Monday, April 26, 2010

Back in Tokyo, Maj. Gillham reviews his options

Today we hear that Maj. Gillham has made it safely back to Tokyo, but the letter awaiting him from Frances has got him thinking.  His response gives some insight into his hopes for the future and what he's willing (and not willing) to do once his tour of duty is over.

4 Feb 1946

Dearest Darling,

Have just returned from Nikko.  I found only one letter from you that had come during my week's absence.  It was dated 20 Jan and told of meeting Paul Wright.  The mail slow-down must have started.

I drove home in a new Chevrolet sedan with Col. Watson, the one I mentioned to you before.  He is from the 1930 class at West Point.  We also brought one of the Red Cross girls from the hotel with us as she was coming to Tokyo to make a telephone call to the states.  On the way back we stopped (stopt -- stoped -- they all look wrong!) by the Emperor's duck hunting preserve.  Col. Watson had been there before on a duck hunt.  The keepers received us as though we were visiting royalty, and showed us all over the place and gave us beer to drink.  I took a couple of pictures which I hope will be good.  I have never seen so many ducks in my life.  A few were decoys, but most were regular wild varieties.

Paul Wright's remarks have put me to thinking.  The situation which he pictured is just what I have feared for some time.  However, he always had that sort of an attitude and you have to take what he says with a grain of salt.  I was making more than he when we left to go in the army and will have been away much longer when I return.  According to Paul's salary, mine should be adjusted at something over $300.  At one time I would have thought that was pretty good money, but I realize it won't go far now.

There are several courses open to me:  (1) I think I could remain in the army in my present capacity for an indefinite period which might last a year or two longer.  (2) When my time for release comes in May, I think I could get a job here as a civilian, paying from $6,000 to $10,000 per year.  That might last as long as the occupation if I wanted to make a career out of it.  (3) I could probably get appointed in the regular army with a permanent rank of Captain.  The way that works is you are put in a position on the promotion list which is the equivalent of being at the foot of the West Point class which graduated when you were 25 years old.

If I stayed on here you all might be able to come over within a year.  The only way I can get back to the states is by discharge.  However, although these propositions look good financially and have a certain romantic appeal, they are not what I would prefer.  Most of the civilians here are the professional bureaucrat type and I don't enjoy their company much.  Maybe things will have straightened out a little by this summer when I get home.

How was Blanche?  Did Ed get the chevrons I sent him?

When you say you have never seen a housing market as tight as Atlanta, it really must be tough.  We have been in some pretty tight places in our time.  It would certainly be a pleasure to move to a town having a lot of vacant houses, and make the real estate dealers have to sell you.

It is late now, and I must get to bed and get a little sleep.

Lots of love to my sweetheart,