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The journey for Cliff began in 1942 in Fort Lewis, Washington south of Seattle. Inductees were assembled in Ft. Lewis, to be trained as hard fighting soldiers in a difficult environment. After some administrative changes, the field artillery was reorganized and the 41srt Infantry was formed.
Cliff's battalion left on April 22 on the train for San Francisco and onto U.S.S. Matsonia which was pressed into national service by the military.When Cliff arrived in Australia in May of 1942, he imagined that the Pacific War would only last a year, and that he would be back soon. Near Melbourne, Cliff trained to fight the Japanese who were in New Guenea.
Even if he had known anything about McArthur's war strategy, he would never have hinted at it in his letters, due to the strict censorship of G.I.'s mail. The 41st was divided into several parts for its departure overseas. Cliffs was with the 205th Battalion which was the last of the group to reach Australia.
The hardest fight was about to begin in the early spring or 1944, when "the real battles of the Pacific were shaping up. Such places as Aitape, Wakde, Hollandia, and Biak were little known to the men of the 41st. All of these places would become quite familiar to Cliff as he and his unit fought their way up the New Guinea coast that spring.
The 41st Division had acquired the name "The Bloody Butchers", in the words of Tokyo Rose in the Spring of 1944, a nickname that their commander said "could not make me happier". But this is hardly the picture that Cliff presented to Marge in his letters from these strife-worn months. Although he was not allowed to speak of their incredible heroism in his censored letters, he was anxious to hear from Marge about whether they had been publicized back home.
From a letter dated April 15, 1944, "There must be something wrong with our publicity department if you haven't heard of any of the doings of the 41st division back there. I know there's been a few mentions in different papers and magazines back there. I've seen a few of them.Maybe you don't do much reading, do you? I don't imagine you have any too much time."