DRU Tamale Recipe
rolled with chopped beef and pork
served on chili sauce, radishes, lemon juice
masa, beef, juice ground corn like pancake
cook in a corn husk, meal spread over the husk
ends folded over and immersed in steam
Bureau of Medicine & Surgery
October 17, 1917
To: Ellen C. Rentzmann
Oak Park Ill.
Subject: Enrollment in the Naval Coast Defense Reserve, (Class 4.), U.S.N.R.F
1. You are hereby enrolled in the provisional grade of nurse, in the Naval Coast Defense Reserve (Class 4), U.S.N.R.F., in accordance with the Act of Congress making appropriations for the Naval Service for the fiscal year ending June 3, 1917, and for other purposes, approved August 29, 1916, to serve for a period of four years from September 18, 1917.
Before. (Signed) A.C. Nordil
Commission Expires May 4, 1919.
ALWAYS KEEP THIS PAPER
Certified to be a true copy.
signed by Ellen C. Rentzmann
1. W.C. Braisted referred to Navy Surgeon General William C. Braisted (who had been born the year before Lincoln was assassinated). While the War effort was uppermost, an even greater challenge lay ahead for the Navy’s caregivers. The story is retold by Braisted himself, but a 2010 NIH report offers this shorter account:
. . . in the fourth dreadful year of the war, as the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) assumed fighting strength and prepared their first great offensive against the Germans, the flu struck. By the War Department’s most conservative count, influenza sickened 26% of the Army—more than one million men—and killed almost 30,000 before they even got to France.2,3 On both sides of the Atlantic, the Army lost a staggering 8,743,102 days to influenza among enlisted men in 1918.4 (p. 1448) The Navy recorded 5,027 deaths and more than 106,000 hospital admissions for influenza and pneumonia out of 600,000 men, but given the large number of mild cases that were never recorded, Braisted put the sickness rate closer to 40%.5,6 (p. 2458)
This note was sent to Billie at a time when Mark was selling his Phoenix house and reorganizing things for permanent residence in New York. In later years, DRU and Billie were civil at least, and sometimes shared reminiscences. This note makes reference to one of his unexplained absences when Mark was visiting Tucson..
Sister Kris recently went through newspapers that DRU saved — all without comment or annotation by him, so far as I could detect. Since tomorrow would have been his birthday, I thought all would be fascinated to read an account of a Borneo (now part of Malasia) raid he flew, reportedly, in July 1945. The story appeared in his local newspaper on the front page of the Nogales International. The “Crusaders” were a nickname for the 42nd Bombardment Group of the Army Air Force. This force was part of the Battle of North Borneo, well described in Wikipedia.
HEADQUARTERS 13 AAF, PHILIPPINES July 19 Second Lieutenant Don R. Underwood, pilot of a B-25 of “The Crusaders,” medium bombardment group of the 13th AAF, recently participated in a minumum altitude attack in support of ground action on Labuan, North Borneo [Google Map].
Their target was a small pocket of Nip troo0ps and the area was so small that they could not strafe for fear of hitting their own troops. The accuracy and effectiveness of their bombing was reported the next day when the Australian troops moved in to mop up.
A total of 397 Nip dead were counted and 18 slightly dazed Japs were taken prisoner, along with one giesha [sic] girl.
Lieutenant Underwood has completed over 13 missions over enemy targets in the Halmaheras [Google Map], the Celebes [Google Map], Borneo and the Philippines since joining his organization in April 1945.
Lieutenant Underwood is the son of Mrs. Ellen C. Underwood of 106 Alameda Street, Nogales. –Nogales International, 1945-07-20.
Related: Bomber Training in Montana
Related: How to Fly a B-25
When this belated factoid appeared as a correction in the NYT, I wanted to pick up the phone and call the house in Tucson where I still picture him sitting. From that spare and uncomfortable roost, he would probably have given a glancing, indirect account of how friendly fire incidents were discussed and reported in the World War II theater where he served as an Army Air Force B-25 pilot. It was a mistaken B-25 strike that killed the NYT reporter and U.S. troops on that day in 1942. Or he would have simply said, “Yes,” in a tone of voice that hinted at horrors he witnessed, or feared, and, silently, “Speak of it no more this day.”