Sgt Leon Padelskas
Leon wrote several interesting letters before and on the way to Iwo Jima. Of course he couldn't tell where they were going, but he let his family know another operation was coming up. We also have a V-Mail that he wrote from the battlefield of Iwo Jima as well as the first letter home after the battle was over.
On the troop ship Leon writes:
"At Sea 4 February, 1945"
"Dear Sis, I hope I haven't caused you too much worry. We've been at sea for some time now. I think I answered all your letters before shoving off..."
"...We're off again. This business of invasion is getting to be regular routine. My luck has been very good so far and hope it continues. Don't forget to save some clippings on our forth-coming invasion..."
"...I'll write again as soon as possible. Under the circumstances, I can't say when that'll be..."
Leon wrote a V-Mail from the battlefield on Iwo Jima:
"27 February, 1945"
"Dear Mom - Time is short and there isn't much to write about but I thought I'd send my love to you and the family..."
"...We've been having a rather rugged time of it. I'm feeling okay so far and I'm hoping and praying to stay that way..."
"...I'll write again whenever I get the chance..."
On the troopship after the battle Leon wrote:
"21 March, 1945"
"Darling Sis... Did you get my first V-Mail from Iwo? I wrote it about the tenth day of the operation hoping it would relieve Mom's worrying somewhat. We didn't do much that day - rested, had hot rations, and were given clean under clothes and socks. It was a full month before we got a chance to take a shower..."
"...What a relief it was to take a good shower, clean clothes, hair combed, and to take off those heavy boon-dockers and put on my mocassins..."
"...The battle was a nightmare. After Saipan I thought to myself no matter where we might hit again it couldn't be worse than Saipan - that's what I thought. They threw everything at us but the kitchen sink, and I'm not sure they didn't throw that. I certainly did plenty of praying..."
"...I looked up Dick Ross the other night, he is still ok - this was his first operation, and said he was plenty scared - but who wasn't..."
"...One thing about this operation that was very surprising - we had plenty of chow, water, cigarettes and fruit. I got a kick out of your letter [that said] Dad came home with everything tonight, even rare pineapple. While I was reading it I was eating a can of pineapple. Almost everyday they brought up either pineappe or pineapple juice. It got so some of the guys would even rufuse it. It became sort of an unofficial password..."
"Arti sends his regards to you - we had some might close ones. But we're safe and sound..."
"...All my love, Leon"
Back at Camp Maui Leon writes:
"9 April 1945"
"Dear Sis...I'm now back at our old base camp and it's great to be back. Got in 2 days ago or so..."
"...One day, while on Iwo and we were in a rest area (if any place on the island could be called a 'rest area') I received a letter from you. I hurriedly set down the can of pineapple I was eating..."
[Leon's sister wrote that at home they got some rare cans of pineapple]
"...There I sat not knowing whether I'd ever again be able to look at another can again..."
"...two excellent things about the battle, plenty of fruit and juices and the mail service being as good as it was..."
"...the fellas on Okinawa are having a tough fight for it..."
"...those damn Japs. When are they going to crack - if only we knew..."
"...You said that I certainly didn't say much about Iwo. Do I have to?..."
"...The Navy gets good chow..."
"...at the noon meal or supper meal they serve soup. We never get soup at camp..."