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Cherokee County WWII War Stories

JAMES A. MORTON

STAFF SGT. JAMES A. MORTON WRITES FROM CORAL ISLE IN PACIFIC OCEAN - Staff Sergeant James A. Morton , aerial gunner and son of Mr & Mrs Fay Morton of Meriden, may be on one of the Gilbert or Marshall islands, scenes of great battles recently in the central Pacific.

In letters written January 21 and 22 to his wife at Meriden, the former Cherokean discloses:

"We are on a coral island in the central Pacific.  It is pretty hot," he reports, "but there are a lot of coconut trees for shade.  We live in tents and they get awful hot in the afternoon."

S-Sgt. Morton, tail gunner of an attack bomber, says "we get good food here too.  A lot better than we got the other place, even if it is dehydrated.  We get beer and Pepsi-Cola once in a while they give us cigarets about once a week.  All in all, we are living well."

The flying sergeant found no mosquitoes on the coral atoll that is his home for the time being, but "in the daytime the flies set a fellow nuts."

"There are natives on the island," his letter continues.  "They are real islanders, too.  All they wear is a bit of cloth around their hips.  The men and women dress alike.  Little kids don't wear any thing at all till they get about four or five years old."

"Life in the Pacific is no paradise these days:  We have been in action quite regularly here lately.  We all get so tired that we can hardly eat or sleep.  I'll tell  you, those few seconds we spend over a Jap target seem like a lifetime and they are good shots, too.  Don't think they aren't.  But so are we."

S-Sgt Morton says he sleeps in a tent "with a bunch of rebels from Georgia."  "All we do is argue about the Civil War.  That keeps our minds off other things."

 Source: Cherokee County Historical Society Newsletter, Vol 15, Num 1, Jan 1980, Sec V, Pg 6.  From the Cherokee Daily Times of Jan. 8, 1944.

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