DECEMBER 15, 1945
NEW YORK, Friday—I have just read Keith Wheeler's "We Are The Wounded". A fighting man with the gift of expression is a rarity, but in this book a war correspondent with a talent for vivid writing has himself gone through the experiences of a wounded soldier.
Anyone of us who has visited the wards of military hospitals, both near the front and here at home, will corroborate his testimony as to the courage and cheerfulness which prevails almost universally among the wounded. They cover up their suffering and pain to the utmost of their ability, and their black hours are hidden from most of us, even though those with permanent disabilities must have them.
It probably is valuable for all of us to have a writer gather together in a book, so well written that you cannot fail to understand the pain, the individual stories of the wounded, as Wheeler has done. These stories could be multiplied thousands of times over. For each individual the problem is a little different and his own reaction is never quite like that of the next man.
This volume should help us all to a realization that a wounded man is still the same man he was when he left his home and that to the best of his ability and to ours, that is what he wants to continue to be.
There is another book which I think everyone should read. It is called "Sea, Surf and Hell"—the story of the Coast Guard in World War II. It is edited by Commander Arch A. Mercy, USCGR, and Lee Grove, Chief Specialist, USCGR. This history of the Coast Guard during the war tells in quite a dispassionate manner, some thrilling and exciting experiences. Without apparently considering anyone a hero, it relates the stories of innumerable heroes.
The U. S. Coast Guard always has done a day by day heroic job, but in the war, as part of our Navy, they participated in every kind of action, and their history is the history of young America's heroism everywhere.
The name Coast Guard might lead one to believe that they operate for the most part within sight of our coasts. With this in mind, Lieut. Scott Wilson, a veteran of the invasion of Saipan, began to hum some words in the spring of '43, and on talking it over with Chris Tacich, Specialist 1st Class, USCGR, who had some songwriting experience, a song was born called: "I'd Like to Find the Guy Who Named the Coast Guard." The chorus goes:
And find that bit of coast he had in mind.
Whatever he was thinking, is the thing that puzzles me
When submarines I'm sinking in the middle of the sea.
And when I'm dodging enemy torpedoes
Or landing troops upon a foreign shore.
Then I have a salty yearning, while my hand my gun is burning,
Oh, I'd like to find the guy who named the Coast Guard"
Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting at lunch Mr. Lawrence Phillips, Executive Director of the USO Camp Shows. These shows must go on until all of our men are home. They have done a wonderful job of entertainment world over. But unless we support USO Camp Shows, the men who are left in faraway places will not have the same sense that they are not forgotten at home which these shows have been able to give them during the war.