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More CBI stuff...

I found this article in a paper printed on Dad's ship home (the Gen. CG Morton, a liberty ship they referred to as the "Snortin' Morton"). It summarized one man's view of their war. Dad was an MP and truck driver so it sums up his very well. His note book noted a number of deaths by disease and accident.
Whatever history has made, or will make, of it, here's what they who were there thought of of their war in the CBI.

The pages are too fragile to scan so I've transcribed the article here. The date is Nov-Dec. 1945. I've copied it as faithfully as I could.


"Mission accomplished"

"War is not all bullets, blood and the screams of dying men... This was proven by the troops of the American Armed Forces assigned to fight this war in the hills and valleys of Assam and Burma, and those too, who were sent to China. These were the troops who came to be known as CBI’ers [sic]... China, Burma, and India... Chances are you won’t see any of them sporting battle citations and most of them won'’t have war stories to tell to their grandchildren. But they did fight a war. A war filled with terror of disease... the stench of human filth... of getting used to seeing starved, bloated-bellied infants sucking frantically at a dried out breast. The constant wail of beggars tugging at their trouser legs. This was part of the war being fought by CBIers.

Of course it had another phase to it... The mission for which these troops were sent to this "land of misery" and "poverty." That mission, at first, seemingly, lay behind a veil of secrecy. Here were troops. All sorts of troops... White ones, Black ones, Air Corps, Quartermaster, Ordinance, Medics, MP’s, and the OSS...........................................

Among all the troops arriving in the CBI, combat troops were most conspicuous by their absence. It seemed that the main weapons carried by these men were typewriters, machine tools, and drivers permits. The question raised, of course was very obvious... What was our mission? Were we here to fight a war? If so, who were we going to fight? How were we going to fight? How could one fight a war with cargo airplanes GMC Six-by’s, motorcycles and hypodermic needles?... The answers to these and other questions soon came to light.

The early morning lay steeped in a cold wet fog. Slowly, silently, the stars flickered and disappeared as though snapped off by a switch. Off to the east a bright glare strove to climb the towering Himalayas that lay sprawling between Burma and China... Crouching like a tiger with gaping valleys spread like jaws in readiness to devour anything attempting to pass over or through them. A new day was being born... A typical winter day in Assam. And then, as though exhausting it’s last vestige of strength, the sun burst forth revealing a blanket of green soggy rice-fields... Streaming in the early morning sun like a boiling cauldron.

Perhaps this is what it was. A boiling cauldron. A melting pot were men and machinery were the raw materials added according to the recipe to formulate the victory we have just won.

But this is not just another morning. No bugle blew this morning. No bleary eyed GI’s rolled casually out of their charpoys. The roar that rent the air that morning sounded like a thousand bugles. Intermingled with the brass drums and cimbals.[sic] And still more bugles. It came as a crescendo of a gigantic symphony... Overhead the swollen-bellied C-46’s roared into the sun... While on the ground, the endless ribbon of macadam and gravel lay scarred with the teeth-marks of trucks whining their way up and down hills and revetments... From railway cars to go-down... From go-downs to airfields... Supplies... supplies... supplies... That was the by-word. "Supplies for China"... "Keep China in the war"... "Keep China'’s life-line open"... This was our mission.

The cauldron stopped boiling... The melting pot was full... The die had been cast... The molten mass of men and materials were ready for the mold... America had bared her fangs... Had accepted the challenge to her ability to continue as a free nation."
 
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