JULY 28, 1944
HYDE PARK, Thursday—When I was at San Diego, California, I had a chance to see some of the training going on, and again I was impressed by the extraordinary increase in our efficiency and the thoroughness with which we are now doing everything.
The papers the other day said we are calling for a number of new men for the Navy, in order to increase the speed of the war in the Pacific. I hope the response will be immediate, because I know in almost all branches of the services men have been out in that area for many long months. I think it would be a great lift to the spirit of all the men in that part of the world if the Army and Navy could today see its way clear, in spite of the problems of personnel and transportation and equipment, to a definite rotation policy which will relieve these men who have been so long without seeing their home shores.
Aside from the actual fighting, the climate is one which, after a long period of time, is hard on any individual. I admired very much the spirit of one boy who wrote his mother that in spite of the length of time he had been in the tropics, he had made up his mind, because he was responsible for a group of men, to increase his weight and keep himself in good physical condition. That was the only way in which he could keep his spirits up and help the men under him. A wise youngster—but it is not always so easy to accomplish the ends that he apparently achieved. I have known some boys who could not gain weight no matter how hard they tried. Nevertheless, the effort is worthwhile!
I had the pleasure, while on the West Coast, of seeing my friend, Miss Mayris Chaney, who is dancing in a little theatre in Hollywood. Mr. Earl Robinson, whose "Ballad for Americans" I like so much, came to see me with his wife, and brought me a couple of new records which we are going to enjoy. I saw other friends as well, and felt that my short stay had been a happy one for me.
The Democratic Convention was on in Chicago as we flew back, and while walking up and down at the airport to get a breath of fresh air, after the night on the plane, who should greet me but ex-Senator Sherman Minton. I had not recognized him because my mind was far away from politics and from Washington acquaintances. So I was a little surprised to see him; but his mind was not on politics either, I soon found. He was there to meet his son, back from Saipan for a short leave after months in the service, and I could understand the way Mr. Minton felt.