I used to co-ordinate with logisticians like the Sergeant leaning over his telephone console. Near the end of every summer I remember a note from August 31, 1945 that was dropped by Captain Edward Gumphrey of the 322nd Air Division while flying over Japan at the end of WWII. It's worth repeating what the Captain wrote "To any American who can read this letter." Gumphrey and the crew of V-23 advised that his crew was "writing this en route to Japan where we'll attempt to find you fellows and drop these supplies. Before going into a long letter here are a few instructions:
"The other day we were up over a couple of POW camps and dropped supplies. The results were tragic. The oil drums in which the supplies were packed went careening down on the POWs and their barracks and injured several fellows. Two were killed because the chutes failed to open. The men had gathered together in a bunch and I think a barrel went right into the middle of them. This time we intend to go a little higher and give the chutes more time to open. We also have instructions not to drop the supplies right in the camp, but near it. So watch out for the stuff as it comes down and watch where it goes and get it as soon as possible because we don't want the Japs to get any more than you do.
"It won;'t be long before you all will see American troops. A few special troops have already landed in Tokyo to prepare for the occupation forces which are coming in the near future. The Pacific Fleet is in Yokohama Bay waiting for MacArthur to lead the boys ashore. Incidentally, in case any of you were in the Philippines, Gen. Wainwright has been found in a Prison Camp on Manchuria by the Russians and is now in China witnessing the surrender of the Japs there.
"The damned war is all over but the signing of the papers. Hold on a bit longer, fellows and you'll be on your way home. You're top priority on the list to go back Stateside."
The note was scrawled by the crew of V-23 from the 322nd Air Division and dropped near Omine-machi, Japan on August 31, 1945. It was kept by Ben Steele, Billings, Montana.
Michael Norman and Elizabeth Norman -- Teas in the Darkness, Easton Press, 2009.