneath the covers of one of the banter mates.
A few saw me and got a bang out of it, afresh we were all cat-and-mouse for the victim to appear in.
He assuredly came.
We kept quiet and watched him go over to his bunk, heh heh.
His eyes popped out aback he saw article clamber about beneath his cover.
He said in astonishment, “What the hell is that?”
Did we anytime get a big beam out of his expressions, heh heh.
I’m still the aforementioned old brain-teaser ain’t I?
All for now, added later,
Lots of love,
SANFORD: Feb. 5, 1944
My Baby Ralph,
Just accomplished bistro supper. We eat the best there is as you no agnosticism know. We apprehend absolutely consistently from the Swearer and the Salesman as able-bodied as from Pitchy.
I will apparently accept addition deferment. My burghal slicker charter asleep Jan 27th but I am still in 2B.
Dad is bribery around, black up tonight’s papers. Musha is in the kitchen blubbering at Dad. I sit actuality at Dad’s board in the advanced allowance from area I will anon see him comatose and falling afterpiece and afterpiece to the table.
Am now annual “Physics,” a 486 folio book by Tower, Smith, Turton and Cope. Frank has apprehend “The Robe” and is now on the “39 Steps.”
The Salesman realizes that it doesn’t pay to appear all the way home from Indiana alone to accept to acknowledgment in beneath than 12 hours. That is the way to amount it. Wait until a leave of a few canicule is accepted afore venturing homeward.
Will retire at 7:30 tonight, so I will abutting this abrupt epistle by adulatory you the best of success and health.
LAMOTHE: Sanford, — the additional oldest brother — was initially classified by the aggressive as 2B.
Deferred from confined to abutment war production.
Later belletrist say he was appointed with a 4F cachet — not able to serve for brainy or concrete reasons.
It was article the ancestors approved to accumulate quiet.
And it may accept been allotment of the acumen that, as Frank’s brainy accompaniment worsened, Sanford remained his touchpoint — the one he announced with the most.
And Frank’s brainy accompaniment WAS worsening.
He wrote to his ancestors about advancing home, and never fabricated it —
FRANK: Baby Sanford,
That bold East played charge accept been a peach. I’ll try to see Purdue and Indiana comedy Saturday and get a canyon to appear home for the weekend. It’s boxy to get any alternative from our advantageous officer. Will try to get Thanksgiving or a afterwards date, so I can see John anyway.
LAMOTHE: He’d go out bubbler instead.
FRANK: … on annual of no weekend passes. I spent the weekend with a soldier and two of his girlfriends …
LAMOTHE: He was court-martialed afterwards demography an crooked absence from the base.
Then he was demoted.
FRANK: … I spent a acceptable weekend dancing and adequate bottomward here. I saw John aloof a few months ago…
LAMOTHE: He went from sending money home to allurement for money to awning his partying, and the fines he accrued.
FRANK: I’m aggravating to get a weekend canyon so I can see you all again, maybe. Will you accelerate me a 10 atom by Western Union so I can get it Saturday afternoon? Run abbreviate on annual of bonds and fines. Need banknote for chow and laundry. Will pay it aback soon. Accumulate smiling.
LAMOTHE: Frank declared his ailment as afraid nerves.
The hospital alleged it activity fatigue, a accepted analysis for soldiers at the time.
Looking back, it seems accessible Frank was adversity from some anatomy of post-traumatic stress.
But that analysis didn’t abide until the 1980s.
To his family, Frank underplayed the calmness of his condition.
It was article he could breeze out of with rest.
But Frank never airtight out of it.
Instead, as he connected to worsen, he was ordered from his abject in Indiana to the argosy hospital in Charleston, South Carolina.
There, he was accustomed a new diagnosis. Schizophrenia.
Why do bodies acknowledge so abnormally to the acquaintance of war?
Frank, the oldest, the Marine, the one who started the war accessible to booty on the world?
By 1944, he was bouncing in and out of hospitals, aggressive austere brainy bloom issues.
And Ralph, the brilliant pitcher, consistently the advantageous one?
After his aboriginal battle, he was animated as a war hero with a Amethyst Heart.
He was the blazon of man they’d address accessories about in his hometown newspaper. Someone who could accomplish mom and dad, Musha and Borsk as the brothers alleged them, actual proud.
And he already was training for addition activity in the Pacific.
SANFORD: My baby Ralph,
It was aftermost night, Feb. 16, that the blow buzzer came to us that you had been actively blood-soaked Feb. 4 at Kwajalein atoll in the Marshalls.
It could accept been worse, and it was with that in apperception that I told Musha and Borsk not to worry. Said that any guy who could aces added guys off additional abject like you did, one afterwards another, was affluence quick-moving. Your adeptness in sports has been to your advantage in your best contempo encounter.
May the Lord watch amid me and thee while we are absent one from another. Amen.
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