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The Military Mailbag

Hi Men:

Since I took over this column the months really fly by. It seems as tho I just turned last month’s material in. I hope the time passes as quickly for you. I knew, of course, that when I took this job that I would get lots of mail. But I didn’t dream it would come so heavily so soon. Just the other day I counted everything I’d received so far. I was amazed and I know you will be too. I checked everything twice to be certain there was no mistake and each time I got the same answer—one change of address card from Ralph DeYoung.

Jane Schipper, who formerly had charge of your letters, was amazed too. She’s received more mail since she turned this over to me than she ever did before.

Of course, we realize it takes a while for the Beacon Lights to catch up to most of you and so we’re not really surprised after all. But just in case you did miss the new address for your Beacon Lights letters, I’ll give it once more:

Ken Ezinga

1743 Alto Ave., S. E.

Grand Rapids 7, Mich.

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Dorothy Van Dyken, Beacon Lights reporter from Manhattan, sends some news for us. She says that Andrew Leep who entered service in June, is now a drill instructor at Camp Gordon, Ga. He likes the winter weather down there very much and says it is quite a change from the cold Montana winters he’s accustomed to. He attends a  Presbyterian Church there and is near Camp Stewart where another Manhattanite, Garret Flikkema, is stationed. Recently they were able to spend a week-end together. Andy’s address is: Cpl. Andrew. Leep, U.S. 56119020, Co. 5, B.T.G., S.C.T.R.C., Camp Gordon, Georgia

Leon Smit, also from Manhattan, left for the Navy in November He is on Guam, where he is busy painting quonset huts for the Navy. He expects to be there for about 18 months. The weather is hot and rainy, he says.

Leon’s address is: Leon H. Smit, C.N. 555-45-11, Co. D, Plat 4, N.C.B. 103, Navy 926, c/o F.P.O. San Francisco, Calif.

There are now seven servicemen from Manhattan.

We might add to Dorothy’s report that one more of their members has left. He is Richard Heys, who just recently enlisted in the Air Force. He was spending the winter in Grand Rapids, so that is how I happen to know. As yet, we do not have his address.

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A picture is included of Andrew Dykema. His mother gave us a little information about him.

Andy’s down in North Carolina with the Marines and is learning about Bull Dozers and Diesel Engines. He expects to be there for 16 weeks. As Andy used to have a bull dozer of his own he shouldn’t have too much trouble down there.

Andy’s address is: Pfc. Andrew Dykema, 1257901, 1st School Co., Engineers School Bn., Mechanics No. 3, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Thank you, Mrs. Dykema, for the news. Other parents please take note. Some of the boys might, be a little bashful about writing us but we know that parents are never bashful so . . .

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A letter from John Hoekstra of Hull, Iowa, dated March 9th:

I entered service November 26 and had eight weeks of basic at Camp  Breckenridge. Now Uncle Sam sent me to Camp Polk, where I’m supposed to train till September. Where I go from here, I don’t know. Most likely to Europe or the Far East. At present I’m assigned to the 37th Infantry Division of the Ohio National Guard. I guess I have been fortunate to stay in the States as long as I have.

So far I haven’t received the Beacon Lights. I got a few issues from John DeVries, who is from our Randolph church. It seemed good to meet one of our own church. It is sometimes hard to live in the midst of all kinds of people. Wherever one goes he hears cursing.

I want to thank those who make it possible for the Servicemen to receive our church papers. They are the only material we have. Our chapel services give us very little spiritual food.

Yours in Christ,

Pvt. John Hoekstra, U.S.-55 194-354, Co. K, 148th Inf. Reg’t., 37th Inf. Division, Camp Polk, Louisiana

Your Beacon Lights are on the way, John, and I’m sure you’ll be receiving them regularly from now on.

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Al Visser from Manhattan, writes again from Germany:

Dear Friends:

It’s about time I should be writing a few lines again. It’s been some time ago that I wrote and in the meantime I received a half dozen Beacon Lights. The Beacon Lights are one of the most welcome of all the church papers we get. I am always looking forward to the next month’s issue. Seems like a month is a long time to wait.

I had a very swell time on my furlough to Holland. I didn’t see as much of the country as I wished to see in seven days. Yet in the few days I was there I was very much impressed by the big stores, and all of the American automobiles. I spent most of my time in and around Rotterdam. I also looked up some of my relatives who live just a few miles from Rotterdam. Being around there for a few days and being able to talk the language to a certain extent, made it seem like home in the States. I still won’t trade the good old States for any of this. If all is well and proper, I’ll be heading back again for Holland the first of May.

Probably somebody would like to know what we are doing out here. We’ve had it quite easy this winter but for the next three months most of the time will be spent out in the field. It will be field maneuvers and firing the guns, rifles, etc. We will be travelling over much of Germany so let’s hope we have nice weather. Right now it isn’t too cold, but we have had a lot of rain. It makes it pretty miserable being out in the field. The Battery is leaving tonight for a field problem, but I am able to stay back as I am in charge of Quarters.

That’s about all for now so I’ll sign off. I wish you all God’s blessing.

A friend, Al Visser.

Al address is: Cpl. Albert Visser 56092529, Baty. B, 95th A.A.A. Gun Bn., APO 46, c/o P.M., New York, N.Y.

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The following letter from Gerald Kok was really addressed to the Editor. But seeing he is a Serviceman and especially since the OPEN FORUM was quite filled when his letter arrived, I’m sure he won’t mind if we use it here. Our apologies, if you need them, Gerry.

Dear Mr. Editor:

I have just finished reading the articles which were written in respect to the former editor, Mr. Al Heemstra. Truly, I am shocked at the “mud-slinging” which is put in “candy covered” words. How can we as Protestant Reformed people act as politicians in a campaign! Of course, I have been away from all the happenings which have taken place and more than likely have not got a correct picture of both sides. This, I believe, leaves me in a position to write as a bystander, influenced by no one.

I have read very little on either side of the controversy, but I am sure of one thing; that is that neither of the parties should carry on in such a disrespectful manner. It is a disgrace to the Federation to be a sponsor to letters which run down and hurt one person as these past letters have been doing. If these were truly written out of love I am sure that they would not be constructed to hurt a person, but more to help him. Personally, I cannot see brothers and sisters in the Lord writing as has been written. I do not believe that they are winning anything by slamming each other with words of reproach. These letters may not have been written with that purpose in mind, but surely to an innocent bystander they appear that way.

I am very sure if either of the parties feels that one or the other has made a grave error, according to church doctrine, that our leaders would have put a stop to his or her writing.

Let us therefore forget our differences of opinion and strive for a better feeling of brother- hood through Christ our Lord. May we all live as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Your Air Friend,
Gerald W. Kok