Captain Morin and WWII
After graduating from Harvard in 1943 with three C’s and a D, Morin joined the Army, O.C.S. He was sent to Fort Sill in May of that year, and in July he joined the 42nd Division at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma. Two months later, he was transferred to the 10th Corps, Artillery to serve as an aide to General Thomas Hickey, and they shipped out to New Guinea, then Leyte (Philippines) from July, 1944 to January, 1945. He followed Hickey to the 31st Division and served in Morotai and Mindanao until his discharge in June, 1946. During all of their time together, Colonel Hickey became like a father to Morin. He had grown up in the Roxbury section of Boston, where as a youth he’d led “charges” to drive the British off Roxbury Hill. His two childhood lieutenants in those exercises, Denny Delaney and Phil Kendrick, would be asked by Hickey to help Morin out years later.
Buried deep in Morin’s personal papers was an old manila folder full of documents from the Philippine days. Copies of American and Japanese psychological warfare fliers, propaganda from the Department of Defense press office, a field map of Mindanao with troop movements marked in black, carbon copies of the official documents that marked the surrender of the Japanese, Morin’s enlistment and muster orders. A card designating Morin’s berth # on the ship carrying them home (“Gen Hickey’s Qtrs,” noted in pencil).
And an envelope with his name and Arlington, VA address, set out in a meticulous cursive hand. Inside the envelope were several letters from a young Filipino woman, written on lined yellow paper, and a photograph.
The photo depicted the woman standing outside of a doorless hutch, presumably somewhere in the Leyte countryside. Charles sat on the stoop of the doorway, looking somewhat sad – like he didn’t want to be photographed. A tall, shirtless
American soldier grinned from the doorway, next to a small Filipino male.
The letters were lengthy and newsy, written with perfect English grammar in that precise script. The young lady expressed her effusive admiration and affection for Charles and his fellow soldiers, and her gratitude “for all you have done for my brother and I.” Was it simply that the US troops had rescued them from the clutches of Communism? Or something else? Had Charles and his companion done something for these two siblings? How did they become acquainted? The mysteries endure.
Charles kept the letters and photo, and never mentioned them to his sons.
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Tags: charles morin, Philippines, WWII