Final Letter 5: The Reply from Chaplain Marvin Maris in the Philippines

From the Philippines, Marvin replies to his wife's letters
Note:  This letter is copied from the war correspondence between my grandmother (Connie Maris) in Holland, Michigan, and her husband, Chaplain Marvin E. Maris, in the Philippines. He refers to letters from his wife which have been in the previous 4 posts.  This will be the last letter in the series of 5.  Be expecting more letters to follow in future posts as I continue to read through them.

May 19, 1945  (From the Philippines)

Dearest Connie:

Read 1 letter of May 7 and 3 letters of May 9, all from you.

Interested in your reactions to so-called VE Day, Rolf’s fishing and hiking activities, Priscilla’s interest in personal pruning or is it preening, and the people you mentioned:  Winstorms, Cole’s and your schoolteacher landlady.

Naturally, Priscilla will want to read our letters.  Why not?

My News:

  1.  A soldier killed by explosion of undetermined origin (booby-trap, shell, grenade?) buried yesterday with military honors.  Name:  Graves, Capt Reilly had a coffin built.  This is a luxury
  2. Built a chapel seating 40 people in an upper room house for headquarters.  Other services in gun sections, tents and open-air
  3. Saw a well-known public figure riding in his limousine today.  He must feel satisfaction with the progress of the war.
  4. Everybody has little red pimples (prickly heat). We did not suffer with this in New Guinea because we got more sun baths and skin was in better shape.
  5. Soldiers all upset by the newly announced point system of discharge.  Just another one of those wild rumor subjects
  6. Lt. Callahan’s court martial today.  The playboy who went AWOL two nights after our historic landing and lost a jeep while drunk.  What does an officer have to do to get cashiered out of this army, anyhow?

I will write the Winstroms a letter of appreciation if you say so, my dear.  Tell Rolf I have caught perch, sunfish, speckled bass, blue-gills, dog-fish and bullheads and even one big snapping gurgle but never a sheepshead.  Cut it open; there is a white stone in its head.

Your old man, M.E.M

(Marvin Ellsworth Maris)

Notes from above

—“Saw a well-known figure” :  This most likely would have been General MacArthur, who was in the Philippines at the time of Marvin’s letter. Due to security reasons, I’m sure he wasn’t allowed to give a specific name.

— “the newly announced point system of discharge”:  On May 10, 1945, two days after the unconditional surrender of Germany to the allies on V-E Day, the War Department announced a point system for the demobilization and discharge of Army and Army Air Force enlisted personnel.  The Advanced Service Rating Score was a scoring system that awarded points to a soldier and was used to determine who were sent home first. At the end of the war in Germany and Italy, a total of 85 points was required for a soldier to be allowed to return to the States. If you had less than 85 points, you could expect to continue to serve in the Army and most likely be sent to fight the Japanese.  A few weeks later, the points were lowered to 75, probably soon after Japan surrendered.  Enlisted women were able to return after 44 points.

Points were awarded as follows:  

  • + 1   each month of service,  Sept 16, 1940 – May 12, 1945)
  • + 1    each month overseas, Sept. 16, 1940 – May 12, 1945
  • + 5   each award received:  DSC (Distinguished Service Medal) , LM (Legion of Merit), SS (Silver Star), DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross), SM (Soldiers Medal), BS (Bronze Star), AM (Air Medal), PH (Purple Heart) 
  • + 5   campaign stars worn on theater ribbons
  • +12 for each child under 18 years old, limit of 3 children

— “Two nights after our historic landing”:  This might refer to the pictures below, labeled and posted in my grandfather’s journal:  March 14, 1945. He illustrated his journal with not only photos but his own drawings.

My grandfather’s drawing to illustrate the invasion route, from New Guinea to the Philippines.



Upon entering Manila, the devastation wrought by the Japanese was a shock to all the Americans who arrived, including my grandfather.


This photo was included in Marvin’s letters from the Philippines, most likely taken during the months of May – September, 1945

About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 30 years as an English language teacher. 28 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my 13th year in Luzhou Vocational and Technical College. The college is located in Luzhou city (loo-joe), Sichuan Province, a metropolis of 5 million people located next to the Yangtze River .
This entry was posted in Travel, Uncategorized, Visit To The States, World War 2 Letters, World War 2: VE Day Correspondences. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Final Letter 5: The Reply from Chaplain Marvin Maris in the Philippines

  1. Sharon White says:

    These are a truly remarkable collection!

    Sent from my iPad


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